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Pecan Pie Named Texas’ Official State Pie

Pecan Pie Named Texas’ Official State Pie

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The State House passed a ceremonial resolution Wednesday

The state of Texas has officially named pecan pie as its state pie, according to a resolution passed by the Texas State House on Wednesday.

The measure was proposed by first-year Representative Marsha Farney, according to KHOU, and passed without much debate.

"Of all the Lone Star State’s unique culinary dishes, perhaps none say 'Texas' more sweetly than pecan pie," the lighthearted resolution begins. It goes on to give some history of the pecan pie, delving into the ubiquity of pecan trees in the state (it was named the State Tree in 1919, and Texas pecans account for more than 20 percent of all U.S. pecans), and mentions how in 1914 a recipe for "Texas Pecan Pie" appeared in the Christian Science Monitor. It goes on to state that "though there are many ways to enjoy pecans, it is practically a given among Texans that they belong, first and foremost, in a pie," and that while "pecan pie recipes are varied and numerous… Texans generally agree on two things: Texas pecan pies are, hands down, the best, especially when made with Texas pecans by a Texan, and secondly, whether served hot or cold, with a scoop of ice cream or without, pecan pie is indeed the perfect ending to any meal."

Recipes from Home: Texas State Fair Pecan Pie

On an early summer evening a year ago, I’m sitting across the table from my wife at Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill, a North Carolina institution known for the best in home-style southern cooking. I’ve taken my first bite of the best thing that’s ever graced this earth—pecan pie. No food represents the South to me like this magnificent pie. At that moment, I made a life decision.

I ‘ve been on a mission to find the best pecan pie recipe ever to grace this good earth. Of course, this is an academic pursuit all in the name of research. To begin, I collected six different recipes that run the full disparity of pecan pie types. They range from my Mama’s recipe that uses dark brown sugar and dark Karyo syrup to the illustrious Mama Dip’s recipe from her famous Chapel Hill restaurant. In the mix is a state fair winner from the purported state of pie’s origin. A version below of the pie that has bourbon, just a tablespoon or so, that leaves plenty left for other activities. I also included a couple of traditional recipes that use ingredients, corn meal or Lyell’s Golden Syrup, no longer used in most pecan pie recipes today. Those six recipes are below with my notes about their differences.

In the fall of 2013, I set out one weekend to make all six…that’s right all six pies for the ultimate Pecan Pie Tasting Showdown. The pie crust recipe was kept the same among all the pies–a simple butter recipe but without shortening. I spent a Friday night making all the crust and all day Saturday making the pies and drinking the leftover bourbon. I invited a crack team of culinary judges over. Basically, friends who had a free Sunday and wanted to eat their weight in blissful pecan pie.

After making all of the pies above for the infamous pie tasting event of the fall of 2013, a consensus was reached that Craig’s Mom’s recipe had the best flavor but the Texas State Fair Recipe had the best texture. What really makes my mom’s pie recipe special is the use of dark syrup and brown sugar. The rich molasses flavor helps to cut the sweetness giving the pie an overall complex and richer flavor. The best pecan pie recipe is essentially the award winning pecan pie recipe from the Texas State Fair with two simple but very important changes.

Pecan Pie Named Official State Pie Of Texas

AUSTIN (AP) – The House has formally named the pecan pie Texas’ official state pie.

Wednesday’s ceremonial resolution doing so was sponsored by first-year Rep. Marsha Farney, a Republican from Georgetown, north of Austin.

Since it was her first bill, Farney underwent a few minutes of gentle hazing after introducing the measure on the House floor.

One of Farney’s colleagues razzed: “Do you have a recipe?” Another wanted to know if she was saying “too bad to the apple pie,” which some say is America’s official pie.

They also asked for amendments that only Texas pecans be used in pecan pies statewide, and that it formally be declared illegal to include chocolate when baking one.

In honor of Farney’s measure, the state Capitol cafeteria sold pecan pie Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Mama's Pecan Pie

Dianne Sheridan – Allen, Texas
Best of Show – Pies, 2012
The State Fair loves to showcase Creative Arts competitors and their creations in our Cookbook and our new recipe blog on Enter your favorite recipe in one of our Creative Arts competitions for your chance to be in the spotlight!
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“A Thanksgiving table essential”

Pie Pastry Ingredients

1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening
4-6 T. ice cold water

Pie Pastry Directions

Mix dry ingredients. Blend shortening into dry ingredients until crumbly. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring with fork as little as possible just until ball starts to form. Roll out onto wax paper and place another piece of wax paper over top. Roll to fit 9-inch pie pan. Place crust dough into pie plate. Remove other piece of paper slowly. Trim edges even and flute with thumbs.

Filling Ingredients

3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. flour
1 c. light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. melted butter
1 c. broken pecan pieces

Filling Directions

Beat eggs, sugar, flour, syrup, salt, vanilla and butter. Line pie pan with plain pastry. Put pecans in layer on bottom and add egg mixture. Bake at 350º for 50-60 minutes. Pecans will rise to top.

Pecan Pie, Please

When it comes to South Carolina's favorite pie, the nuts have it. Pecan pie is a strong tradition on holiday tables across the state, sharing star status with showstoppers like pumpkin and sweet potato. Once the seasonal festivities are over, however, it's sticky, buttery pecan pie that continues to hit our South Carolina sweet spot year &lsquoround.

Technically, the seed of the pecan tree is called a drupe - a husk that encapsulates a single pit. Around here, we keep things simple and call them "nuts." Far more controversial is the pronunciation of "pecan." But no matter which syllable you stress, the emphasis is always on good eating when you snack on pecans or use them to create iconic dishes like pecan pie.

Pecan Pathways

Pecan pie's South Carolina roots aren't as deep as they seem. Pecan groves weren't a part of our landscape until the 1800s, having slowly moved from the north down to East Texas over to Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia before finding agricultural favor in the Palmetto State.

"One of the earliest experimental growers was John Horlbeck of Boone Hall Plantation north of Charleston, who secured cuttings sometime in the 1860s of wild pecans from Louisiana," notes Dr. David Shields, a food historian and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. " . Horlbeck knew from personal experience that pecans could thrive in the Lowcountry, so in 1892 he began planting extensive groves."

After many tweaks, the groves grew to 15,000 trees, making it the world's largest pecan growing operation. As is the way of things, illness, death and other side effects of time's unstoppable grind spelled the demise of Horlbeck's amazing enterprise. When he died in 1916, pecan pie as we know it wasn't a thing yet, though there were plenty of early forerunners.

Birth of a Pie

Despite being a world leader in pecan production, South Carolina can't lay claim to pecan pie birthrights.

"Pecan pie began in Texas, invented in the 1880s," according to Shields. "It was first mentioned in print on February 6, 1886 in the Austin paper, &lsquoTexas Siftings.' And from the first is was framed as &lsquoa real state pie,' that is, a dish intended to be a signature of a place's ingredients and skills. The pecans were boiled in milk and added to a custard pie."

It wasn't until the 1930s that the recipe most of us use today - no milk and HEAVY on the sugar - came down to us, not by way of a rustic plantation farm kitchen, but from the label of a 1920s Karo Syrup can. It was a marketing success. The thick, cloying goo is still a key ingredient in almost all pecan pie recipes, the essential component that, when mixed with egg and sugar, gives the dessert its signature glutinous texture.

South Carolina Pecan Pie

The rich mosaic of flavors and textures belie the recipe's simplicity: corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, a pinch of salt and a whole lot of pecans. A flaky homemade crust, while optional, certainly adds to the delicious overall effect. But it's those sweet, meaty South Carolina-grown pecans that make this pie our own.

Though easy to put together, especially if you use a ready-made crust, South Carolina has a trove of eateries, bakeries and other outlets where you can gobble up a slice or purchase a whole pie to take home. In November, you'll find plenty of pecan pies offered up at restaurants as well as the South Carolina Pecan Festival, celebrated the first Saturday in November in Florence. While some bakers add fancy touches, such as spirits or chocolate, others deliver their pie straight-up. It's perfectly acceptable protocol, however, to pair your pecan pie with a healthy dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Now that your sweet tooth is on high alert, here are a few places where you can indulge your pecan pie passion. Call ahead to check availability or to order whole pies where offered:

The Cottage, Bluffton: A homey cafe oozing Southern charm and catering to lovers of traditional pecan pie.

Kaminsky's, Charleston and Columbia: A dessert cafe famous for its Bourbon Pecan Pie.

Julia Belle's, Florence: An unassuming meat-and-three that surprises with its rich White Russian Pecan Pie.

Young Plantations, Florence: An online pecan retailer with a gift shop presence in the Pee Dee churning out perfect pecan pies seasonally.

Blue Dog Cafe, Frogmore: A quaint eatery inside a country store where you can delight in Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, a tantalizing mash-up of two Southern favorites.

Strossner's, Greenville: A bustling cafe and bake shop offering Southern pecan pies you can order online.

Kudzu Bakery, Pawleys Island and Mt. Pleasant: Family-owned bakery producing monster Southern pecan pies, each brimming with a half-pound of pecans.

Carolina Cider Company, Yemassee: Enjoy the country store charm, then take some home with you in the form of a chunky pecan pie.

If the baking bug bites, try the recipe below, courtesy of Young Plantations:

Young Plantations Basic Pecan Pie

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened

9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients except pecan halves. Pour into unbaked 9-inch pastry shell. Top with pecan halves. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees and 30 to 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool before serving.

You can make ahead and either store in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to two months. Freezing will intensify the nuttiness of the pie.

First either prepare this best pie crust recipe or buy one that you enjoy. Preheat oven at 425° F. Bake for 15 minutes in order to set the crust and prevent a soggy bottom.

Then, meanwhile prepare the pecan pie filling. In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, blend butter, sugar, salt, and cornstarch at low speed until combined.

With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Make sure there are no lumps of starch. Mix in the syrup and vanilla.

Next, place chopped pecans onto the thawed pie crust and pour syrup mixture.

Place whole pecans in a pattern on top.

Then reduce heat to 350° F, place foil loosely on top, and bake for 30-40 minutes more in order to cook the filling slowly, or until center is set. Like a flan or jell-O, the center has to be just a little jiggly yet firm.

If using a glass pan, add about 10-15 minutes at 350° F to the baking time. The reason why is because glass is not a good conductor of heat.

Remove from oven and let it cool before serving or storing. If filling is runny, place pie back in the oven at 350° F and bake until set.