This pecan pie tastes like the classic Thanksgiving staple, but it's made minus the corn syrup. Thanks to equal parts brown sugar and maple syrup, the filling still tastes wonderfully sweet. Enjoy a slice on its own or topped with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
For the crust: Pulse the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor until combined, about 8 times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal with pea-size bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times more. If the dough is very dry, add up to 1 tablespoon of cold water. Pulse again until the dough starts to clump together and there is no visible flour, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disk and wrap it with the plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Tuck the excess dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is flush with the rim. Crimp the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
For the filling: Meanwhile, arrange oven racks in the center and lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake on the center rack until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reserve 15 pecans, then roughly chop the rest.
Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and bake on the center rack until the dough is dry and set around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment and beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is light golden brown all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
While the crust is baking, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, bourbon, if using, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and, stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (If the crust has cooled at this point, return it to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through.) Whisk the eggs into the filling until smooth, then pour the filling into the warm crust. Top with the reserved pecans.
Bake on the lower rack until the filling is set around the edges but still slightly loose in the center, 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges of the crust begin to get very dark, cover them loosely with foil.) Cool on a wire rack completely before serving.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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