This pie is the creation of food scientist extraordinaire, Shirley Corriher, who grew up in Georgia, where, as a child, she shelled pecans for her mother’s pecan pies. As an adult, Shirley determined the very best tricks for making this classically Southern creation – and created this recipe.

She suggests using a shiny metal, removable-bottom tart pan because the edges are not so prominent, and the crust has less opportunity to over-brown. Also to spare the crust, she calls for cooking the liquid part of the filling mixture before assembling and baking the pie, to reduce the amount of liquid in the filling before baking, which shortens the oven-cooking time. Finally, the high sugar content and the addition of arrowroot (starch) both help to prevent the eggs from curdling.

The “Pie Crust for Longer Cooking Times” referenced below* is Shirley Corriher’s recipe offering another example of “loading the dice” to insure a perfect result. That recipe is also in the recipe archives under “Desserts”.

1 cup, pecan pieces
1 1/3 cups, pecan halves
*note – pecan pieces and halves have divided use (halves are used near the end of baking)
2 tablespoons and 4 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons, lightly salted butter
(total: 9 tablespoons butter – divided use)
1/8 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon, salt
(total: less than 1/2 teaspoon salt – divided use)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons, light corn syrup
(total: 1 1/8 cups, corn syrup)
3/4 cup and 1/2 cup, light brown sugar – packed measure
(total: 1 1/4 cups, brown sugar)
2 tablespoons, arrowroot
2 tablespoons, water – room temperature
2 tablespoons, bourbon (may be omitted, if preferred)
2 teaspoons and 1/2 teaspoon, pure vanilla extract
(total: 2 1/2 teaspoons, vanilla extract)
3 large eggs – room temperature
3 large egg yolks – room temperature
1 pre-baked 9-inch (by 1 1/2-inches deep) OR 10-inch (by 1-inch deep) crust*
*NOTE: best: “Pie Crust for Longer Cooking Times” (see introductory note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roast the pecan pieces on a baking sheet, in the center of the oven, for 8 minutes only. While the pecans are hot, stir in 2 tablespoons, butter and 1/8 teaspoon, salt.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Boil together in a medium size, heavy saucepan: 1 cup corn syrup, 3/4 cup, brown sugar, 4 tablespoons, butter and 1/8 teaspoon, salt for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes.

In a small cup or bowl, stir together the arrowroot and water. Stir in the bourbon and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Stir this mixture thoroughly into the hot syrup mixture.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs and egg yolks; then add, a little at a time, the hot syrup mixture.

Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the pre-baked crust, then pour the filling over the pecans in the crust and bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 minutes. [If the edge of the crust gets too brown, cover the edge with aluminum foil.]

While the pie is baking, stir together in a medium-size, heavy saucepan: 3 tablespoons butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons corn syrup and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecan halves and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Pile, or arrange the pecan halves on top of the pie (after the first 35 minutes baking time) and return to the oven for 10 minutes.