Makes one 9-inch pie
Though this holds first place in many hearts when the subject of favorite Southern pies comes up, most people are surprised to learn that it is not particularly old, dating back only as far as the 1930s. I consider pecan pie a brilliant spin on the traditional Southern chess pie, which is the foundation for many of the greatest hits of Southern pies. This recipe for the classic favorite uses dark brown sugar instead of dark or light corn syrup, typical in many recipes. Molasses, sorghum, and pure cane syrup are also popular sweeteners for pecan pie. You could use either perfect pecan halves or chopped or broken pecan pieces. Both are excellent and traditional choices. I love the look of pecan halves, but for ease of cutting and serving, I usually chop them coarsely.
Ask any pie lover—the words "southern" and "pie" go together like ripe fruit and flaky pastry. And behind all the mouthwatering, light-as-a-cloud meringue peaks and the sticky dark butterscotch fillings lies a rich and delicious history. In Southern Pies, some of the South's most famous bakers share recipes for 70 pies. Perfect for bakers of all skill levels, these pies are made with simple, easy-to-find, and gloriously few ingredients. Featuring such classics as Sweet Tea Pie and New Orleans Creole Coconut Pie, this tasty homage will fill everyone at the table with Southern hospitality.© 2013 Nancie McDermott / Chronicle Books · Reproduced with permission.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, then crimp the edges decoratively.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and flour and stir to mix them together well. Add the butter and place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring and pressing the butter to melt it and combine it with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well with a fork or a whisk to mix everything together evenly. While stirring gently, slowly pour the warm sugar mixture into the milk mixture. Mix to combine everything evenly and well. Pour the filling into the piecrust and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the top.
Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake until the edges puff up and the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you gently nudge the pan, and it is nicely browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Place the pie on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.