The City Magazine Since 1975

Sugar Bakeshop Pecan Pie

November 2023
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For the pie crust:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out pie
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup shortening
5 Tbs. ice cold water
1 egg for egg wash

For the filling:
1 stick butter, soft
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp. cornmeal (white or yellow, just not self rising)
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
3 eggs
3 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup whole pecans, for garnish


For the pie crust:
Cut butter into small pieces and keep cold in the refrigerator.

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor or by hand. Add the shortening and  pulse until small pieces form. Add the butter pieces and pulse until pea-sized pieces form. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the water to the bowl of dough and mix with your hands just until combined—don’t knead the dough, which will make it tough.  

Split the dough into two equal pieces and flatten into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. (Note: you will only need one of these discs for the pecan pie. The second one can be kept wrapped in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the dough by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight and rolling it out the next day.) 

Sprinkle flour on a clean, flat surface. Roll out one disc into a circle, about 1/8th inch thick and 11 to 12 inches across. Sprinkle with flour to help prevent sticking.
Gently place pie dough into a nine-inch, medium depth (not deep) pie tin. Use your fingers to pinch the edges decoratively, or press with tines of a fork. Use a small paring knife to trim away excess dough. Wrap the pie shell and place in the freezer.

For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (325 for convection). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner to help with cleanup in case of spills. Place a baking rack on it if you have one.

Using a hand mixer and a large bowl, or a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on low speed for about 30 seconds to break up any butter chunks, then high speed for one minute. The mixture should look light in color and a little fluffy.

Add the cornmeal, vinegar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on low speed just to combine. Add one egg at a time, mixing on low speed for about 20-30 seconds in between each addition.

Add the chopped pecans and mix just to combine. This filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you do this, be sure to stir the filling well to redistribute pecans before pouring into the pie crust.

To bake:
Remove pie shell from freezer and unwrap. Place it on the prepared sheet pan.  In a small bowl, beat the egg with a small whisk or fork. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg onto the entire pie shell. Pour the pecan filling into the shell. Decorate however you wish with the whole pecans.

Place in the top third of your oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until the pie is deeply golden brown and the center is not jiggly. Rotate the pie every 15 minutes for even baking. If the whole pecans begin to look too dark, place a sheet of foil loosely on top. Remove from the oven and let cool.

The pie can be served after resting for about two hours at room temperature. It can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and kept at room temperature.  Refrigerate leftovers, and enjoy within five days.