Late Winter: Perfect Pecan Pie

Earlier this week a cold rain forced me to be indoors for a day, so I used the time to finish up some late winter tasks. Tedious jobs like picking out pecans. And I mean local homegrown pecans. Six decades ago, my parents planted a small grove of pecan trees in their yard, which, over time created a shaded canopy around the house. Whether it was intentional or not, pecans became a big part of my upbringing. For as long as I can remember, the trees have produced a surplus of tasty nuts. To this day, my resilient mother, eighty something, continues to be the main force in retrieving the pecans off the ground. Thanks to her, I learned quickly that the secret to getting the nuts out of the shell is to first bring them to a full rolling boil on the stovetop before cracking them open with a hammer. I'm not certain this trick is well-known, but I like to think it does simplify the process. Of course, I didn't stop with just picking out the pecans. I made a pie, and while I personally have not always been a fan of pecan pie, it is my husband's favorite. And my father-in-law's favorite. So I make pecan pie for them. And what I didn't use in the pie went straight into the freezer for later use. What follows is my favorite recipe. Can't you just taste it? Here's to pecans and the almost end of winter. Cheers!

Perfect Pecan Pie

1 (9-inch) basic pastry crust, unbaked

1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2 Tbsp. bourbon

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 3/4 cups pecans

Prepare basic pie pastry and set aside. In a large bowl combine dark corn syrup and next 7 ingredients; beat well, using a hand mixer, until combined. Place pecans in pastry crust; pour syrup mixture over top of pecans. Bake in a hot 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. Remove pie from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Makes 1 pie.