Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pecan Pie Bake-Off

I know it’s been too long since I added a new post. I really try to have at least one new post a week and here it’s been a few weeks with nothing! On top of that, my last post wasn’t even a true recipe. Though I will say I’ve made the heck out of some flautas these last few weeks but I digress.

To shake off the cobwebs, I’ve decided to share with you my experience with pecan pie. My mom is a huge pecan pie fan so I decided to make some for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to try Pioneer Woman’s version but then I came across this version from Simply Recipes. It was a bit different and had received RAVE reviews so then I decided “Heck, I’ll make ‘em both!”. This IS Thanksgiving after all. I decided to take pictures of them as I made them side by side and then ask my family which they preferred so what we’ve got here folks is a PECAN PIE BAKE-OFF!!!
I liked Pioneer Woman’s version because she coarsely chops all the pecans. In the past I’ve always used whole pecans in my pecan pie so while it is of course scrumptious, it is kind of tricky to slice. The Simply Recipes pecan pie used molasses and less sugar so for anyone who likes pecan pie okay enough but finds it a bit too sweet, this might be the way to go. I adjusted the baking times so they could bake together so the first thing you’ll want to do is preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Quite side note about pecan pies. They are SUPER easy to make as far as putting them together but they are SUPER tricky to bake properly. You want them to have a little bit of jiggle but too much jiggle and the filling won’t properly set, not enough and you’ve over-baked it. I moved last November but in my old house I’d perfected the baking time for my pecan pies. Then I got a new oven and never could get it right again. This is the first time I’ve done pecan pie in probably three or more years. Tricky indeed!
Here’s what I used. On the left hand side are the ingredients needed for molasses pecan pie which include molasses, eggs, salt, flour, butter and pecans.  On the right are the ingredients for the classic pecan pie which include salt, eggs, butter but also brown and white sugar. Straight center I set the ingredients that both pies used which are corn syrup and vanilla extract.

Mix all the ingredients together except for the pecans. I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but the molasses pecan pie has less liquid so I know it will make a thinner pecan pie. The batter was also a bit darker from that tablespoon of molasses.
I considered making my own pie crust because really and truly, one day I would like to attempt and then master the art of making my own pie crust but I was also making a couple of other dishes to contribute to the turkey day feast so I opted to use these lovely little things. 

Hey, it’s one step above what I used to do which was buy the pie crust plates already set into the aluminum tins! The Pillsbury pie crust box recommended lightly flouring the pie plate and then setting the pie crust into it for pies with high sugar content. This will help prevent the crust from sticking to the pie plate. 

I set the pie crust into the pie plate and gently pressed the bottom down all the way across the bottom of the pie plate.

Then I pressed the dough up the sides of the pie plate.

I tucked the excess dough under (for the one plate that had excess dough) and pinched the edges to create a uniform pattern. Next time I will make the pattern a bit more dramatic because after baking, it wasn't nearly as noticeable.

I then added the chopped pecans to each pie plate.

And poured the respective pecan pie filling into each pie plate. To make it look all fancy for the holidays, I took four whole pecans, coated them in the leftover pecan pie filling and placed them on top in the center. Next time I'll add a few more to make it look more like a sunburst. Up the fancy factor on this easy pie! I baked the pies uncovered for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes had passed, I went ahead and tented them both with aluminum foil. What that means is you basically take a square of aluminum foil, fold it in half to create a tent, and set over the pie. This helps prevent the crust from getting overly brown. I used to wrap the crust in foil but this was SO much easier and just as effective. 

I baked them both for 20 minutes more minutes. After 40 minutes total I checked the jiggle factor on both. The molasses pie was perfect! I went ahead and pulled that one out of the oven and gave the classic pecan pie 10 more minutes. 

 After 10 minutes had passed, I checked on the remaining pecan pie and the jiggle factor was excellent so out it came. 

Mmmmm… pecan pie!

So after we had stuffed ourselves silly with turkey (BEST EVER MOM!!!!!!), stuffing, collards, mashed potatoes, etc., etc., I made sure to tell everyone who was having pecan pie to have a bit of both and tell me which one they preferred. Granted this was only a few people because the kids (who totally outnumbered the adults) were leery of the pecan pies. The general consensus was that the classic pecan pie was the preferred pie. 

Here’s the kicker… when I went to my mom’s the next day, the molasses pecan pie was GONE! They’d gobbled it up, assuming they were eating the classic pecan pie!

So obviously neither pie is bad at all. Nobody is going to eat a slice of the molasses pecan pie and think it’s not tasty.


2 9-inch pie crusts, prepped per directions
flour for sprinkling into bottom of pie plate

Molasses Pecan Pie -

1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Classic Pecan Pie -

1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
¾ teaspoons Vanilla
⅓ cups Melted Butter
3 whole eggs Beaten
1 1/4 cups Chopped Pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients for each pie except for the pecans. Set aside.
  3. Place each pie crust into floured pie plate.
  4. Add proper amount of pecans into each pie plate.
  5. Pour pecan pie mixture over pecans.
  6. If desired, dip whole pecans into pecan pie mixture left in bowls. Place atop pies as decorative touches.
  7. Bake 20 minutes uncovered.
  8. Tent with foil and bake 20 minutes more or until set.
  9. If pie too jiggly, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes at a time until pecan pie jiggles only a bit.

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