Every morning I get an email From the National Day Calendar, letting me know what wild and crazy thing is being celebrated that day. It's a wonderful way for me to pick up topics for my blog essays. Today it was National Pecan Pie Day.
“National Pecan Pie Day is observed annually on July 12th. The delicious pecan pie is made primarily with corn syrup, pecan nuts, salt and vanilla flavoring with some variations including sugar syrup and molasses or maple syrup. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey may also be added to the pie recipe and is a popular addition in some areas. Pecan pie is often served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
The attempts that have been made to trace this dish’s origin have not found any recipes dated earlier than 1897, even though there are claims made of the pie existing in the early 1800′s in Louisiana. Well known cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking did not include this dessert until 1940.
Pecan pie was significantly popularized by the makers of Karo syrup. Their company has claimed that the pie was a “discovery”, in the 1930′s, by a corporate sales executive’s wife, as a “new use for corn syrup”. Pecan pie is considered a specialty of Southern U.S. cuisine.”
I’ve had great pecan pie and I’ve had so-so pecan pie. The so-so variety is usually made with corn syrup and is usually the too sweet, store-bought variety. Bleah! - as Snoopy would say. You want a great pecan pie? Follow this recipe from my late neighbor Georgette who was born in the northern part of Quebec. Fortunately for them, they had no corn syrup. They had no sugar. What they did have was maple syrup. The pie recipe is easy to remember because, other than the crust, there are only four ingredients. Here is the recipe, copied straight from my electronic cook book:
J GEORGETTE MILLER’S PECAN PIE
THIS IS A ‘NOT TO RICH’ PECAN PIE RECIPE GIVEN TO ME BY MY PORT WASHINGTON, NY, NEIGHBOR GEORGETTE MILLER. THIS IS A FAMILY RECIPE SHE BROUGHT FROM HER HOME IN QUEBEC. THEY MADE IT WHEN THEY GOT PECANS AS A TREAT. THE SWEETENER IS WHAT THEY HAD MOST AVAILABLE: MAPLE SYRUP. USE REAL MAPLE SYRUP OR IT WILL BE TOO SWEET, AND NOT AS AUTHENTIC.
1 CUP MAPLE SYRUP
3 EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN
¾ CUP PECANS
PINCH OF SALT
COMBINE THE FILLING INGREDIENTS AND BAKE THEM IN YOUR OWN FRESH MADE (OR THAWED FROZEN!) PIE SHELL. 350º FOR 45 MINUTES, OR UNTIL A KNIFE BLADE COMES OUT CLEAN.
I do tend to throw in more pecans than the recipe calls for because I just love pecans. I do agree with the entry from the National Day Calendar: “Pecan pie is often served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.” Oh, yes – must have one of those on top.
I’d love to make one now, but this July has been a killer with high temperatures. I wonder why a July day was chosen to celebrate pecan pie. It’s more of an October, November, December kind of thing, wouldn’t you think? So keep cool and save this recipe for later in the year.