Make the dough first, before the pie filling. Let it set up and get cold before filling so it will be much easier to handle and fill.
Make Pie Crust
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. With paddle attachment, pastry blender, or using fingers, cut butter and shortening into dry mixture until pea-sized crumbs are formed. Slowly add ice water just until dough comes together (not sticky). Add 1 tsp additional water at a time if dough is too dry.
Divide dough in half and roll between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap, to about 1/8" thick. Peel off top layer and invert into lightly greased pie plate. Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Cover and chill dough before filling. Repeat process for second pie crust, if using (see chef's note below.)
Preheat oven to 425°, place rack and empty sheet pan on the rack, in lower third of oven.
Put pecans in prepared pie shell -- use the chopped pecans first, and spread around, and then use the whole pecans. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium heavy bottom sauce pan. Add brown sugar, mixing until smooth. Remove pan from heat and whisk in corn syrup. Add vanilla, salt, and zest, and mix to incorporate. Beat eggs in a bowl, then add to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour mixture evenly over pecans. Put pie on hot sheet pan in oven.
Bake 15 minutes at 425°, then reduce heat to 350° and bake about 35 minutes or longer until center is set and feels firm to the touch. The pecans will be dark in color -- cover with foil if getting too dark. Cool on a rack.
Do not cut pie until totally set and cool. It is best to refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before serving. This way, you will get nice clean cuts and the filling will stay firm.
Serve at room temperature with a dollop of whip cream, crème fraiche or ice cream.
Chef's Note: If not using pie crust right away, pie crust may be frozen for later use; wrap in plastic and freeze. You can fill a frozen pie crust and put into the bottom third of a preheated oven, without thawing, and bake as normal.
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