My grandmother makes the best pies. Of course, everyone’s grandmother makes the best pies, but I’m not kidding when I say my grandmother’s pies are divine. Everyone in my family has their favorite: some like the peach, some like the sweet potato, some like the chocolate. But from my grandmother’s pie-making repertoire, there is one pie that we all agree is top notch: her pecan pie.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of her pies is how fresh they are. She and my grandpa live on a farm, where small groves of pecan and peach trees grow and where there is always an ample crop of sweet potatoes. So her pies are made with the fruit of the land, making them very, very tasty. My grandparents are pragmatic people, and as they're getting older, they always ask what we want willed to us. In yet another testament to her pies, the one thing we all fight over is my grandmother's rolling pin that she was given in the 1940s and has used ever since. Forget the land, the houses or the antiques--we all want that magical tool that has rolled out so many delicious crusts.
Family skirmishes aside, I’m fortunate that even though I live a thousand miles away, she always sends me a pecan pie for my birthday. This year I opted to freeze a slice for a time when I was most in need of a fix, and a couple of days ago when I was feeling very homesick, having the chance to eat a slice of her pecan pie filled me with great peace. I don’t know if it’s the freshness of the pecans or the love she puts into each pie, but they are delicious and always bring me back home. She has graciously given me her recipe, which she learned from her mother. Here it is:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup white corn syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons of flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked piecrust
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix together the sugar, the corn syrup, the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the milk, flour, melted butter and pecans. Pour the filling into the piecrust. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until set.