Arlene is not only the name of a certain red-headed character in True Blood, but my mom’s name as well! My grandparents named her after a very nice Southern woman they met while traveling Southern USA.
My mom is an amazing cook, and over the years I’ve saved some of my favorite recipes of hers. Pecan pie is one that she makes every Thanksgiving, and every year it’s a huge hit! Now I’m happy to share her recipe with you:
Arlene’s Pecan Pie
Ingredients for Dough:
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, diced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Flour, for rolling the dough
Ingredients for Filling:
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- 1-2 tbsp. bourbon
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
Directions for Dough:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tbsp. more cold water over the mixture.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled – at least 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick.
- Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge.
- Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired.
- Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
- Set separate racks in the center and lower third of the oven, and preheat to 400F.
- Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill it with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake on a baking sheet in the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans.
- Continue baking until the pie shell is slightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
Alternatively, you could complete steps 1-3 in a food processor using a metal blade. When the butter is added, pulse the blade about 10 times to get the required consistency, and then pulse 1-2 times when the egg is added. Don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. After step 3, remove the dough and complete the rest by hand.
Directions for Filling:
- While the crust is baking, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat and, stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. If the crust has cooled at this point, return it to the oven for about 5 minutes to warm it through.
- Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth.
- Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust.
- Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the edges are set, but the center is still slightly loose, about 40-45 minutes. If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way through baking.
- Cool on a rack, and serve slightly warm or room temperature.