Last Friday Paul and I were invited to our friend Kathy's house for dinner. I volunteered to bring dessert and then struggled to decide upon something appropriate. Finally I took my inspiration in our upcoming trip to Savannah (we leave in 2 days - woo hoo). In my mind there are few desserts as southern as the classic Pecan pie.
Pecan pie is a sweet custard pie made primarily of corn syrup and pecans. It is popularly served at holiday meals and is also considered a specialty of Southern U.S. cuisine. Most pecan pie recipes include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Other ingredients such as chocolate and bourbon whiskey are popular additions to the recipe. Some recipes even use an amount of maple syrup instead of corn syrup for flavoring. Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream.
Legend has it that the French developed pecan pie after settling in Louisiana and introducing the tree to the natives. However, the Southern pecan pie will forever be inextricably linked to the introduction of Karo syrup in 1902. More importantly, in the early 1930s, a wife of a Karo executive made a pecan pie with the almost sickly-sweet corn syrup and the company publicized it. In many parts of the pecan-growing South, such as Georgia, people just say they made a “Karo pie” and everyone knows it’s a pecan pie made with Karo syrup.
So pecan pie it was to be! This recipe is from the Silver Palate cookbook - an old standby. I've made it before and prefer it because the finished pie isn't as sickly sweet as other pecan pies I've tasted.
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted sweet butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup shelled pecans, chopped
9-inch pie crust
1/3 cup shelled pecan halves
Preheat oven to 400?F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.
Beat eggs well in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, melted butter and vanilla to the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Sprinkle chopped pecans in pastry-lined pan. Pour egg mixture over pecans. Arrange pecan halves around edge of filling next to crust for decoration.
Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325?F. and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until set.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.