The Washington Post

Perfect Pecan Pie

Perfect Pecan Pie 6.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Chef on Call Jul 16, 2008

Cookbook author and baking instructor Rose Levy Beranbaum insists this pie be made in a tart pan "so that every bite contains the same amount of crust, nuts and filling."

Lyle's Golden Syrup, derived from sugar cane rather than corn, makes all the difference here. The result is pleasantly balanced and satisfying instead of cloyingly sweet as other versions tend to be.

A drizzle of chocolate over the top wouldn't hurt, either.

Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Servings: 6
  • Half of the recipe for Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust, for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie (11 ounces total; see related recipe)
  • 4 large (2 ounces total) egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup (4 ounces) Lyle's Golden Syrup (may substitute dark corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) packed light brown sugar, preferably Muscovado (do not use dark brown sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces; 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy (whipping) cream
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (5.25 ounces) pecan halves

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees at least 20 minutes before baking the crust. Set an oven rack on the lowest level. Remove the pie plate with the (unbaked) bottom crust from the refrigerator; discard the plastic wrap. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (If working with a disk of dough for the bottom crust, roll it to 12 1/2 inches in diameter so there is enough to create a double layer for the sides). Line the tart pan, folding the excess dough inward and pressing it well into the fluted sides of the tart pan so that it rises a little above the top of the edge (to allow for shrinkage during baking).

Create a protective shield for the edge of the pie crust (to prevent overbrowning) by inverting the fluted outside ring of a separate, removable-bottom tart pan over it or by lightly crimping a ring of aluminum foil over it. Lay a circle of parchment paper or an urn-size coffee filter on the inside of the crust and fill with uncooked rice. Place the weighted crust on a baking sheet and bake on the lowest oven rack for 20 minutes, until golden. Remove the weighted liner and use a fork to lightly prick the crust. Return it to the oven to bake for 2 to 3 minutes, just until pale golden; reduce the temperature to 350. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, syrup, brown sugar, butter, cream and salt in a medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes, until it is uniform in color and starts to thicken. Strain the filling into a small bowl and add the vanilla extract; mix well.

Fill the baked crust with the pecans, then slowly pour the filling over the nuts. Replace the protective covering over the edge of the pie crust. Bake the pie (on the baking sheet, at 350 degrees) for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is slightly puffed and beginning to bubble around the edges; it will shimmy slightly when moved. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, which will take at least 45 minutes.

Recipe Source

From "The Pie and Pastry Bible" (Scribner, 1998), with adaptations from its author, Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Tested by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 666

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 50g 77%

Saturated Fat: 20g 100%

Cholesterol: 221mg 74%

Sodium: 160mg 7%

Total Carbohydrates: 54g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: n/a

Protein: 8g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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