The Secret Ingredient Duff Goldman Uses For Pecan Pie - Exclusive

Duff Goldman may be famous for the elaborate cake creations he and the rest of the Charm City Cakes crew have constructed over the years, but don't let that make you think he's a one-trick pony as a pastry chef. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Goldman talked about baking cookies, puff pastry, phyllo dough, and much more — not just cake. When Thanksgiving rolls around, he prepares all of the baked parts of the meal, from Parker House rolls to pie. He shared that he recently made a discovery that leveled up his Thanksgiving pecan pie, improving both its texture and flavor.

Per Goldman, "I found that the real trick to a delicious pecan pie is don't use corn syrup. Use golden syrup." Golden syrup is a sticky and sweet liquid made from inverted sugar that's popular in Britain. The golden syrup pecan pie trick was a happy accident; he was making pecan pie and discovered he didn't have any corn syrup, but happened to be sitting on a large amount of golden syrup left over from a cooking demo. 

Tasting the result of his golden syrup experiment, it was obvious to the chef that it was superior to corn syrup-based pecan pie. "I was instantly transported to when I was a kid," he said, "and I remember that is what pecan pie is supposed to taste like. It's not gloopy. It's not cloyingly sweet."

How to make your pecan pie more refined

The reason Duff Goldman prefers golden syrup for his pecan pie is that it's not as thick as corn syrup, which he described as having "almost a petroleum consistency to it." Since golden syrup is lighter, it gives the pie a more delicate texture.

However, golden syrup isn't a super common ingredient in America, and you might not want to seek it out just to make one pie. If that's you, Goldman has an alternative pecan pie idea that should lead to very similar results using ingredients you probably already have lying around in your kitchen. "You can also take out a third or maybe even a fifth of your corn syrup and add a little maple syrup," he explained. Cutting the corn syrup with maple will loosen its texture and add a more complex taste, but don't try to make a pie with 100% maple syrup: "If it's all maple syrup, it's too much."

You can watch Duff Goldman do a live cooking demo and taste his space-themed desserts at the Kennedy Space Center's Taste of Space: Celebrity Chef Edition event in Merritt Island, Florida on November 3.