“Lottie’s” Pecan Tart and Perfect Pumpkin Pie

LOTTIE’S PECAN TART/PIE

Lottie Hilgefort is my daughter-in-law’s sister and Mom to a huge family. She makes these 2 pies every year for Thanksgiving. Along with that, the pecan tart/pie has become legendary in Lottie’s circle. I’ve had both and can attest to how good and pretty they are. Truth be told, these are not Lottie’s original recipes. She gives credit to Barry C. Parsons for the pecan pie and Jenn Segal for the pumpkin pie. I had my first taste of these pies a couple years ago when Lottie brought them to our annual Thanksgiving feast.

As far as the pecan pie, Lottie chops some of the pecans and leaves some in halves. Otherwise, she follows the recipe pretty close.

Lottie doesn’t do anything different to the pumpkin pie, just follows Jenn’s recipe.

So my personal thanks to Lottie for not only sleuthing out these lovely recipes but giving credit where credit is due.

PECAN TART/PIE
Make sure you are using a large enough pie plate as well or the filling will be too thick, a shallower pie is better for setting. I bake it in a 10 inch pie plate or even an 11 inch tart pan. Lottie makes hers in a large tart pan.

1 cup butter very cold & cut in small cubes 2 1⁄2 cups flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water + 2 tbsp white vinegar added – Only enough liquid to make a dough form.

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

4 large or extra large eggs or 5 medium, or 6 small 1 1⁄2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1⁄2 cups dark corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Instructions

For the butter pastry

  1. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour, brown sugar and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible.
  2. Pour vanilla into cold water then pour over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out. (This pastry recipe makes
  1. sufficient for two pie crusts, so wrap one of the pastry rounds tightly in aluminum foil and freeze it for later.)

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4. Roll the dough into a 12 – 14 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate.
5. Push the dough into the corners and ensure that it is not stretched at all or it will shrink from the edge. 6. Trim dough to a half inch past the edge of plate.
7. Fold the ends under and finch with fingers or fork to shape the edges into whatever design you like best. 8. Place in freezer while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling

  1. Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and melted butter together until the brown sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in the pecans.
  3. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees F (350 F for glass bake-ware) or until the center is set and jiggles like jelly. Cool completely before serving.

Recipe Notes

The amount of eggs is important in this recipe. I generally use extra large eggs in this recipe. If not using the largest size eggs available, it shouldn’t hurt to add an additional egg.
In reading some comments from readers I suspect all corn syrup is not the same in all places. Here it is very thick. Thicker than molasses at room temperature. If your corn syrup isn’t that thick be sure to add that extra egg as insurance that the pie will set.

Make sure you are using a large enough pie plate as well or the filling will be too thick, a shallower pie is better for setting. I bake it in a 10 inch pie plate or even an 11 inch tart pan.
As long as the crust doesn’t burn, an extra few minutes in the oven should not be a problem if needed as well.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

PERFECT PUMPKIN PIE

Servings: 8-10 (Makes one 9-inch deep dish pie)
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes, plus time to chill the dough and cool the pie

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CRUST

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

6-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces 2-1/2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, in 4 pieces
4 tablespoons ice cold water

FOR THE FILLING

1 (15-oz) can pumpkin (about 1-3/4 cups)

1 large egg
3 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1-1/4 cups evaporated milk

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CRUST

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening and pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within. Add half of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the remaining water and pulse until the mixture is just evenly moistened and very crumbly. It will not come together into a mass — that’s okay. Dump the crumbly dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Pat the dough into a 5- inch disc — don’t worry if the edges crack — and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to rest.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator (if it was in the fridge for a long time, let it sit on the countertop for 10-15 minutes so that it’s malleable enough to roll). Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Use your hands to quickly work the dough into a smooth disc — don’t over-work it or warm it up too much, just smooth the edges as best as you can so it’s easier to roll. Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan (it should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Don’t worry if it tears, just patch it right back up. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust (you can use the scraps to patch in any thin areas); then press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you go. Using your fingers, crimp the rim. Place the crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes while you heat the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and place on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven). Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it about halfway full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven; remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of foil folded in half lengthwise. This will protect the edges from getting too dark. Bake for another 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Don’t worry if the bottom puffs up; just press it down gently with a flat spatula, such as a pancake turner, taking care not to puncture it. Remove the foil but don’t throw it away; you may need it again.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Make the filling by whisking together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is just set — it should look dry around the edges and the center should jiggle just slightly if you nudge the pan. Keep a close eye on the pie as it bakes; if ever the crust looks like it’s browning too quickly, tent the edges again with the foil strips. Cool the pie on a rack (leave it on the baking sheet) to room temperature, a few hours. Slice or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: If you use a store-bought crust, follow the instructions on the package for blind baking.
Make Ahead: Pumpkin pie can be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The dough can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. If you freeze it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. The pie can be frozen after baking for up to 1 month. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

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