ONCE UPON A CAPPADONA PECAN PIE

December 08, 2022

ONCE UPON A CAPPADONA PECAN PIE

ONCE UPON A CAPPADONA PECAN PIE
 

Pumpkin pie may be the belle of the ball at Thanksgiving, but our Cappadona Pecan Pie never goes out of season. Unlike its gourdie friend that trends out faster than cold turkey, Cappadona Pecan Pie is a year-round classic.

The American-born dessert’s origins date back to the late 19th century, and the recipe has remained largely unchanged since its creation. Here’s a look into the origins of pecan pie and how it’s climbed to a position of prominence on Thanksgiving tables across the country. The earliest printed pecan recipes began popping up in Texas cookbooks in 1870s and 1880s; but the recipe that most closely resembles what we know today as pecan pie was published in 1898 in a church charity cookbook in St. Louis, but it was sent in by a Texas woman. Is it any wonder it's so darn tootin' good?!

As with any classic dish, near-countless variations have emerged. Popular additions to the traditional pecan pie include bourbon, whiskey, shredded coconut, and chocolate. There are also pecan pie-cheesecake hybrids, pecan hand pies, and healthier versions involving Mesquite Bean Flour or brown sugar sometimes serve as a substitute for the corn syrup, an ingredient that’s gotten a bad rap from nutrition advocates in recent years. 

Since the recipe for pecan pie is so simple, there are really no stark regional divides when it comes to method or ingredients. Sweetness, however, is a different story: Generally, South Texans prefer our pies on the sweeter side, relaying an old Southern baker’s credo that a pie should be “sweet enough so that the fillings in your teeth hurt.”

CAPPADONA PECAN PIE

Pie Crust Ingredients

1 ½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup
mesquite bean flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or use 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 cup (230 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
4 to 8 tablespoons ice water

 

Pie Crust Preparation 

Add 1 cup flour and ½ cups mesquite bean flour, salt, and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined. The remaining flour and mesquite bean flour will be added later.

 

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

 

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining ½ cup of flour and ½  cup mesquite bean flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

 

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle ice water over mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.

 

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut the ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it).
 

Pecan Pie Filling Ingredients

1 unbaked frozen mesquite bean pie crust                                                
 2 cups (210g) pecans, coarsely chopped (save a few whole pecan halves to create a decoration on the surface of the pie, if you want)
3 large eggs, slightly beate
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (unsulphured)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mesquite bean flour

Pecan Pie Filling Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl vigorously mix together the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, melted butter, mesquite bean flour, and salt, until smooth. (No need for a mixer, you can beat by hand using a wooden spoon.) 

Fill the pie shell: 
Spread the chopped pecans over the bottom of a frozen pie shell. Pour the filling over the pecans. Don't worry about burying the pecans, they will rise to the surface. (If you have reserved a few whole pecan halves, you can arrange them on the surface in a decorative pattern. Just dip them below the wet filling and let them rise again so they get coated with the filling.)

Bake the filled pie: 

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes tent the pie loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the crust and pecans from getting too browned. Bake for another 35 to 45 minutes until the filling has set. The pie should be a bit wiggly in the center.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely: 

Note that the pie will be puffed up a bit when you first take it out of the oven. It will settle as it cools.