How to Give Your Pecan Pie a Makeover

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How to Give Your Pecan Pie a Makeover
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How to Give Your Pecan Pie a Makeover

Read on to learn how to make the best pecan pie.

The Alt Sweeteners

Old-fashioned sweeteners like the ones Day uses for her pecan pie are having a revival as bakers look beyond white sugar. The versions below offer not just sweetness but also complex flavor.

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1. Sorghum Syrup

Made from sorghum-grass juice; fruity, tangy and almost leathery, with the highest ratio of overall flavor to pure sweetness.

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2. Cane Syrup

Made by boiling sugarcane juice in open kettles until it thickens and begins to taste a bit like caramel; has a long history in the South.

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3. Dark Corn Syrup

Has much more character than light corn syrup, evoking brown sugar, though it’s still relatively neutral in flavor compared to syrups like sorghum.

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4. Honey

Intensely floral as well as more sugary-sweet than the syrups above.

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By Sarah DiGregorio

Of the three essential Thanksgiving pies—pumpkin, apple and pecan—pecan is the most polarizing. Some people look forward to it all year, while others find it way too sweet. But Cheryl Day of Savannah, Georgia's Back in the Day Bakery makes a pecan pie to convert the naysayers. It tastes like dark caramel, toasted nuts and a little bit of bourbon—not just sweetness. Her fix: She doesn't use the traditional light corn syrup. Instead, she turns to less-refined alternatives that used to be common in the South, like sorghum, sugarcane and dark corn. These syrups (and honey, too) transform pecan pie into a dessert of deep flavor complexity. Day's recipe works with any one of them.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how to give your pecan pie a makeover.

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