My Nenne is one of the most special people in my life. Every holiday with her is extra special because she brings her famous, sought after pecan pie to dinner – a pie that has been in our family for generations. I learned to make this pie years ago, when she was going out of town for Thanksgiving. Everyone was freaking out because we weren't going to have Nenne's pecan pie at the dessert table, so I had to figure out how to make it -- at the time I didn't cook or bake! She gave me step by step directions and wished me luck because others had tried to make it before and it didn't turn out. Of course I was nervous, but I did exactly what she said and it worked! That's when I realized I could cook!!! Now, I make her pie every year around Thanksgiving.
2 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
¼ cup Crisco – really cold
12 tbsp butter – really cold and cubed
¼ cup or more ice water
½ cup Caro – both white and dark (mostly dark, some white)
¼ cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs – beaten
2 cups pecans
1 tsp vanilla
1. Make the pie crust by sifting the flour salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the shortening and the cold butter and break it up with a pastry cutter or quickly with your hands. The mixture should be crumbly and the butter should still be hard. Add the ice water until the flour mixture comes together and forms a dough ball. Add additional water if it still doesn’t come together. Continue to bring it together with your hands until it’s smooth but don’t overwork it or it will be tough. Once it comes together in a ball, cut the dough in half, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Take out one of the dough balls and on a heavily floured surface, pat the dough out into a disk shape. Continue flooring if the dough seems too sticky or fragile. Roll out with a floured rolling pin into a circle shape and press into a 9 inch pie pan.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat Caro and butter in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. The mixture should boil for at least 2 minutes. Beat the sugar and eggs together with a whisk in a medium bowl. Add the hot Caro mixture to the sugar mixture and stir together quickly. Pour in the nuts and vanilla and stir to completely combine.
3. Pour into the prepared pie shell and bake for 42-45 minutes. Before taking it out of the oven, shake the pie. If it’s still very shaky, keep baking it for an additional 5-10 minutes. Pie should not come out of the oven until it’s just slightly shaky. Let cool before cutting and serving.
CHEERS TO A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!