The Principle of the Pecan

South meets Dutch
We were going to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, as it’s meant to be done, but we ended up postponing our celebration because of a lack of nuts. Sure, some people think it’s not Thanksgiving without the turkey or the dressing or the cranberry sauce. For me, it’s not Thanksgiving without a pecan pie. Unfortunately, pecans can be a bit more difficult to come by here in the Netherlands, or at least our corner of Utrecht.

We can sometimes find them at the grocery stores, but they’re often pricey for a small amount. This week, our usual store just didn’t have them at all. In a last-ditch attempt, we did check out one of the organic grocery stores, but I refused to pay €2,95 for a 75 gram bag of pecans. At a minimum, I needed two bags and just couldn’t stand the idea of paying almost €6 for such a paltry amount. I paid that much for a can of Libby’s pumpkin purée the first year we were here and vowed never again, thus the lack of pumpkin pies at this time of year, as well. (I’m too lazy to go through all the hassle with a real pumpkin.)

You see, growing up, I used to pick pecans from the trees in my great-grandmother’s yard in Florida. Even now, my parents were telling me about all the pecans a friend of theirs had given them. I come from a place where pecans are free or at least downright inexpensive! So to pay such a ridiculous amount for a paltry amount of pecans is just wrong.

Fortunately, I knew that the Saturday market at Vredenburg always has a couple of noten kramen (nut stalls), with a wide variety of nuts. So Saturday morning, we headed out to the market and sure enough, we found pecans at a much better price and quality. The stall we went to had 200 grams for €4,50, which is much more acceptable and the nuts were much fresher and nicer. Definitely worth the delay.


Using up just about the last of my Karo syrup, I made my beloved pecan pie. It’s sticky, gooey, nuttiness is one of the great pleasures in life! Sadly, I don’t have enough Karo left to make another. My mother has suggested Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but if anyone else has any suggestions for Karo alternatives, I’m all ears. I usually only make pecan pie once a year, so I’ve got time to find alternatives — or hope someone visits from the US and can bring a bottle or three with them.

Ready to Bake

If you want the bare-bones recipe that I use for my pecan pie, here it is. If you need more tips, I’d suggest Googling for better directions. This year I skipped the traditional pastry crust and went with a simple digestive-biscuit crumb and butter base for something different, since it’s easy and not particularly sweet. As for the actual recipe directions, beat the eggs a bit first and then start adding in ingredients. I leave the syrup for second to last and the pecans for last. I also roughly chop my pecans and save a few whole ones to decorate the top. Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Recipe
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup Karo light syrup
2 cups pecans

Bake at 350F for approximately 55 minutes
Pecan Pie

16 thoughts on “The Principle of the Pecan

  1. Mmmmmm, looks great, sounds yummy! The next time I come over I’ll let you know and bring you a bottle of Karo. But it might be a year or so 😦

  2. Kelly Kelly’s definitely, and (I think)Thomas Green’s in the Hague have Karo for you… of course it’s more expensive, import costs etc but still cheaper than postage from the USA.
    That pie looks fabulous!
    Hope you had a brilliant Thanksgiving celebration.:)

    • There’s an expat shop in town that sells it, since that’s where I got it my first year here, although I can’t remember how pricey it was. Too much, I’m sure! I think I’ll give the golden syrup a try next time, though.

  3. Didn’t know this existed in real life. I only ever heard about it from the film When Harry met Sally when Billy Crystal puts on a funny voice and asks Meg Ryan to repeat after him some rhyme that ends with pecan pie! Very cool…I want some now!

  4. In the UK all our recipes use golden syrup (you can find them by going on the BBC) but I’m not sure if you can buy that in NL either – I import my own so far. Please let me know if you discover it somewhere! You might be able to just use Dutch stroop but I don’t know if it would taste a bit funky.

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