Holiday Cooking: Papa’s Deadly Pecan Pie

pecan pie - public domain image

My Papa was an incredible cook.  At church suppers, the folks most often asked, “What did Miss Josie (my grandma Ninny) or Robert make?  Often, they could just give a scan of the food table and know: fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, fried okra, corn pudding, peach cobbler, crab cakes, coconut cake, and…pecan pie.

Unlike most of the recipes, Papa cooked his corn syrups and sugar together before stirring in the eggs. It made for a richer flavor and texture. He also used pecans from our own trees and lots of vanilla extract. He made his own flaky crust but you can use a pre-made one in your own fancy pie plate – deep dish.  Try to use the freshest pecans you can find and a good vanilla extract.  Put lots of love and quality in your cooking and you will never go wrong.

This is one of the dishes that always show up at one of my holiday meals. I hope it will become part of your holiday traditions. With love, from me to you.

Ho! Ho! Ho! どうぞめしあがれ Douzo meshiagare, y’all!

Papa’s Deadly Pecan Pie

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely broken
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell

In saucepan boil sugar and corn syrup together for 2 to 3 minutes; set aside to cool slightly. In large bowl beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.  At this point Papa would strain the mixture to make sure it’s smooth and lump free.   Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 45 to 60 minutes or until set.  Let cool before slicing.  I will place the pie on a cookie sheet in case of boiling over.

Papa’s Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Among his many talents, my papa was also an excellent Southern cook.  Much of my cooking I learned at an early age, standing on a chair by his side while he cooked.  Or I would sit on the table while he mixed up cakes, tater salad, grated sweet potato pudding, cornbread….helped him slice, dice, shred.  Nowadays people are rather shy about teaching their kids “sharp” skills.  Let me tell you, the first time I scraped my knuckles on a grater, I learned quickly not to do that again.  Of course, papa cleaned the scrapes, kissed my little paw, and plastered me with bandaids.

One of the things he taught me was his Peach Cobbler.  Oh my goodness what a yummy eat.  Hot, cold, “wiz or wizout” vanilla ice cream or a dollop of freshly whipped heavy cream, that cobbler was amazing.  He’d take three to church suppers and the pans would come back virtually licked clean. 

He also would make it with frozen peaches from the summer harvest or drained canned peaches.  Cherries, blueberries and sometimes pineapple chunks would be in the cobbler.  But the Queen of the Cobblers was his peach.  I hope you like it!  It is happy food.

Papa’s Peach Cobbler

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½  cups sugar, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

6  cups fresh peach slices

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ tsp ground mace

¼ tsp. ground ginger

Ground cinnamon 

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.  Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

Bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, peach slices, spices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; spoon over batter (do not stir).

Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool

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