196 flavors and our loyal readers are a bit like a family! A family gathering, this is above all the spirit of Thanksgiving, a holiday that we happily feature on the blog this week.
As I explained a year ago during our stop in Botswana, Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates fall and harvest which falls on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It is also a day of sharing and solidarity. Tradition has it that one prepares and distributes holiday meals to the needy during the day.
In both countries, turkey will be on the menu for everyone! The inevitable turkey with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie and finally the traditional pecan pie, which I personally chose to prepare.
Pecan, whose scientific name is carya illinoinensis, is one of the very few fruits that is truly from the United States. Pecan was an important part of the diet of Native Americans before the arrival of European settlers. The first successful transplant of a pecan tree was made in 1846 by a gardener named Antoine, in a plantation in Louisiana. This plantation is called Oak Alley.
Originally called “Bon Sejour”, Oak Alley Plantation is now a historic site of the United States built in 1837 and 1839 that is a must see for anyone passing through Louisiana. Mike already visited it and taught me that the plantation was used in scenes from the film “Interview with the Vampire” with no less than Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt!
Some attribute the origin of pecan pie to the French colony of Louisiana, while others claim that this pie is a recipe that was entirely invented by Karo to promote their corn syrup.
One thing is certain, whatever its origin, pecan pie only appeared in cookbooks in the early 1920s.
The inclusion of corn syrup in this pie is a matter of debate. Some people argue that this dessert must include corn syrup, and many recipes specify the Karo brand in particular. Others use variants such as maple syrup or brown sugar mixed with water and a hint of molasses.
It is ultimately a matter of taste. Although I found Karo’s corn syrup in the “world products” aisle of my grocery store, I still chose the version with maple syrup.
But beware, if you’re watching what you’re eating or are more like someone who could say: “Oh, it looks great but isn’t it too sweet and too fat?”, well look somewhere else, as this recipe is definitely not for you!
And on the diet side, let me talk to Mike directly, who lashed out at my age and my wrinkles right here a few days ago on his Lebanese post. Mike whose diet always starts tomorrow, I recommend that you only take one piece, a very small one that is! It’s good for the soul as well as the morale! In one word, this pecan pie is de-li-cious!
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup ground walnut (or ground almond)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (very soft), cut into pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 cups pecans (unsalted)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup maple syrup (or corn syrup)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or corn syrup)
- In a mixer bowl, combine flour, walnut or almond meal, sugar, salt, and butter until reaching a sandy texture.
- Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time until dough is smooth.
- Grease a pie plate with butter.
- Roll the dough on pie plate and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Take ½ cup of pecans and chop coarsely.
- Beat eggs and sugar vigorously, then stir in softened butter, maple or corn syrup and vanilla.
- Add chopped pecan nuts.
- Pour the mixture over the dough and nicely arrange the whole pecans on top, so as to form a design.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Cover the pie with a metal plate or foil during last 10 minutes of cooking to avoid burning the pecan nuts.
- 15 minutes after the end of cooking, heat the glaze ingredients and gently brush it over the nut mixture.