Maple and Toasted Pecan Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

I love pecan pie. In my family pumpkin pie is not a necessary part of our Thanksgiving dinner; I’ll often make both pumpkin and pecan pie but if push were to come to shove, I know where everyone’s heart lies. It’s not just for Thanksgiving either…nope; we’re happy to do a repeat just a month later for Christmas. My recipe actually requires cooking of the filling prior to baking and it makes for a superior result. Still, after wondering for too many years what it would be like to substitute  maple syrup for dark corn syrup I decided it was time to just go for it. I shouldn’t have put this off for so long!

Each year on Thanksgiving as I make the pies for our dinner, I’m reminded of when I lived in North Carolina. My husband and I had moved there from a suburb of St. Louis with our Irish Setter Heather and it was the first time we had spent a holiday away from our families. We were delighted that our new next door neighbors, Janie and Bob, were also from St. Louis; we became fast friends and they were soon our local ‘family.’

They had an adorable daughter Erin and she bonded quickly with our girl Heather. Erin loved Heather so much, if she ever felt bad or had to stay home from school; Heather would go spend the day snuggled up with her.  She was the sweetest dog and we called her Nurse Heather.

Heather was loved by their family as much as ours and would be invited to any group get together. Our plans for the big Turkey Day were to split up the meal as groups often do and I was in charge of dessert. I did what I presumed people would expect, especially since we were all from someplace else and memories of home seem necessary on this day of thanks. One pumpkin pie and one pecan pie. Made on Wednesday and ready to go; easy peasy.

Thanksgiving morning my husband asked where the pecan pie was. I thought he was kidding but I got up from bed and played along with the game. Except he wasn’t kidding…it had disappeared. We found the empty pie plate behind the sofa and the culprit was at hand. You know how utterly charming it is when a dog is chagrined so much that you almost feel sorry for them? Yes, that was Heather. She had eaten an ENTIRE PECAN PIE!

Was she sick? As a dog; she spent the day ‘regurgitating’ pecans (I wanted to say it as nicely as possible!). Back in those ‘olden days’ there were no grocery stores open on holidays or Sundays; only convenience stores. So instead of a relaxing day before heading to our neighbors, we had to hunt down the ingredients for another pie from stores not really stocked for homemade pies! One had butter, another had syrup and I think it took a trip to a third before we accumulated enough of those little packs of pecans to equate to enough for a pie.

Still, the pie got made and Heather had recuperated enough to come with us and let Erin be her nurse for a change. Is there a punch line to this tale of woe? All depends…can you believe that dog BEGGED for pie? Yes, pecan pie. We thought her pretty smart but really…she wanted some more pie. Must have been good huh? :)

This one sure was; the maple adds a wonderful element; we’ll not be going back to Karo ever…add a bit more of the maple syrup to the whipped cream and then go ahead…really indulge with a bit of caramel. Pumpkin pie? In our home…who cares??!!

Maple and Toasted Pecan Pie with Maple Whipped Cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8 Servings
Ingredients
For the Pie:
  • 9" pie shell - homemade or prepared
  • 2 cups small pecan halves
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ cup large pecan halves
For the Maple Whipping Cream:
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Caramel Sauce for garnish, homemade or purchased
Preparation
  1. Place 2 cups pecan halves on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, stirring the pecans once during baking time, until the pecans are fragrant. Let cool completely, then coarsely chop.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; mix in sugars and salt with wire whisk until butter is absorbed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in maple and vanilla.
  4. Cook and stir constantly with wire whisk until mixture is hot and looks shiny, about 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly so the eggs don't scramble on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the cooled, toasted pecans.
  5. Pour pecan mixture into the pie crust. Place large pecan halves on top of the filling in a decorative pattern.
  6. Bake the pie until center feels set but soft when touched with your finger, and moves slightly when the pie is gently jiggled, about 40-55 minutes. You may need to cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent over browning, or cover the top of the pie with foil.
  7. Transfer pie to wire rack and let cool completely, at least 5 hours.
To Make the Whipping Cream:
  1. Have mixing bowl and beaters chilled for best results.Beat whipped cream until soft peaks form; add maple syrup and vanilla and beat until firm.
  2. Dollop whipped cream on top of pie slices; drizzle with the caramel sauce.
Notes
Best eaten within 12-14 hours but who am I kidding...we've never had pie leftover that long...it's great for breakfast the next day!

Comments

    • Creative Culinary says

      I used to love cakes more than pies but things change…now I love both! Hey, make it for YOU…you deserve it.

  1. says

    I loved this post! Regurgitating had me in stitches and yes I remember the olden days when stores closed on holidays! I would pick pecan pie over pumpkin too. What a relief to have an alternative to the dreaded Karo too! Your pie sounds wonderful, would love a piece right now!
    Jayne Most Recent Post: Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot soup

  2. says

    Poor dog! naughty dog too. Recently I caught Charlie headed out the door with a huge pork belly that he’d gotten off the counter while I dashed to the shelves to get a pan. He’s a little dog – how he got up there to get that meat I’ll never know. Thankfully he does a good, “drop!” and dinner was saved. I did wash it well. :)

    I’m intrigued by this precooking in this pie. I must try it because it looks amazing.
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

    • Creative Culinary says

      She was such a good, sweet, wonderful dog we couldn’t even get mad at her…especially since she was pretty pathetic all day long. I think the precooking just creates a hard to describe but better result! Easy still though if you ask me!

    • Creative Culinary says

      It’s not cheap here either but at least Costco carrying it helps. I treasure and dole it out so this was a big deal!

  3. says

    I am with you– pecan pie is fabulous and there is no need for pumpkin. I made pumpkin pie for a friend this year but skipped the pecan since I knew I’d eat the whole thing– my husband doesn’t like pecan pie. My mistake! I should have made the pie and enjoyed every last crumb too! I’ll do it at Christmas for sure.
    Holly Most Recent Post: Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • Creative Culinary says

      I thought I would get shot down over that admission Holly but instead it seems I am not alone. I didn’t need a hubs to make this pie…so make it for you even though you have one. That’s only fair sometimes, right?

    • Creative Culinary says

      That it does…even wished I could think of a place I have a photo of that dog. I adore Abbie…she and Heather were equally loved even if a generation in dog years apart.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Sort of my thoughts too…but she was only a 45 lb dog; shows you they don’t have the sense to stop but do have the sense to choose pecan over pumpkin! :)

  4. says

    Aww! I can just see that poor, sick dog after the delight of devouring such an amazing pie and you trying to round up all the ingredients for your “do over” pie. I adore pumpkin pie but for me, pecan is the ultimate pie! I have a recipe I’ve always made but yours with the toasted pecans and hints of maple make me want to give it a try. This sounds wonderful and I just want to stick my finger in the maple whipped cream and caramel sauce. Yum!!
    Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Sinful Cinnamon Muffins – #MuffinMonday

    • Creative Culinary says

      She was pathetic I won’t deny. Funny how the whole scene..Heather, the pie, Thanksgiving…they come rushing back every fall. I’m only sorry it wasn’t the digital age…would love to have included a photo of Heather but it would have required that I first figure out where they could be and then dig through hundreds to find one. She was a gorgeous dog…even after stealing a whole pie!

  5. says

    I can’t believe that the dog ate an entire pie and lived to tell about it. Heather is one lucky pooch.

    Looking at this dessert, I can see why it would be snatched off the counter! An act not totally reserved for those four-legged lovers of sweets. It’s a beautiful looking pie and I love the addition of the maple syrup over the ice cream too.
    Paula Most Recent Post: Snow Figures Cookie Trio

    • Creative Culinary says

      I know, right? The part that has always killed me is once feeling better she wanted more! I still can’t eat what used to be a favorite salad dressing after getting sick after a dinner over 25 years ago!

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