Nana’s Kitchen: Pecan Pie

On the left is the traditional pecan pie recipe. On the right the caramel topping pie.
Nana’s Kitchen photo.

Nana’s Kitchen: Pecan Pie

Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen,

Another week and the Meigs County Fair will be here. In honor of it and the county fairs around the country, we will explore food from these events. I want to share a cook book that my mother used some years ago. My sister has the original, well worn, copy and has graciously shared an intact volume. The book is “Blue Ribbon Recipes” County Fair Winners and dates 1968. I remember my mother making clover leaf rolls from a recipe in this book. Delicious. At some point we will give it a go. For today pecan pie is the recipe of choice.

Just a note about the flavorful pecan. Interestingly it is the only nut tree native to North America. The pecan can be traced back to the early 1500’s and was named by Native Americans. The word pecan is derived from the Algonquin word “pacane” which means “nuts requiring a stone to crack”. Native Americans were the first to cultivate and use the wild pecan. Spanish colonists cultivated pecan orchards. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees. In 1876 a Louisiana gardener, Antoine, recreated a grafting technique, forgotten for many years, to improve growth, production, and taste. The pecan has grown into a 300 million pound a year harvest today. The U.S. is the largest exporter of the pecan.

Before the pecan pie recipes let me mention the pie crust used for one of the pies. It is a -make in the pie pan and press – recipe. Why? Because I am a terrible at rolling out pie crust. It is a kitchen deficiency on my part, so I take the easy route. This recipe comes from “Bigger Bolder Baking”.

Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2- 3 tablespoons cold water

Use 9 – 10 inch pie pan or dish. Into the pie pan add the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir together with fork. Add the melted butter and water to dry ingredients , continuing to stir until the dough clumps together. When dough forms, push it into the pie pan with your hands. Try and get the dough an even thickness. If the dough is dry add a splash of water.

Hints:
Can be blind baked, frozen, or proceed to recipe.
Can be gluten free using 1:1 gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour.
For a richer pie crust milk may be used.
If frozen remove from freezer, fill with pie filling and bake as instructed.
May be kept frozen up to 2 months.
This is fast and easy.

Now for the pie filling. Two recipes have been used. One is the traditional with the light corn syrup, the other using ice cream dessert topping.

Southern Pecan Pie

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 9 inch unbaked pastry lined shell
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Arrange pecan halves in the bottom of the pie shell. Beat eggs; add butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Combine sugar and flour; blend with egg mixture. Pour over nuts in pie shell. Let stand until nuts rise to surface. Bake in a 350 – degree oven for 45 minutes. The nuts will glaze during the baking period. Yield: 6 servings.

Mrs. Ruth Jewett, Delaware, Ohio, Delaware County Fair
Blue Ribbon Recipes, County Fair Winners (1968)

Hint:
Can be gluten free by using gluten free pie crust.
Use gluten free 1:1 gluten free flour instead of regular flour.

The next recipe I have used many times with a store bought crust. It uses caramel ice cream topping from the grocery store.

Pecan pie using caramel topping

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 12 ounce jar caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans

In mixing bowl , beat eggs lightly with whisk. Add sugar until dissolved. Add caramel topping and butter. Mix well. Stir in pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done. Cool before serving.

Hints:
I cut both of these pies before they cooled completely. It was not very neat.
If crust is browning too quickly cover with aluminum foil.
I like the darker color of the caramel recipe. The consistency of both pies was about the same. The caramel, maybe a little creamier. The taste is good on both. How can sugar and pecans not be good?
Used a bag of pecan pieces in pies since thy were on hand.
Pies should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days due to the eggs.
The filling on this recipe is gluten free if using gluten free pie crust.

The Romans called it a “feria”- that means “festival”. Today we call it a fair. Even in the ancient times of Solomon, fairs were a common event. These fairs and those throughout Europe in later times, were mainly market places.

Vendors and manufacturers would show their wares. Customers would leave the fair loaded down with all sorts of gadgets and goods to take home to try out.

“Blue Ribbon Recipes” County Fair Winners (1968)

Nana’s Kitchen is a weekly cooking column exclusive to the Meigs Independent Press and made possible with sponsorship of Powell’s Food Fair in Pomeroy, Ohio.