No holiday celebration would be complete without a gorgeous Southern Pecan Pie on the dessert table. Served with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, it's unapologetically rich and decadent to the very last forkful.
Southern Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is one of the simplest pies you'll ever make. No, really. The filling consists of pecans, sugar, eggs and corn syrup, and the variations start from there. Some cook's prefer to use brown sugar in place of granulated sugar, or a mixture of the two. That would be me. At times, maple syrup is used in place of the corn syrup. Other cooks prefer dark corn syrup in place of light corn syrup for the gooey filling. Then, there's the star of the pie, which pecans are the best to use? My answer is, use quality pecans whether they're from Georgia or from the great state of Texas. I can tell you first hand, they're both spectacular.
Pecan Pie Making is a Southern Tradition
In keeping with tradition, my pecan pie is made to according to my family's taste. I actually prefer to use a mixture of brown and granulated sugar for the filling and yes, Karo corn syrup is my go-to. I've worked with the great people who make Karo Syrup, and developed this recipe for Toffee Crunch Pecan Pie for them a couple of years ago. Their Classic Pecan Pie recipe is considered the gold standard, and I couldn't agree more.
Tips for Making Pecan Pie
- This pie can be made in either a frozen deep dish crust or a homemade crust. If you use a frozen crust, there's no need to thaw or par bake prior to filling.
- Dark corn syrup is made dark with the addition of refiner's sugar, which is a type of molasses. That addition effects the color and flavor. Using it, will result in a darker pie. It won't shorten the length of time to bake however, you should watch the pie for over browning while baking.
- I wouldn't recommend using honey in place of the syrup for the filling. While I love honey, it tends to dominate the flavor of the pie more than the pecans and takes the flavor in another direction.
- I use a mixture of sugar for this pecan pie. I chose to use ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar for the warm honey color that it gives to the baked pie. Be certain to check the pie halfway through baking. If the pecans are browning too quickly, lay a piece of foil on top. They are coated in sugar, after all.
- After pouring the filling into the pie crust, use a spoon to evenly space the pecans. At this point you can flip them over so they're right side up.
- To make fresh whipped cream, using an electric mixer whip 2 cups heavy cream with 1 tsp of vanilla and ¼ cup sugar until firm or stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over beat, taste and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking. Cream should be whipped the day you're planning to serve it and kept chilled.
- Allow ample time for the pie to cool and set before cutting. This pie should be stored chilled.
- If chocolate is your pleasure, checkout my recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie, too.
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Helpful Kitchen Items
Southern Pecan Pie
- 1 9 inch deep dish pie crust
- 1 cup light or dark corn syrup i.e. Karo
- 1 cup light brown sugar or granulated sugar OR ½ cup each
- 4 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups pecan halves
- whipped cream for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Press pie crust firmly into pie dish. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and salt.
- Add pecans, stirring until fully coated and evenly distributed.
- Pour filling into pie crust. Use a spoon to space pecans evenly.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes. Check at 40 minutes and lay a piece of foil on top to prevent over browning, if needed. Center should be set when gently shaken or reaches 200°F.
- Cool on a cooling rack for at least 4 hours or chill prior to cutting.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream.
- To make fresh whipped cream, using an electric mixer whip 2 cups heavy cream with 1 tsp of vanilla and ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over beat, taste and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking.
- Whipped cream should be whipped the day you're planning to serve it. Store chilled.