I didn’t make it back to New Orleans this Thanksgiving. But I still wanted a piece of the city at the table. To that end, I settled on a piece of pecan pie, inspired by the Pecan Pie served at The Camellia Grill.
The Camellia Grill is a local landmark, its Greek columns set right off the streetcar line and the river-bend, and sandwiched between the Uptown and Carrollton neighborhoods. Its patrons run the gamut, with partied-out college freshmen seated elbow-to-elbow with local luminaries, with everyone in between still waiting to be seated.
Two well-worn green couches sit on opposite ends of the Grill, and serve as the designated waiting area. A series of one-legged stools, bolted to the ground, snakes around the counter, which is all that divides the seating area from the kitchen. Once seated, a waiter hands you a laminated menu, before offering a water and a fist-bump. A white-cloth napkin, folded to a triangle, lays before you.
When you’re ready, the waiter grabs a red pencil, circles your order on a paper menu, and barks a short-hand to the short-order cook, furiously working the grill behind him.
“Check it: I got two waffles, one nutty, a tuna dressed, fries on a cheese omelet, vanilla freeze, and [naturally] a pecan pie.”
Pecan Pie with Candied Pecans
Recipe adapted from The Camellia Grill
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour, plus 1 hour cooling
YIELD: Serves 8
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 pie crust, unbaked (recipe here)
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups candied pecans (recipe follows)
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups pecans
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy. Add the salt, melted butter, light corn syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix well.
3. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy. Add the vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, and mix well. Add the pecans and mix well, making sure the pecans are well coated.
4. Pour the batter into the unbaked pie shell. Using a fork, scoop the pecans onto the filling.
5. Bake for about 60 minutes to 70 minutes, or until the pie is starting to set. Check the pie after 30 minutes. If it looks like the crust may overcook, wrap the pie in foil, and then allow it to continue cooking. (I found the original baking time of 45 minutes to be far too short). Once done, remove the pie to a wire rack, and allow it to cool to room temperature. If you have time, refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to allow the filling to fully set.
6. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream!