April is Pecan Month. April 14th is Pecan Day. The pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species. The word pecan is an Algonquin word that was used to describe nuts that had to be cracked with a stone.
Many Native American tribes in the U.S. and Mexico used the wild pecan as a major food source during autumn. It is thought that pecans were used to produce a fermented drink called “Powcohicora”.
The pecan tree is the only native nut tree in America and has been heavily cultivated throughout the years. The first U.S. pecan planting took place in Long Island, NY in 1772.
The economic potential of pecans was realized by the French and Spanish colonists. By 1802, they French began exporting pecans. By 1805, London was advertising that the pecan was a tree that merited attention as a cultivated crop.
Chia’s Pecan Pie
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans
Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or two table knives until shortening pieces are size of small peas. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with fork until all of the flour is moistened and the pastry almost leaves side of bowl.
Form the pastry into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold.
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough into a round that is 2 inches larger than your glass pie plate. Fold the dough into fourths and place it in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim any overhanging edges of the crust, 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll the edges of the crust under. Press with tines of a fork or you can flute the edges.
In another medium bowl, beat all of the filling ingredients except the pecans until well blended. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the crust.
Cover the edge of the crust with a 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled before serving. Store in refrigerator.