Deer Dad: Let’s Eat Some Pecan Pie.

Aunt Hannah's Pecan Pie

Once upon a time there was an innocent teenage girl who wanted to retrieve some vanilla ice cream to put on top of the pecan pie she just baked.  So the girl opened the back door and walked out to the garage to check the deep freezer for a carton of vanilla ice cream.  She tiptoed on the stone pathway between the back door and the garage so that her feet would not get wet from the day’s rainfall.   She innocently reached her destination, opened the lid, and immediately shut it as soon as she saw the horrors residing within the freezer.  Looking back up at her was a deer head complete with a set of antlers.  After taking a moment to rid herself of the heebie-jeebies, she cautiously re-opened the freezer because it was very plausible that something may jump out at her.  Ahhh there it was.  Conveniently nestled between the deer head and the carcass of a copperhead snake, and to the right of some dead birds, was that desired carton of vanilla ice cream.

Yes, that girl is me.

The location of our freezer. The contents fit the environment.

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Some people classify my dad as a redneck, but personally I like to consider him an “intelligent redneck.”  He did, in fact, graduate from Davidson College and wrote his senior thesis on the differences in boys and girls bathroom graffiti.  To give him credit, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and he makes a mean venison burger.  And if I ever end up in the Cash Cab in New York, I sure as heck hope he’s with me.

Yea that's a deer head. Right over there by the ice cream sandwiches.

Though, I must admit, he may give off a little redneck-vibe if you see him walking through Davidson in his Ducks Unlimited Hat, a camouflaged jacket (actually you might not see him…), and his beloved clown socks and sandals.  My dad is a fantastic hunter, a successful scavenger, and a creative cook, so I really should not have been surprised when I saw that deer head and snake in the freezer.  Upon inquiring about the contents of our freezer, he asked me to correctly identify this deer head as a “small four-point caped buck” (I hope I got that right).  After a little scavenging around in the freezer, I noticed the contents of our freezer to include (but are certainly not limited to): ducks, catfish, crappie, trout, bass, chorizo, parts of five different deer, pigeons, and a copperhead snake.  I would like to see anyone top that incredible list of “I-used-to-breathe-now-live-in-a-freezer” things.

The happy hunter claims that the fish are for eating, the deer are for burgers and venison jerky (yum—get in my belly), the pigeons are for training hunting dogs, the snake is for skinning, and the ducks are for his experimentation with the art of taxidermy (and then for eating).   Part of me is dying to take a piece of his future taxidermy to my dorm room next year, while the other part of me fears the reaction of my future roommate upon seeing a stuffed duck on my desk…

Mmm homemade crust

I guess the point of this story is that I retrieved the vanilla ice cream from the freezer/cold animal storage space after finagling it out from its position in between the antlers of the deer.  It was a heavenly addition to the pecan pie.  You can’t eat pecan pie without a scoop of vanilla.  You just can’t.   So here’s the recipe for my Aunt Hannah’s pecan pie.  And if you add a scoop of vanilla, you just might think this sliver of pie topped with ice cream fell straight from heaven.

Pre-oven pie

Source: Hannah Owen, the recipe resides in Amy Weir’s ragged, tattered, ripped, and loved cookbook.

Ingredients for Filling: ¼ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tbl flour, 1 ½ tsp vanilla, ½ tsp salt, 3 beaten eggs, 1 cup dark Karo Syrup, 1 ½+ cups pecans (chopped or whole)

Directions: Melt the butter in a saucepan and then remove it from the heat.  Then add the rest of the ingredients to the saucepan.  Pour into 9 inch pie shell (deep dish). Bake 45 minutes at 350º.  If using a 10 inch shell, use 4 eggs and a bit more flour.

Want to make your own crust? You totally should.  Here’s what to do:

(Source: Willow Bird Baking): Pulse 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt together to combine. Add cubes of ¼ cup shortening and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in ½ cup of butter cubed and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add 4 tablespoons water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (if you’re in a hurry, chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes).  Roll disk of dough out to around ¼ inch thick.

So here’s to pigging out on pecan pie (don’t forget the vanilla ice cream) and loving all y’all intelligent rednecks.  Bon appétit.

In the process of being devoured.


About sayre1311

I'm a simple southern girl. Thanks to my culinarily-talented family, I've nurtured an addiction to cheese grits and biscuits, and I know that butter is the key to heaven on earth (or at least in the kitchen). I'm a loud and proud Girl Raised In The South headed to college in the Green Mountain State in the fall, and this blog is dedicated to chronicling my culinary journey and capturing the endless adventures that are sure to accompany it.
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12 Responses to Deer Dad: Let’s Eat Some Pecan Pie.

  1. Sophia Spach says:

    Great post…I would probably be a little freaked too out if I saw a deer head in my freezer, haha. But I guess it is worth it if there is Vanilla ice cream to be retrieved. Pecan pie topped with vanilla ice cream is one of my favorite desserts. Yum!

  2. I think I would revisit my love of ice cream sandwiches . . .

    Anyhow, fantastic post 🙂 Your pie prowess is showing!

  3. Erin says:

    Once again, Beautiful post! I love the angles and pictures you take!! You put a lot of thought into your post as well! I LOVE reading a blog that has FOOD and a good story! I remember that SAME thing happening when I was first dating my husband. He had gotten his first deer and I was visiting his house and I went to the freezer and there was the HEAD and HIDE… ugh… MEN! 😉

    • sayre1311 says:

      Thank you so much, Erin! I love your comments. And that’s so funny that your husband had a head and hide in his freezer. I would have been freaked out! But it sounds like it wasn’t a deal-breaker 🙂

  4. mark says:

    Sayre, your writing style and pastry skills are, shall we say, dead on! If I make fried deer heart for you will you write about it?


  5. phillips bragg says:

    Loved your post! You are a gifted writer and blessed with plenty of raw materials – for cooking and story telling. Keep it up!

  6. Rosie says:

    Sayre, I did indeed love it, and I am so glad you told us what the snake was for– I was scared it might end up in a meal sometime. There are many recipes I am going to try from here– starting with that lemon blueberry cake. Yum!

    Happy graduation!

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