Reed’s Deep Dish Orange Pecan Pie

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Variation: Reed's Deep Dish Maple-Orange Pecan Pie

I got fed-up with hearing about and having so many pecan pie recipe woes and failures, that I decided to develop my own successful recipe! So many of members and home bakers have told me over the years about their pecan pie problems -- pecan pies that wouldn't set, fillings that curdled, dip in the middle, "exploding" pies where the filling leaked from a broken crust, the pies being "too sugary or sweet", or pies with "not enough pecans", and on and on. So, I set out to develop a recipe to solve these problems and not be a complex matter to make. I was not a big fan of pecan pie recipes, in general, before this recipe, because more than not, they were too sweet or had an odd balance between pecans and the filling. Besides, I had a chance to taste lots of pecan pies because my husband, Reed, loves pecan pies, and I think I've baked him countless recipes and ordered lots of pies to find the best one.

Finally, I developed this recipe, having my chief taster and husband, Reed, give critical comments on the final results. This recipe has become his favorite pecan pie and I decided to name this after him. This pie is absolutely buttery and has just the right balance between pecans and filling. Pecan pie fillings can be overly sweet, but this one has a nice balance between butter, sugar and pecans. The orange flavor in the pie helps offset any sweet flavor in the pie, as does a pinch of salt.

Pecan pies have a habit of misbehaving because the pecans are essentially baked in a custard - and, custard pies are finicky. Find out how I solved a lot of pecan pie problems with this recipe.
The pie is wobbly when it comes from the oven, but sets as it cools. I recommend chilling it afterward it has cooled thoroughly, for about an hour or two, so it sets nicely. I like to slice mine chilled to get nice, even slices. It warms to room temperature really quickly.

Pecan Pie (foreground) and photo by Cyndi165, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips
Shown with Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake (background) and Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie (middle)


This pecan pie will set perfectly because I added a small amount of cornstarch to help and it bakes at a lower temperature than most recipes, baking low and slow. Also, I discovered that you shouldn't beat the eggs when making the filling, causing it to aerate. This plus the lower baking temperature helps prevent the pie filling from rising in the oven and then falling when removed or from "exploding" in the oven, where the crust will crack and you'll find the filling leaking out all over the place.

Pecan filling:
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Karo corn syrup, dark or light (measure in metal measuring cup); Sarah Says: I like to use dark for more flavor
3 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (Sarah Says: I prefer to use 4 tablespoons butter!)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange peel or 1/4 teaspoon orange candy oil (optional)

2 cups pecan halves or chopped pecans; Sarah Says: I prefer to use pecan halves

1 9-inch unbaked SINGLE pie crust, such as Kelly's Perfect Food Processor Pie Dough Recipe well-chilled, or frozen unbaked deep dish pie crust (no need to thaw in advance)

Whipped Cream, for serving
Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving

Prepare the oven:
1. Position an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven.

2. Place a foil lined baking sheet on it.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (Note: the heated baking sheet will help bake the bottom of the pie crust).

Make the filling:
SARAH SAYS: Do not whip or beat the pie filling during mixing so you see air bubbles forming. All you are doing is beating air into the eggs and corn syrup in the mixture. This will cause it to puff-up too much in the oven during baking and then collapse upon cooling, resulting in a cracked filling and/or pie crust or cause the filling to pull away from the sides of the crust.
1. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with a fork - do not whip.

2. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add in eggs and stir until well combined - do NOT create a lot of air bubbles while stirring.

4. Add in corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla and optional orange peel. Stir until blended.

5. Stir in the pecans.

6. Pour into unbaked and chilled 9-inch deep dish pie crust. 

NOTE: If using a regular 9-inch pie pan, leave out about 1/2 cup of the soupy part of the filling, otherwise the pie will not set.
DO NOT fill pie to the rim because the filling will overflow during baking. The pecan pie filling puffs during baking.

7. Smooth the top.

8. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet (previously placed in the oven) for 50 to 60 minutes or until browned all over. The pie filling will be WOBBLY. Do not bake any longer.
Cool on wire cake rack. The pie will settle as it cools.

9. After cooling, refrigerate for 2 hours so the pie can set, before serving.

Cut pie slices while pie is still cold; you'll get more even slices if you do. Let pie slices sit at room temperature to warm slightly before serving; it doesn't take long. Serve with whipped cream and a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg!

Keep refrigerated because Pecan Pies are custard pies and are perishable. This pie freezes nicely - double wrap in foil and place in an airtight container, where it will keep for 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator in its wrappers.
To freeze, before freezing and after cooling, I cover my pie and refrigerate it for an hour so it firms up. Then, I wrap it for the freezer and freeze.

Reed's Deep Dish Maple-Orange Pecan Pie: Instead of 1 cup corn syrup, I like to combine 1/4 cup (no more) pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B for more flavor, with 1/2 cup dark and 1/4 cup light corn syrups. I like to toss in 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional) with the vanilla extract, too!
Bake as directed.
NOTE: If using a regular 9-inch pie pan, leave out about 1/2 cup of the soupy part of the filling, otherwise the pie will not set.
DO NOT fill pie to the rim because the filling will overflow during baking. The pecan pie filling puffs during baking.

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