Classic Pecan Pie

by Fresh and Frugal

Alright, so I baby myself sometimes. Just last night I was talking about that last-ditch effort at cramming food into my mouth without having to really stop the studying portion of my day, and today I’m calmly compiling information for my last paper of the term, and baking. Yes, that’s right. I’m baking.

Dear God, I’m baking. The holiday spirit hit hard today, and I’m not really sure where it came from. Yes, Christmas music has been on the radio for almost a month now, and yes, I am almost finished with all of my gift-buying-duties, but just now — just now — am I getting into it. Lets blame it partially on school, but the truth of the matter is that my Christmas Clock is hardwired like a baby boomer’s (Thanks, Mom): Give yourself time to recover from Thanksgiving, earn a little extra cash, and only then is it really Christmas time. Well, that, and I saw my very first snowflakes of the year this afternoon.

Though most people would plop a pecan pie into the Thanksgiving category, I think it’s distinctly Christmassy. It’s painfully sweet, unlike pumpkins (Ding! Anything pumpkin is automatically Thanksgiving), and perfectly crunchy. There is nothing crunchy about Thanksgiving, people. Think: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, wine… What, of all of that, is crunchy? Nothing. My point stands. But Christmas dinner is something else. Nuts abound, and I’m not talking about my family. Mom puts nuts in the jello, all day our snacks are designed to top chips and triscuits, and the edges of the rolls are… well, crunchy. Then there are the crispy-edged cookies, the candy canes, hard candies, and toffee-smattered chocolates. Christmas, the blessed holiday, is a crunchy one, and all of this rambling is only to say that you can’t have a christmas without at least a bite of pecan pie.

Pecan Pie

2 c roasted pecans

3/4 c corn syrup (dark or light)

3/4 c brown sugar

2 eggs (with whites)

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp bourbon

1 tsp salt

1 pre-made pie shell (okay, I’m lazy today)

 

If your pie crust needs to be baked a little first, do so. Then preheat to 350.

If you have raw pecans, roast them. If you don’t know how to do this already, it’s easy: pop a handful onto a plate and into the microwave, and microwave for 1 minute. Flip them over and microwave again. Tadaa! Roasted pecans.

Divide the handfuls into two cups: chop one, and leave the other whole if you want to decorate the top of the pie. If not, chop ’em up.

Combine the brown sugar and salt. Add the corn syrup, vanilla extract, and bourbon.

Whisk the eggs and yolks, then add to the mixture. Finally, add the chopped nuts and pour into the shell. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. If the edges of the crust begin to brown too much, cover them with aluminum foil.

 

Hint: Top with one scoop of vanilla ice cream, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

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