Texas State Fair Pecan Pie


This extraordinarily rich and sweet pecan pie was the winner at the 1996 State Fair of Texas pie competition, which chef Dean Fearing helped judge. "Out of 140 pies, this one was it," he says. "Her name was Bobby Lee; she never told me her last name."

Texas State Fair Pecan Pie
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
1 (10-inch) pie


Pie Shell

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water


  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (5 1/2 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • Unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving


  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the ice water and pulse until the pastry is evenly moistened. Turn it out onto a work surface and knead two or three times, just until it comes together. Form the pastry into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry 1/8-inch thick; transfer into a deep 10-inch glass pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold the edge of the pastry under and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork in a few places. Freeze for 30 minutes.

  3. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edge. Remove the paper and weights and bake the shell for 15 minutes longer, or until it is lightly golden. Leave the oven on.

  4. In a pie plate, toast the pecans for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.

  5. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, milk, flour, vanilla seeds, and salt. Cook over moderate heat just until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

  6. In a heatproof bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually whisk in the hot sugar mixture until thoroughly blended. Spread the toasted pecans in the bottom of the pie shell and pour the filling on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the center is just barely set and the crust is golden brown. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool completely. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Make Ahead

The pie can be baked up to 1 day ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature. The pie shell can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month.

Suggested Pairing

A Muscat's citrus and honey notes will accent the flavors in this pie.

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