Incase you ever find yourself in need of a bear shaped pie, here you go! I personally love food in the shape of animals, so this works. You can really make anything you want here, so go nuts.
Thanksgiving day will be elevated just that much more (most likely for the children in your family). I will say though, if you plan on inviting a bunch of high level business executives to your meal, maybe skip the bear elements, but the pie itself should definitely be put out 🙂
Tips for pie dough elements.
A few tips for baking pie cutouts. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once you’ve cut out your pie dough shapes, place them on the parchment paper. To paint your dough, take 2 TBS of vanilla extract and mix in a tiny amount of food coloring. I used brown for the bear ears and snout, and then black for the his nose and eyes. With a tiny paint brush paint a light coat over the dough, and put it in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes. Check on the tiny elements frequently though, or they might burn.
A note on the ears, I did partially pre-bake them along with pre-baking the main pie shell. To do this, place the pie shell into your pan and then attach the ears, you’ll need to add support underneath them so they don’t droop and fall off. Crumpled up foil works well for this. Add parchment paper to the base of the pie pan and then top with dried beans or pie weights. Then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. *After you’ve added the filling to your partially pre-baked shell, then keep an eye on it in the oven, the ears will likely need to be covered with foil, so they don’t burn.
2 cups pecan halves(chopped), plus more for topping (Mr. Bear took about 1 1/2 cups of pecan halves)
Partially pre bake a 9″ pie shell, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and eggs. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Brown the butter by melting it in a small saucepan on medium heat, continually stir until it starts to turn brown. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Slowly pour the butter mixture into the sugar mixture and mix until combined. Add the two cups of chopped pecans and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.
Add pecans to top if desired. Brush the pie dough with an egg white wash before baking.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the filling is set. It will be slightly jiggly still, but not a soupy mess. The crust might start to brown a bit by 45 minutes, so cover the crust with foil at this point.
The pie isn’t burning….I thought it too, the pecans get pretty dark. They aren’t burnt.
Try making a bear by cutting extra shapes out of the pie dough and pre baking those pieces at 400 for 10 minutes. Then add them after the pie has finished baking.