The pecans are starting to fall in my front yard. This is always one of the sure signs of autumn here.
The pecan is the state tree of Texas. My tree's limbs have been bending down toward the lawn under the burden of their fruit. It is going to be a good year for pecans.
I have a little pecan nutritional info from the Texas Pecan Growers Association:
Pecans Offer Good Nutrition
- 90% of the fats in pecans are unsaturated (about 60% monounsaturated/30% polyunsaturated)
- A serving of pecans (30g) provides about 25 percent more oleic acid than a serving of olive oil (one tablespoon)
- Pecans are cholesterol free
- Pecans are sodium free
- Pecans are fiber-rich
- Pecans are a valuable plant protein source
- Pecans have more than 19 vitamins & minerals
- They are an excellent source of gamma tocopherol, an important type of vitamin E
- They contain concentrated amounts of natural plant sterols, touted for their cholesterol-lowering ability
- Pecans contain a variety of phytochemicals
- Nuts are recommended by the American Heart Association and U.S. Dietary Guidelines as a desirable source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Year before last we had a bumper crop of pecans. I made several pecan pies, both to give away and to provide the family Thanksgiving pecan pies. But, ya know, I'm not that crazy about pecan pie. I mean, it's not all yucky like pumpkin pie, but it's not my favorite. But I love pecans in salads (great lightly toasted with field greens and goat cheese), in cookies, toffee, and casseroles and stir fries.
Here is a recipe from the Texas Pecan Growers Association.
Mama's Texas Pecan CheesecakeSubmitted by Kim Ritchie of Wylie Texas
1 egg yolk
1/4-cup butter, softened
1/2-cup Texas Pecans, chopped
5 packages (8oz) cream cheese
1 3/4-cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
5 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/4-cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
15 nice looking pecan halves
For crust, combine flour, Texas Pecans and sugar. Make a well in center. Blend in yolk, vanilla and butter. Mix well. Press mixture in bottom and up sides of greased 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. Press pecan halves down into top of crust on side of pan so that they stand up in a ring around top of crust. Set aside.
For filling, in large mixing bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, zest, and vanilla. Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time. Beat until smooth. Pour into crust, Draw circle in the center of cheesecake. Using the 15 or so pecan halves that you picked out because they were so beautiful, make a ring of pecan halves touching the outside of the circle. Sprinkle mini chips inside the circle. (The finished result should resemble a sunflower.) Bake 10 minutes at 450°. Reduce oven temperature to 250° and bake 1 hour. Cool 2 hours in oven with door ajar.
(This sounds great. Might have to try this instead of the traditional pecan pie.)
And go here for a great sounding recipe from Food and Wine Magazine. I have often made many variations of glazed and spiced pecans, some more savory, more candied, or spicy.
"The pecan, which grows best in warm climates, is beloved in the South. At parties, Southerners often set out giant bowls of spiced nuts like the ones here, deliciously seasoned with cayenne, cinnamon and brown sugar."