Until Paula was in college, she had no idea what a boxed cake taste like. That just wasn’t the way things were done in her family. No break-and-bake cookies and no ready-to-go frosting. The women in Paula’s family always bake from scratch.
On one fateful Thanksgiving eve, a few years ago when Paula was 18, her grandmother decided it was her turn. It was time she learned to make pie. They started with the crust—a simple butter crust that was always moist and kept people coming back for more—and then they moved on to the filling, one of Paula’s favorites becoming Abby’s Famous Pecan Pie. Within a few years, Thanksgiving dessert became Paula’s responsibility. At first she found it stressful and nerve-wracking. It didn’t matter how many other Thanksgiving dishes like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce her mother was balancing; when it was pie time, she would announce, “It’s my time to make the pies. I’m taking over the kitchen.”
Paula’s grandmother has since passed away, but now, anytime she is in the kitchen making desserts, especially those pecan and pumpkin pies, she remembers her grandmother teaching her and her grandmother in the kitchen making those delicious pies that were such a family pleaser.
Abby’s Famous Pecan Pie comes from a dear Abby column that Paula’s mom started using. While other pies make appearances occasionally, the classics always made on Thanksgiving (the most important pie holiday of the year) are Abby’s pecan pie and the classic pumpkin pie.
- 1 9” unbaked pie crust (or for better results, a homemade butter crust)
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 heaping cup pecan halves
- whipped cream for serving
Heat over to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt and vanilla; mix well. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust; cover with pecan halves. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is set. Remove from over and cool. Serve with whipped cream.