Perfect Pecan Pie

Photo by: James Ransom
To make the crust, in a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima bean-size pieces (three to five ... more 
Photo by: James Ransom
To make the crust, in a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima bean-size pieces (three to five 1-second pulses).
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Thu, Nov 15, 2012 5:42 PM EST

What makes a perfect pecan pie -- one worthy of the Thanksgiving table? We say: everything about this one.

>>RELATED: See our favorite pumpkin pie recipe, Meta Given's Pumpkin Pie.

Why? Because this recipe from Melissa Clark's wonderful cookbook Cook This Now is the essence of fall: all of the spiced, toasted, dark, and sweet notes of it. It calls for wholesome maple syrup (instead of the more traditional corn syrup), which you reduce until thick and infuse with a generous amount of spice. A splash of dark rum adds a little punch to the subtly smoky filling, and the crust is a sheer joy: tender and flaky, it's also supremely easy to handle.

It will definitely be on our Thanksgiving tables this year.

>>RELATED: Make perfect pie every time with our Pastry 101.

Melissa Clark's Spiced Pecan Pie with Star Anise

FOR THE PIE CRUST

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 to 5 tablespoons ice water

FOR THE FILLING

1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Demerara or raw sugar
8 whole star anise
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark aged rum
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Whipped cream or crème fraiche, for serving

See the slideshow for step-by-step instructions, and go here to save, print, or ask a question about this recipe on Food52.