From Harvest To Table: How To Make The Perfect Pecan Pie

A Slice Of Pecan Pie
(Image credit: Rimma_Bondarenko)

Fall is pecan harvest time, which means it’s also time for the perfect pecan pie recipe. A pecan pie recipe can be easy (use premade crust) or a little more difficult if you decide to make your own crust. Before you delve into the making of the perfect pecan pie, however, you need to know how to harvest pecans. 

How to Harvest Pecans

Pecan harvest time is in late fall. The nuts are ready to harvest when the green hulls split open and drop to the ground. Squirrels and other creatures love the pecans as much as we do, so it is important to harvest on a daily basis lest these critters get to the nuts first. 

Harvesting pecans takes a bit of work. You can either harvest the nuts off the ground or shake the tree and then harvest them. Use a blower to lightly blow away fallen leaves to more easily reveal the nuts. If shaking the tree, lay a tarp beneath the tree to collect the falling nuts. 

Once the nuts have been harvested, remove any rotting pecans, then allow them to dry for a couple of weeks. After the nuts have dried it’s time to crack them. Use a nutcracker or a hammer to crack the nuts.

The Perfect Pecan Pie Recipe

The perfect pecan pie recipe might be up for debate, as recipes are often passed down from generation to generation. Even some of the ingredients might be called into question. Some people use a pecan pie recipe with brown sugar while others use white sugar, corn or cane syrup, honey, molasses or even maple syrup to sweeten the concoction. 

What is definitive is that pecan pie contains pecans, eggs, butter, and some type of sweetener. 

Pecan pie made easy uses premade crust, readily available in either the freezer or refrigerator section of the grocery store. Otherwise, make your own crust; a pate brisee, a type of shortcrust pastry is a delicious option especially when combined with a tweak of bourbon and maple syrup. 

Don’t get scared of making pie crust. It can easily be made in a food processor, just be sure the butter is COLD.

Basic Pecan Pie Recipe with Brown Sugar

Either make your pie crust and then chill in the fridge or use a premade crust, also cold. 

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Whisk together a cup of brown sugar and ¼ cup (59 ml.) granulated sugar with ½ cup (118 ml.) of melted butter, ¼ tsp. (1.2 ml.) salt, 2 large eggs, 1 Tbs. (14.7 ml.) milk, 1 tsp. (4.9 ml.) vanilla, and 1 Tbs. (14.7 ml.) flour until smooth. Stir in 1 C. (236.5 ml.) chopped pecans and pour into chilled crust. 

Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil or a crust shield and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F (176.6 C) and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bake until just set. Cool before slicing. 

Pecan pie will keep covered in the refrigerator, if it doesn’t get eaten first, for up to a week.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.