Editor’s note: Colonie is killing it, bringing friendly but elevated bistro fare to Brooklyn Heights, a neighborhood notorious for its dearth of dining options. Executive Chef Brad McDonald is a veteran of some of the city’s (and the planet’s) finest kitchens, including Ducasse, Per Se, and Copenhagen’s Noma. For Thanksgiving, he shares his dad’s pecan pie recipe.
By Brad McDonald, Executive Chef at Colonie
For me, growing up in Mississippi, Thanksgiving meant one thing, and one thing only: pecan pie. On my Grandmother’s property there was an ancient grove of pecan trees from which we would harvest the nuts. In my mind these trees were epic, 5 feet in diameter and sky scraping. It was our tradition, my Father’s and mine, to collect the nuts and then make a whole slew of pies to take to friends, neighbors and my schoolteachers, but the final batch was saved to take to my Grandmother’s house for our big family feast.
My Dad’s recipe is very basic, but there’s one technical method (finely chopping the pecans so that when they rise to the surface they form a nice nougatine-like chewy contrast to the custard base) and one ingredient choice (using dark corn syrup over lite, a choice that clearly screams of our love of sorghum molasses and unrefined sugar in the South) that sets this recipe apart. It’s because of these two personal touches that I never choose to change it, but I know it would take nicely to the addition of chocolate and/or cinnamon to taste should one care to do so.
Use a 3-2-1 pie dough recipe if you want to make your own, or save a minute and buy from the freezer section at your local grocer.
- 3 whole Eggs
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 5T Butter – melted
- 1 cup Dark Karo Syrup
- 1 1/2 cups Pecans – crushed or pulse for 30 seconds in a food processor
- small pinch of salt
- Combine eggs, sugar, syrup, and salt and mix well to combine.
- Stir in melted butter and crushed pecans.
- Pour into crust.
- Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes.
Colonie is located at 127 Atlantic Avenue, between Hicks and Henry, on the border between Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. Keep an eye out for a new restaurant from Brad and the Colonie crew, set to open in DUMBO in the coming months.
For more on Brad’s journey through the upper echelons of kitchen culture, here’s our conversation: Colonie Culture: Chef Brad McDonald Dishes on Kitchen Characters and The Meaning of Great Cuisine