I’ve always enjoyed pecan pie although also have always found it to be overly sweet, more like eating candy than eating a pie. Probably because it’s traditionally made with corn syrup, and a lot of it. In the olden days, the sickeningly sweet characteristic of this pie was a feature but that’s not the case for me anymore.
This fall, I decided I would try to make a paleo-friendly version, dial the sweetness way way down, increase the pecans, add some healthy fats…. make a pie that, while still a treat, was something I didn’t feel guilty serving my family and our friends for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner.
It took quite a bit of tinkering, both with the crust (I have now been on a two-year long pursuit of the perfect paleo pie crust and this is definitely the best crust I’ve ever tried) and to get the consistency of the sugar custard just right. I finally found just the right balance of sweet enough to feel like pecan pie and just the right gooey texture, and truly highlighting the flavor of the pecans. So, here is my version of pecan pie!
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Combine all ingredients and work together to form a dough with your hands.
- Place the dough into a 8″ deep dish or 9″ pie plate. Channel your inner playdough-loving child, and pat and push the dough to fully line the pie plate (this is a type of pie crust called a push crust, because you “push” it into place rather than rolling it out). Make a nice edge.
- Bake crust for 15 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Ingredients (pie filling):
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
- 6 Tbsp ghee, unsalted butter, or lard (you could also use palm shortening but ghee or lard have great flavor for this pie)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk (leftover from making your crust!)
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1-1 1/4 cup pecan halves for the top (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet for 5-8 minutes (you can do this while your pie crust is cooking), until fragrant (the pecan pieces take about 5 minutes, and the pecan halves take a little longer).
- Once the pecans and pie crust are out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350F.
- Heat honey and maple syrup in a small saucepot over medium-high heat until it comes to a rapid simmer.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolk together. Temper the eggs (which means adding a little bit of the very hot honey and syrup to the eggs while you stir them quickly) then add the eggs to honey and remove from the heat.
- Stir in the vanilla, salt, and ghee (or other fat of choice), and chopped pecans. Pour into pie crust.
- Arrange pecan halves to cover the top of the pie. Place pie in the oven and back for 20-25 minutes, until set (you’ll know it’s set when you jiggle the pie a little and the middle doesn’t wobble like jello–how long this takes depends a bit on whether your crust or filling cooled a bit before getting it into the oven and just how hot your honey got when you brought it to a simmer, so it could take as long as 30 minutes).
- Let the pie cool completely before serving. Enjoy!