One of the things that the South is truly known for is food. No time is this more evident than at this time of year - Thanksgiving. Along with the Deep fried turkey, and the usual Poke Salad or collard greens, the Southern Thanksgiving is not complete without Pecan Pie. (You can call it 'PEA-kan' or 'peh-KAHN'- it don't make no never-mind to me.) Pecan pie is so important to Southerners that it's on almost every menu in every restaurant from Raleigh to New Orleans. (Pronounce this as 'Nawluns', to be sure. There is no other pronunciation acceptable in the South)
When I was a kid, one of my father's relatives sent the same gift every year. A big bucket of Pecans. It was her signature gift. When I say bucket, I mean a big cardboard thing (easily 1-2 gallons!) of Pecan halves from a reputable fruit and nut seller. (They are still around, I'm just not about to advertise for them this time of year.)
My siblings and I would lay waste to that bucket, grabbing handfuls on the way through the kitchen, on the way to watch Star Trek (before it was hip) - but there was so much it would still last at least a month - sometimes more. And now here is my childhood snack fave made into a pie! I swoon, I drool, I reach for a fork!
What's in this amazingly simple dessert delight? Pecans (Well, duh!), but the rest is just corn syrup, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix it all together and pour into a pie crust. Bake. Eat. Repeat. It seems like a simple recipe, and yet Southern cooks each have their own special recipe, more corn syrup, less sugar, some with less eggs, some with more and most assuredly, some better than others. One such recipe I just found has...let me sit down while I write this as I'm feeling sort of faint ... CHOCOLATE! Yes, CHOCOLATE! Pecan Pie with chocolate chunks! Oh lordy, it makes you want some right this moment!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I plan to get me a mess of the aforementioned pie - with or without chocolate. One Serving at least. (What's this they put at the bottom of recipes? One pie serves 8-12? Who's idea is this? One Pie - One serving! And don't forget the whipped cream!)