Photos of Vinita's Pecan Pie (The Spirit of Food) & Basic Pie Crust

Vinita Hampton Wright is a novelist and senior book editor at Loyola Press in Chicago. Her novels include Velma Still Cooks in Leeway (winner of Logos Book Award, Best Fiction 2000) and Dwelling Places (Christianity Today Award for Best Fiction 2007). Vinita has conducted the workshop The Soul Tells a Story, for six years across the country. The workshop explores the creative process and how it interacts with spiritual formation.

To women for whom cooking is both art and reputation, preparing meals only half fulfills their life purpose. To be validated is to be eaten out of house and home. -Excerpt Grandma Virgi's Feast

I served Vinita's fantastic pecan pie at the Wednesday Noon Service lunch today. I have never tasted a better pecan pie than this one and the lunch crowd whole heartedly agreed. The texture of the pie was just perfect and a hint of ginger and cinnamon gave the pie unexpected and wonderful flavor. There is a secret ingredient to this recipe. But I can't tell. You will have to get the book to get the recipe to get the secret! It will be worth it. I promise.

Since I can't post her pie recipe here, YET, let's have a quick tutorial on flaky, homemade pie crust, shall we?
Pulse flour, sugar, salt. Then add chilled butter and vegetable shortening.

You want to have very coarse, crumbly mixture, like cottage cheese curds. Be careful not to over process.

After adding ice cold water, place a sheet of parchment paper and roll out the dough.

Flip the rolled dough over your pie plate and gently peel off the paper.

Using floured thumb and index finger, gently flute the edge. Or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate.

Freeze while you are preparing the filling. When ready to bake, brush the edge with beaten egg white.

Pour Filling
I usually coarsely chop the pecans so the pie will have a cleaner cut.

Bake until filling firms up.

I loved how Vinita's pie filling was so wonderfully firm, not gooey and runny.
Basic Flaky Pie Crust
(makes two 9-inch pie crusts)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
4 tablespoons ice cold water

1 egg white, to brush on the edge of the crust

1. Process flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add cubed chilled butter and vegetable shortening and pulse in one-second burst about 8-10 times until all flour is coated and mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Empty into a large bowl.

2. Sprinkle water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Add more water if needed. Divide dough into two. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk.

3. Place dough on a parchment paper sprinkled with flour and roll out dough into circle about 1/8 inch thick and large enough to cover your 9 -inch pie pan with one inch overlap. Take the rolled out dough on the parchment paper and put dough side down onto pie plate, pressing and shaping into pie plate mold. Have 1-inch overhang on each side.

4. Gently peel off parchment paper. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough (see photo above) or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Freeze until firm. 15-20 minutes.

5. When ready to use, beat egg white with a fork and brush egg white on the edge of the crust.
Bake or us as directed in your favorite pie recipes.

Note: Pre-made pie crust can be well covered and stored in freezer up to a month.

4 of 31 recipes


  1. Thankfully I am getting the book! =) Thanks Kay. I can't wait to see what the secret ingredient is . . .

  2. yum... and i love the quote about life's purpose :)

  3. Beautiful pies!! Having a pie crust with recommendations is always a plus! Thanks!

  4. Oh, everyone's been making Pecan Pie. I really need to get into making them... yum!

  5. Do you know I have never made a pecan pie?!? I think I need to do it THIS year. Your pies look gorgeous, and my mouth is watering! I especially love the photo of the two baked pies nestled right next to each other...The photo is so bright and clear:)

  6. I found your blog on Tasty Kitchn -- what lovely food and photography. I look forward to following your posts!

  7. Would you believe I've never had pecan pie before? This looks delicious - especially that last picture - beautiful!

  8. I was looking for a good pecan pie recipe. This look amazing! Thank you!

  9. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Esepcially love DSC_0421.JPG.

    Believe it or not but I've never made pecan pie before. Must fix that :)

  10. Oh Kay this looks absolutely devine!!

    And that pork roast you posted as well, I simply must try!

    If you are ever looking for help, I would gladly fly south to be at your right hand, I know I could learn so much :)
    Thanks for the compliment on my chicken, I have conquered my fear - at least I know I'm not alone! hahaha

    All the best,,
    ~Megan / WBA Country Cleaver

  11. This pie looks so yummy! Thanks for the add in TK. Can't wait to see the filing part of this and all the other recipes.

  12. I'd love to know the pecan pie recipe. looks fab!

  13. Wow this looks amazing. I've recently discovered pecans (caramel and pecan ice cream in particular) so I'm very tempted to make this!