Agee's Pecan Pie
Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
Afra Lineberry, Agee to her family, opened The Jerre Anne Bake Shoppe in St. Joe, Missouri, in 1930. It was the last stop on the trolley line. Conductors would leave their cars running while they ran into Agee’s for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. “It seems like I just always knew how to make a good pie crust. It may take a little practice for some, but the only time to get excited about a pie crust is when you’re eating it,” Agee used to say. The little shop grew to be a smashing success, and by 1990, with Geraldine Lawhon (Agee’s niece) running the place, it was selling 625 pies at Thanksgiving alone. Sadly, The Jerre Anne closed its doors in 2008. When you eat Agee’s pie, send your thanks heavenward.
These pies should be baked in 8-inch pie pans. We use the aluminum variety found in any grocery store—technically speaking they measure 8 3/4 inches. They are thin delicate pies with just the right amount of filling.
For the pie crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
For the pecan filling
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups pecan halves (not pieces)
For the pie crust, whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Blend in the butter and shortening with a pasty blender or a fork until crumbly. It should resemble fine pieces of grain. Sprinkle with 4–5 tablespoons ice water and toss lightly. Divide the dough evenly and form into 2 disks. Don’t overhandle. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Roll out one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface into an 1/8-inch-thick round. Roll dough loosely around the rolling pin and place in an 8-inch pie pan. Lightly press dough into the pan. Trim the excess dough from the edge with a sharp knife. Use your thumb and fore finger to crimp the edges. Repeat with remaining dough and the second pie pan.
For the pecan filling, preheat oven to 350°. Mix together the corn syrup, melted butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the salt, vanilla, and eggs, mixing well after each addition.
Arrange 1 1/2 cups of the pecans right side up in each unbaked pie shell, then gently pour in the filling. The pecans will float to the top. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer, Andrews McMeel 2012.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Total time: About 2 hours
Yield: Makes two 8-inch pies