This is one dessert we always like to include at big family dinners. We don’t even have to ask who will bring it. My daughter Twila is our pecan-pie maker.
As you probably know by now, I can never seem to leave well enough alone. Actually, nothing can really take the place of the much-loved traditional version, but over the years, I have made several variations.
The first change I made, years ago, was to substitute pineapple ice cream topping for the corn syrup called for in the recipe. Hawaiian Pecan Pie is definitely one of my favorites.
Anyone who has read my column over the past 27 years knows how much I like sweet potatoes. You guessed it. I added mashed sweet potatoes to my pecan-pie filling and named this specialty Sweet Potato Praline Pie.
Almost everyone knows how good a chocolate pecan pie is, although I must admit I can’t remember ever making one. Perhaps adding a little coconut to the chocolate version would give me a German Chocolate Pecan Pie.
Believe it or not, I even make fried pecan pies and they are delicious — tastes just like the regular pie but with a crispy fried crust.
SWEET POTATO PRALINE PIE
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
½ cup sugar
\½ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the eggs, sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until set.
FRIED PECAN PIES
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 cups self-rising flour
¼ cup oil
½ cup milk
Oil for frying
In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar and flour. Mix well. Add eggs, corn syrup and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring continuously, until mixture has thickened (about 6 to 8 minutes). Stir in toasted pecans. Refrigerate until cool. This can be made ahead and used as needed.
For the crust, combine self-rising flour, oil and milk in food processor. Process until mixture forms a ball. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until slightly firmer than biscuit dough. Divide into 6 portions. Roll each portion into a ball about 2 inches in diameter. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each ball to a circle about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Dough should be thin. Place about ¼ cup of filling in center of each circle. Fold to form a half moon shape. Press edges with a fork to seal well. Gently push fork into top and bottom of each pie 3 or 4 times. This will prevent the crust from being doughy on the inside. Pour oil into electric skillet to a depth of about ¾ inch. Heat to 375 F. Place 2 or 3 pies at a time into hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning as needed. Drain well on paper towels. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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