How to bake a maple nut pie for Thanksgiving – Robb Report

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For three decades, author Dorie Greenspan has enchanted home cooks with her expert recipes. His latest cookbook, released in October, is his 14th and tackles the vast world of pastry. In Cooking with Dorie, the James Beard Award-winning author and journalist presents recipes inspired by her travels and her desire to revisit old classics. For Thanksgiving, she shares with Robb Report readers a new take on pecan pie that happened almost like a happy accident.


I wasn’t really planning on rocking a holiday classic, but when the bag I had in the freezer turned out to be walnuts and not pecans, I made the swap. I also made another change: I replaced the traditional pecan sweetener, corn syrup, with maple syrup, a natural nutty. The pie has a bumpy, slightly crispy top that I like in pecan pie. And the filling has that characteristic sweetness broken up by chunks of nuts. But the pie has additional pleasures: a welcome slight bitterness, because walnuts aren’t as sweet as pecans, and a bit of crunch, because fleshy walnuts retain their bite, such a delicious surprise. Of course, you can make this pie with pecans and / or corn syrup, if you like *, but I hope you will try this new combination.

Maple nut pie

Photo: Courtesy of Mariner Books

  • 1 9-inch pie shell, partially baked and cooled (or use a store-bought pie shell)
  • 0.75 hp. pure maple syrup
  • .5 ch. packaged brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1.5 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • .5 c. fine sea salt
  • .5 c. ground cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1.5 ch. nuts (halves or pieces)
  • Lightly sweet whipped cream or ice cream for serving (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F. Place the pan with the partially baked crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Combine syrup and brown sugar in a large bowl. One at a time, whisk the eggs, making sure each is well mixed before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla, salt and cinnamon, then the butter. Use a soft spatula, add the nuts and stir until coated. Pour the filling into the crust and press in the nuts with the spatula.

Slide the pie into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the pie for an additional 30-35 minutes, but examine the crust after 10 minutes. If it looks brown, cover it with foil. You want to bake the pie until it has puffed up to the center. It’s going to go up high and crack, and that’s good – it will stabilize in a few minutes as it cools. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Serve the pie with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

CONSERVATION: The pie is best the day it is made. If you have any leftovers, you can leave them covered at room temperature or chill them – they’re good, but different in every way.

A WORD ABOUT THE CRUST: You can finish the edge of the crust however you like, including flutes. Often times I just press the dough against the edge of the pie pan and then even cut it all around. Sometimes I decorate it by pressing the tines of a fork against the edges.

* TO MAKE A PECAN PIE: You can swap the maple syrup for light (my preference) or dark corn syrup, and pecans for the nuts. If you want to serve my hubby pecan pie, please add chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips; .5 ch. should do it.


Extract of Cooking with Dorie: sweet, savory and simple © 2021 by Dorie Greenspan. Photograph © 2021 by Mark Weinberg. Reproduced with permission from Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.


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