On-AirVirginia This Morning


Pumpkin pecan pie recipe from a past president

Posted at 12:48 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 12:48:48-05

RICHMOND, Va. - If you’re in charge of pie this Thanksgiving and you just can’t seem to choose what kind to make, why not have it all? Mary Rapoport of the Virginia Egg Council shares Ronald Reagan’s favorite pecan pumpkin pie recipe with us! You can find the recipe below and find more ideas on their website.

Ronald Reagan’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie

  • 1 - 9” pie pastry (we prefer refrigerated, rolled pie pastry)
  • 1 beaten egg plus 1 T milk (to egg-wash the crust edge)
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin pure, drained*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp salt and Pinch black pepper
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Opt. enough pecan halves to circumference the top
  • Opt. pie pastry leaves – use a refrigerated pie pastry

· While oven is preheating to 425°F, bake pecans (both chopped and halved) on a cookie sheet for about 5 min.

Position an oven rack close to the bottom and one in the center. Serves 8

· Place pie pastry in a 1¼” deep pie dish. Crimp edges and brush beaten egg/milk mixture along the crimped eggs. Cover with thin strips of foil to prevent overbrowning.

· Layer the chopped pecans on the bottom of the pie crust.

· Whisk all ingredients in a bowl; pour into pie shell over pecans.

· Arrange optional pecan halves around top circumference.

· Bake pie for 15 min. on bottom rack, then transfer to center rack and lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for another 30 – 35 min. and check for doneness. Cool on rack, then refrigerate.

· Decorate with pastry leaves, once cool. Serve with whipped cream or topping.

Pastry Leaves:

Lay sheet of pie pastry on parchment on cutting board; using small leaf cookie cutters, cut enough to overlap around the circumference of the pie (we used 20). Mark veins in the leaves with a sharp knife, (do not cut thru pastry). Place on parchment lined baking sheet; brush with the egg/milk mixture and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake at 350°F about 5 min. Do not let them get too brown. Cool, then use to decorate the top of the baked pie.


*Always drain canned pumpkin puree. When using a store brand, we drained 1/3 cup liquid that would have made the custard soggy and flavorless.

Brushing on the egg/milk mixture gives a shine to the pie crust edge. A sprinkling of sugar adds texture and crunch. Then fold foil over the edges of pie crust before putting in the oven since it always darkens.

Pie is done when a knife inserted in center comes out clean. It should jiggle like Jell-O when you move it. Overbaking may cause the custard to crack. It will continue to bake some as it cools. Cool on a rack.

The two temp baking and oven positions helps prevent a soggy bottom on the piecrust.

Baking the nuts beforehand will help keep them crisp as they bake in the custard mixture.

Decorating with pastry leaves after baking the pie, means you place them exactly where you want them, they will not sink into the custard, and they won’t curl up in baking. They are like little cookies!