I am a nut. I know I am a nut because I am the only person around that shells their own nuts. My grandmother has several large black walnut trees on her property and I remember as a kid going to her house and her freezer would be filled with goodies including bags and bags of black walnuts. Shelled. I never really wondered how they got there or how hard it was to get them out of their shell. I just remember the wonderful taste that was unlike anything that I had eaten from the grocery store. Fast forward 30 years and now my grandmother give me bags of black walnuts to shell myself. These suckers are hard to shell. I have a routine that I have developed that involved a towel, a hammer, a concrete floor and lots of time. It is not unusual for me to work for 45 minutes and get barley 1/2 cup of black walnuts. They just don’t give up easily.
Just after Christmas this year I found several bags of pecans still in the shell on markdown at my local grocery store. I had never shelled a pecan and assumed it was just as hard as a walnut. I almost passed up the bargain since I knew how long it tastes to get just a tiny bit of goodness from a nut. Lucky for me, John grew up shelling pecans (his grandmother had several pecan trees in her backyard) and he let me know that it was much easier than walnuts. So, I bought 3 bags that were 2# each and sat down to shell them. Wow. What a difference. I ended up shelling one entire bag in about 2 hours and it yielded 4 cups of pecans. I paid $4.50 per bag of pecans so that came out to be just over $1/cup. That is an awesome price! Now that I know how easy it is to shell pecans, I will probably do that from now on. The good thing about having lots of pecans is that you can put them in everything from oatmeal to salads and make one of my favorite treats – pecan pie!
I made this pecan pie last week and in the process taught Brittany how to make a pie crust. This is a lost art with the ease of buying a pre-made pie crust in the grocery store. There are lots of people my age or older who have never made a pie crust and I wanted her to know that it was very simple. She did a great job and even had some leftover to make herself a tiny pie. It was a great mother/daughter experience.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust (or make your own)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below, DO NOT OVERBAKE). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.