Does your family love pecan pie as much as my family does? If so, I have a treat for you!
“America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving.”
Pie:A Global History by Janet Clarkson
I have got to honestly say, that as far as I'm concerned, I lived a pretty charmed childhood. Not only was I blessed with two very loving parents and spent my childhood traveling the world as a Navy Junior, but also because I had a grandmother who lived with us for 13 of my first 16 years. Grandma loved to bake (I never had store-bought bread until her death when I was 16) so we always had bread, cookies, pies and other pastries on hand. She loved to sew, so we laid our heads upon embroidered pillowcases each night. And she he loved to garden, so we ate vegetables from our garden as often as possible. Not that my mom was remotely close slack, together the two of them were a fierce team. As a result, both my brother and I grew up appreciating good food and we both love to cook.
Grandma continues to have a warm presence our lives even 37 years after her death. I still have some of her embroidered pillowcases and some of her favorite recipes are still some of our favorite recipes. Baking for Christmas is not complete until I make her chocolate cookies, Mom always makes Grandma's mincemeat pie for Christmas Dinner, and Thanksgiving Dinner isn't Thanksgiving Dinner without her pecan pie and pumpkin pie. I'm not really a pumpkin pie gal, much preferring apple pie and pecan pie. As such, even if it's just 6 of us, we typically have 3 pies for Thanksgiving (Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple) and 3 for Christmas (Pecan, Apple and Mincemeat).And while I really like having access to the world's cookbooks via the world wide web, there really is something special about making a recipe that was written on a 3X5 card some 40-50+ years ago and kept in that original form in a cookbook with other equally aged, spotted and yellowed 3X5 cards. You know if those 3X5 cards have been kept and treasured all these years, then the recipes inscribed on them must be some kind of delicious. Handwritten recipe cards are another lost treasure, like handwritten notes and thank-you notes. Mom doesn't quite remember Marilyn, who authored this pecan pie recipe; but believes she or Grandma were gifted this recipe while we were stationed in Hawaii 40+ years ago.
To put my new spin on this old recipe, I decided to make mini- pecan pies in my much favored Lodge Cast Iron 5″ Skillets. These pies follow on the heels of these Skillet Brownie Sundaes and these Individual Apple Crumbles.
My go-to pie crust recipe is the Pâte Brisée from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook . I made one recipe which was enough for 6 mini pies.
I only have 4 small skillets so I save the rest of the pie crust and filling in the refrigerator to make another time.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and Marilyn
With a flaky crust and a chewy, pecan-laden filling, this simple pecan pie recipe is outstanding. ‘How outstanding?' you ask? Suffice it to say that 1 year later my kids are holding a grudge against their cousin who woke up in the middle of the night after last year's Thanksgiving dinner and put a hurting on the remnants of the pecan pie. My kiddos went to Grammie and Pop Pop's house the next night for dinner, certain in the belief that there would be leftover pecan pie for dessert. The look on their faces when my niece informed the table that there was no more pie was sheer devastation.
So, am I the hero for making these individual portion pies? You bet! Now I just need to label each skillet so that everyone gets their allocated amount of deliciousness.
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