I thought I would re-post this, my favorite all time recipe, in case anyone wants to try it for Thanksgiving…
My mother, Mary Lorraine Eagan Boyle, was from New Orleans. That means two things: she was an amazing cook, and she knew how to have a good time.
On the eve of her 80th birthday, she announced she didn’t want a party. She wanted a parade. And why not? She grew up thinking it was normal for a town to shut down every year for a few weeks of parades with reveling and drinking and bead throwing. She loved to celebrate. She had an outfit, including earrings and socks, for every holiday and a whole wardrobe just for Christmas. And she talked my father into becoming a clown with her, so they could volunteer to entertain at hospitals and senior centers. She believed life was meant to be enjoyed, and enjoy it she did.
It was she who taught me to love good cooking. She wasn’t a perfect cook. Like so many in her generation, she sometimes turned to mixes and frozen foods. But when it came to New Orleans cooking, she was a purist, which means I grew up eating some of the best food in the world.
Her pecan pie is perhaps the single best recipe I know. I have made it practically every Thanksgiving for 38 years, even when I lived in Europe and pecans were almost impossible to find, and it is the one thing I make that absolutely everybody loves.
Every Christmas, every holiday, I miss my mother so much my heart aches. But the ritual of making, and yes, eating her pecan pie, helps me feel that her sweet, southern loveliness is alive and well.
1 and 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup (not light corn syrup!)
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 generous cup chopped pecans
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell in pie pan
In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add sugar and dark corn syrup and, stirring constantly, bring to boiling point for a couple of minutes. Take off stove and add vanilla and salt. Cool for a few minutes. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. Very, very gradually, add sugar mixture to eggs, being careful eggs don’t cook. Blend with a whisk. Add pecans and stir until blended. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or just until filling is set and no longer jiggles.