Baking with Maple Syrup: Pecan Pie

I like baking with maple syrup — it’s a natural sweetener with its own subtle flavor, and it has the added advantage that it’s perceived by most adult palates as less overpoweringly sweet than granulated cane sugars (like white or brown sugar).

Nowhere are these attributes more apparent than in pecan pie, which is just about my all-time favorite pie.  Caramelized sugars coating toasted pecans, atop a sweet custard and flaky crust…wow.  (Disclosure:  I was born in Louisiana and spent most of my childhood in Tennessee.  This may have something to do with my special love for this quintessentially Southern dish.  Though we never made it with maple syrup when I was a kid!)

I’ve been planning to blog this recipe for a while, but felt I should wait until I could include a good, recent picture.  We hosted a gathering of family and friends last night and I baked two of these:

Last night's Maple Pecan Pie, sitting in the pie basked

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Pie crust (more on this a bit later)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups pecans (a mix of whole pecans and pieces is best)
  • 4 eggs (one will be partially used to seal the crust)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup dark maple syrup (Hidden Springs’ Premium Grade B is perfect!)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (variation:  1 tsp. dark rum)


You can make this pie by simply mixing the above ingredients together and dumping them into an unbaked pie crust (bake for about 45-50 min at 425°) and it’s not bad at all.  But if you want it to be an excellent pie, consider going to a bit of extra trouble as follows:

The crust:  I strongly recommend lightly pre-baking and sealing the pie crust.  That is, make your pie crust, weigh it down with tinfoil and pie weights (or dry beans) and bake .  Meanwhile, separate one egg.  After 10 minutes, remove your pie crust, lift out the weighted tinfoil, and use a pastry brush to “paint” the bottom and sides with egg yolk.  Return the crust to the oven for another 2 minutes to “set” the yolk.  This discourages the liquid sugars of the pie filling from seeping through cracks in the crust (and sticking to the pie plate) and assures maximum flakiness of the bottom crust.

The pecans:  10 minutes of light toasting in the oven will bring out the flavor of the pecans.

To make: Beat the eggs (including the extra egg white left over when you sealed the crust with the yolk.)  Add corn syrup, maple syrup and vanilla; blend well.  Dump the pecans in the pre-baked crust and spread evenly.  Melt the butter, add to the egg-syrup mixture and blend well, then pour over the pecans.  Cover the outer rim of the crust with a pie ring (or a long strip of tinfoil.)  Bake at 425° for 45-50 minutes.  The filling is “set” when it jiggles but doesn’t “ripple” (like a liquid) when shaken lightly.

I like it served with a bit of whipped cream (sweetened with maple syrup, of course.)


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