We're big fans of pecans, so showcasing this tree nut in a traditional American pie sounds like a tasty idea. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make a pecan pie from scratch.
Pie Crust Ingredients
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
2 unbaked pie crusts
Pie Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
- 1 cup pecan halves
Make your pie crust. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 ½ cup flour and salt until combined.
Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes. Scatter the butter into the flour-salt mixture so that butter is completely covered. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture. This will create a coarse texture. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour, and continue cutting the butter into the flour until flour is evenly distributed. You should end up with a crumbly flour-butter mixture with crumbles being pea-sized.
Pour 6 tablespoons of ice water into the mixture, and use your hand or a spatula to pull the dough together into a ball (be patient with the dough; it comes together gradually and won't be a perfect ball at this stage). If the dough is not coming together because it is too dry, add some more water a tablespoon at a time.
Place the dough on a clean, floured surface and form into a ball. Divide the ball in half, and roll each half into a ball then flatten into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to two days. Pecan pie is traditionally a one-crust pie, so you can make a second pie with this crust recipe or freeze the second disc up to three months.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F in preparation for prebaking the pie crust.
Roll out one chilled pie crust disc. Place the dough on a lightly floured working surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Prevent the dough from sticking to the working surface by making sure the dough is dusted in flour as it is rolled out. You may need to flip the crust over and dust more flour on it before rolling it out further, but be gentle. Tip: When flipping the crust over or transferring it to the pie pan, gently fold one side of the dough over on itself to better distribute its weight.
Transfer the rolled out pie crust to a pie pan, and gently press the dough into the dish so that it lines both the bottom and the sides. The dough should drape over the edge of the pan. Trim the crust so that the dough drapes within ½-inch of the edge. Fold the edges of the dough underneath itself to create a thicker, ¼-inch edge on the rim of the pie pan. Crimp using your fingers or a fork. Use a fork to pierce small holes into the sides and bottom of the crust to prevent air bubbles. Refrigerate another 20 minutes or freeze 5 minutes.
Prebake the pie crust at 400 degrees F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. To prevent the crust from turning black, you can cover it with aluminum foil. Pull the crust out of the oven and brush the bottom and sides with an egg wash (1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon of cream; or 1 to 2 egg whites). Bake another 3 to 5 minutes until egg wash is dry and shiny. Cool crust before filling.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and make the pecan pie filling. Mix the sugars and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the chopped pecans, melted butter, milk, flour and vanilla, and stir. Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust, and arrange the pecan halves on top of the pie in a circular pattern.
Bake the pie for 55 minutes. The pie is ready when the filling is firm and only slightly jiggles in the middle when the pan is gently shaken. Let the pie cool before serving.
Pie crust recipe adapted from Adam and Joanne Gallagher's Inspired Taste recipe available at bit.ly/flaky-pie-crust. Pecan pie filling recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood's recipe in Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen and available at bit.ly/pecan-pie-recipe.
Texas ranks third among top pecan-producing states in the U.S., and Oklahoma ranks fifth. One research objective at the Noble Research Institute is to find answers to pecan producers' questions about pecan growth and production. Find more of what we do for pecan growers.