Pecan Perfection

Pecans Go Beyond the Pie


November 2020 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Photography and Information
provided by National Pecan Shellers Association

Growing up in the country, I had the pleasure of walking out my back door to pecan trees laden with nuts waiting to be cracked. From an early age, Dad taught me how to crack them by hand, and whenever we were outside during the Fall, we were sure to be cracking and snacking. I distinctly remember sitting on our screened-in porch shelling pecans for hours on end with my sitter, Mama Ellen. and how the bowl of shelled ones never seemed to get full, as we ate most of the rewards. To this day, I always sneak a peek in mom’s freezer to see if she has a bag of them put away. Whether you’re a “PEE-CAN” or a “PAH-CON” person—and you know which you are—the crisp texture and rich, buttery flavor of pecans is the perfect addition to everything from salads to pie.

A long-standing Southern tradition, pecan pie is consumed in the United States between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays more than any other time of year. That is also when pecans are at their best. Don’t be fooled, pecans go way beyond the pie. They can be enjoyed all year long as healthy snacks, in soups, entrees, side dishes, desserts, beverages, breakfast options and so much more.

With pecans on our minds, we reached out to the experts, the National Pecan Shellers Association (NPSA) for an insider look at the pecan industry and an abundance of delicious recipes. Their mission: To support and promote the interests of pecan shellers and the global industry to assure the quality, safety and integrity of pecan products worldwide. And, in 2018 they celebrated their 75th anniversary by creating a cookbook featuring 75 amazing recipes by culinary experts throughout the country, many of which we are sharing with you over the next few pages.

Healthy goodness abounds in pecans. They carry the American Heart Association’s “Heart Check” certification, which means pecans are designated heart-healthy when enjoyed as part of a healthy eating pattern. Pecans are packed with 19 vitamins and minerals, but remember, “It’s a handful, not a can-full” for each serving. In fact, you can go ahead and get creative by substituting pecans in any of your favorite recipes that call for nuts.

Buying Tip: Most recipes call for chopped pecans, which are less expensive than whole or halved pecans. Purchase the chopped version to save money and an extra step in preparation. Store them in the refrigerator if you plan to use them within the next two months or so. For longer safe-keeping, store pecans in the freezer, packed in freezer-quality plastic bags, or air-tight containers.  

Pecan farms and orchards can be found in 15 states, spanning the southern half of the United States, from Georgia to Arizona. You’ll most likely find pecans at your favorite grocery store or farmer’s market. You can also order pecans online from members of the NPSA. For a list of quality retailers and tons of great recipes, visit

Are you ready to get cooking with new and tasty recipes! Break out the bag—or the pie dish—it’s time to incorporate pecans in new and exciting ways. From new creations to traditional favorites these recipes are pecan perfection, just waiting for a taste.

Rib Eye with Pecan Red Pepper Sauce
Prep time:  20 mins  |  Cook time:  10 mins  |  Serves: 4

½ cup Pecan pieces            Pecans1120 Steak
½ cup Roasted red pepper
¼ cup Fire roasted tomatoes        
½ Sweet onion, chopped
6 Garlic cloves, roasted until soft*        
¼ cup Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp Smoked paprika            
1¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black pepper            
½ cup Pecan oil plus 1 Tbsp
1 (16 oz) Bone-in rib eye steak        
⅓ cup Pecan pieces, toasted
½ cup Parsley, chopped            
½ Lime, zested and juiced
1 dried red Chili pepper, seeded and soaked

In a food processor, combine the pecan pieces, roasted red pepper, fire roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili pepper, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Pulse until slightly chunky and well combined. Slowly stream in pecan oil until emulsified and smooth. Set aside until ready to use. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of pecan oil in a grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Season the steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ tsp black pepper and then place in the hot skillet. Cook for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before carving. In a small bowl, mix together the pecan pieces, parsley, lime zest, lime juice and the remaining ¼ tsp salt. To serve, slice the steak into ½-inch slices and place on a serving platter. Drizzle Pecan Parsley mixture over the steak. Serve the Pecan Red Pepper Sauce on the side.
*To Roast Garlic: Place whole cloves in their skin on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap up into a small package. Place in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes until garlic is soft and slips easily from its skin when squeezed.
Recipe by: Josh Butler, US Foods

Pecan Gooey Butter Pie
Prep time:  15 mins  |  Cook time:  40 mins  |  Serves: 6

1 (18 oz) box Yellow cake mix        Pecans1120 Pecan Gooey Butter Pie
½ cup Pecan meal
1 tsp Ground cinnamon            
⅛ tsp Cayenne pepper
1 stick (4 oz) salted Butter        
3 large Eggs
1 (8 oz) pkg Cream cheese, softened    
4 cups Powdered sugar
3 Tbsps Spiced rum, divided        
2 cups Pecan halves
1 cup Heavy whipping cream        
1 Tbsps Granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pecan meal, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the butter for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 egg to the cake mix and stir until well combined. Press the cake mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13 glass baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs and cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 2 Tbsps of spiced rum. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the pecan halves over the surface. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until pie is cooked through and golden brown. To serve, whip the heavy cream with the remaining 1 Tbsp of spiced rum and the granulated sugar to form soft peaks. Spoon Pecan Gooey Butter Pie onto a dessert plate and dollop with spiced whipped cream on the side.
Recipe by: Brenda McGranahan, Cinnabon and Benjamin Stanley, Baskin Robbins

Pecan Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
Prep time:  10 mins  |  Cook Time:  17 mins  |  Makes: 24 Dates

24 pitted Dates            Pecans1120 Dates
24 Pecan halves
12 slices raw local Bacon        
24 Toothpicks
1-2 Tbsps BBQ seasoning

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a foil lined sheet pan with cooking spray. Insert a pecan half into each date. Cut each bacon strip in half. Wrap the bacon around a stuffed date and then secure with a toothpick. Arrange the dates, seam side down on the sheet tray and then dust with BBQ seasoning. Bake the stuffed dates for 15 to 17 minutes until the bacon is brown and crispy. When done, transfer the dates to a paper towel lined plate to cool for a minute or two.
Recipe by: Holly Chute, Georgia Grown / Department of Agriculture.


Honey Pecan and BBQ Snack Mix
Prep time: CC  |  Cook Time: CC  |  Serves: 7

1 cup Pecan halves            Pecans1120 Honey Pecan and BBQ Snack Mix
1 Tbsp Honey
1 cup Wheat cereal (such as Chex)    
1 cup Mini wheat crackers (such as Triscuits)
1 cup unsalted Pretzel wheels        
1 cup Corn chips (such as Fritos)
1 cup Oyster crackers            
1 cup Cheese crackers
1 stick Butter, melted            
3 Tbsps BBQ seasoning
2 Tbsps Sugar

Preheat your oven to 325° F. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Toss pecan halves with the honey and place on the sheet tray. Combine the rest of the snack mix in a large bowl. Pour the melted butter over the snack mix and toss to coat well. Pour the snack mix onto the sheet tray. Sprinkle the BBQ seasoning and sugar over the sheet pan and toss to coat well. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing frequently. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and enjoy! Store in air tight containers.  
Recipe by: Marie Ostrosky, Grey Salt Culinary


Sweet Potato Soup with Buttered Pecans
Prep Time: 15 mins  |  Cook Time: 30 mins  |  Serves: 6

¾ cup Onion, finely chopped        Pecans1120 SweetPotSoup
2 large Garlic cloves, minced
3 large Carrots, sliced thin        
1 Bay leaf
3 Tbsps melted Butter or margarine    
¾ cup dry White wine
1½ cups Water                
Sour cream, for topping
¾ cups Pecans, chopped            
2 Tbsps unsalted Butter
1 cup Leeks, washed, drained and finely chopped
2 lbs. Sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
1 Russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
5 cups Chicken broth, plus additional quantity to thin soup, if desired

Soup: Cook the onion, leek, garlic, carrots and bay leaf in butter over moderate heat, stirring until the vegetables are softened. Add the sweet potatoes, russet potato, broth, wine and water. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Discard the bay leaf. In a blender, purée the mixture in batches until very smooth and transfer each batch into one large pot. Add additional broth to thin soup (if desired), and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Buttered Pecans: In a skillet, cook pecans in butter (salt to taste) over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Stir for 10 minutes or until pecans are golden brown, then transfer to paper towel to drain. Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and buttered pecans before serving.  
Recipe by: NPSA Pecan Chef Summit

Pecans1120 ChocPecanPie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Prep time:  15 mins  |  Cook time:  45 mins  |  Serves: 6

For the Dough:

10 Tbsps unsalted Butter        
6 Tbsps Demerara or granulated sugar
1 Egg yolk            
1½ cups All-purpose flour
For the Topping:
1 cup Pecans, chopped    
½ cup Demerara or granulated sugar
6 Tbsps unsalted Butter        
3 Tbsps Milk
⅓ cup bitter Chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk and mix until well combined. Stir in the flour and combine to make a dough. Pat the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped pecans, sugar, butter, milk and chocolate. Heat over low heat until chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate pecan mixture over the pie dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let sit for an additional 15 minutes. Serve while still warm.
Recipe by: Maximo Lopez May, Hyatt Hotels

Chocolate Mousse and Pecan Croquant

8 oz Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate (recommend 60% – 70% cacao Pecans1120 Croquant
such as Valrhona)
16 oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream
Pecan Croquant:
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Honey
2 cups Pecan pieces
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler so that the chocolate does not burn. (Or, heat the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave on medium power, stirring every minute until desired temperature is reached.) Heat the chocolate slowly until it’s fairly hot, approximately 120°F–130°F measured by a candy thermometer. Whip the heavy whipping cream to a soft peak. (Note: You know you’ve reached “soft peak” when you pull out the mixer and the cream will pull straight up, and then gently fall over a bit forming a curl. You’ve gone too far if you’ve reached “stiff peak” when the peaks stand up straight and stiff without any curl.) Fold approximately ⅓ of the whipped cream into the melted dark chocolate and mix very quickly with a whisk (use the same pot or bowl that you heated the chocolate in). Then fold in bits of Pecan Croquant (see below) into the mixture of chocolate and whipped cream. Fold this mixture into the remaining whipped cream (use the same bowl that the whipped cream was in). Fold just enough until well blended. Pipe the dark chocolate mousse into a wine or martini glass, filling it about half of the way. Garnish with larger pieces of Pecan Croquant.
Pecan Croquant: Toast the pecan pieces in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Combine sugar and honey in a medium sauce pan. Cook to a hard ball stage (250 to 266 °F using a candy thermometer).  Sugar will be very hot. Take extreme care to not spill. Add pecans, stir and pour onto a metal sheet pan or tray. Let cool completely. Break and crumble the croquant and place ¾ cup in a food processor, reserving ¼ for garnish. Pulse the pieces in the processor to make into tiny bits. Follow directions above for adding to the mousse.
Recipe by Chef Jean-Yves Charon, Galaxy Desserts


Pecan, Goat Cheese, and Sweet Potato Spirals

1 medium Sweet potato        Pecans1120 pecan swirls1
4 oz Goat cheese
⅛ tsp Cayenne pepper       
1 tsp Salt
3 Tbsps Pecan oil       
2 tsps Honey
16 oz Crescent rolls dough       
1 cup Pecan pieces

Bake the sweet potato until soft and allow to cool. Peel the sweet potato and blend with remaining ingredients except dough and pecans, until smooth. Roll out Crescent dough, ensuring to seal seams. Spread filling onto the dough and top with pecan pieces. Roll filled dough into a log and freeze for about 10 minutes. Cut the log into coins and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe by: Chef Darryl Holliday

Pecan Praline Sauce
Prep time: 5 mins  |  Cook time: 10 mins

2 cups Sugar        Pecans1120 Praline
3 Tbsps Dark corn syrup
1 tsp Baking soda    
3 Tbsps Light corn syrup
1 cup Buttermilk        
½ cup Butter
Dash of salt        
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup lightly roasted Pecans, chopped

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and soda. Stir in remaining ingredients in order listed, except vanilla and pecans. Place over medium heat and bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and pecans. Cool. May serve lukewarm over ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake, or even bread pudding. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
Recipe courtesy of: Louisiana Pecan Growers Association

Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie
with Bourbon Whipped Cream
Prep time: 30 mins  |  Cook time:  50 mins  |  Serves: 8 slices

Pie Crust:Pecans1120 PecanPie
1½ cup All-purpose flour        
6 Tbsps chilled unsalted Butter, cut into pieces        
1 tsp Sugar            
2 Tbsps chilled Vegetable shortening
2-3 Tbsps Ice water        
½ tsp Salt

1 cup Maple syrup            
3 large Eggs
½ cup Light brown sugar            
3 Tbsps Butter, melted
2 Tbsps Bourbon            
1 tsp Vanilla extract
¼ tsp Salt                
2 cups Pecan halves

Bourbon Whipped Cream:

2 cups Heavy cream            
2 Tbsps Sugar
2 Tbsps Bourbon

Pie Crust: In a food processor mix the flour and salt. Add the vegetable shortening and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. Add ice water and pulse until just combined. Chill until needed. 
Filling: Preheat your oven to 375° F. In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt. When thoroughly combined, stir in pecans by hand.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough and fit into a 9” pie plate. Pour pecan filling into prepared pie plate. Place pie on a sheet pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. 
Whipped Cream: Whisk heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks. Stir in the bourbon and continue whisking to stiff peaks. Serve slice with dollop of whipped cream.
Recipe by: Holly Chute, Georgia Grown / Department of Agriculture

Apple Pecan Pancakes
Prep Time: 5 mins  | Cook Time: 10 mins

1 cup FlourPecans1120 Pancakes
2 Tbsps Brown sugar
2 tsps Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cinnamon
¾ cup plus 2 tsps Milk
2 Eggs, separated
1 tsp Vanilla extract
½ cup Apples, peeled, finely chopped
½ cup plus ¼ cup Pecans, chopped

In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Add apples and ½ cup pecans. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into batter. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto a hot, greased griddle or skillet. Turn when bubbles begin to form and the edges are golden. Cook until the second side is golden, then serve topped with remaining pecans and a favorite syrup.

Recipe from: NPSA Pecan Chef Summit




Broccoli Gratin with Horseradish and Georgia Pecans
Prep time:  10 mins  |  Cook time:  30 mins  |  Serves: 8

Pecans1120 Broccoli Gratin with Horseradish and Georgia Pecans22 bags (10 oz. each) frozen Broccoli florets
½ cup Roasted red pepper strips
½ cup Georgia pecan halves
¼ tsp each Salt and black pepper
3 Tbsps Butter, divided
¼ cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsps prepared Horseradish sauce
¼ cup dry coarse Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsps grated Parmesan
fresh Lemon juice to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round baking dish or pie plate. Thaw broccoli in skillet over medium heat. Drain well. Transfer to bowl and add red pepper and pecans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In same skillet, melt 2 Tbsps butter. Whisk in mayonnaise and horseradish sauce and cook over low heat, stirring, to make a smooth sauce. Pour sauce over broccoli, peppers and pecans and stir gently to coat. Spread mixture in prepared baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Dot with remaining Tbsp of butter and bake on top rack in oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Serve warm.


Sugar Spiced Pecans

1 lb. Pecan halves    Pecans1120 SpicedPecans
1 cup Sugar
¾ tsp Salt        
1¾ tsps Cinnamon
1 cup Water        
1 tsp Vanilla

Toast pecans on baking sheet for 10 minutes at 300°F. Combine all ingredients in small pan, except pecans and vanilla. Cook about 5 minutes (until syrup spins a small thread). Remove from heat and add pecans and vanilla. Stir quickly until syrup crystallizes. Pour onto buttered platter. Separate nuts rapidly (but gently) and cool before serving. Recipe courtesy of:
The Georgia Pecan Commission

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