This recipe makes a perfect best pecan pie. By that I mean a balanced sweet flavor, lots of toasted pecans, and the pie slices beautifully into wedges, looking just like pictures of pecan pie in a cookbook.
The method is a bit unusual, but it's not difficult to make.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place unbaked pie crust in freezer until ready to bake. Then line pie crust with aluminum foil and pie weights or dried beans. Bake pie shell until set, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Remove the foil and weights and bake 2-3 minutes longer until crust is just beginning to brown on the edges.
3. As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; mix in sugars and salt with wire whisk until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in corn syrup and vanilla.
5. Place saucepan over very low heat. Cook and stir constantly with wire whisk until mixture is very warm and thickened, about 6-7 minutes. You have to stir constantly with a whisk so the mixture cooks evenly and the eggs don't scramble on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl using a medium mesh strainer (this is important to remove any cooked egg!), then stir in the chopped pecans.
6. Pour the hot pecan mixture into hot pie crust. Place large pecan halves on top of the filling in a decorative pattern.
7. Bake the pie until center feels set but soft when touched with your finger, and moves slightly when the pie is gently jiggled, about 40-55 minutes. You may need to cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent over-browning, or cover the top of the pie with foil so it doesn't get too brown.
8. Transfer pie to wire rack and let cool completely, at least 5 hours. Best eaten within 12-14 hours.