While the saying goes “American as Apple Pie,” the pecan pie is as local as they come. Pecans are native to America and the pie was thought to have been invented in the early 1800s in Louisiana and the earliest recipes for Texas Pecan Pie came out in 1897. Pecan pie is loved for having a caramel-like filling that is gooey and sweet, which is balanced by the savory tastes of pecans and the buttery pie crust.
Pecan Pie Trivia
- Pecan pie was popularized by Karo syrup when they started putting pecan pie recipes on their labels.
- One of the reasons why Pecan Pie became a Thanksgiving staple is because the Pecan harvesting season begins late September until November, making the availability of the nuts perfect for the holiday seasons.
- There’s no one official way to pronounce pecans. It can be “pee-KAHN, PEE-kahn, Pick-KAHN, and PEE-can” either way, we call it “yummy.”
- July 12 is considered as National Pecan Pie Day.
- There’s another pecan pie related celebration day, and that is National Chocolate Pecan Pie day, which is celebrated on August 20.
Pecan Pie Buying Guide
There isn’t a set standard for buying ready-made pecan pies as each baker has its cooking method and flavor profile. They’re pretty simple to make, and if you’re in Texas, it’s not hard to find bakers that will take advance orders for pecan pie.
There are some commercially available pecan pies but they more often than not contain many preservatives to extend their shelf life. The shelf life of home-made pecan pie is only three to four days, and commercial producers need them to stay on shelves for much longer than that.
Another option is to go to farmers’ markets during pecan season, you’re sure to find one or two stalls that will be selling pecan pies.
Pecan Pie Production & Farming in Texas
Pecan pie is the official State Dessert of Texas, this should speak volumes on how popular this pie is in Texas. Since Texas is also a producer of some of the best pecans in America, it shouldn’t be surprising that this pie is on every Texan table during the holidays.
Pecan pies also have a very rich history in Texas with recipes for the pie appearing in Texas cookbooks since the 1870s. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1920s when a commercial corn syrup producer placed recipes for pecan pie on their labels. Because pecans were so accessible in Texas and the recipe was there on every package of corn syrup, pecan pies slowly became the go-to pie for many households.
It was only in 2013 that the Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution making pecan pie officially the state dessert, but in the hearts of many Texans, this was their official dessert long before that.
Today, you can find pecan pies in many bakeries and farmers’ markets especially when the pecan is in season. Check out the local listings for where to buy locally made pecan pies.
Chemicals, Preservatives, and Additives:
While there aren’t many available pecan pies on store shelves, they’re pretty popular in the frozen section. These pies can contain some or all of the following additives to make them last longer:
- Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
- Calcium Disodium Edta (Preservative)
- Natural Flavorings (To give a “standard” taste)
- Artificial Flavorings (To give a “standard” taste
- Beta Carotene (for color)
- Caramel Color (for color)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (Sweetener)
These ingredients would never be used by a home baker or by any local artisan baker.
Frozen pecan pies come in a disposable baking tin and then are packed in a single-use plastic bag before being boxed for freezing.
Enjoying Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is best consumed at room temperature when the filling has set properly, cut it too early and the filling will run out and make a mess. It is also usually served with vanilla ice cream on top.
To store pecan pie, cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for up to three days. This can also be stored in the freezer for a few months as long as it is wrapped tightly with freezer wrap.
Bake Your Own Texan Pecan Pie:
If you don’t already have a recipe for pecan pie then this should be a good starting point. This recipe has won blue ribbons at some local bake-offs so this is a pretty safe starting point for a good pie.
For the Crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 tablespoons cold water
For the Filling:
1 cup light corn syrup
1 and ¼ cup chopped pecans
½ cup of sugar
1 and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
In a bowl, combine flour and salt while cutting in shortening until the crust is crumbly. Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, tossing until a ball forms.
Roll out the pastry to fit a 9-inch pie mold then sprinkle pecans on the crust.
In a bowl, mix the rest of the filling ingredients until well mixed, pour over the pecans.
Bake at 350g for about 50 minutes or until a knife or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool until the filling has set, cut, serve, and enjoy.