Sneak Preview: Try this Browned Butter Pecan Pie, and you’ll learn how to make a pie crust that won’t stick to the pan. The secret to the fabulous flavor is the brown butter. You won’t be disappointed.
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Do you ever have problems with your pecan pie sticking to the pie plate? Me, too. It’s impossible to serve gracefully and can be downright embarrassing!
Along with this amazing recipe for Browned Butter Pecan Pie, I’ve included 5 tips to help keep your crust from sticking like cement to the pie plate.
This recipe has converted many pecan pie haters.
I promise you. This recipe makes the lightest, most delicate pecan pie I have ever eaten in my entire life. If you have any leftovers, please call me, and I’ll take them off of your hands.
What’s even better is when the crust doesn’t sabotage all your work. Don’t miss my five suggestions to keep the crust from sticking at the end of this post.
This recipe was first published in 2009, and it was time to revisit it. So, after borrowing some techniques from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, I tested and retested them. I think I’ve got it now!!
If you’re like me, pecan pie is a once-a-year treat. So it better be fabulous.
The secret is the brown 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.
How to brown 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.
The amount of time this process takes depends on three things:
- The amount of butter
- The level of heat
- The cooking vessel you use
You can also brown butter in the microwave. It’s pretty straightforward.
Five tips to keep pecan pie from sticking to the pan:
1. 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.
2. Make sure your crust is not too thin and has no cracks.
3. Partially bake your pie crust before filling.
Cover a well-chilled or frozen raw pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil. Press the foil down to fit the pie crust snugly. Then, fold the foil over the crust to protect the edges from over-browning.
Fill the pie shell with pie weights, rice, pennies, or my favorite, a heavy chain (sold by the foot at hardware stores). Bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes. (I suggest a longer time for frozen crusts.)
Remove the foil and let the crust cool slightly. You want the crust to 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 easier to throw the mat into your dishwasher than scrub your oven after the drips burn on the bottom.
4. Heat the 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˚F when measured with a quick-read thermometer.
5. 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 schedule for making Browned Butter Pecan Pie:
- Prepare a pie shell. Chill well or freeze.
- While the pie shell pre-bakes, prepare the filling.
- Pour the hot pie filling into your warm pre-baked crust.
Assembling the pie filling for Browned Butter Pecan Pie:
The Chocolate Drizzle:
I like to experiment on a paper plate before drizzling over the pie to ensure the size of the hole in my “decorating bag” is right.
- Place chocolate into a small plastic zippered bag.
- Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15 seconds, or until melted.
- Mash to ensure 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.
FAQs about Pecan Pie:
A store-bought crust is fine, or you can make your own.
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 a larger glass pan. At the very least, place it onto a cookie sheet.
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.
Chopping most pecans for your pie may not be as pretty, but your tasty pie will be much prettier when you 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.
Parting Thoughts: Let me encourage you about the browned butter called for in this pie. It may seem like a bit of trouble, and it is, but it’s worth it. After all, a homemade pecan pie is a huge treat, might as well go for the gold.
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!
Browned Butter Pecan Pie Recipe
- 1 9-inch partially-baked pie shell
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- Dash of salt
- 3 large eggs - well-beaten
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 cup pecans - coarsely chopped and toasted
Pre-baking the 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˚ 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.
- 2-Quart Batter Bowl