The pecan is the only tree nut native to North America. The buttery nut’s name comes from the Algonquin word “pacane,” describing nuts that required a stone to crack. Pecans were cultivated by Native Americans for hundreds of years, but the first printed recipes calling for pecans appeared in Texas cookbooks in the late 19th century — and pecan pie is still the official state dessert of Texas. Pecan pie was elevated from a regional treat to a national delicacy with the integration and marketing of corn syrup, which popularized recipes calling for the sticky sweetener to accompany the sweet and crunchy topping.
Pecan pie is well-loved across the country, but one of my favorite things that makes American regions unique is how we pronounce this nut’s name: “Pa-kawn,” “PEE-can,” “puh-KAHN,” or…? Let us know!