I won't tell you that this pecan pie is healthy, but it's not unhealthy either! While it does have some brown sugar, it's naturally thickened and sweetened using Medjool dates instead of corn syrup! While it's great for Thanksgiving, I also love eating pecan pie all year long!
how to par bake pie crust
In order to get a super crispy, flaky pie crust I use a method call par baking. It literally means "partially bake" and it's a great way to get the crust to set before adding in a soupy filling like this pecan pie.
I use my perfect pie crust for this recipe, so you can also check out that blog post for all my pie making tips and tricks!
- Chill the pie crust in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking (if you skip this step, the pie crust will shrink). While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or heavy duty aluminum foil inside the pie crust and fill with pie weights* (uncooked rice or dry beans also work great).
- Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Carefully lift the parchment paper and pie weights then return the pie crust to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes until the bottom of the crust is just starting to brown.
- Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly while you prepare the filling!
pecan pie filling tips
Classic pecan pie uses corn syrup in the filling but the secret ingredient in this "healthy" pecan pie is Medjool dates! They help sweeten and thicken the filling and add incredible flavor! You can find Medjool dates in the produce section at most grocery stores and lately I've been getting mine in my Imperfect Foods box.
The most important step in making this pie is tempering the egg. I know that sounds scary, but I promise it's not that hard! Tempering just means that you'll slowly add a small amount of hot liquid to the beaten eggs so that the temperature rises slowly and they don't scramble (trust me, you don't want scrambled eggs in your pecan pie filling).
Once the filling mixture begins to boil, you'll remove about ¼ cup and place it into a glass measuring cup (the best for pouring hot liquid) and then slowly drizzle the syrup into the beaten eggs while whisking. Then you'll add the warm egg mixture back into the rest of the syrup. Easy peasy!
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Pecan Pie (with NO corn syrup!)
- Prepare one half of my perfect pie crust recipe according to directions. Form a disk and place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the pie dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to about ¼ inch thick and about 2 inches wider than your pie pan. Roll the pie crust into the pie pan and be sure to poke the bottom a few times with a fork to allow air to escape during baking. Cut away any undesired excess crust and crimp, curl, or decorate the edges however you like!
- Chill the pie crust in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking (if you skip this step, the pie crust will shrink). While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or heavy duty aluminum foil inside the pie crust and fill with pie weights (uncooked rice or dry beans also work great).
- Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Carefully lift the parchment paper and pie weights then return the pie crust to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is just beginning to brown.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and heavy cream in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar.
- Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes while stirring frequently. Carefully spoon about ¼ cup of the mixture into a glass measuring cup to temper the egg.
- Whisk the egg in a small heat-safe bowl and slowly drizzle the ¼ cup of syrup into the egg as you continue to whisk (whisk continuously so that the egg doesn't scramble). Once the egg and ¼ cup of syrup are fully combined and smooth, then pour back into the syrup mixture and stir until combined.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Medjool dates, pecans, and cinnamon. Pour the filling evenly over the par baked pie crust. If desired, add more pecans on top.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. If the top begins to get too brown, loosely cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature before slicing. Top with flaky sea salt if desired.
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