Guess how we celebrated?
We had a little-boy party with old-fashioned party games, including this variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey. (He’s almost finished with his PhD and wants to be a professor.)
Guess what his birthday dessert was?
None other than Dorie’s pecan pie! Pecan pie is his absolute faaaaavorite dessert, and it was beautiful serendipity that it was chosen as one of this month’s recipes. And let me tell you, Dorie knows how to make a mean pecan pie. He loved it. I actually made a mondo 11″ deep dish version, and doubled the recipe in the one crust.
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecan halves or pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 9-inch single crust, partially baked and cooled
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
In a large bowl, whisk the corn syrup and brown sugar together until smooth.. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until you have a smooth, foamy mixture. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and give the batter a good mix. Rap the bowl against the counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then stir in the pecans and chocolate. Turn the filling into the crust.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a foil shield for the crust by cutting a 9-inch circle out of the center of an 11-or 12-inch square of aluminum foil.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place the foil shield on top of the pie—the filling will be exposed, the crust covered by the foil. Bake the pie for another 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes), or until it has puffed (the middle and the edges should be fairly evenly puffed), is beautifully browned and no longer jiggles when tapped. Transfer the pie plate to a rack, remove the shield and cool to room temperature.
Pecan pie is good at any temperature, and different at each one. It’s softest and most puddingish eaten warm (about 45 minutes out of the oven), most flavorful eaten at room temperature and most candy-like when it is chilled. At any temperature, it’s good with ice cream—vanilla, chocolate or coffee would be my choices.
Once cooled to room temperature, the pie can be covered and refrigerated for 1 day.