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Nov 21, 2007 08:54 AM

Pecan Pie w/ Homemade Crust - Blind bake?

I'm planning on making the John Thorne (golden syrup) recipe for Pecan Pie in the morning, using the Alton Brown recipe for pie crust. My question is, should I do the initial bake (called for in the pie crust recipe)? I've found mixed responses on line.

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  1. BabyLitigator ~

    I don't blind bake my pie shell prior to adding the pecan filling. I think it might over cook the crust. If you're worried about the filling soaking into the crust, you could melt some chocolate and pour it over the bottom and when set - add your filling.

    Having said all that - I had a pie crust incident yesterday... I'm no expert!

    Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cookiefiend

      Yes, because you're dealing with syrup rather than with a creamy mixture. More viscosity.

    2. Yes, a big yes, to par-baking your crust! Don't worry too much about the crust burning. It may get darker than your comfort zone, but that's a good thing. The deeper brown your crust gets just means that the sugars are carmelizing, making for a tastier crust. If it does color too much you can always do the aluminun collar thing to keep it from going over the edge, but I've never had that problem.

      10 Replies
      1. re: raj1

        raj1 and Brendastarlet ~

        What does baking the shell first do? Would you recommend blind baking for all pies?

        I've not blind baked my shells unless I'm making a cream pie or a lemon meringue.

        I know I'm not the OP, but as I said above - I had a pie crust incident yesterday and I'm trying to figure these things out!


        1. re: Cookiefiend

          Partially-baking reduces the chance of a soggy, underbaked crust. I've seen this with quite a few custard pies. The rim looks great--brown and crisp--but the underside is yellow and doughy.
          For a lemon meringue or cream pie the crust is fully baked.

          Partially baking the crust means about 15-18 minutes in the oven with foil and pie weights, then another 8-10 minutes without. I usually pour the filling in while the crust is still warm. The crust finishes baking with the filling in it.

          1. re: raj1

            Thanks for explaining.

            Next pie baking extravaganza, I'll try this!

            1. re: raj1

              But pecan pie isn't a custard pie: it's a thick, syrupy filling, not a wet, eggy custard. I never, ever, par-bake the crust for a pecan pie, and I make pecan pies regularly. While you probably wouldn't overcook the crust if you par-baked it and then filled, it's still an extra unnecessary step when it comes to pecan pies, and when you're making Thanksgiving dinner, any time you can drop an unnecessary step, that's a good thing.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                He, BFP, care to share your filling recipe? I have a crust chilling in the fridge, and I'm going to make the pie in a couple of hours.

                1. re: bear

                  I'm a traditionalist: it's exactly the filling from the back of the Karo syrup bottle, except that I use Lyle's Golden Syrup (imagine the best piece of English toffee you've ever eaten, in liquid form) instead of corn syrup, and I add a hefty pinch of kosher salt.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    Thanks so much. I'm out of luck as far as the Lyle's goes for tonight, but that will be my next pie. Happy eating!

                    1. re: bear

                      I use the basic recipe but add a table spoon of Maker's Mark.

                      1. re: Jet41

                        yum, maker's mark!

                        btw, i would blind bake, because pecan pies that are not done this way get a gummy feel to the crust inside.

                    2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      Re: Lyle's Golden Syrup. I'm a convert due to a spiel by Nigella. Great product and ever so much better than Karo.

          2. No blind baking for pecan pie. Not necessary. Don't trust everything you read on the internet. Oops, guess you're reading this on the internet, huh?
            I've been making pecan pie for more years than I'd like to think about. Have never done it, never considered it. Read good Southern pecan pie recipes - not pie crust recipes for the answer to this one. They don't call for blind baking.

            1. I have never par-baked a pie crust. I think it's unecessary and I make a lot of pies. I find some recipes insist you do this for pecan pie. I did try it once and indeed, the crust got over done. Pecan pie filling has a lot of sugar in it, and can make it brown faster.

              1. Thanks all! Guess the (sort of) consensus is not to pre-bake.

                13 Replies
                1. re: BabyLitigator

                  The great John Thorne sees no need to blind bake, so neither do I.

                  He also suggests cane syrup (Steen's I think) if the English golden syrup is not available.

                  1. re: Athena

                    cane syrup has a much different, stronger flavor. i grew up with it. i don't know how it would be in pecan pie. (but i do think the typical karo pie is way too sweet). my mom would like a cane syrup pie, probably, preferring cane syrup on her biscuits. too strong for me. a bitter, sharp undertone, too.
                    this calls for cane and dark karo, and non-par-baked crust.


                    1. re: alkapal

                      Thanks for the description alkapal, I have never tasted cane syrup, I just assumed it was similar to golden syrup.

                    2. re: Athena

                      Golden syrup is cane syrup. Remember that the British had colonial holdings in the Caribbean where there were and still are sugar plantations. Steen's is a Louisiana sugar cane product, not as highly refined as Lyle's or other "golden syrups," more to the taste of the Southern US.

                      Remember that the raw juice is pressed from the cane and between then and the white refined sugar in a Domino's bag, there are almost infinite stages. They have different names in the many countries where sugar is produced, often for identical or similar products. There is no standardization beyond the reliability of a certain brand.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Makig Sense, would you agree with my description of cane syrup? (what i grew up with was not golden, but darker brown....)(as you say, many variations in the refinement...)

                        1. re: alkapal

                          I agree with you on the Steen's, alkapal. It's darker, stronger and richer than the Golden Syrup. I imagine it has more molasses.
                          I've tried making pecan pie with it, but had trouble with the pie setting properly. Karo still works best. Going to try again though. There must be a way.
                          My latest experiment was using demerara sugar in place of refined sugar which was a keeper. Cut the sweetness, probably because the coarseness of the grain made the amount actually less and the molasses content added to the flavor.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            i would like a pecan pie recipe where it is lots of ground pecans and halves, very little to hold it together. really almost a nut tart. no frills, but not too sweet (like the karo ones everywhere). and actually, i would like to make it in bars, so i don't have to eat a pie slice. little squares of pecan goodness, with a nice buttery pie crust.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              There's lots of pecan bar cookie recipes out there. Short crusts. Usually cut into 1 or 1 1/2 inch square. You should have no trouble finding them.

                        2. re: MakingSense

                          I made a chocolate coconut pecan tart with Lyle's today and it was wonderful. Carmel goodness - better than the corn syrup. I also par-baked my crust, and it turned out lovely. But it was a wheat free crust and in a tart pan, so I don't know that it would generalize so much to the standard pecan pie.

                          1. re: jsaimd

                            Nice dessert but not a classic pecan pie once you add chocolate and coconut. It's a regional specialty, a pie, not a tart.
                            I get protective of America's regional foods and would like to see the good ones preserved. It's fine to mix things up and innovate, food can evolve, but there are some things that are indicative of regions and speak of "place" or terroir. The pecan is a Southern nut and this is an old-fashioned Southern pie.
                            So often CHs seek "authenticity" in the foods of other cultures and this might be one of the cases where that might be a worthy goal in our own.

                          2. re: MakingSense

                            I'm getting myself all tangled up here - I should've said I had never tasted the Steen's John Thorne writes about. That green Lyle's tin was a fixture on the table growing up here in Bermuda (we're still a British colony ;))

                        3. re: BabyLitigator

                          Hey BL, If you're not already done baking, I posted a recipe based on the JT version from Classic Home Desserts.
                          As for pre-baking, I really think it depends on what your filling is. I don't think it's necessary with Pecan Pies, but it is with custards and fruit pies. Also, I alternate between fresh and frozen pie crusts and the results have always been good.

                          1. re: cocofriq

                            I ended up not blind baking. Came out fine, but the crust could have survived another 20 minutes in the over. So I guess it works either way.