Step-by-Step: How to Make Pecan Pie

An American classic, perfected. [Photographs: Vicky Wasik; Food Stylist: María del Mar Sacasa]

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In the Holy Trinity of Thanksgiving desserts, apple pie may be the big daddy, while pumpkin pie is dressed up under that white sheet as the Holy Ghost, but it's pecan pie that can claim the title of the Son. Simple, comforting, easy to love, and completely down-to-earth.

Unlike other Thanksgiving pies, pecan pie doesn't require a par-cooked filling, and the whole thing can be done with a single bowl. Just whisk together a gooey custard of eggs, corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla—pecan pies don't even have spices in them to adulterate their comforting, butterscotch-like sweetness—pour it over chopped toasted pecans in a chilled pie shell (no need to par-bake), add some whole pecans on top, and bake it. That's it.

Of course, once you get the basics down, you're free to start experimenting a little bit. More eggs will make for a firmer custard. Replacing some of the corn syrup or honey with molasses will give the pie a deeper, slightly bitter flavor. Adding more nuts will make it, well, nuttier.

You can grab the recipe here, or jump straight to the step-by-step photo guide here.