Orange Infused Pecan Pie
An orange infused Pecan pie is the sweet ending for our Christmas dinner. The inspiration came from one of my favorite cocktails, an orange/chocolate manhattan. The touch of orange and chocolate elevate it far above the average cocktail and I hoped to do the same with my pie.
Powerful orange zest means you don’t need much, because it’s not an orange pie. A subtle hint is enough to make a huge impact on the flavor. Don’t forget plenty of sugar, because a proper southern pie must be sweet enough to make your teeth hurt!
Pecan pie is a historically significant southern dessert and its name is derived from the Algonquin Native American word pakane. Popular where pecan trees grow, they were first made with molasses until evolving into use of lighter corn syrup. The earliest reference I could find for a recipe as we know it today is credited to Harper’s Bazaar in 1886.
The orange flavor is what elevates this above all my previous pecan pies. I can say that my family approached it with a healthy dose of skepticism, but instantly converted into believers. Curiously, my wife wouldn’t touch pecan pie until I added the zest and now always goes for seconds.
Oh, by the way. It doesn’t matter if you call it PEE-can or pah-KAHN pie. Just call it delicious.
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- 1–1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp grated orange zest – about half an orange
- 1/4 tsp kosher or non-iodized salt
- 4 eggs
- 1–1/2 cups broken pecans – reserve a handful of whole pecans for decoration
- 1 unbaked pie crust
- Home-made whipped cream
- Real vanilla bean ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 with a baking sheet on a rack in the center
- Grease your 9-1/2″ glass baking dish with pam or butter
- Place your pie crust in the pan, trim to 1/2″ overhang
- Grate half an orange with a micro-plane and reserve a half-teaspoon of zest
- Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the brown sugar, whisking until smooth
- Remove from heat and whisk in the corn syrup, vanilla, orange zest and salt
- Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and then whisk into the corn syrup mixture
- Stir in the broken pecans and pour the entire mixture into the pie crust
- Set in the oven on the baking sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust turns golden and cover the rim with a pie shield or aluminum foil to prevent burning the crust
- Bake for another 25-30 minutes until it is set
- Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool on a rack
- Serve with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream