Individual Skillet Pecan Pie
“America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving.”
Pie:A Global History by Janet Clarkson
I have got to honestly say, that as far as I’m concerned, I lived a pretty charmed childhood. Not only was I blessed with two very loving parents and spent my childhood traveling the world as a Navy Junior, but also because I had a grandmother who lived with us for 13 of my first 16 years. Grandma loved to bake (I never had store-bought bread until her death when I was 16) so we always had bread, cookies, pies and other pastries on hand. She loved to sew, so we laid our heads upon embroidered pillowcases each night. And she he loved to garden, so we ate vegetables from our garden as often as possible. Not that my mom was remotely close slack, together the two of them were a fierce team. As a result, both my brother and I grew up appreciating good food and we both love to cook.
Grandma continues to have a warm presence our lives even 37 years after her death. I still have some of her embroidered pillowcases and some of her favorite recipes are still some of our favorite recipes. Baking for Christmas is not complete until I make her chocolate cookies, Mom always makes Grandma’s mincemeat pie for Christmas Dinner, and Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t Thanksgiving Dinner without her pecan and pumpkin pie. I’m not really a pumpkin pie gal, much preferring apple and pecan. As such, even if it’s just 6 of us, we typically have 3 pies for Thanksgiving (Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple) and 3 for Christmas (Pecan, Apple and Mincemeat).And while I really like having access to the world’s cookbooks via the world wide web, there really is something special about making a recipe that was written on a 3X5 card some 40-50+ years ago and kept in that original form in a cookbook with other equally aged, spotted and yellowed 3X5 cards. You know if those 3X5 cards have been kept and treasured all these years, then the recipes inscribed on them must be some kind of delicious. Handwritten recipe cards are another lost treasure, like handwritten notes and thank-you notes. Mom doesn’t quite remember Marilyn, who authored this recipe; but believes she or Grandma were gifted this recipe while we were stationed in Hawaii 40+ years ago.
To put my new spin on this old recipe, I decided to make mini-pies in my much favored Lodge Cast Iron 5″ Skillets. These pies follow on the heels of these Skillet Brownie Sundaes and these Individual Apple Crumbles.
My go-to pie crust recipe is the Pâte Brisée from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook . I made one recipe which was enough for 6 mini pies.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed
- 3 eggs, beaten well
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 stick of butter (melted)
- 2 cups pecans, I used 1 cup chopped and 1 cup whole
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)
- With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap.. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- Preheat oven to 300'
- Combine first 4 ingredients and divide equally among 6 unbaked pie shells which have been placed on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes
- Remove and top pies with equal amounts of the pecans. I put the chopped in first then even sprinkle the whole pecans over the top.
- At this point, I also top each pie with a leaf or other decoration cut from pie crust remnants.
- Increase heat to 350' and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- I only have 4 small skillets so I save the rest of the pie crust and filling in the refrigerator to make another time.
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