Runny Pie, you are making me crazy.
November 23, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Why did my pecan pie get runny?

I love pecan pie - I consider it to be the pinnacle of human endeavor. Over the years I've made a lot of them. This year, for the first time I made them using Steen's instead of corn syrup and the taste was worth the extra hassle and expense. A more complex sweetness, earthier. Really really good. BUT...

My pies were sort of runny. They were a lot runny.

I followed the recipe on the Steen's can (pretty standard recipe - eggs, flour, salt, sugar, Steen's, pecans). Should I have cooked them longer? Shorter? Added more egg, or flour? A lil' bit of corn starch? Was it an issue with the cane syrup?
posted by dirtdirt to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Was the oven pre heated and hot enough? This happened to me last year and it was because we have a really crappy old oven and it doesn't really have a consistent hot temperature.
posted by whoaali at 10:00 AM on November 23, 2007

You didn't cook it long enough.
posted by electroboy at 10:07 AM on November 23, 2007

Pecan pies are really just a nutty variant of custard pies, so they're all about getting the egg to set. They have to stay in the oven until the edges are completely set and solid, but the middle still jiggles a little (like jello) if you shake the pan. It's 30-ish minutes in an oven at 375 or so, as long as you start with room temperature eggs. Cold eggs toss everything out of whack - maybe that was part of the problem if the pies have turned out for you in the past? I haven't used Steen's, but reading their site, I don't think just changing the sweetener could have caused the problem.
posted by donnagirl at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2007

"... A lil' bit of corn starch? Was it an issue with the cane syrup?"
posted by dirtdirt at 9:56 AM PST

Commercial bakers, and other well known recipes, often call for dissolving up to the equivalent of 1 tblsp cornstarch in the melted butter or other liquid, before adding other ingredients to the mix, simply to gel the pie filling in case the filling is slightly watery.
posted by paulsc at 10:38 AM on November 23, 2007

Depending on where you are located, you might want to consider a "high-altitude" version of the same recipe. It can make a huge difference.

"...more butter, less brown sugar, and cooks at 325 instead..."

posted by Exchequer at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2007

All answers are good but I'm going with Donnagirl for best because I think in fact I took them out while they were still too jiggly. The stated amount of time had passed and I was in a hurry - pecan pies are always a bit jiggly when they come out, but I think I underestimated the jiggliness.

Good, new, hot, oven in Austin TX - basically sea level.

I may add a bit of corn starch next time, just to be safe.

Thanks all!
posted by dirtdirt at 4:49 PM on November 23, 2007

My pecan pie recipe has the filling stove-heated before going in the pie shell. This has turned our runny in the past, for no known reason. But my my my, it was especially good like that.

I've used cane syrups here in South Africa, in substitution for corn syrup, without problems. Corn syrup isn't available, since we grow cane down here. (but not for pecan pie, which I haven't made here)
posted by Goofyy at 4:35 AM on November 24, 2007

I wouldn't bother with the cornstarch. If the recipe is consistently coming out too runny, you need more egg. Like donnagirl said, it is a custard and a custard gels from the egg. Try just an extra yolk first since it may do the trick and it's the tasty bit anyway. Cornstarch may give your pie an odd texture.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:33 AM on November 27, 2007

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