A semi-homemade, elevated recipe for pecan pie made with maple syrup, brown sugar and an added Indian touch with ground nutmeg. It’s an easy recipe using store-bought shortcut with refrigerated pie crusts that are easily available in the grocery stores. You can also make a whole large pie instead of mini pies.
An Indian Spin on is the Classic American Pecan Pie
As mentioned in my cookbook, spices are the cornerstone of Indian cooking, imparting the cuisine with its characteristic complex flavors. I incorporate a variety of spices, both whole and ground, in my cooking, whether it’s savory or sweet recipes. I often use my diverse spice collection to infuse non-Indian dishes with an Indian flair. One example of this is the classic American Pecan Pie.
When I started a new tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends after moving to the US, I discovered and immediately fell in love with pecan pie. These smaller, sweeter cousins of walnuts are native to the US and were completely new to me, as I had never encountered them while living in India.
My first bite of pecan pie left a lasting impression – I adored their crunchy texture and unique, buttery flavor. I believe it’s the interplay of pecan flavor and texture with the sweet, gooey filling and the flaky, buttery crust that makes this pie exceptionally delectable. It’s undoubtedly my absolute favorite pie, and Thanksgiving just doesn’t feel complete for me without it!
Mini Pecan Pies
A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at making the Southern US specialty pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. Since it was my very first attempt, I opted to make mini pecan pies instead of the traditional large ones. I found it easier to create smaller crust circles rather than a single large pie. Additionally, I appreciated the convenience of having individual servings prepared in advance for our Thanksgiving gathering, eliminating the need to slice a larger pie during the festivities. Their adorable size also adds a festive touch to the dinner table.
My Pecan Pie Recipe
I crafted my recipe by drawing inspiration from various sources, blending elements from both American and classic Southern US pecan pie recipes. Instead of using the typical light corn syrup found in most recipes, I opted for maple syrup. Maple syrup not only has a similar consistency but also offers a gorgeous golden hue and a richer depth of flavor. I’ve always enjoyed the magical combination of maple syrup and pecans, often indulging in maple syrup-drenched pancakes at a local brunch spot. In addition to maple syrup, I decided to replace another common ingredient in pecan pie recipes – granulated or regular sugar – with golden light brown sugar. This substitution elevated the pies with a delightful, smoky sweetness. After all, maple and brown sugar are another heavenly match that pairs beautifully with pecans.
Nutmeg-scented Pecan Pie
The Indian touch to the recipe comes from ground nutmeg that I like to stir into the filling. While nutmeg didn’t originate in India, it is used extensively in Indian cooking, in both sweet and savory dishes. In fact, nutmeg is one of the key spices that goes in the popular Indian spice blend, garam masala! Growing up, I saw mom use it in a lot of the traditional Maharashtrian desserts she made at home like the masala doodh,modak filling,basundi,shrikhand, etc. After I started cooking on my own, I gave nutmeg a dedicated spot in my spice cabinet and use it in my signature concoctions likecoconut almond laddoos,blackberry ice cream,puran poli galette,basundi panna cotta, to name a few.
American Pie with an Indian Touch
The sweet, woody aroma and warm, nutty flavor of nutmeg complement the two key ingredients in my pecan pie recipe: maple syrup and brown sugar. Nutmeg’s subtle bitterness provides a delightful contrast to the rich sweetness of maple syrup and the intense sugary notes of brown sugar. Just a pinch of ground nutmeg in the pie filling mixture adds a cozy, wonderful flavor that enhances and balances the sweetness from both the maple syrup and the brown sugar.
Give it a try! You’re gonna love this old fashioned American pie with an Indian touch!! I’ve linked a short video below that I put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.
In a medium mixing bowl, place the butter and melt it in the microwave oven in increments of 15 seconds. It should take about 4-5 cycles to melt the butter completely. Please do not heat for more than 15 seconds at a time otherwise the butter will explode inside the microwave oven.
To the melted butter, add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, a pinch of salt and pour in the maple syrup. Stir vigorously to combine everything well and also slightly cool off the warm butter.
Add in the 3 eggs and give it a good stir. Mix in the pecans and combine well. Set the filling aside until ready to use.
Making the Crusts
Grease 2 nonstick muffin or cupcake pans with cooking spray or use 1 pan and make the pies in 2 batches.
Sprinkle flour onto a work surface. Unroll pie crusts and use a rolling pin to spread out edges. Cut out circles into each pie crust using a 3.5 – 4 inch cookie cutter.
Gather the leftover pie crust after cutting the circles and roll it into a ball. Sprinkle flour on the surface and also on the dough ball. Roll it out and repeat the process till you use most of the crust. You should get about 24 circles in total.
Press the cut out crust circles into the greased muffin or cupcake pans.
Baking the Pies
Give the prepared filling a good stir as it may have separated. Fill each mini pie crust with approx. ¼ cup of the prepared filling. Remember to stir before every filling.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Cool down to room temperature in the pan before removing the pies from it. Using an offset baking metal spatula or a knife, gently loosen edges of the pies from the pan and lift each one out of the pan.
Serve at room temperature or warm up on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F (180 °C) for 5 minutes. You can also serve it topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (see Notes)
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours or in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Warm on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F (180 °C) for 5 minutes (10 minutes if frozen) before serving.
Substitute ground nutmeg with ground cinnamon or ground cardamom for a change.
Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.