This Pecan Pie is rich and flavorful, with a deliciously smooth and creamy filling, plenty of toasted pecans, and no corn syrup.
How to Make Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup
There are two reason that corn syrup is traditionally used to make pecan pie:
- Corn syrup acts as a kind of glue that holds the filling together and helps it "set". Sweeteners like maple syrup or sorghum syrup are thinner than corn syrup which can create a runny pie.
- Corn syrup helps prevent sugar crystals from forming, ensuring that the filling of the pie is smooth and creamy.
The super simple solution to a creamy, beautifully set pecan pie without corn syrup is to add a bit of flour and apple cider vinegar. That's it!
Just by adding 1 ½ tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of vinegar you can ditch the corn syrup and use sorghum or maple syrup instead. Not only will you end up with smooth, creamy, deliciously thick slices of pecan pie, the pie will TASTE BETTER.
Don't we just love a good win-win situation?
This recipe calls for sorghum syrup or maple syrup. Both are delicious, and better in pretty much every way than corn syrup, but if I had to choose one over the other, I'd reach for sorghum syrup.
What is Sorghum Syrup?
Sorghum syrup used to be a commonplace ingredient in the US - especially in the south. It became more rare with the introduction of cheeper (but flavorless and nutrition-less) corn syrup. Boo!
Sorghum syrup is made by cooking down the juice of sweet sorghum cane. The flavor is rich, complex, a bit sour, and transforms the traditionally super sweet pecan pie into something that tastes more like dark caramel.
The biggest problem with sorghum syrup is that it can be difficult to find. Most of the sorghum syrup produced in this country is limited to small-batch producers with local distribution channels.
In some areas you can find it at your local supermarket or specialty food store. But most of us will need to order it online.
Three Secret Ingredients that Make This Pie Ultra Creamy and Not too Sweet
Ok. These 3 ingredients are only "secret" in the sense that no one will guess they are in there. They'll just know it's the creamiest, most flavorful slice of pecan pie they've ever had.
- Sour Cream
- Apple cider vinegar
I had the idea of adding sour cream to pecan pie after reading a French walnut tart recipe. The filling for the tart was very similar to American pecan pie but also included crème fraîche.
Crème fraîche is simply cream that has been thickened and "soured" by the growth of bacterial cultures. It's extremely similar to sour cream, the only differences being fat content (sour cream has less) and the intensity of the sour flavor (sour cream has more).
I thought that a bit of sour cream might balance out the sweetness of pecan pie and make the filling extra creamy, and that's exactly what happened.
The combination of sour cream with just 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar creates a, smooth, ultra creamy filling with a balanced level of sweetness that is so very delicious.
And let's not forget the salt
If you've been around here before, you know that I think that most dessert recipes do not include enough salt. Salt does MUCH more than make foods taste salty.
Salt makes ingredients taste more like themselves. It intensifies their flavor. This is just as important in sweet treats as it is in savory dishes.
The filling for this pie calls for an entire teaspoon of salt. Trust me. When you consider how much sugar is in there, this is not too much. PLUS, I like to sprinkle a bit more salt over the top of the pie right after it's finished baking.
I sprinkled the top of the pie in these photos with a bit of smoked salt from the Prince William Sound Salt Company and OMG. It's amazing. Highly recommended.
Like really. If you can get your hands on some smoked salt you should because it's positively delicious sprinkled over veggies, but it's TO DIE FOR sprinkled over pecan pie.
How to Know When Pecan Pie is Done Baking
To know when your pie is done baking, give it a gentle shake. You should see a little jiggle in the center, kind of like Jell-O, but the edges of the pie should appear stable and set.
If, when you give the pie a shake, the filling appears to flow in a wavy movement from the center to the edges, the filling is not quite set and needs to bake for a bit longer.
The other indication that your pecan pie is done baking is puffiness around the edges of the pie, near the nicely browned crust.
When your pie is done baking, take it out of the oven and place it on a wire rack. The filling will continue to cook and fully set as the pie cools.
How to Store and Freeze Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The flavor of pecan pie is best at room temperature, so if it's been in the refrigerator for a while, let it sit out on the counter for an hour or so before serving.
The pie can also be frozen, which makes it a fantastic make-ahead Holiday dessert. Here's how to freeze this pecan pie:
- After baking, allow the pie to cool completely at room temperature.
- Wrap it tightly. I usually wrap it in a couple layers each of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- The pie will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Allow the pie to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- At least 2 hours before serving, remove the pie from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
Pecan Pie FAQs
A: My favorite pie crust to use for this pecan pie is Foolproof Pie Crust because it is flavorful, flaky, and truly foolproof.
A: Absolutely! Walnuts, of course, are an obvious alternative to pecans. But, my favorite substitution is roasted almonds. Honestly, I've made this with almonds and I like it even more than with pecans. Other good options include hazlenuts or macadamia nuts.
A: This pie is so flavorful it really doens't need anything to go with it. Having said that, I'd never turn down a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream!
Vanilla, maple, or butter pecan ice cream are the perfect compliment to slices
of this pie. I also love to serve this pie with maple whipped cream - see this recipe for Maple Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream.
More Popular Pie Recipes:
- Maple Pumpkin Pie
- German Apple Pie
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie
- Homemade Blueberry Pie with Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
- 1 bottom pie crust - my favorite pie crust recipe: Fool Proof Pie Crust
- 8oz (1 ¾ cups) pecan halves
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup (2oz) sour cream
- ½ cup (106g) light or dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cups (14oz) sorghum syrup or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon (1oz) butter, melted
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ tablespoon (11.25g) flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Roll out and fit a bottom pie crust into a pie plate, shaping the edge of the crust so it comes at least ½-inch over the top of the edges of the pie plate. You'll find instructions in this post for how to roll out and fit a pie crust into a pie plate.
- Follow these instructions to prepare a partially baked pie crust, and let cool. This can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time.
- Put the pecans in a dry skillet and set it over medium heat. Let the pecans toast, stirring from time to time, until they are darker in color and starting to smell toasty. Watch them carefully; they burn easily. Dump them out onto a plate and let cool completely.
- Heat the oven to 350 degres.
- Crack the eggs into a medium size bowl and beat with a wire whisk until they are broken up and blended. Whisk in the sour cream, stirring until completly incorporated.
- Add both sugars, sorghum or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, melted butter, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Mix the flour and salt together in a small bowl, add to the batter and, whisk until completely incorporated. Stir in the toasted pecans.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake for 50-60 minutes. To know if the pie is done, gently shake the pie plate. If the center jiggles slightly, like Jell-O, but the edges are stable and set, the pie is done.
- Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the top with a light dusting of coarse ground sea salt or smoked sea salt (see note below).
- Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving. Store the pie at room temperature for up to 8 hours; refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Sprinkling the top of this pie with sea salt:
A bit of coarse ground sea salt sprinkled over the top of this pie creates a delicious sweet and salty flavor that I love.
I sprinkled the top of the pie in these photos with a bit of smoked salt from the Prince William Sound Salt Company and OMG. It's amazing. Highly recomended.
Vanilla, maple, or butter pecan ice cream are the perfect compliment to slices of this pie. I also love to serve this pie with maple whipped cream - see this recipe for Maple Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 506mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 5g