Updated: Jan 14
Years ago, when I was on the teaching circuit, I was invited to teach a seminar in historic Dayton, Tennessee, painting one of my Santa designs in the studio of Esther Kirby. These seminars usually lasted three days and were attended by a dozen or more enthusiastic ladies. I stayed with Esther during these classes. Her home overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains and every morning before class she fed me a sun-warmed fig from the bush outside her front door. Heaven. Esther was a gracious southern lady who loved to cook and bake in the true southern tradition; eg., lots of butter, sugar, cream and calories. All of us in the class looked forward to the home cooked lunches she prepared for us each day.
Esther and I became good friends and I was invited back to her studio several times to teach more painting classes. I got to know the Steel Magnolias southern ladies in class, I walked the path overlooking the mountains in the early morning sunrise and ate Esther’s incredible food every day. As our friendship developed, Esther shared a few recipes with me, knowing that I truly appreciated her cooking and baking. One of my favorite desserts was her Pecan Pie. I can almost taste the warm, rich filling and roasted pecans as write this. Although my friend is no longer with us, I know she would love it if I shared this recipe with you so that you can “wow” your family and friends. Why not make this delicious pecan-filled pie with it’s flaky crust and crunchy top for Thanksgiving this year in place of, or in addition to, the traditional pumpkin pie? Why not serve both? Start a new tradition with Tennessee Pecan Pie.
Pecan Pie & Crust
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold Crisco
Blend with a pastry blender til crumbly.
3-6 Tablespoons ice cold water. Form dough into a ball and chill for hours.
Roll out dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Line pie pan with dough and crimp the edges. See this video for decorative crimping from Great British Chefs!
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick melted butter
2 cups pecan halves, chopped
Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 60 minutes until set.
Food invokes memories. A taste or smell can transport us back in time reminding us of friends and family. Whenever I make Esther’s pecan pie, I think of those delightful southern ladies in my classes, the laughter we shared as we sat around the studio, our hands stained with paint, our projects half finished, eating the wonderful lunch that Esther prepared for us and finishing it off with her Tennessee Pecan Pie. Good times. Good food. Good friends. Good memories!!