Monday, December 14, 2009

Mama’s Pecan Pies

Pecan Pies

This is my grandmother’s recipe. It’s perfect. It’s special. And it makes three pecan pies. It will also make three recipients very happy. That’s why she made them every year at Christmas. To share them. But she wouldn’t just make three, she would make many. She was known to make as many as thirty in one day. My uncle now makes her pies. He makes them for the same reason. To share. To spend time with friends and family. To remember her with his brother and sister. To carry on his mama’s memory. And for the past several years, we’ve made them together.

You know, when my grandmother, my granny as I called her, was here with us, I don’t think I ever tasted one of her pies. Not once on all of the Christmases we spent together. I wouldn’t eat anything with nuts back then. It had to be chocolate. I was way too picky. And now, her pie is one of my favorites. How I wish I could go back and have a piece with her and talk to her… find out more about her life… from her. I know now that she was much more than a grandmother. Than a title. Than a job description.

Before she was ever my grandmother, she was a person with a life full of feelings and experiences to share. I wish I had asked her about them. I miss her.

Granny

I’d also ask her about this top. Wow… Granny!

Alrighty then… let the sharing begin. Mama’s pecan pies as demonstrated by my uncle.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

parkay

To get started, cut up two sticks of margarine and melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.

01

You’ll need a pound of pecans. Good pecans. My uncle likes these from Stone Mountain Pecan Company. Sort through them and make sure you don’t have any doohickies in the pecans.

preparing

And by doohickies, I mean the dark pieces that can get stuck in the crevice of the pecan. You will want to remove them because they can give off a bitter taste.

02

In a large bowl, add a pound of light brown sugar and work out any lumps.

Add a heaping tablespoon of self-rising flour to the sugar and stir until the flour disappears.

Add a 16 oz. bottle of light corn syrup.

Vanilla

Then, add a tablespoon of imitation vanilla.

pie mixture

Stir that all together until blended and smooth.

Melted Butter

Add the melted margarine. By now it’s had time to cool. Fold it in very slowly or it will splatter. Keep folding until it is completely incorporated into the mixture.

Yolks

Crack open six eggs. But see those white things attached to the yolks. Yeah, those squiggly things. My granny called them roosters.

Roosters

Remove all the roosters. If you don’t, they will make shiny spots on the surface of the pie. When the roosters are removed, give a quick stir to the eggs and pour them in the pie mixture.

03

Then, fold the eggs into the mixture until thoroughly combined and the egg disappears. Finally add all of the pecans and stir to make sure they all get coated.

Pie crusts

Now, right before baking, remove three frozen pie crusts from the freezer. Very important… use regular size, not deep-dish.

Preparing

Yes, frozen. They’ll be great. Especially when you are making dozens of pies. Make sure you don’t have any cracks in the shells or else the mixture will seep under the pie crust and you don’t want that to happen. But, if they do have cracks, let them thaw and knead the dough together and refreeze until ready to use.

Pouring

Pour the mixture into the pie crusts. Focus on getting the liquid amount right first.

Pecan pies

Then, try to make sure you have the same amount of pecans in each pie. See the bowl, you’ll probably have just a little bit of mixture left over. That’s ok. Gently test the the surface of the pies with your spoon and you’ll be able to tell if one has more than the other. If it does, transfer some of the pecans from one pie to the other.

Into the oven

CAREFULLY place the pies in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Baking

They’ll puff up a little towards the end right before they are finished baking. You can also leave them in a little longer for a darker color if you like. Watch them though. It won’t take long.

Pecan Pies

Then remove and let cool on a wire rack for a few hours to set up. Oh my.

Hot pecan pie

Or if you just can’t wait for them to cool and set up, enjoy a warm pie right out of the oven. Hey, you do have three.

You can also refrigerate them. Yes, I love my pecan pie cold. I like to cut a piece and hold it like a brownie… no forks. Yum!

Or … instead of three pies… you can make 33 little pies.

Mini Pies

Miniature Pies. Seriously, how could I resist.

Chopped pecans

Follow all the same instructions above, except chop your pecans up first.

Mini Pecan Pies

And use miniature pie shells with aluminum bottoms. These come eight to a box. Place them on a large baking sheet and fill the shells just to the top with your pecan pie mixture.

Baking

And bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Actually, don’t bake them like this. We were in a hurry towards the end of the night and decided to bake them all at one time against our better judgment. They’ll do better and bake more evenly if you work in batches. Only unwrap about 12 crusts at at time from the freezer and bake for about 35 minutes. I’m guessing on the time here since we didn’t do it this way, so watch them and make sure they are done.

Mini Pies

Oh yeah!

Mini Pies

When they are cool, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and put a tiny tiny bow on top. That’s how my granny did it with her pies.

Simple and sweet.

Now, here’s the recipe, listed with the brands she liked to use if you want to make it exactly.

Mama’s Pecan Pies
Makes 3 pies or about 33 mini pies

16 oz. pecans (Stone Mountain Pecan Company)
2 sticks margarine (Parkay)
16 oz. package light brown sugar (Domino or Dixie Crystals)
1 heaping tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) self-rising flour (White Lily)
16 oz. bottle light corn syrup (Karo)
1 tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) imitation vanilla
6 eggs
3 regular size (not deep dish) frozen pie crusts (Pet-Ritz)

  • Melt margarine in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until melted and set aside.
  • Prepare your pecans. Remove any unwanted brown pieces from the pecan crevices and shake out pecan crumbs in a colander.
  • Place brown sugar in a large bowl. Work out any lumps with the back of a spoon. If the brown sugar is too hard, you can loosen it up in the microwave. Heat it for a few seconds and it will be fine.
  • Add a heaping serving tablespoon of self-rising flour and stir until the flour disappears into the brown sugar.
  • Add a bottle of light corn syrup. Then add 1 serving tablespoon of vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Add melted margarine. Fold carefully into the mixture so it doesn’t splatter. Fold until the margarine is thoroughly worked in and disappears.
  • In a separate bowl, crack open six eggs. Remove the “roosters” and loosely beat the eggs with your spoon.
  • Fold the eggs into the pie mixture until they disappear.
  • Add pecans and stir until completely coated.
  • Remove three pie shells from the freezer at this point and check for cracks. If you do have a crack, thaw and knead the crack together and refreeze.
  • Pour the mixture evenly into the three shells. You’ll probably have a little bit leftover in the bowl. Tap tops with a spoon to check consistency and make sure there is the same amount in each pie. Redistribute pecans if necessary to make equal.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350. Cook pies until they swell and then fall. At that point they are done.
  • Remove and cool for about three hours. Store on the counter or in the refrigerator depending on how you like your pie.

For mini pies: chop pecans, use mini frozen pie shells, removing them from the freezer as needed and bake in three batches on a baking sheet for about 35 minutes each. I’m guesstimating the time. Watch them and make sure they are done.

Enjoy!

301
Regina said...

Made this today for thanksgiving. Got a lot of compliments!! Love all the pictures and how personal it is :) thanks for sharing

November 22, 2012 10:34 PM
302
Karla said...

Hola – I have been searching for an eggless recipe just because I cannot bear to see the “roosters” from the eggs. I laughed but became elated your granny removed them – I will try her recipe out and be so much more at peace that I am eating a roosterless pie. I live in Costa Rica and here we call them “ombligo” — I will not eat anything with and ombligo! Thank you for sharing.

November 23, 2012 06:26 PM
303
Vanessa said...

I made these for thanksgiving and they turned out great. Only one was soupy when I cut into it, but the other two were perfectly cooked :) Thank you for your recipe!

November 26, 2012 12:58 PM
304
Denise said...

What a beautiful Granny!!! :D Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories with us, and also for all of your delicious recipes too.

December 14, 2012 08:00 PM
305
Susan said...

Father-in-law approved!!!! (Which is huge)

December 27, 2012 05:14 PM
306
Holly C. said...

Hello Bakerella ! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.I was going through you site and I have a question.Regarding the mimi pecan pies, whe did you find the small shells? Costco ,Sams ,Publix? Thank you and all the best wishes for a healthy New Year ! Hope its a great one for you.

December 29, 2012 10:17 AM
307
Lindsay said...

Looks divine! One question, can you use butter instead of Margarine?

January 12, 2013 01:15 PM
308
Faye Fossay said...

Most DEF the best Pecan Pie I have ever made! I will NEVER look for another recipe, because this one IS IT! Sooooo delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

January 15, 2013 07:10 PM
309
Carolyn said...

Love this recipe…just took my third making out of the oven. It’s great to only dirty dishes once for three pies…and I LOVE having one to share (we usually polish off two)! Thank you for sharing this family recipe…I love pass along plants AND pass along recipes!

February 9, 2013 03:56 PM
310
Teneshia said...

It was great

March 1, 2013 12:25 PM
311
Heather said...

It’s the easiest if you divide the pecans into the shells and pour the filling over the top. Just mix in the pie crust and it’ll be much faster.

March 20, 2013 02:00 AM
312
Stephanie said...

Thank goodness no one can take our memories from us. My grandmother has been gone many years and I still miss her. I recently lost both of my parents and the miss is tremendous but I still have many wonderful memories. My mother in laws favorite dessert is pecan pie. She is 94 and in assisted living. I bake her a pecan pie occasionally and take it to her. I use real butter in mine and I chop my pecans for all my pies. It is easier to cut them and also easier to chew.

July 30, 2013 09:05 AM
313
Hannah said...

I made these pies today. The liquid content was too high, I found out. The inside was just way too soupy. I made my husband try some and he said the taste was great. I followed the recipe exactly and I don’t know what happened. I’m willing to try again.

August 10, 2013 09:53 PM
314
Quiana said...

These look great! I have tried several if your recipes and none have failed me yet. Thank you! As a first timer for this one, is there a version that makes only one pie? I am willing to try this one, but was hoping to try only one pie first

October 13, 2013 04:33 PM
315
Tricia said...

On the3 pie pecan pie receipe, I was wondering if you could us 2 deep dish pie shells instead of 3 regular?

November 16, 2013 09:46 AM
316
Karen said...

I love it!! Someone else who removes the little white things from eggs. I do it for almost everything. In brownies they make little hard pieces. I liked your idea to take the dark pieces out of the pecans too. I’ll bet you remove the stems from the spinach leaves when you make spinach salad too. (I do!)

November 24, 2013 08:42 PM
317
Carol said...

What a lovely lady. I’m so glad her legacy continues. Oh and I’m making the mini pies for the holidays.

November 25, 2013 05:48 PM
318
Angie tichenor said...

What if I just wanted to make one pie?

December 22, 2013 06:54 PM
319
gigi said...

Wow I tried it my self and it taste sö good!

December 28, 2013 12:44 AM
320
Adelita Cantu said...

Absolutely best pie recipe ever thanks for sharing.

November 20, 2014 06:10 PM
321
Kate said...

I tried these and it turned out amazing! But i am curious, is there any reason why you shouldn’t try making these into deep dish pies? Is it just that it would take longer to bake and would overcook the pecans?

November 26, 2014 11:03 AM
322
Bridget said...

Made these pies tonight. Used real butter and pure vanilla extract. My son said they were the best pecan pies he had ever tasted. This recipe is a keeper!!

November 26, 2014 08:11 PM
323
Cindy gaffney said...

Pecan pie is awesome,your story made me think of my own grandmother. She died not long after I turned 12..she was not a touchy feely kind of grandmother but raised several children in a one room house on an Indian reserve.she had a stroke that paralyzed her left arm but she could still bake the best molasses cookies.we usually had to sneak them when she wasn’t looking and if she caught you expect a slap upside the head!

November 27, 2014 04:58 PM
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