Perfect Pecan Pie

There's still time to perfect your pecan pie before Thanksgiving, whether you go the traditional route or introduce new flavors.

Chowhounds have some hints for successful baking. "Many people forget that pecan pie is a custard," says scott123. "It's a very high-sugar custard, so, with the stabilization from the sugar, it can handle a lot more rugged treatment (like lack of a water bath), but you still can't bake it any way you please and expect good results. If you cook any custard too quickly or too long, the protein in the eggs will contract and it will lose its liquid retention capabilities," resulting in a runny pie.

Many find that the crust and nuts are browned before the pie is set. To avoid overbrowning, they cover the pie loosely with foil once the top is nicely browned. Let the pie cool completely before serving to guarantee the best texture.

Lots of hounds swear by the recipe on the Karo corn syrup label. "The Karo label recipe is almost optimal but I much prefer it with three times the amount of pecans," says terrier. bushwickgirl likes to use a variation on the Karo recipe that substitutes cane syrup, such as Steen's, for the corn syrup. "I really like it as an alternative for corn syrup and I think of cane syrup as totally Southern," she says.

Others like to shift the geography to New England, by using maple syrup. This maple pecan pie is fantastic, says monku. "If you want to break from the traditional just a bit, I've found that I much prefer pecan pie in tart form (for me, better ratio of crust to pecans and less of the gooey filling)," says bdegregory, who recommends a maple pecan tart.

Or really gild the lily with the chocolate-caramel-pecan waiting for Wilma pie. "It was incredibly rich and delicious, like eating a candy bar," says biondanonima.

Discuss: Pecan Pie that is not runny!

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