(Sugar syrup pie with roasted pecan nuts)
What’s more American than apple pie? If you ask me, the correct answer would be pecan pie. Unlike apple pie, which was developed in Europe (appearances include a 16th century Dutch cookbook, but that’s for a later post…), pecans are native to the United States. I strongly believe the pie is absolutely nothing without the iconic nut, which is actually a borrowed Algonquin word meaning “many nuts”. Pecans, in fact, have been around for a very long time; archaeological remains find that the unique nut has been a staple in Native American culture and cuisine for roughly 8,000 years.
But where does the pie come into play? Well I guess it wouldn’t be fair to attribute all of its history to the US. Early colonists adapted recipes for the very British treacle tart into various kinds of sugar pies over here in the States. Simple and sweet, sugar pies originally consisted of a single layer of pie crust topped off with a syrupy-custard like filling. The dispute, however, arises with who first began to incorporate pecans as a finishing layer. While some credit French Creoles in Louisiana for the discovery, others contend settlers in Alabama were the first to conceive of the delectable dessert.
Today, pecan pie is loved world over as a decidedly “southern” American treat. It’s main claim to fame includes working as a full-time contender for the spot of official Thanksgiving pie, but it’s already locked in its spot as my personal all-time favorite. While the little Midwest town I live in might not have much to offer, it does have a little apple orchard down the road from my childhood home that happens to churn out some pretty mean pecan pies. I love them fresh out of the oven, or slightly reheated, to soften up that gooey, syrupy casing. Caramelized pecans, trapped in a supremely sweet sugary layer, works to perfectly balance out the buttery, browned salted crust beneath. Running down the road to grab a slice right now~