Pecan Pie: A Time-Honored Tradition
Recipes courtesy of the National Pecan Shellers Association
Thanksgiving is upon us yet again. It’s time to celebrate family and friends and to cherish all of the blessings in our lives. This American holiday wouldn’t be complete without a delicious pecan pie, which has become a symbol of the holiday season and the South.
But how did it get that way? And who actually invented it?
The history of this dessert is murky. Some say French settlers in New Orleans created the pie. Others claim that the pecan pie can be traced back to Alabama in the 1800s. But no one has been able to trace America’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert to its exact moment of origin.
The earliest recipe appears in an issue of Harper’s Bazaar from 1886. But even then, this recipe is not exactly the pecan pie we all know and love. After that, pecan pie recipes continue to pop up in different renditions until finally gaining traction in the 1940s. In one pecan pie recipe from Crock Cross Cookery in 1942, the author describes “True Southern pecan pie [as] one of the richest, most deadly desserts of [her] knowledge.”
While pecan pie’s origins continue to be debated, we’ll continue to cherish the delicious tradition.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Pecan South staff to you! We hope you get to enjoy one of these recipes this holiday season. We know we will!
Mini Pecan Pies
From Michael Coble, Aramark
Prep 10 minutes | Cook 40 minutes | Makes 12 Mini Pies
(depends on mold size)
For the Pie Crust:
1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 pound)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon table salt
For the Pecan Filling:
2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 pound pecan pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With an electric mixer, cream together one stick of butter and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Whisk together the fl our and salt and then add to butter mixture in 3 additions. Blend well until a dough forms. Butter or spray 12 mini fluted molds. Divide dough into 12 equal portions and pat into mini molds. Prick the dough with a fork to prevent bubbling or rising. Partially bake molds for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the pecans and the heavy cream.
Pour the filling into the pie crust molds. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and the top is semi-firm. Let cool before serving. Serve Mini Pecan Pies with whipped cream if desired.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
From Maximo Lopez May, Hyatt Hotels
Prep 15 minutes | Cook 45 minutes | Serves 6
For the Dough:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons demerara or granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Topping:
1 cup chopped pecan nuts
1/2 cup demerara or granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup bitter chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in the fl our and combine to make a dough. Pat the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped pecans, sugar, butter, milk and chocolate. Heat over low heat until chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate pecan mixture over the pie dough. Bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven off and let the Chocolate Pecan Pie sit for an additional 15 minutes. Serve while still warm!