I’d never discovered pecan pie until my brother requested one on his previous visit to England, and I am so glad he brought this classic dessert to my attention. This pie was made, baked and cooled in under 2 hours for a ‘mafia’ themed murder mystery party which I was incredibly late to. The whole time I was making it, I kept thinking what could possibly go wrong sugar, syrups and nuts. Even if it looks a mess it’s going to taste delicious. And it did. I’ve given this classic a little twist by adding some orange zest, which I feel lifts the sweet flavour a little, but feel free to omit this addition.
For the pastry
125g unsalted butter
250g plain flour
2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
~ 3 – 4 tablespoons of water
For the filling
175g golden syrup
175g maple syrup
45g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
3 beaten eggs
zest of 2 oranges
1. The first thing you need to do is make the pastry. Start by cubing the butter into small chunks. Add this to a large mixing bowl along with the flour, and rub the two ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You should have no lumps of butter left by the end. This stage can take a while, so if you have a food processor you could give it all a whizz in that too, until you have a bread crumb like structure.
2. Add the golden caster sugar. Beat the egg lightly in a separate bowl, just until the yolk is broken then add this. Incorporate all the moisture from the egg by running a knife through the mixture in a grid like pattern. Next add the water a bit at a time, until you start to bring the pastry together into something that will stick together in a ball. You need to add enough to soak up all the excess flour at the bottom of the bowl but not so much that the pastry is wet. Knead gently until you have a neat pastry then wrap in cling film and chill for about 15 minutes.
3. Grease a loose bottomed tart tin with butter and flour. Roll out the pastry to a circle large enough to line the tin, approximately 3-4 mm in thickness. Drop the pastry into the case and push well into the corners so it is a snug fit. Chill for a further half an hour.
4. To make the filling, cream together 45g of unsalted butter and 100g of golden caster sugar. Once the sugar and butter are smooth and light in colour, add the golden syrup and maple syrup and stir well. Lightly beat 3 eggs in a separate bowl, and also add to the mix. Stir well.
5. Chop 150g pecans finely and add to the filling, followed by the zest of two oranges.
6. Preheat the oven to 200•C. At the point I used a sharp serrated knife to trim the pastry around the edge of the tart tin. You can also choose to do this step after baking, as it prevents the case slipping down the tin sides as it bakes but I always find that never looks quite as neat.
5. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes at 200•C.
7. Once blind baked, fill the pastry case with the filling being careful not to overfill as you need to be able to put it in the oven without slopping the sugary mixture over the sides. Arrange the remaining 50g of pecans on the top.
8. Bake for 10 minutes at 200•C, then a further 30-35 minutes at 180•C. The top will puff up, but don’t worry as when it cools it will flatten back out.