What makes a perfect pecan pie?

There is nothing that makes a perfect pecan pie. There I said it, I do not have a magic answer to the perfect pecan pie question. I make an awesome pecan pie thanks to my husband’s deceased Grandma Sansom, but I can assure you that the recipe is not anything super special. Looking through recipes, I have found many that are similar with some variances…

I guess you can say the secret ingredients are love and patience. 
Often I have found people try to cook their pecan pies too fast. If it takes less than an hour to cook the pie, it is too fast. I will be honest most often These pies take upwards of 1.5-2 hours to bake. They are not for the impatient chef. 

You start with your crust. It does not have to be fancy. Until this year, I often used Pilsbury (or store brand) rolled out dough or whatever brand frozen pie crusts. I do not remember Grandma Sansom making her pie crusts for these pies and it is her pie recipe. 

I do not remember my Grandma Adams making pie crusts but I do not remember her pies in particular. I do remember what she would do with the left over dough afterward. I loved that!
Just use whatever you prefer. If making your own crusts is going to make you curse the name of everyone around you, then by all means pick another method! Remember “love” is one of the important ingredients here. It is not how you got the crust.

Because I made the pie filling ahead of time it meant I needed to rewhip the custard filling. This involves a mess. I do not care how careful I am, pecan pie involves a mess. It involves a drip of the sticky gooey sugary filling here and there and I spend many minutes cleaning it up off of my counters, the floor, the cabinets, the mixer, and myself, or where ever else it ends up. 

I made a very large batch of the pecan pie recipe. It was multiplied by five. The bowl was barely large enough. 

I actually do not like the pouring shield (aka splash guard) on my mixer. I think it gets in the way and is a bigger pain in the backside than it is worth. I broke down and got it out and washed it so that I could use it just for this. I needed to be able to crank up the speed on the mixer and with the bowl as full as it was, I needed help keeping in the bowl. As you can see it came up the side of the pour shield/splash guard quite nicely. I am glad I kept it even though it has never been used. It sure came in handy today! 

With my pie crusts rolled and in the pie tins and my pie filling ready to go…it was time to fill the pie shells…

Five beautiful pies! This is what an awesome pecan pie looks like before the pecan topping goes on. There is nothing fancy. No frills. No bells. No lace. It is just pecan pie all the way through. A lot of love and a little patience.

Five beautiful pecan pies ready for baking. Each of these pies had each pecan hand selected and hand placed on them. Pecan pies are very much a piece of artwork. 

The pecans do not have to be perfect, they just have to work together in harmony to make a pretty top on the pie. Due to the custard nature of the filling sometimes the pecans sink a little into the froth and get covered over by the caramelization of the sugar. 

Of course you can burn them just as easily as anything else…I know…I just burnt part of a 9″ pie. Fortunately, it was not one of the 10″ pies I made for selling. It was where the aluminum foil covering the pie was touching the side of the oven. This pie also cooked faster than the others because it was smaller. You just have to shake these experiences off. (Upon closer inspection, the dark part was caramelized sugar! Yummy! The crust might be gone, but the pie was fine.)
For as many mishaps as I might have, there are always many more rewards…

Just three of the four 10″ pecan pies that were made today. Each one unique and each one will taste absolutely delicious. They make me sad that I will not be able to have a slice. At least I can share a little piece of joy with those that partake.

Remember that it does not take an extreme amount of talent to make a perfect pecan pie. It just takes a lot of heart and a little bit of patience. 

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