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Christmas tradition: Pecan pie recipe

December 23, 2012|By Noelle Carter
  • Pecan pie is a Christmas favorite of one Times Food staffer.
Pecan pie is a Christmas favorite of one Times Food staffer. (Noelle Carter / Los Angeles…)

In our latest Saturday section, Times Food staff shared our favorite Christmas dinner traditions. I wrote about pecan pie, describing the dessert that has become a tradition shared with my in-laws.

As of this writing, I've already heard from a number of readers wanting to know more about the pie and where they can find the recipe.

Thanks so much for all of your emails! I've written up the recipe and you can find it below. Merry Christmas!

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

Pecan pie

Servings: Makes 1  (9- to 10-inch) pie

3 whole eggs

3 egg yolks

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) melted butter

Scant ½ teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon

2 cups pecan halves

1 unbaked (9- to 10-inch) pie shell

Prepared egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk in the corn syrup and sugar, then the melted butter, salt and bourbon. Stir in the pecan halves.

3. Fill the pie shell with the filling, so it just comes to the base of the top of the crust, careful not to overfill.

4. Bake the pie in the center of the oven until the filling is set and the crust is puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the pie to a rack to cool completely before serving. The pie will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to five days.

Flaky pie crust

Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Servings: This makes enough crust for 1 (9- to 10-inch) pie

Note: The cider vinegar is used to help "shorten" the crust, improving the texture. Though you might smell the vinegar as you roll out the crust, you should not taste or smell it in the finished pie.

Single crust

1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons cold shortening

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

1 egg or egg white, for an egg wash, if desired

1. To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and pulse once or twice until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and gently press the mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press the crumbly mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round roughly 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Place in a 9- to 10-inch baking dish, trimming any excess and crimping the edges as desired. (One trick I use is to roll out the dough onto well-floured parchment or wax paper, invert and center the pie dish over the dough and then flip the dough into the dish.) Brush the outer edge of the shell with the egg wash, then freeze the formed shell for 20 to 30 minutes before filling and baking.

3. If prebaking (or blind-baking) the crust, line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and foil, prick the sides and bottom several times with a fork and continue baking until the bottom of the crust is dry and lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes more.

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