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Pecan pie

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  • Adam Stephanides Feb 1, 2000 09:24 AM
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I love pecan pie, but I've had very little of it since I moved to New York, since neither the kinds of restaurants I usually go to nor my favorite bakeries serve it. What's the best pecan pie in NYC? Searching this site turned up only a recommendation for the Little Pie Company, which I'll try, though I haven't been crazy about them in the past (sacrilege, I know).

The best I've had in NYC so far was at Sparks steak house, but since I'm not a fan of either steak in general or the steak I had there in particular, I probably won't be back. I bought one from Balducci's for Thanksgiving and it was good, but not memorable. Also, I'm looking more for a slice than a whole pie, since I live alone (though if the pie were really spectacular, I'd make an exception). Incidentally, I like my filling sweet.

--Adam

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  1. I like the Little Pie Company (stores at 43 and 9, in grand central, and elsewhere around town).
    They sell slices, I think, or at least tiny little one-serving mini pies (which have the advantage of a higher crust-to-filling ratio than larger pies)

    Better Crust used to make the best pecan pies, but they closed (actually, i heard rumors they're reopening...anybody aware of this?)

    ciao

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      s
      Steven "Fish"

      Adam, the best pecan pie I've had in New York State was in a place called Theo's in Binghamton in upstate NY. This is my favorite. As for NYC, try in the, I think its calle, Buttercup Bakery on like 52nd and 2nd, something like that. Its pretty good.

      1. re: Steven "Fish"

        Steven, you used the past tense on Theo's...any reason to think it might still be open?

        1. re: Jim Leff

          If you're getting pecan pie in a restaurant, Grange Hall at Barrow and Commerce St. in the West Village has really good pecan pie....and they serve their milk real cold. If you can get over the yuppies there, it's a treat.

          1. re: Nick Bogaty

            Has anyone mentioned Anglers & Writers on Hudson Street? They have great pies there, as well.

            1. re: Maria
              a
              Adam Stephanides

              Thanks for the tip. I tried Anglers & Writers' pie, and it comes close to my ideal of what a pecan pie should be. The filling was sweet, flavorful, and robust, and there was plenty of it. Little Pie Company's crust had a slightly bitter tinge, and the filling was sweet but bland; the Buttercup Bake Shop's pie had better filling, but there was too little of it relative to the crust, and for some reason they put chopped nuts rather than pecan halves on top. I still have to try Peter Luger's (for the steak as well as the pie).

              --Adam

              1. re: Adam Stephanides

                Another steakhouse which serves a decent pecan pie is Angelo and Maxie's on Park Ave around 18th ST. The overall problem with most pecan pies in NYC is there's too much experimenting going on. I'm talking about pies dosed with cinnamon or chocolate or some fancy graham cracker crust. All those things, IMHO, subtract from the delicious subtlety of the original.

                Cook's Illustrated (Dec1995) has a great article on pecan pies. Well worth tracking down.

                1. re: Mark

                  Sorry for the intrusion, but pecan pie is nearly sacred where I live (Oklahoma)and I grow a few pecans myself so might be able to contribute to your pecan pie connoisseurship. I know nothing of NY restaurants, but remember seeing pecan pie there at a miserable-but-popular cajun restaurant for $7 a slice in 1987.

                  The differences in plain filling flavor have a lot to do with the syrup used. Karo (100% corn syrup) is traditional, but most other (cheaper) corn syrups on the market are no longer 100%. That's what I suspect might be happening in your restaurants.

                  Someone mentioned being suprised to see pecan pie with chopped pecans. This is not uncommon in pecan country, but is usually done when using native pecans (small, with hard shells) because it's very difficult to get pretty halves. It's also easier to slice (restaurant portion control?). A good Native has a lot more flavor than the papershells that provide the large perfect halves. Papershells are mostly what are used for export, so sadly are probably what you get in NY.

                  Yankees & Midwesterners (even Kansans) do sometimes add maple syrup, and I agree it distracts from the flavor. The only ingredient I occasionally add is a pinch of fresh grated orange rind -not enough to really identify. If you find chocolate chips in your pecan pie, suspect a Texan. Chocolate chip pie is their official national dessert.

                  If you buy your own pecans, the best test for freshness is to break one in half and squeeze it. The white part should express a little oil, even just a glisten. Dried out ones are still flavorful if you toast them a little first.

                  enjoy

                  1. re: Betty

                    Betty--Even if your message weren't one of the most interesting, intelligent recent postings, it wouldn't have been an "intrusion". This is not a private conversation...ANYONE is welcome (encouraged! begged!) to chime in to any discussion here at any time if they have anything useful and/or amusing to add!

                    please post lots more!

                    ciao

        2. re: Steven "Fish"

          Jim, the last time I was there was May and it was still open. It's on Main Street in Johnson City, I think. The pie is great and you'l like the rest of the stuff....They're from Georgia.

      2. j
        jonathan sibley

        Does anyone remember a place called Treat Boutique? There used to be one on 86th St. and one on 7th ave. I remember really liking their pecan pie (I think it had some maple syrup in it, even though not a southern touch, I would guess) as well as their cheesecake.

        As far as I know, they are long gone, though.

        1. Try the pie at Peter Luger's. It's my favorite dish there. Comes with a home-made "schlag" which will have you forget about the steak pretty quickly ...