Hundreds of sweet elaborations can be found in the confectionery scene. Many arrive and ipso facto awaken the fervor among the most greedy, but die of success in a short time. On the other hand, others maintain their unbeatable protagonism over the years and are even a real institution in the recipe books of countless countries. A good example of this is the pie pecan, a cake typical of the United States, especially of the southern regions, whose popularity has brought it to be present at tables halfway around the world.
The main ingredient is pecan nuts. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this country produces more than 80% of them. The reason for this is, as we are told on the website of the American Council of La Pacana, that this variety “is one of the few autochthonous plants that have evolved into a highly coveted and internationally traded crop. In addition, they are the fruit of the most important tree in America and others have not been found that grow naturally in any other place in the world, which, incidentally, do more than one hundred million years ago, that is, prior to the founding of the country.
The original was born in New Orleans
Also, this candy is not a novelty in your recipe book. According to sources, it emerged in New Orleans from the hands of the French who settled in the region from 1718. Thanks to the Native Americans, who organized their lives around the harvest of the pecan nut, their main source of sustenance, they got to know it and began to experiment with it.
In the traditional recipe, the nuts are mixed with egg dough, corn or maple syrup, butter, sugar and flavorings. But over time more versions have emerged, which have also become very popular, including extra ingredients such as chocolate or bourbon whisky, which are often used to impregnate and flavor nuts. When presented, it is accompanied by vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. The result is a delight that puts the flavor to the main festivities of the country, especially Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving.
More than 80% of the world’s pecan nuts are produced in the United States
However, the definitive impulse to the stardom of this cake came from the hand of the company Karo, specialized in the manufacture of corn syrup, which is one of its main ingredients. As they explain on their corporate website, in the 1930s, “the sales executive’s wife created a different recipe by mixing corn syrup, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baked nuts, which she called Karo Pie, whose name is kept in the southern states. They included it on the product labels to make it known to the rest of the world. And so it was, for his popularity remains to this day.
We leave aside the history of this sweet to enter into the intricacies of its elaboration process, which, by the way, is not too complicated. But, like any preparation, it claims to take into account some issues if it is to achieve a delicious result. Let’s see what they are.
- Although it may seem obvious, the quality of the ingredients is paramount. Thus, it is important to opt for pecan nuts, because the inclusion of any other variety will give more gustatory intensity and will result in another processing that is not the authentic pecan foot.
- On the other hand, to prevent the dough from becoming soft and wet, it is important to pour in the warm filling mixture and partially bake it first.
- As we have said, pecan nuts are the protagonists and their taste should prevail. For that reason, it is advisable to be cautious with the addition of sugar, because it camouflages this taste quite a lot. In addition, we must bear in mind that if we add the brown version, it will be darker and, therefore, less showy.
For the dough
- 300 g flour
- 150 g icing sugar
- 150 g butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
For the filling
- 200 g pecan nuts
- 4 eggs
- 50 g flour
- 175 g corn syrup
- 50 g butter
- 85 g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Elaboration. We started preparing the broken dough. To do this, sift the flour and sugar, add a pinch of salt and mix. Next, add the cold butter, cut into portions, and mix with your hands until the ingredients are well integrated. Afterwards, add the eggs and knead by hand until a fine texture is obtained, and let it rest in the fridge for approximately one hour. After this time, spread the dough on a smooth surface previously sprinkled with flour and spread it well with a roller, from top to bottom and from right to left. When the dough is stretched and fine, place it in a mould and set aside.
Then it’s the filler‘s turn. First, we prepare the ingredients: we sift the flour to eliminate the impurities and we crush 100 grams of nuts. Then, add the eggs, the sugar, the butter, the flour, the syrup and the vanilla extract in a bowl, and beat well with the sticks until you obtain a fine mixture free of lumps. Then we add the chopped walnuts, mix and heat a little. Pour the mixture over the reserved dough and place the rest of the walnuts on it. Finally, we bake it at 180ºC for approximately 40 minutes. If you want to give it a different touch, you can dip the nuts in bourbon or chocolate. When serving, the ideal accompaniment is whipped cream, caramel or chocolate syrup and even vanilla ice cream balls.