“The minute you land in New Orleans, something wet and dark leaps on you and starts humping you like a swamp dog in heat, and the only way to get that aspect of New Orleans off you is to eat it off. That means beignets and crayfish bisque and jambalaya, it means shrimp remoulade, pecan pie, and red beans with rice, it means elegant pompano au papillote, funky file z’herbes, and raw oysters by the dozen, it means grillades for breakfast, a po’ boy with chowchow at bedtime, and tubs of gumbo in between. It is not unusual for a visitor to the city to gain fifteen pounds in a week–yet the alternative is a whole lot worse. If you don’t eat day and night, if you don’t constantly funnel the indigenous flavors into your bloodstream, then the mystery beast will go right on humping you, and you will feel its sordid presence rubbing against you long after you have left town. In fact, like any sex offender, it can leave permanent psychological scars.” – Tom Robbins, “Jitterbug Perfume“
Is there anything, really, more southern than pecan pie? There are dozens of ways to make it and probably just about as many ways to eat it. No matter how it’s made or eaten, though pecan pie never fails to deliver that nostalgic, down-home wistfulness that gives a pleasurable ache right through to the marrow of your soul. How do you make or eat it? What favorite memory do you have that’s attached to pecan pie? Share it with me!
2 C coarsely broken pecans 4 eggs, beaten; reserve 1 egg white
½ C unbroken pecan halves 1 T lemon juice
½ stick butter 1 T vanilla
½ C light Karo syrup Dash of salt
¼ C dark Karo syrup 1 t flour
1 C light brown sugar 1 unbaked, nine-inch pie shell
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and put them on the top shelf of the preheated oven. Watch them closely and when you notice just a bit of darkening, remove them immediately to prevent burning. Set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan over very low heat. Remove from heat. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the syrups, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and flour. Stir well; then blend in the butter. Microwave at 20% for about 15 seconds. Stir and repeat the process until the mixture feels just warm to the touch and begins to thicken.
Brush the unbaked pie shell with egg white to prevent a soggy crust. Pour the filling into the pie shell and top with the pecan halves. Push them down with a spoon if necessary to ensure all the pecans at least touch the filling.
Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 10 minutes. Reduce to 135°C (275°F) and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. Cool to warm room temperature before serving.
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