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story by Doug Smith
Some say, “pea-CAN” and others say, “peaKAHN.” It’s nostalgic for me to think back to when I had pecan trees right in my backyard. We would go back there, the kids and I, and collect as many pecans as we could to just crack them open ourselves. That’s a pleasure like no other. If you’re from the Pee Dee area, most of you can relate. The pecan tree is native to North America and I know so many folks who enjoy their pecan trees right in their own backyards. “Pecan” is a Native American word that was defined as a nut that requires a stone to crack it. The American Indian would use pecans as a food source for their regular diet. Many explorers dating back to the 1500s recorded information about this American nut with the “fine and delicate” taste. In our home state of South Carolina, we are not the largest producer of the pecan but we are in the top ten producing over three million pounds per year. In the 1920s, a gentleman by the name of TB Young began growing pecans in the Florence area. The company he founded, Young’s Plantation, still sells pecans to this day. With Florence and the pecan being so closely connected, it only made sense that we would host the SC Pecan Music and Food Festival. This is one of the largest festivals in the state of South Carolina. There seems to always be lots of fun music and dancing, amazing food, and crafty shops. Thankfully, the Pecan Festival will be here in Florence this November 2021! Though that festival is far away, I can almost smell the fresh-baked pecan pie cooling on the kitchen counter when I was a kid. My mom baked the best pecan pie, using the pecans I gathered for her from the backyard. Do yourself a favor, and look into this pecan pie recipe to share with your family on these sunny spring days.
Mom’s Pecan Pie
1 pre-made pie crust 2 c. pecans, unsalted 4 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. maple syrup 4 tbsp. butter 1/2 c. brown sugar
For the glaze:
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1. Take 1/2 cup of pecans and chop coarsely. 2. Beat eggs and sugar vigorously, then stir in softened butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. 3. Add chopped pecans. 4. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. 5. Arrange the remaining whole pecans on top. 6. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 7. Cover the pie with foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking to avoid burning the pecans. 8. Let cool for 15 minutes, heat the glaze in a small saucepan, and gently brush it over the top.