You see, both my parents are from the beautifully-quaint, college town of Magnolia, Arkansas. But I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. Yet, I consider myself a Southern girl at heart. I have spent many fall Arkansas days picking pecans out of the tall grass of my Granny’s side yard. We would bring them back to California and enjoy them all winter long. I had mastered cracking pecans and removing fully intact halves by the tender age of eight.
One of my fondest childhood memories would be enjoying freshly made pecan pies from the bakery on the square in Magnolia. When I began baking I was so surprised to find out how much sugar and corn syrup went into the construction of these deliciously nutty confections. I made a traditional pecan pie once and was so grossed out by the process, that I literally shelved the love I had for this pie. It wasn’t until baking turned into my obsession that I began to explore alternate sweetening methods. And the first dessert on my list to redo was the pecan pie. It took many tries, some good; some not so good. But I finally came up with my version of the Southern classic I could be proud of.
As with everything I make I try to keep my ingredients as simple as possible. This pecan pie was no exception. The ingredients are: pecans, unbleached flour, unsalted butter, organic coconut sugar, organic wildflower honey and almonds. I was going to list the recipe but thought better of it because, there are a quite a few time consuming steps, mainly because I try to use as many raw ingredients as possible and a few items get converted in the process, such as I take ¼ cup of pecans and ¼ cup of almonds and I make an almond-pecan paste as part of the crust. I use the nut paste to enhance the pecan flavor, instead of using a liquid flavor enhancer.
I think the part of this pie I am most proud of is the sugar-corn syrup substitution. I used organic coconut sugar and organic wildflower honey which lowered the glucose intake on the glycemic index by about 40 points. Lowering glucose helps reduce spikes in blood sugar. Plus the honey and coconut sugar have naturally occurring minerals and antioxidants that may provide some health benefits.
When the box to this pie is open you are greeted with a wondrous whiff of pecan nutty awesomeness.