From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Holiday Pies
Pecan pies can be overwhelmingly sweet, with no real pecan flavor. And they too often turn out curdled and separated. What’s more, the weepy filling makes the bottom crust soggy and leathery. The fact that the crust usually seems underbaked to begin with doesn’t help matters. We wanted to create a recipe for a not-too-sweet pie with a smooth-textured filling and a properly baked bottom crust.
We tackled this pie’s problems by using brown sugar and reducing the amount, which helped bring out the pecan flavor. We also partially baked the crust, which kept it crisp. We found that it’s important to add the hot filling to a warm pie crust as this helps keep the crust from getting soggy. In addition, we discovered that simulating a double boiler when you’re melting the butter and making the filling is an easy way to maintain gentle heat, which helps ensure that the filling doesn’t curdle.
Chop the toasted pecans by hand or the best texture; a food processor will grind them too small. The filling should be added to the pie shell right after it comes out of the oven. Therefore, start step 5 about 20 minutes after the pie shell goes in the oven.