Monday, November 3, 2008

Pecan Pie Experiment I

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I felt compelled to begin working on my corn syrup-free pecan pie recipe this weekend.

Since the main ingredient in my normal recipe is corn syrup, I decided to forgo that recipe entirely. Instead, I settled on John Thorne's well-reviewed recipe, which calls for Lyle's Golden Syrup, rather than corn syrup. This recipe is a little more involved than the mix and dump recipe on the back of the Karo bottle.

First I had to boil the brown sugar, Lyle's syrup, rum and butter. While it cooled, I rolled out the pie crust, and then I beat the eggs with vanilla and salt.

Finally, I beat in the semi-cool syrup mixture. This was not nearly as easy as it sounds. Lyle's is a good deal thicker than corn or maple syrup. And when I boiled it with the sugar and it began to cool, it thickened even more. It required more beating to blend evenly into the egg mixture than I thought. Plus, it was a sticky process - pouring thick caramel into a mixer while it is still warm enough to pour, but not hot enough to curdle the eggs.... I got warm sticky caramel everywhere. OH, two changes I had made to the recipe: the addition of 1 tsp of vanilla and a sprinkle of kosher salt on the top before I bakes it. Both were good ideas.

Naturally, I forgot to take a picture of the pie when it was ready for the oven. However, the end result was pleasing, aside from some aesthetic issues. (What the heck happened to my crust?) The filling was less aggressively sweet, but more complex. The cream in the recipe and the excessive beating made it cook up lighter and puffier. Also, it was a very nutty pie. Yum.

Final evaluation: This pie was different from my normal pie. It was very good, but not exactly what I was looking for. The cream gave it a somewhat different texture. Plus dealing with the molten syrup was a messy hassle. So, I am not entirely sure I will do this again.

I think my next pie will be my regular recipe with Lyle's as a straight substitution. Stay tuned.

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