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Happy Thanksgiving: A Pecan Pie to Peruse

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving: A Pecan Pie to Peruse

Pecan pie anyone?  This one is extra special!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Today the family headed over to the Yurack Family's house.  Jim and Amy are friends from my dorm at Penn State way back when.  Amy lived across the hall my freshman year!  20 years ago!  The Yuracks have three kids, and let me tell you, when our two boys get together with the Yurack kids, happiness seems to abound.  They really do get along well, it's nice to see the kids play good old fashioned games like hide and seek and tag.

Amy's family enjoys a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, so when we accepted her invitation to join her and her extended family for Thanksgiving, she and I discussed some gluten-free variations on classic Thanksgiving dishes.

If you think about it, you can get away with quite a bit of the Thanksgiving dinner WITHOUT gluten or dairy, right?  Turkey, check.  Cranberry sauce, check.  Sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes, can be check if you easily substitute soy milk or non-dairy creamer.  Amy made GF cornbread from scratch, which she made into the dressing, check!  Easy easy!

Cooks all over have experimented and perfected other GF and dairy-free variations on Thanksgiving classics, such as this version of green bean casserole that sounds really yummy!

So I offered to try out a gluten-free/dairy free pecan pie.

Geeky fact: Did you know the pecan pie is one of a culinary class of pies called chess pies?  A Lancaster County, PA classic, the shoo-fly pie, also falls into this class.  So does the Derby pie.

It was very yummy!  The crust is to DIE FOR!  BUT:

  1. I wish I made more than the basic recipe for the crust.  
  2. I wish I used more pecans so they didn't all float to the top.
  3. I wish I had taken the pie out of the oven sooner.

I should have taken it from the oven about 10 minutes sooner.  However, the critical flavors were exactly as they should have been: pie crust, pecans and syrup-y tastes abounded!

I'll walk you through the steps...

First, the pie crust.  I had some Gluten-Free Bisquick on hand, and a simple Google search yielded an easy recipe (I only used the crust part of this recipe).  I pulsed the GF Bisquick with Earth Balance (Gluten free) Buttery Spread and ice water in the Cuisinart.  Lard or shortening would work for the fat, too.  Ball it up in a zip-top bag and chill for 3+ hours.

Here is the cast of characters for the filling.  This is from a basic pecan pie recipe on the Karo syrup label.  I used the Earth Balance spread in place of the butter.  Otherwise, everything else is the same.

The recipe doesn't specify one way or the other, so I chop 1/2 of the pecans and leave the other half of them whole....well, know what I mean!

As for the crust, I had to work VERY carefully to keep it together, I might have needed more water to hold it together, so I used the zip-top bag to keep pressing it together while I rolled it out.

I cut open the bag, peeled back the top of the plastic, and then flipped it into the pie pan.

Like so!

I think I needed more crust.  I did the best I could to press the crust up the sides the best I could.

Whisk together the filling ingredients (except for the pecans).

Toss the pecans into the crust and pour the filling on top.  But I noticed a couple things when I did this.  (1) These pecans floated to the top and (2) I wish I had more crust.

It baked up really nicely in the oven!  Smelled SO GOOD!

The verdict?  The crust was WONDERFUL!  Think about it -- no gluten means the crust has no choice but to be flaky, right?  I just wish I made more.  As for the filling, those pecans really truly did float to the top and the rest of the filling baked into a cakey-textured filling.  It was tasty, but I wish I had more pecans, more crust, and had taken the pie out of the oven about 10 minutes sooner.

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At Friday, November 25, 2011 at 7:44:00 PM CST , Blogger Kris Bordessa said...

As a gluten free person, I can tell you that working with dough is just really hard. Without the gluten, the dough just does not stretch. This looks like it turned out good, though!

At Friday, November 25, 2011 at 7:56:00 PM CST , Blogger Major Mom said...

And because of the lack of gluten, this crust was amazingly flaky!

At Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 9:27:00 AM CST , Blogger Don Miller said...

Pecan pie is my favorite pie! The half pieces make a 'prettier pie' but the smaller pieces get more pecans in each bite. I prefer quarters or eights size myself, more so than the diced which is common for ready made.

Make my poor Mom make 3 pies on Holiday until she got it just right. So I guess I'm a 'might bit' picky when it comes to Pecan Pies!

At Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 10:04:00 AM CST , Blogger Major Mom said...

You'd probably have spit out this pie -- it should have come out of the oven sooner, and I didn't have enough pecans. I'm miffed about that because I had so many more pecan I could have added. I like the half chopped/half halved option myself.

Alton Brown has a recipe with Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup -- would like to try that one...

At Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 7:50:00 PM CST , Blogger Don Miller said...

Over done (as in crunchy) is better than under done! Ava a friend of mine invited my brother and I for supper one night. I don't remember what she made, but I do remember she made Pecan Pie for dessert. JB and I ate the entire pie it was that good. We were saying our thank you and good night and she said "you two can't go yet, your pie is still in the oven done.." Ava was such a sweetie she had got up and made us another pie while we were pigging out on the 1st one. Two po' boys from Alabama were sure happy that night.

Lyle's Golden Syrup sounds like a great idea.


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