This American classic has become a traditional part of the Christmas celebrations for millions of families across the Atlantic. Pecans are native to the US but just when this sweet pie first sprang to life is unclear. It may be linked to settlers in the South bringing in puddings like treacle tart and adapting them to available ingredients. There are many variations, including some with added bourbon, rum or whisky. But all have one thing in common. They are very, very sweet.

For the base, we used a sweet, shortcrust, ready rolled pastry. Alternatively, you can, of course, make your own. Bake blind for 20 mins using baking beans. Allow to cool completely.

Times: Preparation 30 mins. Cooking 45 mins.

Serves 6 to 8


125g pecans

100g dark muscovado sugar

100g maple syrup

85g butter

200 mls single cream

2tbsp cornflour

2tbsp orange juice

2 egg yolks

¼ tsp salt


1. Put the pecans in a lined baking tray and roast at 180°c for 6 mins until toasted. Allow to cool slightly and then crush half of them.

2. Put sugar, syrup, butter and cream into a saucepan and melt over a low heat.

3. Combine the orange juice and the cornflour and add to the cream mixture. Beat over a medium heat until thick and smooth.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, salt and crushed pecans.

5. Pour into a pastry lined 20cm pie dish. We have used 375g ready roll sweet pastry mix

6. Arrange the remaining pecans on top.

7. Bake at 180°c for 25mins.

8. Allow to cool before serving with cream or vanilla ice cream.