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We’re simply nutty over today’s honoree, National Pecan Pie Day on July 12. It’s pretty easy to get behind a day dedicated to one of our favorite desserts. Indeed, 90% of Americans surveyed believe eating a slice of pie is one of life’s simple pleasures, indulging in 186 million commercially sold pies every year! People who prefer pecan pie over the many other types of pies describe themselves as thoughtful and analytical. We’re not sure if this still holds true for those who add ice cream or whipped cream but, nonetheless, it’s time to celebrate the delicious dessert today!
History of National Pecan Pie Day
It is uncertain how National Pecan Pie Day started but we certainly feel indebted to an unknown person because we couldn’t agree more with the idea of celebrating such a beloved dessert.
Pecan pie has a long, Southern history whose origins are highly debatable. Some believe pecan pie started in New Orleans by French immigrants, turned Southern, in the 1700s after being introduced to the pecan by Native Americans. Others believe pecan pie got its start in Alabama but this claim is unsupported by written recipes or printed literature. Of course, it’s not hard to believe many Southerners would love to lay claim to being the inventor of pecan pie.
Following the Civil War, commercial developers brought in a few varieties of pecans to grow in Georgia, which is now the main commercial grower of pecans in the U.S. Grafted pecan trees also became prevalent in Louisiana in the mid- to late-1800s. The name of the nut itself is derived from the French word ‘pacane,’ which is taken from the Algonquian word for ‘nut.’
The first printed pecan pie recipe surfaced in an 1886 edition of “Harper’s Bazaar” magazine. Years later, various forms of the recipe were published in well-known cookbooks such as “Joy of Cooking.” Throughout the early 1900s, Karo corn syrup was invented and yet another claim to the discovery of pecan pie emerged. The wife of a company executive shared her recipe using Karo as the ingredient of choice instead of maple syrup, honey, or molasses. Whether her claim is true, Karo corn syrup helped raise the popularity of pecan pie when they published the recipe on the product can.
While most hold the perception that pecan pie remains a Southern dish, in reality, its popularity has swept across the U.S. with regions taking on their own ingredient preferences. Pecan pie holds a place in the Thanksgiving trinity of pies — pumpkin, pecan, and apple — most frequently enjoyed by families during this holiday. Due to this, many also consider pecan pie a dessert to savor during the fall- and winter months.
National Pecan Pie Day timeline
Archeological findings discover that pecans were used in Texas by Native Americans for over 8,000 years.
The first recipe is printed in “Harper’s Bazaar,” although people agree pecan pie was a Southern favorite long before this.
The Corn Products Refining Company creates Karo, a corn syrup, and in 1930 the wife of one of their sales executives discovers it can be used as a sweeter substitute to maple syrup.
Pecan pie becomes a regular recipe in cookbooks.
National Pecan Pie Day FAQs
What is the correct way to pronounce ‘pecan’?
Wow, that is a loaded question! We’ve found 6 different pronunciations for ‘pecan’ and will let you select the one you love most (capital letters denote emphasis): pah-KAHN, puh-CAN, PEE-kaun, PEE-can, pee-KAUN, pee-CAN.
How many pecans are in a pecan pie?
On average, each pecan pie includes 78 pecans.
How bad is pecan pie for you?
Pecans contain a variety of healthy attributes including antioxidants, 19 vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats. Now, what happens when you add them to butter and corn syrup? We just can’t be responsible for that…
How To Celebrate National Pecan Pie Day
Send one to a friend
Pecan pies can be made and even frozen if you would like to give one as a gift, but there are many bakeries online that sell fresh pecan pies available for delivery. It’s such an easy way to send a sweet treat to a friend who may not otherwise make or buy one for themselves. Definitely worth a try!
Pick your own pecans
The pecan harvest season starts in September and October in the Eastern states, going through March as you move West. Find pecan farms and mark your calendar now for the right time in your region to go.
Try a new variation
It’s hard to beat the classic pecan pie recipe but if you’re looking for a change, there are plenty of variations out there. One of the most common is chocolate pecan pie, which simply adds chocolate to the main recipe. And when has adding chocolate ever ruined anything? Beyond that, you’ll find pecan pie cheesecake, pumpkin pecan pie, bourbon pecan pie, and cranberry-orange white-chocolate pecan pie (that’s a mouthful!).
5 Fun Facts About Pecans
Taking their sweet time
Pecan trees take 12 years to mature.
Through the years
Once mature, in the best climate conditions, pecan trees can produce for hundreds of years.
Pecans are native to North- and Central America and the U.S. produces 80% of the world’s pecans.
Big in Texas
Texas chose the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919 and the pecan pie as its state pie in 2013.
A mix of nuts
There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.
Why We Love National Pecan Pie Day
We love things made in the U.S.
With the United States producing 80% of the world’s pecans, pecan pies are about as American-made as you can get. The pecan industry brings in over $500 million annually across 19 states. Georgia produces the most pecans per year and Albany is known as the ‘Pecan Capital of the U.S.’ with over 600,000 pecan trees.
We love our grandma
What would life be without our grandmothers’ homemade pies? It’s challenging to find a better tasting pie once you’ve savored her favorite recipe in large part due to her special ingredient: lots of love. Justin Timberlake said it best: “I believe in things I can count on, like beer and ESPN and my grandmother’s pecan pie.”
We love the ooey-gooey center
Many people favor pecan pie because of the ooey-gooey custard-like center. Between the layer of crunchy pecans and the flaky crust, the center is where the magic happens. The dense combination of butter, sugar, syrup, and eggs is what creates this deliciousness and texture. If your cavities aren’t ringing, you didn’t make it correctly.
National Pecan Pie Day dates