Most pecan pie recipes call for Karo corn syrup which results in an overly sweet, artificial-tasting pie that bears little resemblance to their 19th-century inspiration. Cook's Country wanted to create a traditional pecan pie without using modern day, processed corn syrup and after much trial and error, experimenting with a host of traditional syrups (cane, sorghum), they discovered that a combination of maple syrup with brown sugar and molasses replicated the flavor profile of old-fashioned pecan pies.
To ensure the bottom crust was crisp and golden brown, they started the pie at a high temperature then dropped it down to finish cooking. An addition of cream yielded a welcome custardy transformation to the filling. This also made the filling looser, a problem easily solved by adding extra egg yolks.
To finish off the recipe, they found toasting the nuts before they went into the pie gave them enough crunch and flavor to hold their own in the filling. Here's the recipe.
Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie
1 cup maple syrup (grade A)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of toasted and chopped pecans
9-inch unbaked pie shell, chilled in pie plate for 30 minutes
- Make Filling: adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450º F. Heat sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated.
- Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in a pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 324º F. Bake until filling is set and center jiggles slightly when pie is shaken, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set, about 3 hours and up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.