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You can see many, many pecan trees in Texas when you do road trips. They are everywhere! Until this spring, I had no idea we even had them in our backyard! How lucky are we?!ย We moved in over the summer and only realized the following spring that we had a whole bunch of nuts on the ground when we started mowing the lawn: We stopped mowing and started harvesting pecans instead pretty quickly ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. Pecans are big in Texas!ย When doing road trips in Texas it is impossible not to notice all the pecan orchards on the sides of the roads that are offering to sell pecans and/or shell them for you. And of course there are a whole bunch of foods with pecans as well: pecan pie, pecan brittle, pecan cookies, mashed sweet potatoes with candied pecans, chocolate brownies with pecans, …. Must be a Southern thing! So, after discovering that we had our very own pecans in our backyard, weย were busy shelling them… for weeks! So much work, I tell you! Next time I’ll try to find a pecan orchard to shell them for me. Pecans really are pretty hard to shell by hand, because they grow so close to the shell and then they even stick to it. And the shells break in weird patterns and cut your skin… but in the end it was all worth it: our pecans are delicious! We stored all the shelled ones in plastic containers and whenever a recipe calls for any kind of nuts, I can use our own. How cool is that?! The latest creation were ricotta muffins. We had ricotta in the fridge and I had no idea what to use it for – I know that people here use for lasagna, but I’m a purist when it comes to lasagna: it needs to have bechamel instead of Ricotta. Then I found this recipe for muffins and have made them twice since then. The only change I made was using Lebkuchen spices instead of anis: ground ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Yummy and sort of christmas-y ๐Ÿ™‚ I keep promising Marco that one day I’ll make my grandma’s walnut-chocolate-cake and substitute ground pecans for the ground walnuts the cake uses as a substitute for flour (it’s delicious!!). Pecans and walnuts are very similar in taste. In fact, I would go as far as saying that pecans are to Texans what walnuts are to Germans ๐Ÿ™‚ For those of you who have been to Germany before, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we don’t use pecans – in fact, I hadn’t tried pecans before moving to Texas. We use walnuts in everything instead: in cheese, on cookies, in bread, on salad, in cakes, … So, if you’re an American expat in Germany, just use walnuts for all the pecan dishes you crave right around Thanksgiving ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re probably taking part in an “Orphan’s Thansgiving” again this year, so maybe I’ll use that as the occasion to finally bake my grandma’s cake and bring it instead of the pecan pie everybody is probably expecting ๐Ÿ™‚

Pecans in Texas: pecan tree in our backyard

Pecans in Texas: tree in our backyard

Pecans in Texas

Pecans in Texas

Pecans in Texas

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18 Comments

  • Oh thank you thank you for this post!!! I really missed pecans last year when it came time for pecan pie (growing up in Texas it’s a must have for the holidays!) but this year I’ll try it with Walnuts. Never thought to substitute the two. I remember as a child going into my grandparent’s back yard and eating the nuts while we played. Good times. But what I wouldn’t give to dig into your stash of shelled pecans right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sabrina says:

      Glad you liked it! And I really, really hope your walnut pie will work out! I’ve substituted pecans for walnuts in many recipes so far and all of them turned out well. I’ve never attempted a pecan pie, let alone a walnut pie, but since they taste so similar I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how it turned out, ok? I’m so curious! I’ll keep you posted about my experiment with using ground pecans instead of ground walnuts in my grandma’s walnut-cake instead ๐Ÿ™‚ I have similar memories about eating nuts straight off the ground as a kid – just that mine were walnuts and hazelnuts ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’s funny what kind of substitutions you have to come up with as an expat, isn’t it? I remember the first time I made cheesecake that called for “Quark” with sour cream instead… worked out well, but I was really nervous waiting in front of the oven for a while.

  • Andrew says:

    I HAVE seen Pecans in Germany. One of the bakeries in Freiburg makes a pecan strudle looking thing that has the same goo from pecan pies inside of it and pecan pieces on top. They are excellent and sweet and remind me of home especially at Thanksgiving time.

    I think walnuts have a bit more of a bitter taste than pecans. Maybe I am just a southern boy at heart, but I like pecans better.

    How do they say it in Texas? Pee-cans or pe-CAHNS?
    Andrew recently posted..Seattle Oddities

    • Sabrina says:

      Really? I never even knew they existed in Germany!! Hmm… and if you really think walnuts are that much more bitter, maybe they wouldn’t work as a substitute in pecan pie? Have you tried before? I’ve substituted pecans for walnut and didn’t find them that much different – I did find pecans in general a little more dry, but not too much. How do the Texans say it? Definitely pe-CAHNS! ๐Ÿ™‚

      @texasborncologne, are you reading this? Maybe you need to try a tiny, mini-pie with walnuts, so that if it doesn’t work, you didn’t waste too much time and effort? Or maybe Andrew wants to chime in here if he’s tried out the actual substitution in a pie before?

  • I think I’ve seen pecans here (and DEFINITELY pe-CAHNS, I agree!!!) but they were so expensive that I would spend a fortune if I tried to make a pie with them. But maybe I’ll try the mini pie and see…never a bad reason to make a pie, even if it’s just for a taste test.
    texasborncologne recently posted..Goals for Germany โ€“ A year later

    • Sabrina says:

      That’s why I switched to pecans – there are walnuts here, but prohibitively expensive. Let me know how the pie works out! If Andrew is right and walnuts are more bitter, maybe you just need a little more sugar? For me, most American desserts are too sweet, so’d be probably fine ๐Ÿ™‚

  • R. Sherman says:

    Up here, we’ve got walnuts all over the place. My parents’ backyard is filled with them, to the point where I grew really tired of them as a kid.

    Cheers.
    R. Sherman recently posted..Further To The Last Post . . .

  • Leigh says:

    Love pecans – and aren’t you lucky with a tree full of them. One of my favourite meals is pecan crusted chicken in a dijon mustard sauce.
    Leigh recently posted..A Visit to the Ahlambra Palace in Granada, Spain in Photos

  • Pit says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    Great story. So you have a lot of Pecan trees in your yard: wonderful. I like the pictures. Unfortunately, we don’t have any around our house – just Mesquite mostly. But I have been thinking – especially in this drought – that Pecan trees, as native Texas plants, should be well accustomed to the dry conditions here and that we might want to plant some. Maybe I should give that more thought.
    Best regards, just now from germany,
    Pit
    P.S.: I’m having my fill of “Teilchen”!!! YUMMYYYYYYY! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Pit recently posted..Reposted: โ€œCamaro Restorationโ€ [originally posted on November 2, 2011]

    • Sabrina says:

      Mesquite? Then you’ll like my next post about making the best ribs ever ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, plant soem pecans! They don’t need any water and we really don’t have to take care of them at all.

      Teilchen? Lecker! Iss eins fuer mich mit ๐Ÿ™‚ Und trink einen vorweihnachtlichen Gluehwein auf mich. Ich muss noch bis Mitte Dezember oder so damit warten ๐Ÿ™‚ Viel Spass in Deutschland!

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