Pie makes me happy. It just does. Right now I am on cold medicine, triple amounts of caffeine and moderate amounts of alcohol, and yet making this pie moments ago still made me happy. It calmed me. I played my music, I let my feet be bare, and I made myself a pie.
I rolled out my pastry.
I rolled from the center to the outside.
I pressed together any tears with my tiny fingers.
I moved slowly and deliberately.
I rolled until I had a circle wider than my pie plate.
I rolled until my dough became what I wanted it to be.
I moved the prostrated pastry from counter to plate.
I pressed it into the cold, ceramic dish.
I placed my toasted pecans inside.
I arranged them specifically, even though I knew once it baked, those pecans will move as they wish.
I nibbled on a few.
I covered them with the salty and sweet custard.
I baked it.
I sat on the floor with my feet still bare, my music still playing, and I laid my tired head against the cabinet behind me. And I waited for the smell.
It takes a few minutes, but once it comes it makes you close your eyes. That buttery, sweet and nutty perfume just takes over.
The song that played told me a story while I sat and waited and smelled.
I was never attention’s sweet center
I still remember that girl
She’s imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy, but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie…
I don’t know what it is about pie that summons such poetic depth, but I can’t imagine a song about cake doing the same. Pie is beautiful, pie is rustic and pristine at once, pie is warmth and it is comfort. I could make a thousand pies and never grow tired of the process. The pastry, so flaky and delicate… contrasting, yet harmonizing with its sweet center. I grew up on pie and pie makes me happy. And that single slice of Southern Pecan Pie after my Thanksgiving meal every year is one of my favorite things.
Also is the slice on the following morning.
There’s nothing unique about this Pecan Pie recipe… it’s what we all use, and have used for years and years, but here she is in printed form for the first time for me.
The only thing I do perhaps a little different is that I like to add extra salt to mine, because my pies have to have balance, not unlike me.
I am messy and kind and imperfect, I am salty and I am sweet… I am so many things baked inside a beautiful pie.
And so are you.
So don’t change that. OK?
Happy Thanksgiving Eve, you beautiful messes.
SOUTHERN PECAN PIE
Roll out your pastry and press into your pie plate (click that link to my gluten free pastry recipe).
Poke with a fork a few times and bake alone at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove and cover with…
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecan halves.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together…
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup dark karo syrup
- several pinches kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 stick (4 TB) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Pour the mixture over your pecans.
Bake in a that same 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the center is firm when you jiggle the pie.
Allow to cool, and serve warm or room temperature.
With vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or nothing at all.