Maple syrup pecan pie, the healthier but just as tasty substitute to your classic pecan pie! The pie crust is flakey and buttery, and the filling is just as packed with pecans but less of the calories and the excessive sugar.
I've never really been a fan of pecan pies. The extra sweet filling and not a very flakey and crispy pie crust just never caught my appeal. Rather, I'm more a classic pumpkin pie type of gal. But, ever since we mastered this maple syrup pecan pie recipe, I think pumpkin pies and pecan pies hit a tie.
So for those of you who feel the same about store bought pecan pies and pecan pies that's just excessively sweet, this maple syrup pecan pie is made just for you! You can now eat it during the holidays without feeling like a tub of sugar. 😉 And I know, you may be skeptical of this maple syrup pecan pie, but you just might be pleasantly surprised by how authentic this pecan pie tastes even without corn syrup. Plus, this pecan pie is also lower in calories than the store bought ones and the traditional pies.
Pecan pie: maple syrup vs corn syrup
Traditionally, classic pecan pies are made with corn syrup. Corn syrup is mostly there to prevent the white and brown sugars from crystalizing when the pie gets baked and also to keep the pie filling a nice gooey texture. But we all know corn syrup is definitely not on the recommendation list from our family physician. So we thought why not find a healthier substitute that'll still check all of the boxes. Then there's maple syrup!
Maple syrup is lower in calories and is all natural, a much healthier corn syrup substitute. The only downside of maple syrup is that it is thinner than corn syrup, but no worries, we have a solution for that - a small amount of cornstarch!
Use real maple syrup
Although, maple syrup is a better substitution to corn syrup, do note that it's only true if real maple syrup is used. Can't say that I'm not a lover of Aunt Jemima because her maple syrup is childhood, but those maple syrups aren't actually maple syrup. These maple syrups are actually corn syrup with high fructose corn syrup, flavorings, and colors. You can absolutely use it for your pecan pies, but it'd defeat the purpose of the "healthier" aspect. So when you go shopping for maple syrup, make sure the label reads "100% maple syrup."
Whole halves or pecan pieces
This is really all up to personal preference. Us, personally, we prefer pecan pieces in the pie filling and whole pecan halves to garnish the top layer. To get that beautiful arrangement you often see on pecan pies, simply line the tops of the pie with pecan halves after filling the pie with the filling and before you bake it off.
Tent the pecan pie
Parchment paper is a baker's best friend, but sometimes aluminum foil doesn't fall short from that line. For most blind baked pie crust, I love using strips of aluminum foil to cover the edge of the pie crust so that it doesn't get too brown before we even get to the filling. And when baking pies with fillings that takes a bit longer to bake, you can pop a sheet of tented foil on the pie, and it'll prevent your pies from getting darker than your desired color. For example, this pecan pie reached its perfect golden brown color by 25 minutes. So, I popped a foil tent on the pie and let it finished the remaining baking time.
Is blind baking the pie crust necessary?
Not at all. Blind baking is optional to ensure that the crust stays flakey and crispy. You can totally chill the pie dough then fill the pie. Just make sure to bake the pie on the lower half of the oven to bake the pie crust a little better. On the other hand, blind baking is a little more of a hassle, however, it does ensure that the crust stays at its max flavor and texture.
If you're looking for other holiday recipes, you may like these:
- S'mores Rice Krispies
- Garlic Cheesy Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread
- Carrot Loaf Cake
- Gingerbread Cookies
Bake with love!
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Maple Syrup Pecan Pie
For the pie crust:
- 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1½ Tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 Tablespoon unsalted butter , cold (or 1½ stick)
- ⅓ cup cold water (you may need a little more in cold, dry weathers, or a little less in hot, humid weathers)
- 1 large egg , beaten (optional for egg wash)
For the pecan pie filling:
- 4 Tablespoon unsalted butter (or ½ stick)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar , packed (light or dark)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 3 large egg , beaten
- 1½ cup pecan , roughly chopped (plus pecan halves for garnishing if desired)
For the pie crust:
- In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Blend the cold butter into the flour until the butter pieces are around pea size.*You can blend the butter into the flour with either a fork, a pastry blender, a grater, or using a food processor.*
- Add the cold water to the flour and mix just enough until the dough comes together. The dough will look more on the shaggier side and not smooth, but just give it a couple of kneads and the dough should compact and hold itself together. However, DO NOT over knead the dough or it will result in a tough pie crust.*Depending on your environment, the amount of cold water may vary. If it's humid and hot, you may use a couple tablespoon less water. If the weather is cold and dry, then, you may need a couple tablespoons more.*
- Transfer the pie dough to a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour. Roll the pie dough into a circular shape, about ¼ inch thick or just a touch thinner. Transfer the pie dough into a pie dish and gently mold the dough into the dish. Trim the excess dough from the rim of the pie dish and flute the edge of the dough by pushing and pinching with your fingers. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes.*Refer to the post for picture reference.*
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Brush the edge of the pie crust with egg wash if you wish. Dock the bottom of the pie crust will a fork and line the interior of the crust with a parchment and fill it with either beans or ceramic pie weights. Blind bake the pie crust for about 15 minutes then remove the parchment with the weights. Bake for another 5 minutes then remove the pie crust from the oven and let it cool at room temperature while you make the filling.*Crumbling the parchment paper before lining the pie crust makes it easier to work with. To prevent the edge of the pie crust from browning too much, you can use strips of foil to wrap around the edge of the pie crust.*
For the pecan pie filling:
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter on medium heat until it's just melted. Add the maple syrup, both the white and brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk the mixture until everything is well combined and the cornstarch no longer looks clumpy. Remove from heat.
- Slowly drizzle the beaten eggs into the warm pie filling while whisking until well combined, then stir in the roughly chopped pecans. Pour the pecan pie filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Optional: Carefully arrange whole pecan halves on top of the pecan pie filling.
- Bake the pecan pie for about 50-60 minutes. After 20-30 minutes of baking, and the pecans have browned to your desired color, cover the entire pie with a tented aluminum foil to prevent further browning. *At around 50 minutes baking, the center of the pie filling will be at a gooey consistency, while at around 60 minutes, the center of the pie will be more set.*
- Remove the pie from the oven and let the pie cool at room temperature ready to serve, or cool completely and store in the fridge, properly covered, for up to a week.Enjoy the pie warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream!
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