Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mavis Webb's Southern Pecan Pie

Over the past few weeks, food bloggers have been posting their favorite pie recipes like crazy.  It's almost as if Thanksgiving marked the beginning of pie season.  It's understandable.  Pies are meant to be eaten with company, unless of course, you happen to have a large pie-loving family.  Personally, I only bake pies when I know there will be enough mouths around to eat them.  There is nothing appealing about a soggy week-old pie.

Everyone has been professing to have the "best pie you have ever eaten", or the "pie that will change your life".  Bloggers have been revealing their families' pie secrets.  Everyone seems to have had a pie baking grandma.  Not me, the only thing I remember my grandma making was tea.  As I was reading these blogs, I agreed that every pie sounded wonderful, but I kept thinking to myself, "how could this be the best pecan pie on earth?  I have the recipe for the best pecan pie on earth!"  Actually,  it is not my original recipe at all.

In the early 80's we moved from Santa Cruz, California to San Antonio, Texas for business reasons.  It was there I met this lovely "blue-haired" lady named Mavis Webb.  Mavis worked in our office.  She had a sweet and gentle southern demeanor.  Mavis had a way of speaking that was different than the usual office banter.  She's say things like, "bless your little heart" or "time to circle the wagons".  She looked a bit like SNL's church lady, bouffant hair and all.  Mavis was like the office mom; and that office mom could bake!

I recall the day that Mavis introduced me to her pecan pie.  Pecan pie had always been a favorite of mine.  One bite of her pie, and instantaneously, my idea of the perfect pecan pie was changed forever.  Every bite transported me to pecan heaven.  Her pie did not have a heavy, gooey, dark middle  with a distinct layer of pecans on top.  No, Mavis Webb's pie had a slightly lighter texture than other pecan pies, and the flavor was homogeneous.  What was her secret? .... Pecan meal... Pecan meal is the main ingredient that set Mavis's pie above all others.   I asked Mavis for her recipe and the next day, she brought in her pie recipe typed up on a 3x5 Mavis Webb personalized recipe card, along with a BIG sack of pecans from her backyard.  Not only did this woman make the best pie in the world, but she grew the pecans!  OMG!

I dusted off this recipe and made this heavenly pie for Thanksgiving this year.  Thanksgiving has come and gone, but this recipe is one to consider to top off any holiday meal.

Mavis Webb's Southern Pecan Pie

Makes 1  9" pie
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan meal ( about 2/3 cup pecans ground in food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 unbaked pie crust
Prepare your favorite pie crust. Roll out into a 9" pie dish.  If you don't have a favorite pie crust recipe, you may want to try one of these from Simply Recipes.  You can cheat if you want and use a ready made crust if pie crust isn't your thing.

Grind 2/3 cup of pecans in a food processor.  Pulse until ground, being careful not to over-grind and make pecan butter.  It will measure out to be approximately 1/2 cup of meal.  It should look like this:

Mix pecan halves, pecan meal and flour in a small bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, mix in the following order until smooth: eggs, lemon juice, light corn syrup, dark corn syrup, vanilla, sugar, salt, and melted butter.

Add the pecan mix to the liquid and stir.

Pour into unbaked 9" pie crust, and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn oven down to 300 degrees (yes, I said 300) and continue to bake for another 50 minutes until set, and golden brown.

Cool pie on a rack, eat at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
I'm sorry to say I do not have a picture of the finished pie in its entirety.  With all the Thanksgiving hub-bub, it wasn't until we were well into the pie course of the meal (yes there was also pumpkin and apple), that I realized I hadn't taken a picture of the finished product.  The next morning there was one measly slice of heaven left...and I shared it with Paul; that's true love.  Tell me you never had pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving!


  1. Mavis Beacon? Improve your typing skills!

  2. Anonymous, NEVER confuse Mavis Beacon with Mavis Webb. You can't eat a typewriter.