Okay, gather ’round while I give you The Secret . (((It’s in the pie plate.))) Don’t use a regular pie plate. You have to use a fluted tarte pan with a removable bottom.
and you’ll need
1 unbaked pastry shell (You can make your own, if you like, but Martha and I, we prefer the Pillsbury pre-made dough.)
Now, take your pie dough round and lay it on top of the tarte pan. Gently, gently pat it down in into place, so that there is dough in all the flutes. Cut off the excess bits all the way around. Place the tarte pan on a cookie sheet for ease of handling.
Now, go forth and make the pecan stuff.
1 C granulated sugar
1-1/4 C dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
1/4 C butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 C pecans, broken
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1. Oven gets preheated to 350.
2. Cook sugar and corn syrup in a pan until the sugar dissolves.
3. Beat eggs lightly and pour into syrup mixture gradually and keep on beating while you do that (or else the eggs will scramble in the corn syrup).
4. Add the butter while beating (I cut it up before hand into bits so it melts easily)
5. Stir in the pecans.
6. Stir in the vanilla (did I mention that you should never ever use anything but Real Vanilla as the Imitation stuff tastes like shit and why would you want to spoil your cooking thusly?)
The Secret, Part II: You’re not going to use most of the syrup. Yes, it will pain you, as it does me, to throw that over which you have labored away, but that’s what makes this pie so incredible, so different from your average goopy pecan pie.
7. Use a slotted spoon to transfer all the pecans to your waiting pie crust.
8. Ladle the syrup onto the pecans until it just tops the crust.
9. Balance carefully on your way to the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until set.
Cool pie. Remove the pie on the removable tarte pan bottom and place on a serving plate. Maybe put a doily under it. Maybe not.
Serve with whipped cream (the real stuff, please). Portion numbers depend on how big you slice it, but this is an 8 or 9 inch pie.
*Said gourmand is no longer in the family, but he is still, I think, running a major American cooking school in Napa.