Every Thanksgiving I make pretty much the same exact menu that I have been eating for at least 30 years: turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, lots of gravy, rolls…you get the idea. But for the past 6 years I have been making an amazing pecan pie. That was my Dad’s addition. He was never a huge cook or baker, but when he got an urge to cook or bake something, it was always excellent.
My Dad and I had a bit of a rocky relationship when I was in my 20’s. Saying we weren’t close is putting it mildly. But, slowly, over a lot of emails and phone conversations and work, we grew close again. We apologized and forgave and came back together. The first time we saw each other in probably 5 years, he came to visit me a week before Thanksgiving. He brought with him a giant bag of Texas pecans from a tree in his backyard and a recipe from his wife’s family for “the best pecan pie he had ever tasted.” I was intrigued. One of my favorite adult memories of my father is sitting in my kitchen with him, shelling pecans for a pie, and talking. When we ate the pie together it was good. Damn good. But it was so much better because we had made something so sweet together.
For the rest of my life, every Thanksgiving, we will eat my Dad’s pecan pie. Yes, it’s delicious, probably the best pecan pie I have ever tasted. I also make it even more ridiculous and add chopped bittersweet chocolate to the mix. But honestly, the pie itself is pretty bittersweet. It always makes me cry a teeny bit when I make it. It really makes me miss my Dad.
Also, another pie memory: this pie was the first taste of anything sweet that Stella ever had. Last Thanksgiving Mindy thought it would be appropriate to feed Stella, at 9 months old, a few bites of this pie. I was annoyed at the time, but thinking about it now, I love that my Dad’s pie was the first sweet thing my little Sweet Thing ever ate.
Anyway, I am thankful for this pie and the memories it stirs up. So I’ve decided to share it, for anyone who is interested. Below is the exact email that my Dad sent me with the pie recipe when I asked him for it a few years back. The email is dated November 18, 2006. My Dad passed away four months later.
OK! BUT IT’S GONN’NA COST YOU “BIG TIME” OLD FAMILY RECIPE AND ALL THAT STUFF.
1 cup pecan halves
1 pound light brown sugar (most recipe’s call for Karo syrup no good far to sweet, makes your teeth scream)
1/4 cup unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
9″ pie, do not bake
Arrange pecans in concentric rings over bottom of pastry
Blend sugar, flour salt, then mix in milk and vanilla
Beat in eggs 1 at a time, wire wisk or rotary beater (I’ve used both rotary beater gives a bit more air in batter)
Mix in butter a bit at a time.
Slowly pour filling over pecans they tend to rise in any event but it’s nice if as many as possible stay suspended in the filling, then you can decorate the top as you see fit.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or untill filling is puffy and crust golden, you’ll know.
Best at room temperature.
Needless to say this is not for calorie counters, but hey! what are holidays for.
Wish I could send you the pecans but we don’t own the tree any more 🙁
Enjoy, let me know how it turns out.
Much love and have a great T’day,
My throat hurts a little. <3
Thanks for sharing.
I think I have something in my eyes. 🙂 oh and I gave her a couple teeny tiny tastes, not bites 🙂
AND you gave her more pie this year! The tradition lives on! 😉