Pecan pie

Last updated

Pecan pie
Pecan pie, November 2010.jpg
Course Dessert
Place of origin Southern United States
Main ingredients Pecan and corn syrup
Food energy
(per serving)
503  kcal  (2106 kJ)

Pecan pie is a pie of pecan nuts mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar (typically corn syrup). [1] Variations may include white or brown sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey. [1] It is popularly served at holiday meals in the United States and is considered a specialty of Southern U.S. origin. [2] [3] Most pecan pie recipes include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey are other popular additions to the recipe. [4] Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or hard sauce.

Pie Baked, filled pastry

A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients. Sweet pies may be filled with fruit, nuts, brown sugar or sweetened vegetables. Savoury pies may be filled with meat, eggs and cheese (quiche) or a mixture of meat and vegetables.

Pecan species of nut-bearing tree

The pecan is a species of hickory native to northern Mexico and the southern United States in the region of the Mississippi River. The tree is cultivated for its seed in the southern United States, primarily in Georgia, and in Mexico which produces nearly half of the world total. The seed is an edible nut used as a snack and in various recipes, such as praline candy and pecan pie. The pecan, in various aspects, is included in state symbols of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Texas.

Corn syrup is a food syrup which is made from the starch of corn and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup, also known as glucose syrup to confectioners, is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor. Corn syrup is distinct from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is manufactured from corn syrup by converting a large proportion of its glucose into fructose using the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, thus producing a sweeter compound due to higher levels of fructose.



Pecans are native to the southern United States. Archaeological evidence found in Texas indicates that Native Americans used pecans more than 8,000 years ago. [5] :326 The word pecan is a derivative of an Algonquin word, pakani, referring to several nuts. [6]

Texas U.S. state in the United States

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pre-Columbian inhabitants of North, Central and South America and their descendants

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Algonquin is either a distinct Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwe language or a particularly divergent Ojibwe dialect. It is spoken, alongside French and to some extent English, by the Algonquin First Nations of Quebec and Ontario. As of 2006, there were 2,680 Algonquin speakers, less than 10% of whom were monolingual. Algonquin is the language for which the entire Algonquian language subgroup is named. The similarity among the names often causes considerable confusion. Like many Native American languages, it is strongly verb-based, with most meaning being incorporated into verbs instead of using separate words for prepositions, tense, etc.

Sugar pies such as treacle tart were attested in Medieval Europe, and adapted in North America to the ingredients available, resulting in such dishes as shoofly pie, sugar pie, butter tart and chess pie. [7] Pecan pie may be a variant of chess pie, which is made with a similar butter-sugar-egg custard. [8]

Treacle tart

Treacle tart is a traditional British dessert. The earliest known recipe for the dessert is from English author Mary Jewry in her cookbooks from the late 19th century.

Shoofly pie molasses pie

Shoofly pie is a molasses pie or cake that developed its traditional form among the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1880s, who ate it with strong black coffee for breakfast. It is called Melassich Riwwelboi or Melassichriwwelkuche in the Pennsylvania Dutch language.

Sugar pie Dessert

Sugar pie is a typical dessert of the western European countries of Northern France and Belgium; the Canadian province of Quebec, where it is called tarte au sucre; and Midwestern United States states.

Some have stated that the French invented pecan pie soon after settling in New Orleans, after being introduced to the pecan nut by the Native American Quinipissa and Tangipahoa tribes. [9] Claims have also been made of pecan pie existing in the early 1800s in Alabama, but this does not appear to be backed up by recipes or literature. [10] Attempts to trace the dish's origin have not found any recipes dated earlier than a pecan custard pie recipe published in Harper's Bazaar in 1886. [11] [12] Well-known cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking did not include this dessert before 1940. [11]

French people People from France

French people are a Romance ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

New Orleans Largest city in Louisiana

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 391,006 in 2018, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. A major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaskan Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

The makers of Karo syrup significantly contributed to popularizing the dish [1] and many of the recipes for variants (caramel, cinnamon, Irish creme, peanut butter, etc.) of the classic pie. The company has claimed that the dish was a 1930s "discovery" of a "new use for corn syrup" by a corporate sales executive's wife. [13] [14] Pecan pie was made before the invention of corn syrup and older recipes used darker sugar-based syrup or molasses. The 1929 congressional club cookbook has a recipe for the pie which used only eggs, milk, sugar and pecan, no syrup. [14] The Pecan pie came to be closely associated with the culture of the Southern United States in the 1940s and 1950s. [15]

Cultural context

A slice of pecan pie Pecan pie slice (cropped).jpg
A slice of pecan pie
Chocolate pecan tarts prior to baking Chocolate Pecan Tarts on a baking sheet.jpg
Chocolate pecan tarts prior to baking

Pecan pie is often mentioned in American literature (and television) and is associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions; for example:

Thanksgiving Holiday in North America

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

Christmas holiday originating in Christianity, usually celebrated on December 25 (in the Gregorian or Julian calendars)

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

Dooley handed them a basket stuffed with fruit, nuts, candy, a tinned ham, and a pecan pie. "Merry Christmas!" he said.

The only kitchen item I usually bring to Italy is plastic wrap... This time, however, I have brought one bag of Georgia pecans and a can of cane syrup, pecan pie being a necessary ingredient of Christmas.

Pecan pie is a staple of the Southern U.S., and is often used in literary context as a symbol of the South; for example:

Beneath the shade of a Georgia pine
And that's home you know
Sweet tea, pecan pie and homemade wine
Where the peaches grow

Zac Brown [18]


In his 2004 book, Ken Haedrich identified a number of popular pecan pie variants: [5] :328

Characterized by the addition of butterscotch chips and brown sugar (in addition to, not in place of, corn syrup). [5] :325–26
Whiskey chocolate chip
In this pie, chocolate chips and a few teaspoons of Jack Daniel whiskey are added. [5] :327
Alice Colombo's Race Day Chocolate Pecan Pie
This pie is named after Alice Colombo, who was a food editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky. This pie was made by her on the occasion of the Kentucky Derby. The special ingredients suggested in the recipe include cornstarch, to soften the top, bourbon, chocolate chips and whipped cream. [5] :328
Includes maple syrup and almond extract. [5] :332
Chocolate brownie
This pie has nuts on the surface and it is layered with chocolate pudding and fudge. It is served at room temperature or chilled. [5] :333
Sawdust Pie
Sawdust Pie is a signature recipe of Patti's Restaurant in Paducah, Kentucky, consisting of an egg-batter filling with coconut, graham cracker crumbs and pecans, topped with whipped cream and sliced bananas. [5] :336 [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dessert A course that concludes a meal; usually sweet

Dessert is a course that concludes a meal. The course usually consists of sweet foods, such as confections dishes or fruit, and possibly a beverage such as dessert wine or liqueur; however, in the United States it may include coffee, cheeses, nuts, or other savory items regarded as a separate course elsewhere. In some parts of the world, such as much of central and western Africa, and most parts of China, there is no tradition of a dessert course to conclude a meal.

Custard variety of culinary preparations based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk

Custard is a variety of culinary preparations based on milk or cream cooked with egg yolk to thicken it, and sometimes also flour, corn starch, or gelatin. Depending on the recipe, custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce to the thick pastry cream used to fill éclairs. The most common custards are used in desserts or dessert sauces and typically include sugar and vanilla, however savory custards are also found, e.g. in quiche.

Chocolate chip cookie Drop cookie featuring chocolate chips as a distinguishing ingredient

A chocolate chip cookie is a drop cookie that originated in the United States and features chocolate chips or chocolate morsels as its distinguishing ingredient. Circa 1938, Ruth Graves Wakefield added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie.

Praline confections made from nuts and sugar syrup

Praline is a form of confection containing at a minimum culinary nuts and sugar; cream is a common third ingredient.

Butter tart

A butter tart is a type of small pastry tart highly regarded in Canadian cuisine and considered one of Canada's quintessential treats. The sweet tart consists of a filling of butter, sugar, syrup, and egg, baked in a pastry shell until the filling is semi-solid with a crunchy top. The butter tart should not be confused with butter pie or with bread and butter pudding.

Chess pie

Chess pie is a dessert characteristic of Southern United States cuisine.

Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is the typical and traditional fare of the Pennsylvania Dutch. According to one writer, "If you had to make a short list of regions in the United States where regional food is actually consumed on a daily basis, the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch - in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - would be at or near the top of that list," mainly because the area is a cultural enclave of Pennsylvania Dutch culture. Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine reflects influences of the Pennsylvania Dutch's German heritage, agrarian society, and rejection of rapid change.

Caramel apple

Caramel apples or taffy apples are created by dipping or rolling apples-on-a-stick in hot caramel, sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool. Generally, they are called caramel apples when only caramel is applied and taffy apples for when there are further ingredients such as peanuts applied.

Divinity (confectionery) nougat-like confection

Divinity is a nougat-like confection made with egg white, corn syrup, and sugar. Optional ingredients such as flavors, chopped dried fruit and chopped nuts are frequently added. Replacing the sugar with brown sugar results in a related confection called "sea foam".

Brittle (food) confection

Brittle is a type of confection consisting of flat broken pieces of hard sugar candy embedded with nuts such as pecans, almonds, or peanuts. It has many variations around the world, such as pasteli in Greece, croquant in France, gozinaki in Georgia, gachak in Indian Punjab, chikki in other parts of India, kotkoti in Bangladesh, Huasheng tang(花生糖) in China, Thua Tat ( ถั่วตัด) in Thailand and kẹo lạc in Vietnam. In parts of the Middle East, brittle is made with pistachios, while many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts. Peanut brittle is the most popular brittle recipe in the US. The term brittle first appears in print in 1892, though the candy itself has been around for much longer.

Peanut pie

Peanut pie, sometimes called the "poor man's pecan pie", is a pie that is part of the part of the cuisine of the Southern United States, where peanuts are a common crop in the Tidewater region. It can be served as a kosher dessert. In North Carolina it was a standard dish to serve at family reunions or church events.

Cashew pie

Cashew pie is a pie prepared with cashews as a primary ingredient. Whole or chopped cashews may be used, or both. It may be prepared with a sweet filling base prepared with corn syrup, sugar and eggs, similar to how pecan pie filling is prepared. It may be prepared using chocolate and fruits such as raspberry as an ingredient, and may be served topped with whipped cream or caramel. It may be served hot.

Walnut pie

Walnut pie is a pie prepared with walnuts as a primary ingredient. Whole or chopped walnuts may be used, or both, and toasted walnuts may be used. It may be prepared as a cream pie, and may include maple syrup, molasses, and cinnamon as ingredients. It may be prepared with a sweet filling base prepared with corn syrup, sugar, and eggs, similar to pecan pie filling. Chocolate and honey may also be used Walnut pie may be prepared using fruits such as raisins, figs, plums, and cranberries, among others. Walnut pie may be served at room temperature or warmed. It may be topped with whipped cream or served à la Mode.


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  2. Edge, John T. (2007). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 7: Foodways. The University of North Carolina Press. p. 223.
  3. McWilliams, James (2013). The Pecan: A History of America's Native Nut. University of Texas Press. pp. 120–122.
  4. The FOURnet Information Network. "Bourbon Pecan Pie – Recipes –".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Haedrich, Ken (2004). Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie. Harvard Common Press. ISBN   978-1-55832-254-7.
  6. "pecan, n.". OED Online. Oxford University Press. March 2016. < French (Mississippi Valley) pacane (1712; 1721 in the source translated in quot. 1761 at sense 1) < Illinois pakani (= /paka?ni/); cognates in other Algonquian languages are applied to hickory nuts and walnuts. Compare Spanish pacano (1772; 1779 in a Louisiana context).Missing or empty |url= (help)
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  10. Rick Mcdaniel (photographer); (et al.) (2011). An Irresistible History of Southern Food: Four Centuries of Black-eyed Peas, Collard Greens & Whole Hog Barbecue. The History Press. p. 215. ISBN   1-60949-193-9
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  12. Ladies' Home Journal, Volume 15 By Louisa Knapp, Edward William Bok
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  16. Jan Karon, A Light in the Window . 1996; Penguin; ISBN   0-14-025454-4
  17. Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun . 1997; Broadway; ISBN   0-7679-0038-3
  18. "Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried Lyrics". SongLyrics.
  19. "Patti's Menu". Patti's 1880's Settlement. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.