PERFECT PECAN PIE
This recipe is inspired by food writer John Thorne's essay "Perfect Pecan Pie" ("Outlaw Cook" Thorne, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York 1992). In his recipe, Thorne advises pre-cooking the sugar and syrup for a more dense texture. This is optional.
1 9-inch pie shell, partially baked (*)(*) Prebaking is optional
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar - packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup pure 100% cane syrup or molasses
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 - 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 cup light or heavy cream (**)
1 1/2 - 2 cups whole pecans
(**) This is optional and makes for a slightly creamy, rather than translucent pie.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
To pre-bake pie shell: prepare pie or quiche pan with dough. Place another pie plate the same size or an aluminum foil plate on top and press down slightly. Bake about 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Reduce heat to 325 F.
In a medium mixing bowl, blend the melted butter with the brown sugar, corn syrup, cane syrup, eggs, vanilla and cream (if using). Combine well.
Stir in pecans. Pour into prepared pie shell, gently turning over pecan halves to face right side up. Place pie pan on a cookie sheet (in case of drips). Bake on lowest rack of oven until just set - 35-45 minutes.
Cool very well before serving. To slice evenly, freeze the pie. Cut with a serrated knife and allow to warm to room temperature before serving.