As you may have guessed, the secret ingredient in this Browned-Butter Pecan Pie is browned butter. Many a pecan-pie-hater has been converted by this recipe.
Do you ever have problems with your pecan pie sticking to the pie plate? Me, too. It can stick so bad that you think it will take a chisel to get it out.
Since this recipe was originally published in 2009, I went back to the drawing board. After borrowing some techniques from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, I tested and retested. Think I’ve got it!!
If you’re like me, pecan pie is a once-a-year treat. So it better be fabulous. This recipe deserves the honors.
It is the lightest, most delicate pecan pie I have ever eaten in my entire life.
The secret is the browned butter.
It contributes a nutty, buttery, toffee-like flavor without taking over the show. It’s the magic ingredient in this pie! Add chocolate drizzles on top to dress it up, but that’s optional.
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Browning the butter:
The process of browning butter is simple. Knowing when the butter is brown enough without burning it is the tricky part. Don’t be afraid. I’ll hold your hand.
Please note that the amount of time this takes depends on three things:
- How much butter you are browning
- How high the heat is
- The cooking vessel you use
RELATED POST: How To Make Browned Butter in a Microwave
5 Tips for Preventing a Pecan Pie Crust from Sticking to the Pie Plate:
Spray your pie plate with an oil/flour mixture like Baker’s Joy.
Do this before you place the pie crust dough into the pie dish.
Make sure your crust is not too thin and has no cracks.
Partially bake your pie crust before filling.
Cover well-chilled or frozen raw pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil. Press foil to fit the pie crust snugly, then fold edges over the crust to protect edges from over-browning.
Fill pie shell with pie weights, rice, pennies, or my personal favorite, a heavy chain (sold by the foot at hardware stores). Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. (The longer time is suggested for frozen crusts.)
Remove foil and let cool slightly. You want your crust to still be warm when you pour in the filling.
Kitchen Tip: To catch any buttery drips, place a cookie sheet topped with a silicone mat on the rack beneath your crust while baking. It’s much easier to throw the mat into your dishwasher than to scrub your oven after the drips burn on the bottom of your oven.
Heat pie filling before pouring it into your pie crust.
Before adding the vanilla, lemon juice, and pecans, I cook the custard mixture in the microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds. You want it to reach 130 degrees F when measured with a quick-read thermometer.
Fill the pie crust with filling while the crust is still warm.
As you might have figured out, this “no-leak” process requires a bit of timing.
This is my time schedule for making Browned Butter Pecan Pe:
- Prepare pie shell. Chill well or freeze.
- While pie shell pre-bakes, prepare the filling.
- Pour the hot pie filling into your warm pre-baked crust.
Can I use a store-bought pie crust?
A store-bought crust is fine, or you can make your own.
RELATED POST: How to Make a Traditional Flaky Pie Crust
I don’t recommend baking your pie in an aluminum foil pan. The cooking process tends to be uneven. If possible, place the foil pan inside of a larger glass pan. At the very least, place it onto a cookie sheet.
Pecans: Should I toast them?
YES! Toasting adds additional flavor to your pie.
Throw chopped pecans onto a paper plate and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
RELATED POST: Using a Microwave To Toast Nuts or Coconut
Should I chop the pecans or leave them whole?
Chopping most of the pecans for your pie may not be as pretty, but your tasty pie will be much prettier when you go to slice it. Otherwise, cutting into unsliced pecans can squash the custard filling into a ragged mess.
My compromise is to hold out a few pecans to decorate the top of the pie. (See the pie without chocolate above.) I don’t toast them ahead of time. The oven will do that in the baking process.
Now that you’ve got everything ready, let’s assemble and bake!
How to decorate your baked pie with melted chocolate:
- Place chocolate into a small plastic zippered bag.
- Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15 seconds or until melted.
- Mash to make sure there are no unmelted lumps that might clog the small hole in step 5.
- Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag.
- Squeeze chocolate out of the hole to decorate. Go back and forth one way. Then turn the pie 90 degrees and go back and forth again.
Looking for a smaller recipe for a smaller pie?
Try this recipe for Browned-Butter Pecan Mini-Tarts. These are just as delicious but easier to serve and eat. Really nice for holidays and those people who “want one of everything.”
Use a 7-inch pie plate and cut this recipe in half.
RELATED POST: Divide and Conquer–My Kitchen Secret for the Holidays
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If you make this recipe and enjoy it, consider helping other readers and me by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required. Thank you for visiting! Paula
- 1 9-inch partially-baked pie shell
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Dash of salt
- 3 large eggs, well-beaten
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
Pre-bake Pie Crust
- Cover well-chilled or frozen pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil. Press foil to fit the pie crust snugly, then fold edges over the crust to protect it.
- Fill pie shell with pie weights, rice, pennies, or my personal favorite, a heavy chain (sold by the foot at hardware stores).
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. (The longer time is for a frozen crust.)
- Remove foil and let cool slightly. You want your crust to still be warm when you pour in the filling.
Browning the Butter
- Heat butter in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. It will take several minutes. (Please don't substitute margarine for this delicate operation.) When the solids start to brown, it happens quickly. Be alert. It will smell indescribably fragrant and be a light caramel color when ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Browning butter can also be done in the microwave.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl, combine browned butter, sugar, and salt.
- Whisk thoroughly beaten eggs and corn syrup into butter mixture.
- Place filling in the microwave for 45 seconds on HIGH. The temperature should read 130 degrees F on a quick-read thermometer.
- Add in lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in coarsely chopped and toasted nuts.
- Pour into partially baked pie shell. Bake at 275 degrees F for 55-60 minutes. When done, the filling may be somewhat softer in the middle, but it should not be jiggly.
- Allow the pie to cool before slicing so the filling will set properly.
- Apply chocolate drizzle while the pie is still warm.
- Pecan pie should be refrigerated after cooling for two to three hours.
Decorating with Chocolate (optional):
- Place 1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips into a small zippered plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15 seconds or until melted. Snip off the tiniest corner of the bag. Squeeze chocolate out of the hole over the pie in the design of your choice. If you want to squirt the leftover chocolate in your mouth, go ahead. It's our secret.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 471 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 100mg Sodium: 106mg Carbohydrates: 63g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 55g Protein: 5g