Picayune Pecan Pie - the best pecan pie...ever!

Pecans and Karo - a very special delivery from the USA

On the way home from picking our daughter up at Charles de Gaulle airport early this morning, Sara shared stories of how her friends will celebrate Thanksgiving in Boston and expressed some surprise at how important this holiday is to Americans. Feeling a pang of guilt, I wondered if I should have made more of an effort to duplicate my own childhood memories of a dinner table laden with turkey and all of the trimmings for my American/Swiss children, who grew up in countries far from the United States. But since I never  saw anything that came close to resembling a turkey or cranberries in Indonesia, our children have different traditions and memories than mine.

Whenever we can find the ingredients, one of the constants on our holiday table is the Picayune Pecan Pie that my mother used to make. Thanks to a recipe that she found in Peg Bracken's The I Hate to Cook Book, my mother, who was born and raised in the northern state of Minnesota, mastered this pie that is originally from the southern part of the United States and impressed all of our neighbors in Texas and Tennessee. You can, too! It's as easy as counting 1 pecan, two pecan, three pecan... In fact, Stephane became addicted after only one bite during our first Thanksgiving dinner together and has taken over the job of baking it ever since!

I guess that's the essence of Thanksgiving - sharing favorite foods and memories with those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! There will be another Thanksgiving post tomorrow, but I wanted to share my mom's recipe with you today in case you want to bake the best pecan pie...ever (!!!) for your family and friends.

Fresh out of the oven. Stephane's pecan pie!

Picayune Pecan Pie from Peg Bracken's The I Hate to Cook Book

Unbaked pie shell

3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream less 1 tablespoon
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon Sherry
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, plus enough to ornament the top

Put everything into the blender in that order, except decorative pecan halves. Turn on blender for about 10 seconds (counting 1 pecan, two pecan, three pecan, etc...). Don't over blend. Pour it into pie shell. Bake at 400° F (205 C) for 25 minutes. Decorate with pecan halves. Bake it for 10 minutes more (if the middle is still shaky, it might take another 5 minutes). Cool before serving.


  1. I grew up only a few miles from Picayune, Mississippi, and we had more pecans that we could ever uses, pies or no pies!


  2. Kerouac, Too many pecans - never!

    I've always wondered where the name "Picayune" comes from and wasn't able to answer my daughter when she asked earlier this evening. She always thought that it was one of my mother's jokes. Thanks to you, I'll be able to tell her that it's a town in MS.

    I noticed yesterday that a bag of pecans in the Thanksgiving store in Paris is 30 Euros.

  3. Kerouac, I just looked at a map and saw that Picayune isn't too far from Mendenhall, MS. Did you ever go to a restaurant called "Revolving Tables"? People sat at big round tables and the food was served family style on lazy-Susans. It was the best Southern food that I've ever had. mmm corn bread, collard greens, fried okra. Brings back good memories.

  4. Hi Mary Kay,

    This is definitely the best pecan pie that i've ever had - I often find them too sweet, but this recipe is perfect. My Picayune pie just came out of the oven! Hope it ends up looking as delicious as Stephane's.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. My mom had that cookbook too although I don't recall her actually cooking out of it. As a Southern raised child of Northern raised parents, I have always been tickled on Yankees who say pecan in a way that rhymes with can while any Southerner will tell you that it rhymes with John.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving with your family Mary Kay. No pecan pie here (not my favorite) but I am enjoying pecans at $8 a pound!

  6. I know that finding dark corn syrup is a bit of an issue in Paris, but Ikea stocks a Swedish version in most of it's stores...it's an all-beet syrup and really delicious. My pecan pie came out of the oven about an hour ago, and does it ever look delicious! (the bit I licked off my spatula was wonderful, too!)

  7. In my mind, a slice of pecan pie is anything but "picayune". I take mine slightly heated with vanilla ice-cream. It's my favorite dessert.........YUM. Have your kids ever tasted Indian Pudding while in New England? It's a local dessert and tough to find on a menu these days.

  8. Rene, I agree - most pecan pie is way too sweet for me but this one is perfect. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

    Anne, As a transplanted Midwesterner/Northerner who spent much of my youth in the South, the pronunciation of pecan by Yankees always made me smile. I've been trying to remember how my mom said it but I'm fairly sure that she adopted the Southern way...which with making pecan pie is the only thing that she budged on as far as the South was concerned. She remained a staunch Northerner her entire life.

    Bridget, Thanks for the tip about the Swedish syrup at Ikea. I've been putting off a trip to go there because it's always too crowded on the weekends, but now I've got added incentive. I hope that you and all of the McCormick students enjoy the pie! Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Nancy, Mmm...ice cream with warm pecan pie. I know what I'll be having for my afternoon snack! Sara said that she hasn't heard of Indian Pudding. I'm going to google it to get more info.


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