For those who have an incurable sweet tooth, National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day is the perfect opportunity to indulge. It isn’t even necessary to feel too guilty about grabbing a piece of pie, because pecans have all kinds of health benefits in them that they come by naturally. In fact, pecans contain more valuable antioxidants than any other type of nut, plus plenty of fibre, minerals and vitamins to round out their nutritional value.
So grab some friends and get ready to celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!
History of National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
The word pecan comes from the Native American Algonquin language. As the only nuts native to north America, pecans have been eaten for generations in both the USA and Mexico, but they’ve only been grown commercially since the late 19th century.
Of course, chocolate itself is derived from the cacao plant that has a history dating back approximately 4000 years to Mesoamerica. Originally it was probably used as a medicine or part of cultural rituals. Hundreds of years later, chocolate was consumed as a beverage, often known as “the drink of the gods”.
Cocoa beans were later used in certain cultures as currency, and some historians record it as reaching Europe sometime in the 16th century as it made its way to Spain. But it wouldn’t expand throughout the rest of the continent for another 100 years or so.
Once the industrial revolution came around, chocolate processing became easier and the treat was eventually solidified into the chocolate that is known and loved today.
As for the combination of chocolate and pecans being made into a pie? Well, that’s a much more recent invention. No mentions of this type of a recipe seem to have been published in any cookbooks until the early parts of the 20th century. But whoever started it, the world is sure glad!
How to Celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day is a delicious, fun-filled day that can be chock full of activities and tasty treats! Try out these ideas for enjoy the day with family and friends:
Bake a Chocolate Pecan Pie at Home
One of the most popular ways to enjoy these buttery, crunchy nuts is to bake them in a pie, and adding chocolate makes it just that much more delicious. The perfect way to celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day is to bake a pie for family and friends.
Pie making doesn’t have to be super difficult, especially for those who are willing to throw a premade refrigerated pie crust into the mix. Ingredients for the pie include corn syrup, butter, semi-sweet chocolate, eggs, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and, of course, pecans.
The butter and chocolate are melted together, then added to the rest of the ingredients (minus the pecans) and mixed together. The mix is then poured into the pie crust and the pecans are arranged to float on top of the mixture. To protect them the edges of the crust can be covered with aluminum foil.
Bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 60-70 minutes (or until pie is set). Let cool for 2 hours and then enjoy eating this scrumptious dessert!
Host a National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day Event at Work
If the office contains a few people who enjoy baking, this would be a great day to host a Chocolate Pecan Pie Bakeoff! Have a few different people take a stab at baking their own pies (set the rules about whether the crusts need to be homemade or not) and then see whose pie is the best.
To make it a charity event, try auctioning off some pies or selling pieces individually as an afternoon snack.
Try a New Twist on an Old Favorite
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with making and eating just a typical Chocolate Pecan Pie on this day, certainly there are ways to make it even more fun! Try out a few of these variations on this classic pie:
- Chocolate Pecan Pie with Bourbon. Just adding a few tablespoons of bourbon to this pie can change everything! The alcohol bakes out, leaving the sweet scent and taste that is a bit like caramel and super delicious.
- Spiced Chocolate Pecan Pie. Multiply the decadence of this tremendous treat with the addition of ground spices such as cinnamon, clove and ginger. The flavor gives a nod to the Mexican roots of chocolate.
- Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie. While many people like to use semi-sweet or milk chocolate for their pies, the use of high quality dark chocolate can really bring out the flavors of the cocoa.
- Mayan Chocolate Pecan Pie. Just a bit of ground ancho chili powder and a tablespoon of coffee liqueur creates a beautiful spicy, chocolate contrast that is perfectly balanced by pecans and sweetness.
Attend the National Pecan Day Festival
While this festival is not specifically geared toward National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, per se, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of chocolate pecan pies to enjoy at this festival, located in Albany, Georgia. Other activities include a parade, a contest for pecan-cooking, a special race and the crowning of the National Pecan Queen.
Try Different Toppings for National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day
Those purists who like Chocolate Pecan Pie just as it is are to be respected, of course. But others might prefer just a little more adventure when it comes to enjoying this tasty treat! Try these ideas for making the day even more delicious:
- Chocolate Pecan Pie A La Mode. It’s amazing what just a scoop of vanilla ice cream can do to make a great piece of pie even better.
- Chocolate Pecan Pie with Whipping Cream. Of course, a dollop of homemade, sweetened whipping cream tastes absolutely divine as well.
- Chocolate Pecan Pie with Spiked Cream. Instead of putting bourbon in the pie and then cooking it (or in addition to, no-one is judging!), add a few spoons full of bourbon to homemade whipping cream for a delightful flavor.
Learn a Bit of Chocolate and Pecan Trivia
For National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day celebrations, be sure to be armed with these fun facts about pecans and chocolate to impress friends and family alike:
- The pecan capital of the United States is highly contested, but one place that calls themselves this is Albany, Georgia. The area contains more than 600,000 pecan trees and also hosts a festival.
- Some pecan trees can grow as tall as 150 feet! However, most run in the range between 70 and 100 feet, which is still pretty darn tall. The nuts are often harvested by shaking the trees and collecting what falls to the ground.
- It takes around 400 cocoa beans to make just one pound of chocolate, and each tree produces somewhere around 2500 cacao beans.
- While Albany, Georgia is considered by many to be the pecan capital of the United States, the state of Texas has also staked its claim when it adopted the pecan tree as its official state tree in 1919.
Go nuts and enjoy this day with neighbors, friends, co-workers and family! Happy National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!