While it’s often difficult to improve on a classic (and pecan pie is certainly a classic!) sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little different, and in those instances you'll need some creative recipe ideas. You can update the traditional recipe by adding some complementary flavors or by changing the way you bake it. Here are some creative ideas for pecan pie “plus.”
I cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups pecans
1 unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust and bake on center rack for fifty-five minutes, or until center is firm but springy to the touch. Let cool for two hours.
You can swap out one cup of the pecans for other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts to get a different flavor and texture. If you're using almonds, try adding two tablespoons of amaretto or other flavored liqueur and one half teaspoon almond extract to the filling. If you decide to use walnuts, try using light brown sugar instead of white sugar and then add one half teaspoon of cinnamon to the filling. You can also add some cinnamon to the whipped cream, too, for extra spice.
For a butterscotch taste, omit the butter and use one quarter cup heavy whipping cream instead. If you’d like to add some chocolate to your pecan pie, melt two ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in with butter, or sprinkle a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate on the pie crust before carefully spooning filling over the top. For a crunchy texture, sprinkle chopped toffee instead of chocolate. To add a fruit flavor, try swapping out preserves for the corn syrup and omitting the vanilla. With pecans, try peach preserves; with almonds, cherry preserves, or with walnuts, apple butter.
If you love the flavor of traditional, unadulterated pecan pie but still want something different, try turning the whole thing upside down! In a cast iron skillet, melt twelve tablespoons butter, ½ cup honey, and one cup light brown sugar over medium heat and bring to a boil. Let boil for four minutes. Stir in four cups pecan halves and ¾ cup of heavy cream and boil for three more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about a half hour. Position rack on the top third of oven and preheat to 425°.
Using a spoon, gently pull mixture away from the sides of the pan. Lay crust over top, tucking in edges of pastry along edges of pan. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake for thirty minutes more, or until juices start bubbling up on the sides. Remove from oven and allow to cool for twenty minutes to a half hour. Once cool, invert onto a plate. Be careful; caramel is hot! If pie doesn’t release easily from the pan, heat on stovetop for twenty or thirty seconds to loosen. Serve warm and enjoy!