|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredient(s)||Pecan and corn syrup|
Pecan pie, pronounced [peekɔːn paɪ], is a pie made primarily with corn syrup and pecan nuts. Variations may include sugar syrup, molasses or maple syrup. It is popularly served at holiday meals and is also considered a specialty of Southern U.S. cuisine. Most pecan pie recipes include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey are other popular additions to the recipe. Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream.
Claims have been made of the dish existing in the early 1800s in Louisiana, but this does not appear to be backed up by recipes or literature. Attempts to trace the dish's origin have not found any recipes dated earlier than 1897, and well-known cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking did not include this dessert before 1940.
Some have stated that the French invented pecan pie soon after settling in New Orleans, after being introduced to the pecan nut by Native Americans. Pecan pie may be a variant of chess pie, which is made with a similar butter-sugar-egg custard.
The makers of Karo syrup significantly contributed to popularizing the dish and many of the recipes for variants (caramel, cinnamon, Irish creme, peanut butter, etc.) of the classic pie. The company has claimed that the dish was a 1930s "discovery" of a "new use for corn syrup" by a corporate sales executive's wife.
Pecan pie is often mentioned in American literature (and television) as associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions; for example:
- "Dooley handed them a basket stuffed with fruit, nuts, candy, a tinned ham, and a pecan pie. 'Merry Christmas!' he said."
- —Jan Karon, 1996
- The only kitchen item I usually bring to Italy is plastic wrap... This time, however, I have brought one bag of Georgia pecans and a can of cane syrup, pecan pie being a necessary ingredient of Christmas.
- —Frances Mayes, 1997
Pecan pie is a staple of the Southern U.S., and is often used in literary context as a symbol of the South; for example:
- "Sweet tea, pecan pie and homemade wine/Where the peaches grow" - Chicken Fried (song, 2003)
- Griffith, Linda; Griffith, Fred (2003). Nuts: Recipes from Around the World That Feature Nature's Perfect Ingredient. Macmillan. p. 294. ISBN 0312266243
- Cooks.com Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipes
- Rick Mcdaniel (photographer); (et al.) (2011). An Irresistible History of Southern Food: Four Centuries of Black-eyed Peas, Collard Greens & Whole Hog Barbecue. The History Press. p. 215. ISBN 1609491939
- Ladies' home journal, Volume 15 By Louisa Knapp, Edward William Bok
- Food Timeline - Pecan Pie History
- [Joy of Cooking: All About Pies & Tarts,Irma von Starkloff Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker; p93]
- "History of Karo". Karo. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Jan Karon, A Light in the Window (The Mitford Years). 1996; Penguin; ISBN 0-14-025454-4
- Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun. 1997; Broadway; ISBN 0-7679-0038-3