Southern Pecan Pie
Every fall, for as long as I can remember, I have spent many hours underneath the pecan trees collecting nuts. After the harvest, the family gathers around the table, and with the noise of a thousand starving squirrels, shells the pecans.
Pecans are an important staple in our home. In fact, we struggle to have enough pecans after feasting on them throughout the holidays with dishes from Thanksgiving’s sweet potato casserole to Christmas’ pecan pie.
To counter this growing demand, this winter we will add another half-dozen trees to the orchard. We will include some new varieties, such as Gafford, Excel, and Ellis, for this area that are designed for the small-scale farmer. These varieties have better form, and more importantly, are more resistant to pests. It will be six or eight years before we see a harvest, but it is well worth the wait. It is amazing how fast those years pass by.
Though pecans add something to every meal, nothing glorifies pecans like pecan pie. This Southern pie’s nougat contains Alaga syrup, an ingredient made locally here in Montgomery, Alabama, but is available thoughout the South. As a side note, the bricks from the original 1906 plant (they moved to a different part of town) supports my family’s home. Anyhow, the syrup is a mix of cane and corn syrup and brings great flavor and texture to the pie. If you don’t have Alaga syrup, Dark Karo Syrup will be a fine substitute.
There are a few tips to making the best Southern Pecan Pie around. The most important tip is to use fresh pecans. Use the best ingredients to get the best pie! Also keep in mind that roasting your pecans before using them in your pie is going to bring out that desired nutty flavor and that using chopped pecans gives a much better texture to the final pie. The pecan pieces have much more surface area than pecan halves, heeding to much more candied and sticky goodness. Finally, use an abundance of pecans when preparing a PECAN pie. I just hate it when a pecan pie has more nougat than nuts!
- 1 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup Alaga Cane Syrup (if you don’t have this, use Dark Karo Syrup)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. melted butter plus extra for brushing
- 2 Tbs. flour
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake until roasted (about 5-7 minutes), checking frequently; they will burn very quickly.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients and pour into an unbaked pie shell.
- Brush butter on the pie crust and transfer in pre-heated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the filling barely moves when shaken.
- Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.