May 19, 2005

I’m not much of a cook myself, but I know how to make a few things, and I can spot a generic recipe for such things a counter’s-length away. Case in point: “Dear Abby”’s recipe for pecan pie, published in response to an inquiry from reader David Harper of Fayetteville, Tenn. (see the May 18 issue of the Philadelphia Daily News).

According to “Abby,” daughter of the generator of the famous pseudonym, Pauline Phillips, the recipe is as follows:


9-inch unbaked pie crust

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 heaping cup pecan halves

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt[,] and vanilla; mix well. Pour into unbaked pie crust; sprinkle with pecan halves.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is set. (Toothpick inserted in center will come out clean when pie is done.) Cool. If crust or pie appears to be getting too brown, cover with foil for the remaining baking time.

You can top it with a bit of whipped cream, but even plain, nothing tops this.

“Abby” helpfully, and casually, notes that her mother “discovered” the pie -- and presumably the recipe -- forty years ago at the Phoenix Hotel, Lexington, Ky.

Perhaps a reader who is more of a baker than I could explain how this recipe for pecan pie differs from any other.


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