From the archives – because no way would I dare to test our poor toaster oven on a pecan pie
You woke up ready to celebrate National Pecan Pie Day, right?
In 1919, Texas declared the Pecan tree (pronounced puh-CAWN, not PEE-can) the Official State Tree of Texas and opened the way for pecan pie to become the unofficial state dessert. No get-together or holiday meal in Texas would be complete without a thick slice of sweet, buttery pecan pie.
Pecan trees are part of the landscape here. They’re easy to pick-out in late summer – if you’re fortunate, you’ll notice the ground beneath the tree is littered with fallen pecans. If you’re not so fortunate, you’ll park under the tree and only realize it’s a pecan tree when you hear that little grenade explode on the hood of your car (those suckers can leave a dent!). My grandmother had pecan trees in her front yard. As children, it was our job to collect the fallen nuts while my mom, aunt, and grandmother sat on the front porch cracking and preparing the pecans to meet their destiny – the oven.
I’ve seen many recipe variations for buttermilk pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, caramel pecan pie, and even a peanut butter pecan pie, some tasty, others… not so much. While I’m all for improving an old favorite, some foods were just meant to be eaten the old fashioned way – simple, with no extras.
In my family, our pecan pie filling is known simply as “The Goo.” Buttery, rich, and with just the hint of butterscotch, the Goo was used to sell many a pecan pie at my family’s bakery – it is made as a large-scale recipe at my dad’s company and put into food-grade storage containers and frozen, although it’s so full of dessert goodness that it cannot actually freeze solid. Instead, it turns in to an incredibly thick goo (I’ve broken ladles trying to hastily retrieve a scoop before allowing The Goo to warm up a bit).
We take a bit of The Goo here and there straight from the freezer and add it to a pie shell filled with pecan halves and bake it once The Goo warms up enough so that the pecans can find their way to the surface. The Goo creates a thick coating on the pecans that caramelizes in the oven – the best part of the pie, if you ask me.
When I cannot get my hands on The Goo, I call in the trusty lefty from the bullpen – the recipe from the side of the Karo Syrup bottle. It was how we made pecan pie before The Goo was invented. Sure, some people turn up their nose at from-the-back-of-the-box recipes but the Karo recipe is very tasty and fills in nicely with a couple of to-taste modifications:
No holiday is complete without a classic pecan pie.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecans, chopped or halved
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350F. Beat eggs slightly with fork in medium bowl.
- Add sugar, Karo Corn Syrup, butter and vanilla; stir until blended. Place pecans in the pie shell, evenly spread.
- Pour filling into pie crust and put into the oven after the pecans have risen to the top.
- Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Yields: 8 Servings
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes