HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Lyle's Golden Syrup in Pecan Pie: Bad move

Thanks to all the hearty endorsements of Lyle's Golden on these boards, I replaced Karo in my Grandmother's pecan pie recipe w/ Lyle's. I must say it tasted delicious coming out of the can, but it WOULD NOT SET UP. I baked the pie as long as I dared...the pecans were starting to burn and the crust was getting WAY dark. Still, after 16 hours to set up, when I served it the next day, it made a big puddle of Lyle's in the bottom of the pie plate. The pie tasted fine, and if you allowed each slice to "drain", I was able to put something that looked decent on the plate for my family, but I sure was PO'd to have unneccessarily compromised an unbeatable classic recipe.

Do I need a different recipe to use Lyle's? Or is this problem something that people are just willing to deal with in order to be PC about not using HFCS?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Karo isn't HFCS, just CS. Right?

    3 Replies
    1. re: rudeboy

      I think it's a little of both...not positive though.

      1. re: danna

        It does have both. I've been told the dark corn syrup doesn't have HFCS. I had to check, though:


        So, you might get away with dark corn syrup but cut back on brown sugar, if your recipe calls for it.

        1. re: chowser

          DARK karo does NOT have HFCS. The light karo had both HFCS and vanilla (for some stupid reason).
          I keep checking the dark karo every time I buy it, scared to death they'll screw that up too.
          In the end, I figure a little HFCS, spread out over an entire pie, the few times each year I make it, ain't going to kill me. If they do, there are much worse ways to go.

    2. Lyle's is not corn syrup at all. I would think you'd have to reengineer any transparent pie recipe that uses corn syrup to use a sugar (cane) syrup in it. Not to mention Lyle's is an "old world" product. Rudeboy is right, too. Regular corn syrup isn't high-fructose. Now, if you are planning to cut all corn sweeteners out of your life ... well, let's just say I wouldn't choose a Thanksgiving classic product to begin trying.

      4 Replies
      1. re: k_d

        Oh no, I really could care less about HCFS in my home baked goods. Since I only have Karo in my pantry for the purpose of pecan pie, and to prevent re-crystalization of sugar during confectionary one teaspoon at a time, I think my health will survive it. I just tried it because everyone said how much better it tastes.

        I suppose I'll go back to my standard pie, and try using the rest of the Lyles on Steel Cut Oats.

        1. re: k_d

          Nope. I substituted dark cane syrup for dark Karo one year (you know the drill -- it's 10:30 the night before Thanksgiving, you THINK you've got the stuff in the pantry, so you go whistling over, open the door, and IT'S NOT THERE) --

          Not only no problems with the substitution at all, but I now use cane syrup for pecan pie all the time - it tastes miles better.

            1. re: UtahMom54

              it's the one out of Joy of Cooking --it's a good recipe, but the cane syrup really lights it up.

        2. I think we need to compare your Grandmother's recipe (or a representative one using corn syrup) and one using cane syrup, whether Lyle's or one of the American brands.

          The recipe on my bottle of Karo calls for 3 eggs, plus the cup of syrup, etc. I wonder, is Lyle's more viscous, and didn't mix thoroughly with the other ingredients? Or did it separate in cooking?


          5 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            The Karo recipe just calls for mixing the ingredients and putting them in the crust.

            The Thorne recipe (in several chow threads) calls for heating the brown sugar, syrup and butter to nearly boiling, before cooling and adding the eggs. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28117...

            A Steen's cane syrup recipe uses flour and corn starch, as well as heating the syrup and sugar. http://www.totallynawlins.com/steen.html


            1. re: paulj

              I used the Thorne recipe and it came out superb. Best pecan pie I've ever made.

              1. re: heidipie

                I did the Thorne recipe with excellent results, as well. Of course I added more pecans than the recipe called for - the whole pound bag. I thought it was a great pie. Not going back to the corn syrup.

                1. re: heidipie

                  I modify this recipe to use grade "B" maple syrup and walnuts because, well, because its new england and thats what grows here. It comes out fine.

                  Lyles is awfully expensive to use for pies, no?

              2. re: paulj

                Cookwise has a Bourbon Pecan Pie. It includes 2T arrowroot, which is supposed to help keep the eggs from curdling. It is also a thickener.

                It also boils the corn syrup, sugar and butter. This 'reduces the liquid and heats the filling before it goes into the oven, shortening the oven cooking time and helping to spare the crust.' I suspect this version would work just as well with a cane syrup.

                This takes the added step of baking the egg syrup mixture at 400 for 35 minutes, then topping it with the pecans (and some more butter, syrup, sugar mixture), and baking that for another 10 minutes. This would set the base with less chance of burning the nuts.


              3. I'm sorry to read that didn't work out for you.

                I have to say that after reading all the glowing reviews for Lyle's, I searched several stores looking for it. I was sure that now that we're in Western N.C. I'd have no trouble finding it. Wrong. Now I'm not so bummed that I had to use dark corn syrup.

                2 Replies
                1. re: diablita FL

                  If you have a Cost Plus (or equivalent) they sell it there. We use it in Glogg and my mom has a Swedish Caramel recipe which calls for it. For pecan pie, I always just use Karo.

                  1. re: diablita FL

                    Did you check earthfare? The earthfare in Raleigh carries Lyle's, so I would think the one in Asheville would as ell.

                  2. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing? Just went to the Lyle's website and found a link to their downloadable recipe book: http://www.lylesgoldensyrup.com/Lyles... The first recipe is for pecan pie.

                    "Out of the strong came forth sweetness"

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: drgreg

                      Did you think that the pecan pie looked like something you would want to serve? I have never seen such a thin pecan pie.

                      1. re: southerngal

                        The recipe in that Lyle's booklet does look different than the usual Amerian pecan pie. The pecans are nearly arranged in the pie crust, and the syrup-custard is poured over that. It reminds me more of an European style tart, than the thick American pie. In the American style, the pecans float on top of a custard layer. It is different, but might be just as good, especially if you like pecans, and use a good quality crust. An alternative is to bake it in a shallow European style tart shell.

                        This recipe uses about half the amount of custard - 1/2 c syrup, 1/2c sugar, just the yokes.

                        The footnote says "* Adapted from ‘The Pie and Pastry Bible’, Rose Levy
                        Beranbaum©, 1998 Simon & Schuster Inc." I've been using Rose's adaptation of the no-knead bread, but haven't looked at her pie recipes.


                        1. re: paulj

                          I make Rose Levy Beranbaum's pecan pie recipe every year and it works wonderfully. I couldn't find the Lyle's, so I made it with dark Karo syrup.

                          I don't make her recommended crust, though. I just don't feel that a cream cheese crust matches as well as an all butter crust. I guess I could be wrong.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Pecan tart is quite tasty. The ratio of crust : filling : pecans is just right IMO, better than bad pecan pie (the grocery store style with a thick layer of goo, and then a single layer only of pecan).

                            1. re: julesrules

                              I agree--I prefer a pecan tart to a pecan pie. I think the heavier crust stands up better and there's less gooeyness. My favorite recipe calls for making a tart shell, cooking the pecans in syrup first and then filling the tart crust. Finish with a layer of chocolate ganache. Perfect crust to filling ratio.

                          2. re: southerngal

                            But it's the best part of pecan pie! Crust and nuts, no thick layer of goo.

                            It is really a tart, not a "pie".

                          3. re: drgreg

                            couldn't find the recipe anywhere but here is the scoop on Golden Syrup, courtesy the website:

                            "For those of you who are scientifically minded… the sucrose molecule splits in half to give glucose and fructose sugars. This inverted syrup is blended back with the original syrup to give a partially inverted syrup. The secret of Lyle's Golden Syrup is the final blend of sucrose, glucose and fructose, which allows the syrup to be so thick and velvety without crystallizing."

                          4. Huh. My standard pecan pie recipe is the classic Karo recipe, substituting an equivalent amount of Lyle's. (And I also throw in a big pinch of kosher salt but that's just me.) But I have never had a problem with this pie setting up properly, and I've never done anything different in terms of baking temperature or time. Sorry it didn't work out for you, though.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: pikawicca

                                Hey, I put a pinch (or more) of Kosher salt in pretty much everything! Hot chocolate is my latest salt discovery.

                                That's weird...i wonder if the humidity on T'giving could have had any effect? I suppose I'll try the cooking it first method above before I give up entirely.

                                Diablita: If you get to G'ville, SC, Whole Foods has Lyle's.

                            1. I just made this pecan pie for Christmas dinner and it was a HUGE success.... called 'best pie ever' repeatedly! I used the Canadian version of Lyle's Golden syrup, which here is called ROGER'S GOLDEN syrup. Like Lyle's, it is a golden colored 'cane syrup', not corn syrup. (I have also used Lyle's for other things: it is equivalent.)

                              I wonder if Danna's problem with it 'not setting up' had to do with the amount of time she cooked the mixture on stovetop. I worried that I had cooked mine a bit too much, as it started to thicken as it cooled before I added it to the eggs.... and I also worried about overcooking, but it was perfect!!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MizJill

                                I'll make a note.

                                Will pick up some Rogers Golden Sirup next trip to Victoria.

                                I had no idea flapjacks were different than pancakes.


                                1. re: MizJill

                                  Interesting to read this thread again (from 3 years ago). My recipe doesn't call for any cooking at all, or any "thickening" ingredients like flour or corn startch. I think that probably was the problem, the Lyle's stuff probably requires a different recipe. Although, I still think humidity can have a big influence. This year at T-giving, my lemon meringue didn't want to set up, and my cousin said her pecan pie did the same thing. Did I mention it's humid here? ;-)

                                2. I use Alaga cane syrup in my pecan pie. Melt butter, and add syrup and sugar then boil before adding the rest and baking. It makes a world of difference.

                                  1. For Danna...My son wanted pecan pie for his B-Day, so I made him 5 pies using my favorite recipe (the one on the dark Karo syrup bottle as follows) but substituted the dark Karo syrup with various other kinds of syrup--made two of them with "Lyle's Golden Syrup," (can get from Harmon's in Utah), made two with Steen's 100% Cane Syrup (can get 16 oz. bottles on Amazon), and one with "Pure Maple Syrup" from Costco. They all set up just fine and were all very good. Those 5 pies didn't last very long. It was fun to see the differences in the way the pies tasted! Me and my children liked the pies made from "Steen's 100% Cane Syrup," probably because it tasted the most like the pecan pies that I have made in the past with dark Karo syrup. We won't use dark Karo again until they produce an organic version, because we won't eat GMO food, i.e. corn, cottonseed, canola, sugar beet sugar, or soy or their food derivatives anymore. My husband liked the pies made from "Lyle's Golden Syrup" which had 1-1/2 c. nuts best. The one made with the 100% maple syrup was best the 2nd day.

                                    Here's the recipe I used if you want to give it a try:

                                    1 unbaked 9 inch pastry shell
                                    3 eggs
                                    1 c. Karo dark corn syrup (Substitute: Steen's 100% Cane syrup (get on Amazon 10 oz bottle), pure maple syrup (Costco), or Lyle's Golden Syrup (Harmon's in Utah carries.)
                                    1 c. sugar (C&H cane sugar)
                                    2 T. butter, melted (use Kirkland non-RBST butter)
                                    1 t. vanilla
                                    1/8 t. salt
                                    1 c. pecans (sliced by hand)

                                    Beat eggs slightly. Mix in next 5 ingredients, then stir in 1/2 c. of the nuts (can use lowest setting on mixer--stir setting). Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. of nuts over the top of the filling. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Set oven temperature control at 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling should be slightly less set in center than around edge.) Makes 1 pie. Cover edges of crust with tin foil ring or pie pan rim covers (get at Walmart).

                                    "Pie Crust"

                                    1 1/2 times the recipe for two pies. I love this recipe, because it offsets the sweetness of the pecan pies. It's super easy to make and always turns out perfect.

                                    2 c. all-purpose flour
                                    1 t. sale
                                    1/2 c. salad oil (I use extra light olive oil, which works great.)
                                    5 T. cold water

                                    Stir together flour and salt. Pour salad oil and cold water into measuring cup (do not stir). Add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir lightly with fork. Form into 2 balls; flatten dough slightly.

                                    Roll each between two 12-inch square of waxed paper. (first dampen the table slightly so paper won't slip.) When dough is rolled in circle to edges of paper, it will the right thickness for crust. Peel off top sheet of waxed paper and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate. Remove paper. Gently press pastry to fit dough, seal any tears. Cut pastry about 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Roll pastry under (like pizza edge, except smaller roll) to make a double thickness edge. Press dough in with right index finger against index finger and thumb of left hand to form the fluted edge. This recipe makes enough pastry for one 8 or 9 inch double crust pie. To make two pecan pies, I usually 1 1/2 times this pie crust recipe.

                                    I hope you like it! The pie made with maple syrup tasted best the 2nd day!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: UtahMom54

                                      pecan pie was made with cane syrup long before corn syrup -- it definitely makes a nicer pie.

                                    2. P.S. From Utah Mom to Danna. With the Lyle's Golden Syrup, you use brown sugar instead of the white sugar that called for in the recipe. I used white "C&H" cane sugar with the "Lyle's Golen Syrup" and the "Steen's 100% cane syrup.

                                      1. I live in the UK now, and Lyle's is more readily available than corn syrup, so I've been using that for pecan pie for the last few Thanksgivings.

                                        I've had no problems with it, but I think, as others have mentioned, it's because I like my pecan:custard ratio quite high. In my pies, I use the custard to basically hold the pecans together.