Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Southern Pecan Pie Revisited

I've made several versions of Pecan Pie over the last several years. Before I ate paleo, I made my Mama's Pecan Pie. Her version had a crispy layer of pecans on top with a thick gooey layer of syrupy goodness in the middle and a flaky crust on the bottom. That was my favorite pie for years and I was sad to give it up when I gave up grains and refined sugars.

A couple years ago I did some research and created a new version of pecan pie with a  nut crust and a center made from pecans, eggs and dried plums. This version was very tasty but not enough like Mama's traditional pecan pie to make me feel like I was back in her kitchen.

So this year I decided to take another stab at remaking Mama's Traditional Southern Pecan Pie without the grains and refined sugars. In this version, I went back to the original recipe and worked on substituting healthy ingredients for the not-so-good ones. I'm pretty happy with my usual nut crust, so I didn't change that. The main bad ingredients were the sugar and corn syrup that make up the gooey layer in the middle. I decided to use maple syrup and molasses for the sweetener and then used some unflavored gelatin along with my eggs to give the middle layer some strength and help it become more gooey rather than runny. I'm pretty happy with the result, and the rest of the family agreed that it was pretty close to a traditional southern pecan pie.

You may be wondering if molasses is paleo. Here's what thepaleolist.com has to say about it.

Molasses comes from the sugarcane plant. It is made by boiling cane syrup a second time, and for the more common blackstrap molasses, by boiling this syrup a third time. That’s it. The problem with common table sugar lies in the refining process, which molasses doesn’t suffer from. Today’s regular white table sugar (pure sucrose) is completely void of natural nutrients and minerals, and concentrated to be much sweeter than anything cavemen would have found while gathering. So, fortunately for us, pure molasses contains all of those nutritive compounds lacking in table sugar, making it a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. It’s just about as close to the source as possible, with a deeper and less concentrated flavor than cane syrup. The sources are right; molasses is the optimal primal sweetener!




Southern Pecan Pie Revisited
Crust
1 C Walnuts
1 1/4 C Pecans
1/4 C Coconut oil or melted butter

Filling
1 1/4 C Pecans - chopped
3/4 C Maple Syrup
3/4 C Unsulfured Molasses
1 T Vanilla
2 T Coconut oil - melted
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 T Unflavored Gelatin
1/4 C Warm water

In a food processor pulse all crust ingredients until well incorporated. Press mixture into a pie tin and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes.


In a small bowl mix gelatin and warm water until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix chopped pecans, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs. While stirring syrup mixture, drizzle in coconut oil. Keep stirring then drizzle in the water with gelatin. Pour combined mixture into crust and bake for about 30 minutes or until mixture doesn't jiggle when you move the pan.

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