South Carolina is full of nuts. Pecans, that is. The south is known for delicious pecans and everything that one can think of making with them: pies, pralines, caramel and pecan topping, ice cream, or simply as a snack all by themselves.
The pecan tree is a species of hickory and the word is from the Algonquian Indians, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack. While pecan trees have been around for a long time, and were prized in Colonial America as delicacies, commercial growing of pecan trees in America did not begin until the 1880’s. Today, more than 10 million trees produce 150,000-200,000 tons of pecans annually.
I’d say Americans like their pecans. Which, by the way, may be pronounced pecan to rhyme with ran or as pecan to rhyme with on. Your pronunciation of choice usually depends on where you are raised.
In 1906, Texas governor James Stephen Hogg requested that a pecan tree be placed on his grave in place of a headstone. He declared that the seeds should be distributed throughout the state to make Texas a “land of trees.” Apparently, it worked and in 1919, the Texas legislature declared the pecan tree to be the state tree. Today, Texas is a top producer of pecans.
What about if you dream about pecans? Has anyone ever dreamed about pecans? Well, there is a symbolism attached to it and it seems that this is good. It has been determined that dreaming of pecans means that you can expect an advantageous social invitation. Maybe it’s because if pecans are on your mind, it is probably because you need to get busy baking a slew of pies for all of those holiday guests you are expecting.
This weekend, is the Outdoorlicious! South Carolina Pecan Festival in Florence, SC. You’ll find entertainment, food, crafts, art demonstrations, rides, an antique tractor show, a car show, marathons, races, and BEST of ALL—a cook-off. That can only mean one thing: there will be lots of good tasting foods which include pecans in the recipe. And, that usually means desserts. Yay!
There are so many creative ways to use pecans in recipes. How about with grilled plums or peaches and cheese? Or, as a pesto of ground pecans and cilantro coating for salmon? The classic Southern dessert, Hummingbird Cake, includes pecans and, after first appearing on the pages of Southern Living Magazine in 1978, has become the magazine’s most requested recipe.
Here’s a recipe that I plan on trying because it includes a step on the grill.
Take one of the South’s richest culinary traditions from the oven to the grill for more flavor. Pecans, caramel and filling are nestled in a half-moon pouch of dough and grilled directly over hot coals to form a crisp shell with a rich gooey center.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 Pies