It sounds silly and seems absurd, but I think the most difficult decision to make during Thanksgiving week is not where to spend the holiday or what to serve for the meal. For me, the question of cranberry sauce is settled…I don’t eat any of it. No, what I will struggle to decide Thursday is what to eat for dessert. I didn’t say what to have for dessert because my family will have almost everything. Unfortunately, I cannot (okay…should not) eat everything, so…what to choose, what to choose? I love sweet potato pie, but let’s face it…I’ll probably eat at least two versions of sweet potato casserole (which is really a pie without a crust, right?) so I hate to waste dessert on that. Almost any other time of year, I’d choose chocolate. (I’m loyal that way.) Someone usually brings coconut or caramel cake, but something about Thanksgiving says “pie” to me, you know? And, when I think of pie, I think pecan.
It’s never been my favorite and seldom my first choice, but I realize now that if I don’t eat it first, I always eat it eventually. And I’m beginning to realize why….
Pecan pie is perfect.
The filling is delicious hot or cold. Warm, it’s comforting and beautiful. The amber color of the pie filling becomes translucent and almost looks like liquid gold. It feels warm and cozy and makes you feel that way, too. Chilled, it’s creamy, smooth and thick…decadent and buttery and oh so delicious.
The pecans add crunch and flavor and give something for that fabulous filling to hold on to…a perfect pairing.
And one the best things about pecan pie is the fact that it is actually very easy to make. Here’s the recipe I use, which is adapted from the Karo Syrup recipe:
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecan halves (this is important…pecan pie should have pecan halves not pieces. Trust me.)
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Add pecans. Pour into pie crust. (Seriously…that’s all there is to it.)
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. If it starts getting too brown, just put aluminum foil around the edges. Burnt crust is not uncommon among pecan pies, and it certainly puts a damper on the perfection.
You should let the pie cool for a couple of hours before serving…if you can wait that long.
The Karo Syrup web site gives this tip for testing if the pie is ready: pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done.