Looking for a recipe for healthy Texas pecan pie? I grew up in Texas and I know pecan pie. But I wanted a a healthy Texas pecan pie. I swapped out the corn syrup with honey, grass-fed butter and cream. Not only is it much tastier, it's much better for you.
Nothing says Texas like pecan pie. Okay, that's not exactly true. I can think of lots of things that say Texas. Armadillos, longhorns, Willie Nelson, chili, pickup trucks and gun racks, two-stepping, and nachos (invented in Texas). Those all say Texas.
But real Texas pecan pie has got to be one of the very best things in my home state. Texans may not be modest but we do know good pecan pie (that's “PEE-can” in Texas).
And this healthy Texas Pecan Pie makes a delicious dessert for the holidays. This Christmas, I'm going home to Texas. I'll be getting our fill of Texas comfort food from my childhood: migas and Texas BBQ, pecan pralines, chili, quesadillas, and chicken fried chicken with fried okra, mashed potatoes and cornbread. And of course, Texas pecan pie.
Even Yankees love pecan pie. It happens to be my Jewish New Yorker husband's favorite, and his step-father's favorite. (Along with their lox and bagels.) I made this pie for them last Christmas, served with homemade vanilla ice cream. They gave it their hearty approval.
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie: Ingredients
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie Filling:
Large egg yolks, from pastured chickens, or free-range organic (4)
Honey (1/2 cup)
Organic cane sugar (1/2 cup)
Cream, organic, from grass-fed cows (1/4 cup)
Molasses (1 TBS)
Melted butter, grass-fed (2 TBS)
Sea salt (1 pinch)
Vanilla extract, organic or homemade — see my recipe for homemade vanilla extract
Raw pecans (1 1/2 cups)
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie: Equipment
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie: Instructions
(Optional) Soak and dry the nuts ahead of time:
1. Soak the nuts overnight (7-10 hours) in a mason jar filled with warm filtered water and a little sea salt.
2. Drain and rinse the nuts.
3. Spread on a baking sheet (use a Silpat mat if using an aluminum baking sheet) and dry in oven on the lowest heat setting or in your dehydrator for 12-24 hours.
Make the crust:
1. Follow the directions to make the pie crust. Blind bake it for 10-15 minutes then let it cool.
Make the filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Arrange the soaked and dried pecans, top sides up, in concentric circles, into the pie crust.
3. Set a medium saucepan on the stove on low heat. Add the egg yolks, honey, sugar, molasses, butter, cream and sea salt.
4. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon as you let mixture thicken (do not let it boil) for 7-10 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla and remove from heat.
6. Pour the mixture onto the pecans in the pie crust.
7. Cover lightly with a foil tent and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes
8. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting.
9. Serve with homemade whipped cream (cream whipped with a little maple syrup or honey and a pinch of sea salt) or homemade vanilla ice cream.
Healthy Texas Pecan Pie: Notes on This Recipe
I modified this pecan pie recipe from the pecan pie recipe in Rose Levy Beranbaum's wonderful and indispensable cookbook, The Pie and Pastry Bible. To make the recipe healthier, I replaced the corn syrup and brown sugar with natural unrefined sweeteners: honey, organic cane sugar, and molasses. I also use real butter and lard in my pie crust. No Crisco in this kitchen!
I used caramelized honey I found at a local beekeeper's stall at the farmer's market. Caramelized honey doesn't have the enzymes that raw honey has but since you're baking the pie, it does not matter. And caramelized honey has a richer, deeper flavor than raw honey. And like molasses, it is richer in minerals than regular honey. But you can use regular honey or raw honey.
I also used soaked and dried pecans. I soaked them overnight in warm filtered water with a little sea salt. Soaking nuts makes them more digestible, makes the nutrients more absorbable, and reduces the enzyme inhibitors naturally found in nuts.
You don't have to soak and dry the pecans — it's optional. If you do want to use soaked and dried pecans, make sure you give yourself an extra day to make this recipe.
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