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Maple-Pecan Pie

Maple-Pecan Pie

Pure maple syrup, made from the boiled sap of the sugar maple tree, comes in three grades. Grade A Light or Fancy syrup, sometimes called Grade AA, is clear gold and has a wonderfully subtle flavor, but its delicate character does not hold up in cooking. Grade B syrup is produced only in Vermont and has more maple flavor than Grade A. Sometimes called "baking" or "cooking" maple syrup, it is ideal for use in this recipe. Grade C has a robust, molasses-like flavor and is used primarily in making commercial table syrups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rolled-out round of basic pie dough (see
     related recipe at left)
  • 2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie pan or dish. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it into the bottom and firmly up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough, leaving 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the pans rim. Flute the edge decoratively.

Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.

Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8 to 10 minutes to reduce. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

In a bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.

Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until just slightly warm, about 45 minutes, before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.

Serving Tip: Serve with sweetened whipped cream flavored with 1 Tbs. bourbon, if desired.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).