Category Archives: maple

Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel CornI’ve got maple syrup on my mind, y’all! Last week, it was in the form of a Maple Layer Cake. Today, it’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn!Salty Maple Caramel CornY’all—this stuff is phenomenal. Phe-nom-e-nal. Crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty. Oh, and easy. Salty Maple Caramel Corn comes together in four simple steps.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Pop some popcorn.

I pop my popcorn in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Just heat a tablespoon of oil with a few kernels in it over medium heat. When they start popping, add the rest of the kernels, put a lid on it and jostle until all your corn is popped!Salty Maple Caramel Corn

I used Pop-Secret Jumbo Popping Corn in all my testing. I found that 3/4 cup unpopped kernels usually yielded 12 cups of popcorn, but I know that other brands act differently. I’ve seen some that purport to make 16 cups from 1/2 cup kernels! Basically, what I’m saying is to measure your popped popcorn to make sure you have the necessary 12 cups for this recipe 🙂 Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Make the salty maple caramel.

This is one of the easiest caramels you will ever make. There is no pot-watching or streaming heavy cream into molten sugar. You don’t need a candy thermometer either!

Just put sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter, and water in a pot and boil for five minutes. Don’t stir, swirl, or otherwise agitate the pot in any way—this will lead to crystallization and sad, dull caramel corn. No, thank you! Just add the ingredients to the pot (without stirring) and turn on the heat. I promise you, the caramel will form properly on its own.

Once the boiling time is up, turn off the heat. Stir in some vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will bubble up once the baking soda dissolves.Salty Maple Caramel Corn
Two quick recipe notes:

  • I chose to use granulated sugar in this recipe, rather than the usual light brown sugar. While brown sugar is very delicious in caramel corn, I found that the molasses in it competed too much with the maple syrup. If I’m going to use pricey maple syrup in a recipe, I want to be able to taste it!
  • This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt. It will give the finished caramel corn a salty finish, but shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you think it’s too much for you, feel free to reduce it to 1-1 1/2 teaspoons.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Toss the salty maple caramel with the popcorn.

This sounds mindlessly easy, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

This recipe calls for tossing the popcorn and caramel together in a large oiled bowl with oiled silicone spatulas before spreading it onto oiled rimmed sheet pans. Don’t be tempted to skip the bowl and do the tossing on the pans. Many recipes recommend this, but I burned the everliving crap out of my hand using that method. If you think hot oil burns are the worst, it’s only because you haven’t experienced the unrelenting torture of a molted sugar burn.Salty Maple Caramel CornFor the same reasons, don’t touch any pieces of coated popcorn that fly out of the bowl during mixing. Wait until they cool for a few minutes before picking them up.Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Bake at a low temperature and stir occasionally.

This is the easiest of all the steps. Bake the coated caramel corn at 250F for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent burning. It’s a lot like making granola.Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornThe caramel corn will seem very wet at first, but will harden to a crispy, glossy finish. Once the hour is up, scatter the caramel corn onto a big piece of parchment and let it cool to room temperature. After that, snack away!Salty Maple Caramel CornYou’re going to love this Salty Maple Caramel Corn! It’s a great sweet & salty snack or dessert. I think it would make for a wonderful finishing touch on a bowl of ice cream. You could even pile it high as a finishing touch on a Maple Layer Cake!Salty Maple Caramel CornI highly recommend making a batch over the next couple of days. It’s a guaranteed way to upgrade your weekend ❤ Salty Maple Caramel Corn

Salty Maple Caramel Corn
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, maple syrup, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mixture will bubble up.

Pour maple caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve

Leftover Salty Maple Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.
Salty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel CornSalty Maple Caramel Corn

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Maple Layer Cake

Maple Layer CakeNotice anything different? I updated the look of this site on Wednesday afternoon!Maple Layer CakeI haven’t made any major aesthetic changes to this site since I started blogging almost three years ago. I mean, I’d thought about it on and off, but had never actually gone through with anything until two days ago. I’d love to say this was planned, but it absolutely was not. I just decided on a whim that it was time to change the theme and streamline a few things, so here we are.Maple Layer CakeNow, I’m not someone who makes many impulse decisions—I’m a big over-thinker—so changing the look of my blog is a pretty big deal for me. I still need to make a few formatting adjustments, but other than those, this look is here to stay.Maple Layer CakeAnother impulse decision I made recently? Baking this Maple Layer Cake! One minute, I thought “I should make a maple cake this fall,” and the next, I was whisking up batter and whipping buttercream.Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeMaple Layer Cake
Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeThat’s really something, considering that I was deep in the babka zone at the time, working on a recipe that I overthought to the point of making 18 (!) babkas.Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeMaple Layer CakeIn the midst of all that self-imposed craziness, this cake went from a one-off thought to a sparkling four-layer naked cake in the span of an afternoon. Isn’t it a stunner?!Maple Layer CakeThat’s not all! This cake tastes as good as it looks 🙂 Maple Layer CakeThere are 1 1/3 cups of pure maple syrup in the entire cake—in addition to the cake and fluffy buttercream, each buttery layer is torted (sliced in half equatorially) and brushed with the good stuff. There is absolutely no mistaking the flavor of this cake!Maple Layer CakeI’m sure I will continue to be an over-thinker for years to come, but if this Maple Layer Cake proves anything, it’s that it’s good trust my gut every now and then.Maple Layer Cake

Maple Layer Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk,* room temperature

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For Assembly:
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
sparkling sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and granulated sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining buttermilk.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Tap each pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Run a small, think knife around the edges, invert onto racks, and remove parchment. Allow cakes to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Beat in maple syrup, followed by heavy cream.

Assemble the cake. Use a serrated knife to slice cake layers equatorially so that you are left with 4 very thin layers. Place one layer, cut-side-up on a serving plate or cake stand. Brush layer with maple syrup. Top with a thin layer of frosting. Top with another thin layer of cake and repeat the brushing and frosting. Repeat layering process one more time. Top with the last remaining thin layer of cake, cut-side-down. Frost cake as desired. Top with sparkling sugar, if using.

Slice and serve. Leftover layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you may make a substitute. Place 2 tablespoons of vinegar (or lemon juice) in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk up to the 2 cup mark and stir. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until curdled. Continue with the recipe as written.

Maple Layer CakeMaple Layer Cake

Maple Spice Stars

Maple Spice StarsY’all…are these Maple Spice Stars beautiful or what?! I love all the colors, textures, and dimensions of the finished cookies, not to mention the flavors. With their sweet, spicy crunch and maple glaze, these little stars are as delicious as they are dazzling.

Maple Spice StarsThis dough is a maple spin on my classic gingerbread recipe. The biggest changes I made are that I intensified the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors, cut the white granulated sugar and, of course, that I swapped the traditional molasses for 2/3 cup of pure maple syrup 🍁🍁🍁 These changes produce a cookie with a “cleaner” spice flavor; unlike molasses, the maple syrup accentuates the spices instead of competing with them.

Maple Spice StarsOnce the maple spice dough is made, divide it into quarters and give it a chill. This helps with spreading, allows the flavors to meld, and keeps the dough from being too sticky to roll. That last part is super important. We want this dough to roll and cut like a dream!

Maple Spice StarsRoll the dough out until it’s 1/4-inch thick and cut the stars. Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, this could be a startling number of cookies–I ended up with eleven dozen 3-inch stars (that’s 132 cookies 😮). It’s a lot, but that means this recipe is perfect for cookie trays and food gifting. I highly recommend pairing a couple dozen of these sparkly stars with a box of tea; I like Tazo Wild Sweet Orange and Yogi Egyptian Licorice.

But back to the cookie dough…

Maple Spice StarsMaple Spice StarsBake the stars for 8 minutes, until they are starting to turn golden at the edges. They’ll crisp up as they cool.

Maple Spice StarsMaple Spice StarsMaple Spice StarsNext up, whisk together a simple maple glaze and give each cookie a quick dip. Lay them on cooling racks set over wax paper to contain any excess–you just want a thin layer.

Maple Spice StarsMaple Spice StarsMaple Spice StarsAs a final touch, top the glaze with a mixture of minced candies ginger and coarse sugar. This gives the finished cookies an extra hit of ginger flavor, not to mention how beautiful it makes them look. I love how these stars sparkle ✨✨✨

Maple Spice StarsMaple Spice Stars are some of my favorite holiday cookies ever to appear on this blog, and I have made a lot (*A LOT*) of holiday cookies over the last couple of years. They’re simple, elegant, and they give a nod to a classic without being totally traditional.

Maple Spice StarsOh, and they’re stupidly delicious. And when it comes to cookies, that’s what really counts, isn’t it?!

Maple Spice StarsLooking for more cut-out cookies? Try my Iced Sugar Cookies {Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies & Quick-Dry Royal Icing}, Gingerbread Men with Chocolate Buttons, Peppermint Mocha Cookies, and Red Velvet Cut-Out Cookies.

Maple Spice Stars
makes about 11 dozen 3-inch cookies

Cookies:
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade A dark amber/robust taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Garnish:
2/3 cup minced crystallized candied ginger
3 tablespoons coarse sugar (I like turbinado)

Glaze:
3 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4-5 tablespoons water

Make the cookies. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in brown sugar, followed by the maple syrup. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients in three installments, stopping frequently to scrape the bowl.

Divide dough into quarters. Wrap each quarter in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Flour a surface and a rolling pin.

Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap it, and roll it out on the floured surface. Dough may crack on the initial roll, but should become more pliable. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Dip the edge of a 3-inch cookie cutter in flour, then use it to cut out cookies. Re-roll scraps to get more cookies.

Bake cookies for 5 minutes. Rotate the pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front. Bake for another 3-4 minutes, until they are no longer wet-looking. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking with remaining dough, making sure to let the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Make the garnish. In a small bowl, toss together minced crystallized candied ginger and coarse sugar. Set aside.

Make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt, maple syrup, and 4 tablespoons of water until smooth. Add more water by the teaspoon, until the glaze is a drizzling consistency.

On a surface (or a few baking sheets), set cooling racks over sheets of wax paper. Dip each cookie in the glaze until it’s 1/3-1/2 dipped. Let any excess drip off and set cookie on a rack. Top with candied ginger garnish. Repeat with all remaining cookies. Allow to set at room temperature for at least two hours or until dry to the touch.

Cookies will keep very well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Maple Spice Stars

Maple Pear Tart

Maple Pear TartHalloween is over and Thanksgiving is coming up. You know what that means…

Pie Season!!! 🍁 🍃 🍂🍁 🍃🍂🍁🍃🍂🍁🍃🍂🍁🍃🍂

Maple Pear TartIn the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll be sharing a few new pie recipes, along with some other desserts, appetizers, and a Turkey Day side dish or two 😍😍😍

Maple Pear TartMaple Pear TartToday’s recipe isn’t exactly a pie–it’s a tart. A Maple Pear Tart. Like maple-glazed pears baked on the crispiest, butteriest crust that’s ever come out of my kitchen. This tart looks very fancy, but it is super easy to make. It’s literally easier than pie.

Maple Pear TartLet’s talk about the crust. It’s a simplified, homemade version of puff pastry, often called “Rough Puff.” I’ve used it for cheater croissants and for a few other things for which most people use frozen pastry, and I am consistently amazed that something I made in my kitchen could be so deeply buttery and flaky. Oh y’all, this is goooood.

Maple Pear TartIf the idea of making your own puff pastry–even the easy version–puts fear in your heart, you may use the frozen all-butter stuff. But really, there is nothing to fear. This tart is easier than pie, and this pastry dough is easier than pie dough.

Just cut European-style butter into some flour and little salt…

Maple Pear Tartadd some cold milk…

Maple Pear Tartfold it all into a dough…

Maple Pear Tartpat it into a rectangle…

Maple Pear Tartand give it a few rolls and folds.

Maple Pear TartMaple Pear TartMaple Pear TartMaple Pear TartWrap your rough puff pastry in plastic and throw it in the fridge for an hour (or up to two days). When you’re ready to make your tart, peel two pears and slice them as thinly as you can. You might want to break out your mandolin. If you don’t have one of those handy gadgets (I don’t), you can use a chef’s knife. Just slice the pears as. thin. as. possible.

Maple Pear TartMaple Pear TartMaple Pear TartGrab that cold pastry from the fridge, unfold it, and roll it into a 10×14″ rectangle. Fold the edges over and crimp ‘em, then dock the center with a fork. It doesn’t have to be beautiful–mine certainly wasn’t.

Maple Pear TartSeriously, it doesn’t matter at all. Sliced pears, a bit of sugar and butter cover all manner of ugly crimping.

Maple Pear TartBake it up! Some big bubbles may form despite the docked crust–just pop ‘em with a knife. It’s way fun.

Maple Pear TartPaint the pears with a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup.

Maple Pear TartMaple Pear TartYUM.

Maple Pear TartSlice the tart into eight pieces and serve it to people you love.

Maple Pear TartIsn’t that beautiful?! Those pears and that golden pastry are as visually stunning as they are delicious.

Maple Pear TartOh, I just love Pie Season.Maple Pear Tart

Maple Pear Tart
makes one tart

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For the tart:
2 large baking pears (I used a Bosc and a Bartlett)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

For serving:
whipped cream (optional)

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Fold edges over about 1 inch and crimp with a fork. Dock center of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate while you prepare the pears.

Peel pears and slice in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds. Using a knife or mandolin, slice pears as thinly as possible, about 1/8-1/16 of an inch. Arrange pear slices decoratively over the crust. Scatter sugar over the top and dot with butter. Bake 28-30 minutes, until edges are puffed and golden brown. Large bubbles may form during baking. Just pop them with a fork or sharp knife.

Let tart cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment to remove tart to a cutting board. Remove parchment. Slice into pieces. Serve immediately with whipped cream, if desired.

Tart is best eaten the day it’s made. Pastry will soften after several hours.

Maple Pear Tart

Maple Pecan Pie {One Year Anniversary!}

Updated 11/08/2018: This post was edited to add better photos and to remind you to toast your pecans.Maple Pecan PieTomorrow’s a big day–this little blog is turning one year old! That’s 140 posts, 136 recipes, and more flour and sugar than I care to think about. It’s also late nights, hours of recipe testing, and a lot of joy. I have a job and a side business, but this blog is what matters most to me. It’s probably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken, and I can’t wait to see how it grows in year two.

It’s comments, encouragement, and support from all of you that keep me in the kitchen creating new things. Thank you for reading and making my recipes in your kitchens. Thank you for sharing this little blog with your friends and family. It’s a real blessing to have so many people following my little passion project.Maple Pecan PieSo, how does one celebrate their blog’s anniversary? Well, they furiously text their little sister and two close friends saying “What should I make for the blog’s one year anniversary?” One recommended a throwback to my first post. One recommended something from my childhood. And one goes to Harvard and doesn’t have time for my petty nonsense (love you, Smel).Maple Pecan PieWith their suggestions in mind, I started thinking about pecans and about my grandmother, Nonnie. She lived in a tiny little house near Benbrook, Texas, and she made the very best biscuits and chocolate cake in the world (according to my family, at least). She made my dad breakfast literally every Sunday morning until she was no longer able to cook. My mom, little sister, and I would go to church while my dad ate fried eggs with sausage and biscuits, following it up with a twenty minute power nap in her red chair. Every fall, Nonnie and my dad would go into her backyard and rack her huge pecan tree. He’d bring home gallon-size zip-top bags full of Texas pecans and show Eliot and I how to properly break the shells and eat the meats, just like his mom showed him, just like we’ll do with our (figurative) children someday.

I don’t remember Nonnie ever making pecan pie from her tree in the backyard–I figure that cracking the shells was too much for her arthritic hands. But I also don’t remember a holiday without pecan pie. It’s always been a part of my family’s story.Maple Pecan PieSo, today, let’s celebrate one year of blogging with Maple Pecan Pie, the perfect tribute to my family, my Texan childhood, and my northeastern adulthood. This pie has everything you love about traditional pecan pie, but with a hefty dose of maple syrup and my go-to Cream Cheese Pie Crust. The filling is sweet, but not cloying, thanks to a little apple cider vinegar, and it has a little depth from the addition of nutmeg. If you’re going to mess with something as iconic as pecan pie, this is the way to do it.

And if you’re going to acknowledge one year of baking and blogging, Maple Pecan Pie is the perfect way to celebrate.Maple Pecan Pie

Maple Pecan Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Scatter chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool completely.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Fit in pie plate. Cut excess to 1/2-inch, and crimp as desired. Chill pie crust.

Place the oven rack in the bottom-third position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together maple syrup and dark brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until combined. Stir in apple cider vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk constantly as you drizzle in the melted butter.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator and place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet (for catching overflow, although you shouldn’t have any). Place pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour filling over the top. Bake pie 40-50 minutes, tenting with foil at the 20 minute mark.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if desired.Maple Pecan PieMaple Pecan Pie