Paula’s Pecan Pie

No, it’s not Paula Deen‘s recipe, but my mother-in-law’s. Although she passed away in 1986, Paula’s pecan pie recipe lives on. It may have originally come from a corn syrup bottle or a bag of pecans, but it doesn’t matter to me because it ranks up there with the best pecan pie I’ve ever had! However, since I’ve made five of these pies in the past week for various occasions, I’m not sure I’ll be making any more this holiday season… we’ll see.

For the crust, I usually use a box from Betty Crocker and roll it out myself. In a pinch, I’ll use a frozen crust from — yep — Mrs. Smith. One of these days, I’m going to get my youngest brother to teach me how to make a crust from scratch. The past couple years he’s baked an apple rosemary pie for Thanksgiving that is just melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Thanks to him and his family for hosting another memorable Thanksgiving!

Paula’s Pecan Pie

Place rack below oven center. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
1 cup pecans

Mix brown sugar and flour in saucepan.
Add corn syrup, butter and salt. Warm over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
In separate bowl, beat eggs with vanilla, then whisk quickly into sugar mixture.
Turn into pie shell & sprinkle with nuts.
Cover pie crust with shield or aluminum foil.
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 15-20 more minutes or until filling is set in center.
Cool before cutting.

A few thoughts about pie…

You never know what you’re going to find in the incredible galaxy known as the World Wide Web. When I was looking for more info. on Company Cakes for the prior post, I came across this Mercury article from January about National Pie Day. I had never heard of National Pie Day or the American Pie Council, but I am completely on board. I occasionally daydream about how Pottstown might take advantage of its rich pie heritage, namely as the place where Mrs. Amanda Smith started her empire.

When I went away to college, and people asked ask where I was from, I’d say, “Pottstown, PA,” and they’d kind of give me a blank look. Then I’d add, “It’s where Mrs. Smith’s pies come from.” And they’d immediately perk up and get all excited and say, “Really? Cool!”

Pie is happiness. Pie is magic.

Apparently, the Great American Pie Festival is being held for the 9th year in a row in Celebration, Florida this coming weekend. They’ve got a lot of nerve — it should be held in Pottstown!

I gather there’s an Apple Pie Bake-Off at the Schuylkill River Festival. Are there contests for other kinds of pies, too – shoo-fly, funny cakes, and everything in between? In the Mercury article, Mark Neiman, an owner of Company Cakes says, “This was the pie capital of the world.” Can Pottstown rise to such prominence again? Could Pottstown be the epicenter of next year’s National Pie Day?

Just some pie-in-the-sky thoughts from a proud P-town girl…

Comfort Food

Still the very best!
I rolled into town last Friday night, battling allergies or a spring cold, and needed some quick and simple sustenance to get me through a meeting that would start in less than an hour. First off, for anyone from out of town, do you realize that on-street parking in downtown Pottstown is free? And even if you can’t find a spot on the street, parking in the lots around town is incredibly cheap? So I parked in the Shop & Park lot at High and Charlotte, slid a quarter in and headed for The Very Best, Pottstown’s oldest restaurant, open since 1921, where they’re still kickin’ it old school. As soon as I sat at the counter, I was greeted with, “How ya’ doin’, sweetheart?” And I knew I was home.

I ordered a grilled cheese and cup of hot tea. The bill, including tax, was $3.87. Seriously. Where I live in NJ, parking’s always a hassle, no one calls me “sweetheart” and dinner never costs $3.87. I felt like I really ought to get something else.

The cakes along the counter looked tempting – banana, chocolate with cream cheese frosting – and I asked if they were baked on-premises. No, they came from Company Cakes, a bakery on Charlotte Street that I’d passed a couple times and have on my list of places to visit. A hand-written sign touted a slice of chocolate cream pie for only $1.85, and I couldn’t resist. The creamy, dark chocolate mousse filling was complemented by a layer of lighter chocolate mousse on top and then bits of dark chocolate sprinkled on top of that. The crust was thin and, more importantly, didn’t detract from the chocolate, which is as it should be. For just a few moments, all was right in the world.

By time I’d finished, it had gotten cloudy and cooler, and rain was threatening. Now fortified, I zipped up my coat and was on my way.

The Very Best
252 East High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
(610) 323-5224

Company Cakes
26 N Charlotte St
Pottstown, PA 19464
(610) 705-9450

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