National Chocolate Pecan Pie day is on August 20 and we are ready to put on our aprons and step into the kitchen to celebrate. There is evidence in North America that Native Americans used pecans 10,000 years ago, which means we have a long history to explore. Today, chocolate pecan pie has become a staple in cookbooks and on restaurant menus around the globe.
History of National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
As the only nuts native to North America, pecans have come to have a special place in many kitchens. There is evidence that Native Americans were consuming pecans as far back as 10,000 years ago. The word ‘pecan’ is thought to have roots in the Algonquin word meaning ‘hard nut to crack.’ With access to protein sources sometimes being limited, Native Americans would often turn to nuts as a staple in their diet.
Sugar pies were extremely popular in medieval Europe, and as Europeans started to immigrate to America, many sugar pie recipes were reimagined using local ingredients. Pecan pie is believed to be a variant of chess pie, which also has a butter and sugar custard center.
While pecan pies were likely being eaten before the 1800s, the first official published recipe was in an issue of “Harper’s Bazaar” magazine in 1886.
Pecan pie’s big break came in the 1920s when the makers of Karo syrup started writing a recipe for pecan pie on the outside of their packaging. This led to widespread awareness of the pie and a massive surge in its popularity.
National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day timeline
Sugar pies are very popular in Europe during the Medieval period and are eventually adopted in North America using the locally available ingredients, with pecan pie likely being a derivative.
While pecans were used well before 1886, the first record of a published recipe of pecan custard pie is published in “Harper's Bazaar.”
The manufacturers of Karo syrup start printing a recipe for pecan pie on their product cans.
Buzzfeed ranks pecan pie as the fourth most important pie of all-time.
National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day FAQs
Are there other days that celebrate pecan pies?
July 12 is National Pecan Pie Day.
How do you pronounce pecan?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive pronunciation for pecan. Popular interpretations have it as ‘pee-kahn’ and ‘pee-can.’ The variations seem to be influenced by regional dialect differences across North America.
How do you know when a chocolate pecan pie is done?
The toughest task of a baker is knowing that perfect moment when a pie is done and ready to eat. With chocolate pecan pie, there is a tell-tale sign of when it’s ready to come out of the oven. The center of the pie should be nearly solid, and a knife stuck in the middle will come out clean.
How to celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
Try the classic recipe!
While there are infinite variations of pecan pie recipes to explore, the one that really started it all remains Karo’s famous recipe from the 1920s. August 20 is the perfect time to give it a try and remember to add chocolate.
Brush up on your history
Pecans are so popular they even have a book about them. Author James McWilliams published “The Pecan: A History of America's Native Nut.” It explains all the details of how pecans have evolved over the years.
Chances are there’s a restaurant in your neighborhood that makes a mean chocolate pecan pie. Armed with all your new factoids about the classic dessert, why not put their baking skills to the test? Go out for a nice meal and be sure to order a pie after the main course.
5 Facts About National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day That Will Blow Your Mind
Alcohol is a popular ingredient
While not every pecan pie recipe includes alcohol, several popular ones do — whether it’s a splash of whiskey or bourbon, many recipes call for that extra kick.
Pecan pie is believed to be an evolution of chess pie
Chess pie is a very straightforward dessert — a single crust filled with flour, butter, sugar, and eggs — and it was popular in Europe and came to North America as Europeans immigrated across the Atlantic Ocean.
That soft and gooey middle
A hallmark of chocolate pecan pie is that gooey middle just below the surface of pecans — during the baking process, pecans will rise to the top, sitting just above the custard middle that we all know and love.
At Thanksgiving, you can sometimes find a battle between pumpkin and chocolate pecan pie, with both vying for that coveted dessert position.
Chocolate pecan tarts
If you thought that the chocolate pecan pie was reserved for just a single crust, think again — chocolate pecan tarts have become a popular treat.
Why We Love National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
It’s relatively easy to make
Part of the pie's popularity lies in its ease of construction. With only a few key ingredients and straightforward instructions, chocolate pecan pie is a tasty dessert that even novice bakers can bring to life.
It’s a mainstay at Thanksgiving dinner
Pecan nut harvesting takes place annually between September and November, which fits in perfectly with American Thanksgiving. Over the years, it has become a staple at the family dinner table.
There are too many variations to count
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you are in luck, as the chocolate pecan pie variations are endless. Some key ones we’ve come across include whiskey chocolate chip, chocolate brownie, dark chocolate, and chocolate pecan with bourbon.
National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day dates