“I am quite picky when it comes to pecan pie,” reveals Anna Olson in her book Baking Wisdom. “I prefer a pie that is not too sweet and has an even balance of syrupy filling and nuts – too much of one or the other and I’m thrown off balance.” This recipe makes Olson’s perfect pecan pie, starring her all-butter Classic Pie Dough and a carefully-balanced ratio of syrup and nuts. “Rich and nutty, the brown butter in this filling lends so much flavour and enhances the toastiness of the pecans,” she writes.
Anna Olson's Brown Butter Pecan Pie
- 1 9-inch (23 cm) round fluted pan with a removable bottom
- ½ batch Classic Pie Dough chilled
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup corn syrup
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups pecan halves lightly toasted
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a circle just under ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Dust the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) glass pie plate with flour and line it with the pastry. Trim, tuck and crimp the edges of the pastry shell and chill for at least an hour.Although the liquid filling suggests this recipe should be made using a partially blind-baked pie shell, an unbaked one works perfectly. The pastry still crisps up, and the filling really holds the pastry in place nicely.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the bubbling subsides and the butter itself turns a rich nutty colour, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.Dark sediment will settle to the bottom of the pan as the brown butter cools. Provided they have not turned black (in which case they may taste bitter), these caramelized milk solids can be stirred into the filling with the butter. If they have turned black, pour the brown butter through a coffee filter or fine strainer to remove them.
- Whisk the brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, whipping cream, lemon juice (or vinegar), vanilla and salt together until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add them to the sugar mixture and whisk until blended. Pour in the brown butter and whisk well. Toss in the pecans, stirring to coat them completely, and pour the filling into the pie shell.Not only does the lemon juice balance the sweetness of the filling, it also helps to prevent the sugar from crystallizing so that your filling stays smooth and syrupy. This is also the secret to a syrupy, smooth butter tart filling.
- Bake the pie on a baking tray for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the pie filling starts to soufflé around the outside edge. The centre will still be jiggly. Cool the pie on a rack to room temperature before serving.