Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Pecan Pie

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

Pecan Pie, chock-full of nuts, is a splurge that requires very little preparation time. However, you will need to plan for extra time at the gym after eating this mouthwatering dessert!

There are tons of recipe variations for a Pecan Pie. I’m sticking to a very classic recipe that calls for:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of pecans, (6 ounces)
  • 1 frozen pie crust, (9 inch.)

Many people use unsalted butter in their recipes. You actually have more control of the amount of salt in a recipe when you add your own. If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to this ingredient list.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. degrees and then get all of your ingredients measured before you begin mixing. In general, pre-measuring before you start to cook is a good habit to get into.

When measuring brown sugar always pack it into a dry measuring cup.

You can mix everything together with a whisk or a fork.

It should look like the photo below when everything is mixed together. Be sure there are no unmixed lumps of brown sugar.

Add the nuts

And give it a stir. The nuts will float to the surface. (Some recipes call for 2-to-3 times more nuts than my recipe.)

Set the frozen pie shell on a baking sheet with sides. Once the pie is cooked it will be MUCH easier to remove from the oven if it is on a baking sheet.

Now pour in the filling.

The pie is ready to go into your preheated oven.

Before you put it in the oven, cover the edges with a tin foil ring.

Normally you would cook a pie for about 15 minutes and then cover the edges. With pecan pie the crust gets too dark that way, so start with the edges covered. (See photo comparison at the bottom of this post.)

For about $4. you can buy reusable pie rings like the one on the pie in my oven.

As the pie cooks, it puffs up. This is normal. It will take about 40-45 minutes for the pie to bake.

To check for “doneness”, slide a small, sharp paring knife into the pie about 2 inches from the crust. It should come out clean. (If you have an “instant read” thermometer the internal temperature of the pie should reach 200 F. degrees.)

As the pie cools, it will slump down and the top will crack a bit.

I love Pecan Pie with vanilla ice-cream!



Below is a photo comparing the pie crusts. For the darker pie on the left, the tin foil went on 15 minutes into the baking time. It is too dark. For the one on the right, I put the tin foil on before putting it in the oven…and it’s perfect!

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Nutella Dessert Dip

print recipe card posted in Dairy, Sweets, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

This dip is like a fondue, but everyone gets their own dipping cup. That means “double dipping” is totally allowed!

The only two ingredients needed to make this recipe are Nutella (up to a whole 13 ounce jar, if you like) and heavy cream (1 cup.)

Spoon 8-to-13 ounces of Nutella into a microwave-safe glass measuring cup with a pour spout. (The pour spout will make this dish easier to serve.)

The more Nutella you use, the thicker your dip will be. Heat the Nutella in the microwave for 30 seconds on high.

Remove it from the microwave and set it aside for the moment.

Pour the cream into another microwave-safe glass measuring cup and heat that in the microwave, for approximately 30-45 seconds on high heat, or until very hot but not boiling.

Pour the cream into the Nutella…

…and whisk the two ingredients together

…until it is completely smooth and blended.

Pour the Nutella dessert dip into 8 small espresso cups…

…or mini, individual serving dishes.

Serve with biscotti or shortbread.

Double dipping is allowed!


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Pumpkin Pie for Beginners

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

Store-bought pie crusts are great for someone just learning how to cook. Making your own pastry can be challenging for a beginner cook. For this Pumpkin Pie recipe, you can just purchase a ready-made pastry crust from your grocer’s freezer. Do not defrost the pie crust. We are going to make the pumpkin filling and pour it right into the frozen crust.

The pumpkins shown above are part of my centerpiece arrangement. The pie is actually made with pumpkin from a can.

For the filling you will need:

Description of the Ingredients

Canned pumpkin is already cooked and pureed (mashed) so all you have to do is open the can and it is ready to use. Be sure to buy canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling in a can. (In the USA) canned pumpkin is not found in the canned vegetable aisle. It is actually sold with all the baking products – right near the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Who knew?

There is a HUGE difference between sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. This recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk.

Evaporated milk has no added sugar and is slightly thicker and richer than regular milk. (I used it to make my Pumpkin Soup and my Stove Top Mac and Cheese.) Sweetened condensed milk is very thick and very sweet. They are not interchangeable ingredients.

Evaporated Milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk

Pumpkin Pie Spice is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. It is easier and less expensive to buy one small jar of spice blend rather than four separate jars of spices. You can mix the leftover pumpkin pie spice with some sugar and sprinkle it on toast or cottage cheese. Or you could add it to Butternut Squash instead of cinnamon.

Let’s startcooking!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Be careful — that’s a really HOT oven! It will take about 15 minutes for your oven to get that hot. You are only going to cook your pie for 15 minutes at that temperature. You’ll then turn the oven down to 350 degrees, and continue cooking the pie for about another 30 minutes.

Crack two eggs into a medium bowl. (Check to make sure there are no shells in the bowl!)

Add to the bowl the canned pumpkin, the sweetened condensed milk, the pumpkin pie spice, and the salt.

Whisk everything together. It should get really well combined and look like the picture below when it is ready to all pour into the pie shell.

Set the unbaked, frozen pie shell on a baking sheet with sides. This is going to make it much easier to lift the pie in and out of the oven.

Pour the filling into the frozen pie shell.

The filling is going to come almost to the top edge.

Immediately put the pie into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.

When the timer goes off, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and reset the timer for 30 minutes.

You will also need to cover the edges of the pie with tin foil. Otherwise they will get way too browned.

You can buy a pie ring or make your own out of tin foil. My post on Pie Crust – Ready Made will show you how.


The way you check to see if the pie is ready to come out of the oven is to stick a knife into the pie about one inch in from the edge of the crust.

If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done. Depending on your oven you may need to continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before serving it. It will deflate slightly when cooled.

A great way to serve this pie is with a big dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a nice big squirt of cream from a can!


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