Here is my current recipe for pecan pie, arrived at after dozens of changes I’ve made over the years to the recipe they used to give out in the 1970s at the Camellia Grill. Mainly, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar, added an extra egg yolk to help the filling set more reliably (that’s the biggest problem most people have with pecan pie), lowered the baking temperature, and toasted the pecans. Enough touches that I wouldn’t call this the Camellia Grill’s pie, if it ever was. Good, though.
- 2 cups coarsely broken pecans
- 1/2 cup unbroken pecan halves
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup light Karo syrup
- 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten (reserve one egg white)
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. vanilla
- 1 dash salt
- 1 tsp. flour
- 1 nine-inch pie shell, unbaked
1. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet or pizza pan, and put them on the top shelf of the preheated oven. Keep a close eye on them, and when you note even a little darkening, remove them immediately to avoid burning (which happens alarmingly quickly). Set the pecan aside.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Remove from the heat.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine syrups, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and flour. Stir well, then blend in the butter. Put the bowl in the microwave at 20 percent power for about 15 seconds. Stir again, and repeat this process until the mixture feels slightly warm to the touch and begins to get thick.
4. Brush the unbaked pie shell bottom with egg white. This keeps the crust from getting soggy. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Top with the pecans, pushing them down with a spoon if necessary so that all the pecans are at least touching the filling.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 275 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool to warm room temperature.
Makes one pie.