No-Fail Pie Crust and Holiday Pecan Pie

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Take a look at the pecan pie with that pretty collar of whipped cream. I usually dollop whipped cream right in the center of the pie, but my crust broke a bit when I cut it, so I used whipped cream as a culinary “bandaid”. No one knew the difference, and I didn’t mention it. And if your pumpkin pie shrinks a little from the crust, that whipped cream collar works there, too. 

I’m telling you this so you don’t suffer angst if your holiday pie doesn’t come out perfectly. And who doesn’t like more whipped cream?!

I’ve had requests for a do-ahead, easy, no-fail pie crust, and pecan pie with alcohol and without. Here are my tried & trues.

No-fail easy pie crust

This makes 2 crusts. Adding egg to pie crust is one of the things I learned from an excellent baker in cooking school. You could make this in a food processor too. Just don’t over process. 

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups cold Crisco/vegetable shortening

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice cold water

2 teaspoons vinegar – clear or cider

Instructions

Spoon flour into measuring cup, level off, and pour into very large bowl. Stir in salt.

Cut Crisco into smallish pieces.

With a fork or pastry cutter, work Crisco into flour until it looks like coarse meal with some pieces a bit larger. Don’t get too fussy and overwork dough – that makes it tough. See what it looks like:

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Pour egg and vinegar in. Pour water over whole surface, not just one area. Stir everything with fork until ingredients are mixed well. Dough will be a bit wet. 

Divide into 2 portions and pat into disks. Wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or freeze 15 minutes to chill if using right away. Or refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw before using.

Roll out on lightly floured surface, starting in center. If dough sticks sprinkle a little flour on. Roll about an inch larger than pie pan. 

Bourbon/rum or regular pecan pie

If you don’t want bourbon or rum, just leave it out. I only had 1/2 cup of each kind of corn syrup so that’s what I used. 

Ingredients

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (I used light brown)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup each: light and dark corn syrup or 1 cup either

5 tablespoons butter, melted

1-3/4 teaspoons vanilla

1 heaping cup chopped pecans

2-3 tablespoons bourbon or rum

Garnish: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs, sugars and salt together. Whisk in syrups, butter and vanilla. Whisk in bourbon or rum.

Sprinkle pecans in bottom of pie shell. 

Pour filling over. 

Place on bottom rack (for crisper bottom crust) and bake 45-60 minutes or until pie is almost set. (If crust is browning too fast, make a collar of foil around it.) The middle should still be a bit jiggly. It will continue to set as it chills in refrigerator. Make up to 2 days ahead.

Tip: Whip cream ahead – stays whipped at least 4 hours, covered, in refrigerator.

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