GoProvidence.com and the Providence Journal bring you Small Bites: Easy-to-Digest Recipes. Christmas is right around the corner, and we have you covered for the perfect dessert to bring. Pastry Chef Matthew Petersen from the Newport Restaurant Group and Castle Hill Inn shows us how to make the perfect pecan pie, from the made-from-scratch shell to the fresh filling. This pie is sure to be (almost) as good as your mother's.

Matthew Petersen's Pecan Pie

For the Pie Dough:

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

- 3/4 teaspoon salt

- 3/4 teaspoon sugar

- 3/4 cup butter

- 7-8 tablespoons ice water

- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 For the Filling:

- 2 tablespoons sugar

- 2 tablespoons flour

- 1 cup corn syrup

- 1/2 cup molasses

- 3 whole eggs

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- 3 tablespoons butter, melted

- 3 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped

To Make the Pie Dough: Combine flour, salt and sugar in large bowl, scatter the butter in chunks over the top.

Using a pastry blender, or by rubbing the mixture between your fingers, quickly cut or rub the butter into the ingredients until it is in pieces no larger than a walnut but no smaller than a pea.

Mix the water and the lemon juice together and sprinkle half over the butter mixture. Using your hands, lightly toss the mixture to incorporate the water. Do not overwork the dough or the butter will begin to melt. Continue to add water in small amounts until the dough is rough but pliable and just holds together when pressed to the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough and shape into a 6-inch disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate overnight.

Roll and shape into desired pie shell, there will be excess.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Make the Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place chilled pie shell on a baking sheet and line the crust with lightly oiled parchment paper or foil, and fill with baking weights or beans. Blind bake the crust until lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and flour; whisk together. Add the corn syrup and molasses; mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, salt and vanilla, mixing until smooth and well incorporated. Stir in the melted butter.

Spread one half of the pecans in an even layer on the bottom of the pie crust and pour the filling over them. Sprinkle the remaining pecans over the filling.

Bake until the filling is just slightly wobbly in the center, 45-50 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Garnish with a sprinkle of salt if desired and serve at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

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