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March 24, 2009

Pecans (Recipe: classic pecan pie)

Pecan pie

When Harry met Sally, sparks did not fly.

What did fly were some of the funniest ad libs in movie history.

In one of my favorite scenes, Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harry decides they will speak only in funny nasal voices, and ad libs the line, "I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie."

Sally tries to repeat it in just the same singsong way, but cannot, and Harry coaches her. Pee can PIIIEEEEE. She tries again. Pee can PIIIEEEEE.

Would the scene have worked as well with if Harry had said pee KAHN? Who knows?

Whether you call them pee KAHNZ or PEE cans, you'll want to keep these nuts in your pantry, ready to be turned sweets and savories, toasted pecan toffee, wild rice cranberry pecan salad, orange pecan cinnamon buns, maple pecan granola, pecan crusted tilapia with honey glaze, or pumpkin pecan chocolate chunk cookies.

The nut of a variety of deciduous hickory tree, pecan is the only tree nut indigenous to North America; the name pecan derives from the Algonquin Indian language and means "nut requiring a stone to crack." The trees can live for more than 100 years, and grow more than 100 feet tall, in a temperate climate like the southern United States, from Georgia to Texas, where most of the world's supply of pecans is cultivated.

The nuts have a sweet, almost buttery taste, thanks to a very high fat content. Don't be alarmed; almost 90 percent of the fat is unsaturated, making pecans a healthy source of protein, antioxidants and plant sterols, which help lower cholesterol. Stored in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag, pecans will keep for two years without turning rancid.

Ohnuts 

Until the nice folks at Oh! Nuts sent me some pecans to sample, I'd never cooked or baked with anything other than what I could find at my local grocery store. So I didn't realize that pecans come in different sizes (from mammoth to midget) and different varieties.

The nuts I received from Oh! Nuts were super-fresh and at least a third larger than my supermarket option, which makes them the perfect size for caramelizing to top a salad, or toasting in a hot and spicy butter for cocktail nibbles. And they were delicious in our pecan pie.

By the way, April is National Pecan Month.

I'm thinking Billy Crystal could ad lib something about that.

Pecanpie2

Classic pecan pie

I asked several friends for a pecan pie recipe, and everyone told me the same thing: use the recipe on the Karo syrup bottle. Here it is, ever so slightly adapted. Serves 8-10.

Ingredients

3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup granulated white sugar

1 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup
(I used light)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups pecans

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
, sitting at room temperature for 5-10 minutes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a pie plate with the pie crust.

In a medium bowl or an 8-quart glass measuring cup, beat the eggs slightly with a fork. Add sugar, Karo, margarine/butter, and vanilla; stir until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into the pie crust. Bake 50-55 minutes (on center rack of the oven), or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and edge comes out clean. (I used a ceramic pie plate, and the cooking time was closer to 75 minutes, until the center of the pie reached an internal temperature of 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.) Cool on a wire rack for at least two hours.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Maple nut cookies
Toasted piñon shortbread
White chocolate brownies
Walnut squares

Comments

My all-time favorite dessert -- and so easy.

and with a dollop of my favorite vanilla bean ice cream---Heaven!!!!

Yum! I love PeeKhan pie :-)

Yes please! I'll have mine with vanilla ice cream too.
Lucky you with the nuts! Let them know that they should really try to tap into the Canadian market... starting with me!

Oh how I adore frozen pie crusts AND that you use them, like a normal person should.
;-)

Your pie, Lynda, looks heavenly!

Oh, I just love a good sticky pecan pie. (I say pee-kahn, not pecan. Hmm!)

I like to put the pecans in the pie shell, sprinkle them all over with cinnamon, then pour the egg-sugar-syrup mixture over. I suppose it would work just as well to mix the cinnamon (and pecans) into the mixture, since the nuts don't necessarily maintain their placement as they float up to the top. But putting them in the pie shell first does help somewhat to create an attractive pattern of pecan halves on the surface of the pie.

Pecans are a staple in our household but I have never made a pecan pie - I've tasted several and they were so sweet they hurt my teeth. I do use them in coffee cakes, in brownies, occasionally in salads and every day just out of the jar they are kept in.

I love pecans. I don't make pies too often, but I do love them in my oatmeal and on my salads. I often make maple glazed pecans for our salads.

Love pecan pie any way you say it!

I'm afraid I'm another one of those who's never made a pecan pie because of the overwhelming sweetness. But that leaves me more nuts to throw into oatmeal cookies or on top of ice cream (or just eat by the handful).

Pecans make almost anything taste better! Love the educational information you always provide, and the link to Oh Nuts! Must try that!

Yum! I love this! Didn't have it on thanksgiving and it was horrible! but I do have a bag of pecans in the pantry... mmm... :)

I've always been a little afraid of Karo Syrup, but this looks like a good reason to give it a try in my pantry. yumm.

i;ve never endevored to make pecan pie.. I'm curious tho, it sounds easy enough!

I use pecans in a cinnamon flop that is really good. I've always been afraid of pies, making not eating. Bad experience in high school home ec. I just recently discovered your blog, and really love it. Thanks
Angie

I fell in love with pecan pie while working in New Orleans. Good pecan pie is not nearly as easy to find in NYC, so thanks for posting a classic recipe.

OK, OK...maybe I really should take a second (or third!) look at pecans.
I am making your Pecan Pie tonight.
Thanks for this one!

This looks amazing, I love pecans but they are so expensive here in the UK, and we certainly don't get them in different varieties! Bookmarking this for later

This pie looks wonderful. Pecans are one of my favourite kinds of nuts - I wish we could grow them here.

I love pecans and this pie looks delicious! And National Pecan Month! Yay! Time to bake!

You have finally inspired me to start cracking that massive bag of pecans I have on top of my fridge. I have been eyeing the bag all week, but seeing them in actually baked into something seems to be the final straw...Yum!

oh! stop! my waistline can't take much more! I love them but don't eat them as often as I want because they are expensive and often stale at the store. I am going to explore Oh!Nuts! thanks!

This looks like a simple recipe, which is my favorite kind! Thanks.

Someone should make a list of the category you mentioned in passing: traditional dishes for which the best and most perfect recipe can be found on the back of the package of a main ingredient. My list includes Nestle's Toll House cookie recipe (or the one on the Hershey chocolate chips pkg) and matzoh balls on the back of the Manshevitz matzoh meal box. And now: pecan pie on the Karo syrup bottle. I think Quaker used to offer a pretty good oatmeal cookie recipe, too.

Yumm! I so love pecan pie but I live by myself so making one pie would just be a sin against my hips.

Instead of the Karo corn syrup I use treacle and golden syrup. The treacle, gives a nice smoky flavor.

Pecans are delicious, Lydia! I prefer them to walnuts most of times.

Such a Southern treat. Yum. Ruth

I'm lucky enough to have a sister who lives in Georgia and has pecan trees in her yard. Every year for Christmas she gives me a huge bag of shelled pecans (did I mention my sister is awesome?). I am definitely trying the pie recipe this weekend :)

Thank you for posting this! I've never made a pecan pie (though I love to eat it) and I'm inspired to give it a go.

I love pecan pie and it is easy to make. I also use walnuts and keep the recipe the same otherwise.

I love that Haryy/Sally moment! I laugh every time. Love Pecan Pie, too! Can't go wrong with pecans. ;)

Yum! I love Pee Can Pie! My BF growing up would make fun of the way I said pecans, so now I say Pee Kahn.

Mmmmm... pecan pie. Love. I'm a big fan of the folks at Oh! Nuts myself. :)

One of my favorites, and the Karo syrup recipe never fails - it's a classic. But mini pecans? I have to see this!

Oh, I love Pecan Pie! My cousin Julie insists I bring it every year for Thanksgiving. I have a recipe called Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie that calls for Southern Cane Syrup - totally wicked!


Pecan pie is one of my husband's absolute favorites but, sadly, he does not get to indulge as he is Type II diabetic. Wonder if I could substitute a sugar free maple syrup for the corn syrup and Splenda for the sugar?

Corn syrup is an acceptable evil for this rich but easy dessert...nicely done!

We texans sure do enjoy pecan pie, I'll be sure to try this one out!

MY MOTHER DIES WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS OLD. MY AUNT TOOK CARE OF US 3 KIDS AGE 7 - 13 - 15. I WAS TAUGHT TO MAKE COOKIES. I ALWAYS ADDED EXTRA SHORTNING AND SUGAR. EVERYONE COMPLAINED BUT THERE WAS NEVER ANY COOKIES LEFT TO GET COLD. I DEVELOPED A TASTE FOR DIFFERENT VEGETABLES, MEATS, ETC. WHEN I WAS A YOUNG MAN AN OLDER LADY TOOK ME ASIDE AND GAVE ME SOME IDEAS THAT ARE TREASURES. SHE SAID NEVER LEAVE ANYTHING UNATENDED THAT IS COOKING. NEVER STOP STURING GRAVEY AS LONG AS THERE IS FIRE UNDER IT. NEVER COOK CARROTS WITH ANYTHING. BOIL THEM IN A PAN ON THE SIDE ALONE AND POOR OUT THE WATER AND THEN ADD THE CARROTS. IF YOU COOK CARROTS WITH ANY THING, EVERYTHING WILL TASTE THE SAME, Sweet. NEVER SALT ANY MEAT ON AN UNCOOKED SIDE. NEVER TURN ANY COOKING MEAT 2 TIMES. IF YOU COOK A COOKED SIDE A SECOND TIME ALL OF THE JUICES AND FLAVOR LEAVES. I AM NOW 80 YEARS OLD AND FOLLOWING THESE RULES, I AM CONCIDERED A GOOD COOK. EVERY ONE OF THESE RULES ARE EXTREEMLY IMPORTANT.

Love that movie and that scene. Did you know Billy Crystal improvised that part and Meg Ryan just went with it? That's why she's uncomfortably laughing. Pecan pie is a classic indeed.

This pie makes me feel so nostalgic. Yummmmm!

Pecan pie is my brother's favorite! Sometimes it's even TOO sweet for me (I prefer apple so I can pile it with ice cream) but it's definitely on my "to make" list someday.

I'm not much of a pie person but never turn down pecan pie. For those of you who love it but won't eat it because of the caloric/fat content in a slice, Bake or Brake blog posted a yummy recipe for pecan pie cupcakes. Not gooey like the pie but oh so delicious.

http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2008/03/18/pecan-pie-cupcakes/

I love, love, love that scene! And I love, love, love this pie. Pecan pie was always a fall time favorite of mine, but since moving away from home and my mil's amazing pecan pie, I never bake it. WHY?! This fall, things are changing. :)

My mom has been bugging me for a good pecan pie recipe. She'll be making this tomorrow. It looks good.

I love pecan pie and your photos are great! I will be making several pecan pies for the holidays.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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