Pecan Pie

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Robustly flavored Pecan Pie features a dark brown sugar and maple custard base, plenty of pecans, and a foolproof pie crust! This easy pie recipe does NOT include shortening or dark corn syrup!

Other holiday favorite desserts to try next: this apple crumble, apple fritter bread, pumpkin cheesecake bars, or this simple pumpkin cake.

Overhead image of Pecan Pie slices with ice cream on top, fresh mint, and a fork on the side.

Pecan pie recipe without corn syrup

My dad’s favorite pie and probably all-time favorite dessert is pecan pie. Naturally, it’s always been a recipe I’ve wanted to get perfect for him. And thanks to Gemma’s new book, Bigger Bolder Baking (affiliate link), I’ll finally be able to make him the best pecan pie. If you aren’t familiar with Gemma, she’s a YouTube sensation and incredible baking blogger. She just released a new cookbook where she’s sharing over 100 flavor-packed recipes with minimal effort

I’ve barely adapted this pie from her book, and we’ve become obsessed with it. It’s definitely got a place at our Thanksgiving table this year. And one of my favorite things about it? It has MAPLE syrup instead of dark corn syrup. The rich maple flavor pairs perfectly with the pecans and the slight molasses flavor from the dark brown sugar.

Process shot-- image of the pecans on a tray being toasted.

Toasting pecans

For Pecan Pie you’ll want to toast the pecans first. This enhances the flavor and texture of the pecans and the pie texture is especially improved because the nuts stay crisp in the pie instead of getting overly soft and/or soggy. The Kitchn goes into more detail on why it’s so important to toast nuts before baking.

So how to toast them? Simply spread them in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, stirring about halfway through. Generally, nuts will be toasted in 6-10 minutes. Watch them carefully; nuts can quickly go from perfectly toasted to burned.

Process shots-- image of the crust being made and then put into the pan. How to make Pecan Pie

Throughout this post I’ve broken down the steps for making Pecan Pie in picture form. Below is a description of what’s happening in each of the numbered photos.

  • Pictures 1-4: making the pie crust
  • 1: Cutting the cold butter into the flour + salt + sugar. The 2 best pie crust tips: keep things as cold as possible and handle as little as possible.
  • 2: Add the egg yolk + water mixture into the flour + butter mixture. Gently mix and then knead until *just* combined; you don’t want to over mix or over knead.
  • 3: Wrap the dough into a flat even disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap (we don’t want the dough to dry out). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and preferably 2 hours. This allows the butter to re-solidify and gluten to relax.
  • 4: Roll out the dough and fit it into the pie pan. Crimp the edges if desired (it’s not as hard as it looks! See below for more info).
  • Pictures 5-8: (pictures below) making the filling
  • 5: Combine the filling ingredients. Tip: make sure all the filling ingredients are the same temperature — room temperature for best results. Do not add hot butter to cold ingredients, or they’ll separate and the fat will curdle.
  • 6: Chop most of the toasted pecans into fairly small pieces.
  • 7: Add chopped pecans to the rest of the filing.
  • 8: Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake.

Process shot-- image of the crust being crimped and brushed with butter.

Crimping pie crust

There are many ways to finish the edges of your pecan pie, but I like the crimped edges best.

To do so: cut off any large amounts of excess pie dough and then fold the remaining excess under the edge and seal together into a thick snake-like crust edge. Even out the thickness around the edge and make sure the dough is sitting on the rim of the pan. Use both index fingers and your thumb to press the dough into a crimping pattern. Make sure your fingernails are short for best results!

Process shot-- image of the filling being made, showing the wet ingredients being mixed together; the pecans being added in; and then poured into the prepared pie pan.

Pecan Pie FAQs

How do I know when it’s done?

Pecan pie is done as soon as the center of the pie is fairly solid with a very slight jiggle. Other ways to tell:

  • A knife inserted in the center will come out clean.
  • Using a kitchen thermometer, the internal temperature of the pie should register 200 degrees F in the center.

Process shot-- image of the pecans being placed on top of the pie before baking.

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Pecan Pie

5 from 2 votes
Robustly flavored Pecan Pie with a dark brown sugar and maple custard base, plenty of pecans, and a foolproof pie crust! This easy pecan pie recipe does NOT include shortening or dark corn syrup!
Print Recipe

Pecan Pie

5 from 2 votes
Robustly flavored Pecan Pie with a dark brown sugar and maple custard base, plenty of pecans, and a foolproof pie crust! This easy pecan pie recipe does NOT include shortening or dark corn syrup!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pecan pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 477kcal
Cost $4.87

Ingredients

Pie Crust

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (158g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2- 3 tablespoons (28g) cold water

Filling

  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (142g) pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup (136g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup (58g) heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons (85.1g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 cups (150g) pecans halves, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • CRUST: In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir. Add in the butter and using a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water until smooth. Pour egg yolk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined as much as possible. Gently knead with your hands to form a crust (add extra tablespoon of water if needed). Handle the dough as little as possible and once it's formed into dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and gently flatten into a small disc. Refrigerate for (at least) 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax before rolling. You can make the crust ahead of time and refrigerate for 1-5 days.
  • TOAST PECANS: (Melt butter right now so it has time to cool to room temperature.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove and let cool. Divide the toasted pecans, reserving 3/4 cup for the top of the pie. Chop the remaining 1 and 1/4 cups to add to the filling mixture.
  • FILLING: Combine the ROOM TEMPERATURE egg yolks, syrup, brown sugar, and cream in a large bowl (it's very important all ingredients are same temperature for this filling). Whisk until smooth. Once the melted butter is completely to room temperature, drizzle it in while whisking constantly. Fold in the chopped pecans. Reserve the bowl from the egg yolk, and if there are any bits of mixture remaining, they can be brushed over the crust before baking.
  • ASSEMBLY: Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a 12-inch circle of dough. Use the rolling pin to lift up the dough and gently place place into a 9-inch pie pan (preferably glass or ceramic; avoid metal). Gently tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth and then crimp the edges of the crust. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator or freezer (don't skip this step!). See Note 1 for pie crust tips.
  • ASSEMBLY, CONT.: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the prepared filling into the chilled crust (you don't need to blind bake the crust). Press the remaining 3/4 cup pecan halves on top. Place the pie on a lined sheet pan. Use a pastry brush to brush any tiny remains of the egg yolk and water mixture (from the reserved bowl; you didn't need to leave some specifically, but there should a bit leftover) onto the crust. Place into the preheated oven.
  • BAKE: Bake for 40-55 minutes, or until the filling is set. The filling is "set" when it's very slightly jiggly in the center. It should not slosh around at all. If it is sloshing, return it to the oven for another 10-20 minutes (baking times can greatly vary with pecan pies). If the edges of the crust begin to brown, cover with a pie shield. Once the filling is set, remove the pie and let cool completely on a cooling rack, 3 to 4 hours, before slicing. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Crust tips:
  • The less the crust is handled, the better it will perform.
  • Keep it chilled to prevent the butter from softening.
  • If desired, you can crimp the crust following the instructions in the blog post.
  • You can also brush the edges of the crust with egg yolk to encourage a golden brown appearance after baking.
  • Unbaked crust freezes well.
  • Some crusts need to be blind baked (pre-bake without any filling) but Pecan Pie doesn't need that step.
  • When baking, a pie shield can protect against the crust over browning. The blog post contains tips on making your own pie shield.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.9g | Protein: 5.7g | Fat: 34.7g | Cholesterol: 175.7mg | Sodium: 21.9mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 26g

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5 Comments

  1. I LOVE pecan pie and make it every year for Thanksgiving. Never used corn syrup, but my original recipe always led to a cracked top – thinking it might be from whole eggs vs egg yolks. I will have to try this recipe out this instead!!

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