Florida Pecans: for deadly delicious Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings pie and — would you believe — gumbo?



I’m learning that often the trick to cooking 75-year old-recipes is finding the ingredients. It’s been a while since I shopped for real cane syrup. My favorite is the kind packaged in a golden colored tin can sold a produce stands off the beaten path. I was lucky to find this brand at Winn Dixie.

In the movie Cross Creek, there’s a shot of a marvelous wedge of pecan pie just oozing with flavor. Not a word is said, the photo says it all — in about a thousand calories. And that picture personifies why cooking my way through Cross Creek Cookery is going to be fattening.

Even Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings cut calories from some recipes professing a tendency towards plumpness.  She kept a scale nearby, and it wasn’t for food.  In fact, she had two human scales — one in each bath. (I bet she hid them when she invited the neighbors over to tour her bathroom, the first indoor one in Cross Creek.)

The movie inspired my first Cross Creek Cookery cooking adventure – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie. I used a cup and half of pecans from a tree just around the corner. Neighbor John Adams planted it in his front yard a few years ago and shares his bounty with the neighbors — and a few persistent squirrels.  I don’t know which of the 500 varieties his pecans are, but they look like Stuarts, which grow well here in the Florida Panhandle as well as Northern Florida. Rawlings would probably have used the same type.img_9003

The pie lives up to its name – deadly, delicious and sweet, sweet, sweet. I followed Marjorie’s recipe to a T, but was wise enough to begin with something I had cooked before, even though my own recipe differs a little. If I had started with Ox-tail Pilau or Minorcan Gopher Stew, I would have been lost.

There’s a steep learning curve when it comes to cooking 75-year-old recipes. For example —

  1. Cross Creek Cookery is not for beginners – unless they have beginner’s luck. I knew better

    A volunteer in period dress works in the chicken coop at the Marjorie Rawlings Historic Site in Florida. No doubt Marjorie would have gathered warm eggs fresh from the roost when making Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie.

    than to pour beaten eggs into a hot mixture, even a little at a time. But I trusted Marjorie. Bad choice. I eventually strained my gooey mess, started over and used a technique I had learned from my mother to add a few hot drops to the eggs first to warm them up. In her defense, Marjorie probably used warm eggs right out of the hen house.

  2. Wal-Mart doesn’t have everything. If you’re looking for cane syrup or other ingredients unique to a region, try a smaller store. I eventually found Steen’s Cane Syrup at Winn Dixie, a Southern chain (as the name implies). Wal-Mart only carries “cane flavored syrup.”
  3. Marjorie’s stove is different from mine. The recipe calls for a moderate oven. I had to google “moderate oven” and set it to 350 degrees.
  4. Her vocabulary is that of a writer. She describes her pecan pie as a confection, but I didn’t really know what she meant from the connotation in the text. I had to look that one up, too, and learned a confection is a very sweet food. No doubt about that when I tasted the pie.

Since I love pecans, I look forward to trying some other Cross Creek Cookery pecan recipes: Pecan Patties, Pecan Cream Torte, and Pecan Soufflé.  I’m not too sure about the Jellied Pecans with Grapefruit,   but I’ve got everything I need – more pecans from John and grapefruit from another neighbor.

There’s not a pecan gumbo recipe in Cross Creek Cookery, but here’s one that looks interesting enough to try when our vegetarian son comes for a visit. Click below to view vegetarian gumbo using protein from pecans.






About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
This entry was posted in Literary Gumbo and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Florida Pecans: for deadly delicious Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings pie and — would you believe — gumbo?

  1. DDSkelton says:

    Of course I love your latest entry as well as I loved the pie.
    Our trip to parts that we had never seen was fantastic !! The trip to her home site was very interesting and a surprise to me !! Thank you again ! With my Love, Danny

    Liked by 1 person

  2. perdidopress says:

    Another winner! Looks luscious.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s