Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pecan Pie: Who Needs Corn Syrup?

Thanksgiving, at least at my house, is not the time for the joy of discovery, but for the pleasure of the familiar. It's all about tradition and so every year we have both pecan and pumpkin pie (and also fallen chocolate soufflee cake for the family pie haters).
The pecan pie recipe I use is one by American food writer extraordinaire, outlaw cook John Thorne.  And I like it so much, I'm sticking with it, instead of trying one of the several in my hand-written recipe collection.
Lyle's Golden Syrup is an excellent replacement for corn syrup.  
Ever since corn syrup became the devil a few years ago, everyone has been looking for a viable replacement for this key ingredient in pecan pie. These discussions are all over the internet and can occupy one for hours on end, until you manage to pull yourself away from the computer, right before mental exhaustion prevents any baking at all.

But never fear, for in the midst of one of these discussions, someone posted this beauty from John Thorne. I've never looked back.  And you won't either.  It uses Lyle's Golden Syrup, a delicious sugar syrup made in England, but increasingly available here in the US.

My Pecan Pie

1 well-packed cup full-flavored brown sugar
Scant 2/3 cup golden syrup
2 T dark rum
4 T unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/4 t. salt
2 cups broken pecan meats
9-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large saucepan, heat the brown sugar, golden syrup and butter to the boiling point.  Stirring constantly and scraping back any foam that clings to the side of the pan, let this mixture boil for about 1 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool while, in a separate bowl, you beat the eggs until creamy.
When the boiled syrup has cooled, beat in the eggs, salt and pecans.  Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake for about 50 minutes.   If the crust browns too quickly, make an aluminum foil "crown" and place it atop the crust.

Fine tuning:
Adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream into the filling before baking makes for a richer, lighter texture.
For a sweeter, lighter pie, add more sugar and fewer pecans; for a denser less sweet pie, add more pecans and use less sugar.


  1. thanks for this, susan. i have stayed away from pecan pie--which i love--precisely because of the "corn syrup problem". where did you buy the golden syrup?

  2. @Peggy: Luckily for you, I believe that the bodega on the corner of 7th Avenue and 11th Street has it. Otherwise there's always Fairway. Oh, and Union Market.
    @Barbara: For you, Fairway, unless you want to head over to the south Slope (see above). The late great Laurie Colwin first turned me on to Lyle's; back then, it was nearly impossible to fine and I mail-ordered it (pre-internet)! So worth it.

  3. oh my goodness. your blog just keeps getting more and more delicious.

  4. I am so excited to make this Thursday

  5. I made this myself on Thursday morning and realized there's no instruction for adding the rum. I would do it while the mixture is cooking, but having forgot, I added one T. after the mixture was cooked, and it was just fine, but you can really taste the rum. Not that there's anything wrong with that!