Jasper White's Cranberry Onion Jam
Regina Schrambling's Pistachio Brussels Sprouts

Martha Rose Shulman's Pecan Pie

I suppose I should have known that when attempting to bake three pies in one day - the most important food day of the year, I might add - one cannot expect all three of them to shine. If you have already managed a glorious squash pie and a stellar apple pie, well, then it must not be good karma to have your pecan pie dazzle, too. Which is too bad, because it certainly looked the most promising.

The recipe came from an article on pecans in the LA Times in 2001. The delicate filling called for honey and rum instead of corn syrup. I figured it might be a nice change from the traditionally sweet and sticky version. Well, I figured wrong. The pie looked absolutely gorgeous - a toasty brown filling that puffed up nicely in the oven and then squidged down into the all-butter crust - but tasted totally odd. Like...soap! I can't figure out why: rum, butter, honey and vanilla, not to mention a mess of pecans straight from Texas, these are all good-tasting things. How in the name of turkeys everywhere did this combination go so wrong?

First, I beat together butter and honey into a gorgeously unctuous cream that practically begged to be smeared on toast or waffles.
To that I added rum, vanilla, eggs, salt and nutmeg. When the pie crust was rolled out, fitted into a tart pan and chilled, I parbaked it for five minutes, which really only seemed to make it greasy.
In went the pecans in an even layer,
and then the filling was poured over.
The pie went into the oven and baked for about 15 minutes longer than specified, until the nuts were browned and the filling had puffed up.
Ms. Shulman says that people like her pie because it's less sweet, but that's just no justification for this misbegotten pie that tastes of suds. Pecan pie was meant to be tooth-achingly sweet and chewy, the better to eat with a pile of whipped cream. Next time, I'll be looking elsewhere for a real pecan pie. Any suggestions?