Decadent Deep-Dish Pecan Pie

  • Pecan Pie is not for the faint of heart, even when baked into a regular-sizeDecadent Deep Dish Pecan Pie pie tin with a regular amount of sweet, rich filling and then topped with regular whipped cream.  This version of Pecan Pie (both words capitalized because there’s nothing regular about it and caps = deserved importance) takes it to the next level, in a deep-dish-Chicago-style sort of way.

    The facts:  a swirl of toasted pecans creates a crispy, caramelized upper crust- a crust that dares you to poke a fork through its perfect pecan surface- a dare you will win, because you know what’s waiting for you underneath that pecan roof: an unprecedentedly (almost obscenely) thick layer of smooth, intensely (but entirely appropriately) rich Pecan Pie goo… all housed in a tender, baked-till-golden-brown cream cheese crust, capped with a generous dollop of Bourbon Whipped Cream- an adult-rated way to finish this serious, proper Pecan Pie.

    The background:  I fell in love with pecan pie at an early age, and although I was never faithful to it (how could I be in a world full of caramel with chocolate and lemon with coconut?), I kept it at the top of my List of Desserts to Order if Found On a Restaurant Dessert Menu (you know what I’m talking about- the desserts that stop you in your tracks when you find them on a menu).  Truth be told, I prefer less pecans in my pecan pie (shock!  horror!) to better showcase the gooey filling.  In fact, I am a fan of the Pecanless Pecan Pie– an even more intense dessert experience without the pecans to distract you from the sheer and utter sweetness.  Definitely not for everyone.

    But back to the issue at hand.  Upon procuring a deep-dish pie plate, I knew what had to happen… pecan pie could become Pecan Pie, according to the ‘more is better’ philosophy.

    So take a deep breath, and Deep-Dish away.

    The Pastry Options:

    1.The Flaky Double Pie Crust: the traditional crust which is tried and true for its flakiness and butteriness.  (Since you won’t need the full double crust for this recipe, cut dough ball in half before rolling out and freeze one half for later use.)

    2. The “impossible to screw up” Cream Cheese Pie Crust: this crust tastes fantastic, is a bit less flaky, and is quite a bit easier to work with.  I used this dough for the pie I just made, and have no regrets.  None whatsoever.

    The Gooey Filling:

    1 1/2 cups lightly toasted pecan halves

    4 large room temperature eggs

    2 large room temperature egg yolks

    1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    3/4 cups light brown sugar

    1/4 cup white sugar

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    3/4 cup light corn syrup

    3/4 cup dark corn syrup (use 1 1/2 cups of either light or dark if it’s all you have)

     The Bourbon Whipped Cream (optional):

    1 cup heavy cream

    2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

    1 tablespoon bourbon (or dark rum)

    1. Prepare the pie crust by rolling out half of the Flaky Double Pie Crust dough according to the directions, or the full Cream Cheese Pie Crust recipe- making sure to use a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate instead of a regular pie plate.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375°.  Place a rack in the middle of the oven (for the pie) and then place a baking sheet on a rack underneath the pie to catch any gooey overflow.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and salt together, then whisk in both sugars, butter, and both corn syrups until smooth.
    4. Sprinkle the pecans in the bottom of the pie shell, and then pour the filling over the pecans, making sure that the pecans are coated in the goo.
    5. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325° and bake for about 70 minutes, or until the crust is looking toasty & golden and the filling is looking puffy in the center & crackly around the outsides.  Allow the pie to cool on a rack completely. (Store any leftovers in the fridge, but serve at room temperature.)
    6. To make whipped cream, add all three ingredients into a chilled mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form in the cream, scraping the sides of the bowl once in the midst of beating.  Add a spoonful to the tops or sides of the pie slices, and then serve & indulge.  (Store any whipped cream leftovers in the fridge.)


    • A quick word on the pecans… since they are a fairly important ingredient in the pie (do you think?), you’ll want to make sure they are fresh (a.k.a. not from the bulk bin), and you’ll want to take the extra few minutes to lightly toast them.  Go ahead and use pecan pieces if you don’t want to spend the cash on the perfect little halves.  (Pop them in the oven while it’s preheating, and check after 8 minutes or so to make sure they aren’t browning.  Your goal is to just start to smell them toasting.)
    • Don’t feel like making your own crust?  It’s okay, lazy baker.  There’s no shame in short-cutting it every once in a while, as long as you come clean when serving it.  By all means, pour the gooey filling into a frozen store-bought jobbie- as long as it’s a deep-dish version.
    • Prefer a thinner, non deep-dish pie?  Worry not- it will still be Decadent, just not Deep-Dish.  Simply pour the filling into a pie crust placed into a regular 9 or 10-inch pie plate, and bake for 45 minutes instead of an hour.
    • Notes on the filling:  as for light vs. dark corn syrup– I like to use a bit of dark to deepen the color and taste of the pie, but you can use light or dark interchangeably.  For an adult rated pie, add 2 tablespoons of bourbon or dark rum to the filling.
    • Baby Pecan PieExtra goo?  It’s possible that you’ll have more goo than will reasonably fit into your pie crust.  Don’t commit the world’s worst baking crime:  Throwing Out Goo.  Do one a few things, and tell me if you haven’t found the path to eternal happiness… make a Baby Goo Pie, like the picture off to the side (re-roll your pie scraps- gasp!- and fit into a small tart pan or mini springform pan; pour the goo in and bake with or without pecans for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on how shallow the pan is).  You could also make Goo Brulee with the leftover filling (simply pour the goo into a ramekin, pop into the oven for 8 – 10 minutes until just a tad jiggly in the center, and cool.  Sprinkle with sugar and use a creme brulee torch or broiler in your oven to caramelize the sugar crust).  By all means, you could stir leftover goo with any kind of nut and bake on top of the World’s Best Fudge Brownie  (just pour onto the brownie ‘base’ after 15 minutes of baking time in the oven).
    • Decorating the top of the pie is totally your call.  You can take the rustic route (tossing the pecans into the pie in a confident, I Don’t Care way), or you can decoratively arrange additional pecans (in an I’m Neurotic But It’s Okay way) on the top of the pie after 15 minutes in the oven.
    • The pie is done when the internal temperature reaches about 200 degrees, if you plan to use a candy thermometer.  Or you could do what I do- check that it’s still the smallest bit jiggly in the middle by poking the side of the pie plate.  (Chill the pie before cutting if you fear the insides will resemble a gooey sludge.)  Full disclosure- don’t make your crust too thick, or you’ll end up with the Recipe for Disaster that I experienced here.
    • What if I don’t want to eat the whole pie?  That’s crazy talk!
    • What if I really don’t want to eat the whole pie?  I understand that pecan pie is special and that you might only be able to handle it in measured doses.  So here’s the perfect solution: freeze individual slices for when you know you need a piece in your life.  Refrigerate the leftovers, cut the pie into pieces (which will be so much easier when chilled), wrap the pie in plastic wrap and then cover with tin foil so it’s airtight when freezing.  Voila.  (If you don’t want to freeze your pie tin, place the individual pieces on wax paper and freeze in a separate airtight container.)  Freeze for no longer than two months.
    • Any nutritional info?  Yeah, no.  This pie recipe isn’t going to be featured in Cooking Light magazine any time soon.

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    February 5th, 2012 | More Sweets Please | 2 Comments | Tags: , ,

2 Responses and Counting...

  • marcia littlejohn 02.05.2012

    used this at thanksgiving. WOW. liked the goo better. perfect recipe. last one I will ever use, thanks. MC

  • YAY! Sometimes a bowl full of the goo is all you need to get by on a Monday night- no crust required :). Glad you like it Marcia!

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