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Pecan Pies: Get a Piece of Freedom!

2023-01-12   ◆   4 minutes read

Pecan Pies are usually served on the American Thanksgiving but why not savor it all year long? You can add a dollop of maple syrup to warm your heart or add a teaspoon of whiskey to redden your cheeks. Like all pastries, a sense of history is hidden behind the decadent taste and fluffy texture of this pie. If your sweet tooth is calling and you like pies, why not try a pecan one? You don’t like pie? No problem! You can try other pecan delights instead!

A wonderful American classic pecan pie

History of the Pecan Pie

This pie comes from North America since pecans were originally cultivated on this continent. They were transported north, up until Illinois and south of Iowa by the first settlers of the United States. The first recipe appearance of the pie can be found in Texas cookbooks going back to 1870-1880. In 1898, a recipe similar to this pie was found in a book from a church charity. This book was donated by a Texan and since then (2013) the pie is  named the official dessert of the State of Texas.


In the beginning of the 20th century, recipes began showing up more frequently outside of Texas but only became popular in the middle of the 1920’s. In contrast to its rivals like the pumpkin pie, the pecan pie is popular all year long. The combination of a wonderful dough with a taste explosion of caramel and nuts, makes this pie a godsend!

Different Regions, Different Recipes

Like every classic dish or dessert, there are always new variations. The most popular variations of this pie are simply just adding extra ingredients, such as bourbon, whiskey, shredded coconut and/or chocolate. In addition, there are cheese cakes covered with pecans on top and pecan squares as an alternative to pie. Several healthier versions of this pie, such as adding chia seeds to the ingredients, are ravaging the market. There are also pecan pies modified to suit the needs and intolerances of some people. For example, gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free or sugar-free pies.

Types of Pecan Pies

  • Derby pie While it looks like a regular pie, the Derby pie is made with pecans, chocolate and walnuts. Just like the classic pie, the top is not covered with pie dough. The Derby pie was created at the Melrose Inn, in the State of Kentucky, by George Kern and his parents, Walter and Leaudra. This pie is often associated with the Kentucky Derby, a horse race held in Louisville. The name was chosen by chance; in fact, none of the family members could compromise on a name, and they had to draw its name from a hat!
A delicious piece of Derby Pie
A delicious piece of Derby Pie (Dinner Then Dessert)
  • Walnut and pecan pie A sweet pie filled with walnuts and pecans, an ideal combination for any lover of nuts!
Marvelous walnuts and pecans pie
A pie filled with walnuts and pecans (Taste of Home)
  • Pecan and apple pie An autumn pie, mainly if your basket of apples is a little too full after a visit to the orchard. The caramelized apple wedges add a touch of fruit and sweetness.
Caramelized pecan and apple pie
A caramelized pecan and apple pie (K pour Katherine)
  • Pecan and bourbon pie The perfect pie to serve after 9 pm when your kids go to sleep. The bourbon and pecans give a comforting flavor. 
Pecan-bourbon pie
A pecan-bourbon pie, perfect to lick your chops! (New York Times Cooking)
  • Pecan and Honey pie In this recipe, the traditional maple syrup is replaced with honey.
Pecan-honey pie
A pecan and honey pie (Le coup de grâce)

Other Forms of Pecans

  • Pecan tarts Pecan tarts are a miniature version of the classic pie.
Pecan tart
Pecan tart with a shortbread dough (Spark Recipes)
  • Pecan pie cheesecake This pie is separated into two layers. The cheesecake acts as the crust, and the the top layer is covered with pecan.
Duo of cheesecake and pecan pie
The perfect duo of a cheesecake and pecans (Carlsbad Cravings)
  • Pecan pie cookies Thin, caramelized, rich, chewy and easy to make! What could be better?
Well decorated pecan cookies
Decorated pecan cookies (Taste of Home)
  • Pecan pie squares A shortbread dough and a caramel-pecan topping creates a perfect dessert for the holiday season!
Pecan squares
Succulent, pecan squares (Once Upon a Chef)
  • Pecan muffin pies A fast and delicious breakfast to start your day on the right foot!
Pecan muffins
Soft pecan muffins (The Girl Who Ate Everything)
  • Pecan pie cobbler A combination of a sea of caramel, brown sugar roasted pecan and a wonderful dough!
Pecan cobbler with ice cream
A pecan cobbler with a scoop of ice cream (Pillsbury)

Martin Luther King’s Favorite Pie

Martin Luther King speech
Martin Luther King during a protest (PBS)

Each year, Martin Luther King (his real name is Michael Luther King Jr.), who was an important player for black rights, is celebrated by eating this pie. Why? Because this was his favorite dessert!  Martin Luther King was an Afro-American baptist pastor born on January 15th in Atlanta, Georgia, which is America’s leading pecan producer. Many people are familiar with Martin Luther King because he fought for many causes while he was alive, for example: the right to vote, the right for a better education for blacks as well as putting an end to segregation.

Here are some of his accomplishments:

  1. He was an executive member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) committee. In fact, Martin Luther King was very militant in his approach for black civil rights. The NAACP is the leading organization of its kind in the United States. In December 1955, he accepted leadership in the first non-violent protest for blacks at that time. It involved boycotting Montgomery’s buses in support of Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat to a white person while riding the bus. This protest lasted for 382 days. In 1956, blacks and whites were able to share their seats on the bus. 
  2. He was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. The purpose of this organization is to build new leadership for increased civil rights movements.
  3. He traveled more than 9,656,064 kilometers and spoke more than 25,000 times in 11 years. Between 1957 and 1968, King traveled to places where there were protests, injustice and action. During this time, he also wrote several articles as well as five books. He also organized a large protest in Birmingham, Alabama. This event did not go unnoticed as the attention of the entire world was focused on this event.
  4. In 1963, he read his famous “I have a dream speech”. Martin Luther King led a peaceful march in Washington DC alongside 250,000 attendees where he read his legendary « I have a dream » speech, which is still known today. 
  5. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.  Martin Luther King was 35 years old, making him the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the money he received from the award, which was  $54,123  (equivalent to more than $500,000 today), to the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King and journalists
Martin Luther King surrounded by journalists (Pikes Peak Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

These are a few of his achievements among others. Martin Luther King day is always celebrated around his birthday, January 15th, on the third Monday of that month. In his honor, let’s savor a delicious piece of  his favorite pie on that day!

Pecan pies are always a good choice for dessert. With all the flavors and varieties, there is something for every taste! If you are curious about trying this pie, use Dessert Advisor’s search tool to find a pie near you. Warm your heart and quell your sweet cravings with a delicious piece of pie!

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