As you all know, I love a good dose of history. I find that most recipes for baked goods I at first assume go hand in hand with my series Colonial Kitchen. This was the not the case as I set out research the invention of a classic Thanksgiving favorite, the pecan pie. It actually was not written and recorded until the 1870s. Whoops! It was at first a trend in south Texas, where it was passed around by word of mouth and handwritten recipes, and eventually published in a cookbook in St. Louis, Missouri in 1898. Strange how that happens! The recipe was originally written by a woman who was a Texas native, however. It was interesting to see that pecans were not being used by the colonists of the 18th century for pie making because, well, they had never heard of pecans before! They are native to North America, something that I did not know. You learn something new everyday, right? I do love learning about edible plant origins. It's fascinating! Native Americans had been munching on pecans for a long time before the colonists knew what they were, and they were actually native to the inner New England states and as far northwest as Illinois and even... Iowa! Yep! Pecans originally grew in Iowa. Pretty cool! Now they are grown and harvested largely in Georgia, where they are not from, but were brought down and grafted within the state. I wonder if there are any remaining Iowa pecan farmers!
- 1 Pie Crust
- 2 1/4 cup raw pecan halves
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- Make your pie crust, roll it out, and shape it your dish. Place in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 350. On a small baking sheet, spread the pecan halves in an even layer and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- While the pecans are toasting, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt. Remove the pan from heat and carefully whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then follow with the maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon.
- Bring back over low heat and stir constantly until warm to the touch.
- After the pecans have finished, lower your oven temperature to 275. You will want to bake your pie crust for about 10-15 minutes.
- Crush the pecans into bits, reserving a few whole ones if you wish to line the edges decoratively. Add the crushed pecans to the sugar mixture and stir.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven. Fill with the pecan filling and spread evenly. Brush the edge of the crust with a whisked egg and tablespoon of water. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the center is set, sort of like a gelatin. You can check the texture by gently pressing on the filling.
- Let the pie sit for a few hours and let chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing.
Yum! This was probably the fastest pie I have ever made. There was zero slicing, coring, and dicing happening so I liked that. Just a quick melt and stir on the stove to create some delicious perfection. The combination of maple and bourbon gives this pie's filling a subtle caramel taste. By stirring in the pecans, you get this really lovely combination of gel and nuts, which I like a lot better than a big goopy center. My family loved it that way, too! I think you will really enjoy this pie! Wrap it up in a pretty linen towel and bring it with you to Friendsgiving.