I have been trying to compile some of my grandmothers', great-grandmothers', aunts', and great-aunts', recipes over the past few years so that we have as many family favorite recipes preserved as possible. I feel blessed to have some incredible cooks in my family and really want to make sure that their special dishes are preserved to be enjoyed for many more generations. Thankfully, the women in my family were generous in sharing recipes so it usually only takes a phone call or two to track down what you are looking for.
However, the one problem I've run into is a little trouble with translation. This especially happens when recipes are written in someone's "shorthand", when the person was writing the recipe down by memory and leaves out a key ingredient-- like eggs, or where the recipe was written 50 or 60 years ago in vernacular that I am not familiar with now in 2011. For instance, a lot of old Southern recipes seem to call for "sweet milk" when they really mean just regular milk, or they'll call for "3 sticks of oleo" which was a common term for margarine. So, now I know, just swap these out for milk and butter and crisis averted. It gets even harrier when, like the other day, I was reading one of my Grandmother's recipe cards, and the recipe for a cake filling called for "butter the size of an egg." Huh? This can, and has, made for some disastrous baking attempts as I try to wade through some of these old-time recipes.
My Grandmother makes the greatest pecan pie. She is known for it. There are many many ways to make pecan pie but hers is my favorite. You can use light Karo syrup or dark Karo syrup. You can cook the syrup and pour it over your pecans, like a caramel-- you get the picture. My Grandmother's recipe is super easy and doesn't require a cooked syrup prior to baking which I love. Her version uses light Karo syrup, my particular favorite. I did have to make this 2 times to work out the kinks so the recipe I'm posting is with my edits. My Grandmother's recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. of salt but she uses salted butter in her baking, and I use unsalted, so I increased the salt amount for my recipe. I also found that while you must beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy it is important to NOT overbeat the eggs in the step where you mix them in with the vanilla and Karo. You don't want to mix in a lot of froth and bubbles which can keep your filling from setting.
Finally, You can use the pie crust of your choice. I've shared my favorite homemade pie crust before and linked to it below. In the pictures, I used a refrigerated pie crust because I was running short on time. This is a very easy pie to make and a good option for a Thanksgiving dessert. There's nothing better than pecan pie and some whipped cream on Thanksgiving!
My Grandmother's Pecan Pie
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Pecan halves to garnish top of pie
Unbaked pie shell. My favorite recipe for pie crust is here.
egg white, mixed with a little water to brush on pie crust.
Prepare a single pie crust in a 9 or 10-inch pie pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add Karo syrup, salt, vanilla and then eggs. Mix until just combined, but do not over-mix or allow to become frothy. Add pecans. Pour mixture in pie crust. Line the entire top of pie with pecan halves in a decorative pattern. Brush crust with egg wash. Bake on lower shelf in the oven at 350 for 40-45 minutes