We had a Dansih family stay with us for Thanksgiving. It was nice and we shared recipes. One that I was sure to make was my pecan pie. But they were hesitent about the corn syrup.

Pecan Pie recipes used corn syrup long before corn syrup had the reputation it does today. In fact, I would wager that when corn syrup became a key part of good pecan pie recipes, cane sugar was cheaper (sweet corn wasn't even grown in abundance then, and corn syrup wasn't as commonly found).

Corn Syrup was used because it imparts the proper sweetness, thickness, and texture.

While I understand (and even agree) with the vilification of corn syrup as an ingredient, there are still old school recipes kicking around where it's the right ingredient to use.

But as others have noted, there are numerous syrup substitutes. But if it were me, I'd still use corn syrup.

The corn syrup you buy at the grocery store and high fructose corn syrup are not the same thing.

If you want to use something else I wouldn't even consider using maple or agave at a 1:1 swap with corn syrup but they'd both complement either corn or simple sugar syrup nicely at a ratio of ~1:4-1:6.

Here is a good one without corn syrup.

A pecan pie recipe I've been making for 15 years has come to include varying amounts of maple, blackstrap molasses and date honey. You can basically use any sugary syrup just make sure there's a more neutral foundation underlying it so none of the more dominant aromas become overpowering. Too much of any fragrant syrup and you'll drown out the pecan.

Easily, I might add.

I'm happily willing to buy, cheat and steal my way out of hard work when cooking but when it comes to baking I'll go the hard way every day...

Nothing you can buy gets close to the results you get from just putting the work in.

The satisfaction you get from pulling off (or even just not entirely fucking up) baked goods is worth all the effort; it validates your ability to tackle the science, rather than just the art, of the culinary craft.