Let's Eat

Even if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving you'll go nuts for these pecan recipes

There's more to the very US nut than pie


There are some who celebrate the US traditional feast, but I'm not sure many of us are in the mood for giving thanks at the moment.

Whichever camp you're in, you might fancy cooking with a few seasonal, Thanksgiving ingredients of which the pecan nut is stop of my list.

Pecans are very much associated with North America — being native to many of the southern states. It is, apparently, the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Texas and Louisiana, and also the state tree of Texas. Why would any state need a specified nut?

For me, the crunchy treats will always remind me of Israel. So many of my relatives have pecan trees in their gardens. On our most recent visit — over Pesach — my cousins had pots and pots of toasted, salted, half shelled nuts for snacking. Their bountiful annual harvest means they struggle to get through them. We did our best.

A fellow food writer recently told me that when her mother was searching for pecans in a North-West London mini-supermarket, the shop owner referred to them as Jewish nuts. She was as mystified by that as I am.

A short bit of research failed to uncover any particular association. Almonds would make more sense — for hundreds of years we’ve ground them for cakes and biscuits — especially around Pesach.

Or even pistachios — used widely in the Middle East, their gorgeous green interiors make salads and cakes pop perfectly. Especially when paired with pretty pink pomegranate arils.

Jewish or not, the JC has a wealth of pecan-related recipes that would be perfect for anyone cooking for Thanksgiving — most prominently Shiri Kraus’s indulgent and warmly spiced pecan pie.

If you do buy for the pie, you may well have a surplus. And even if you don’t, it’s worth buying extra just to make these equally gorgeous pecan-packed dishes:

Sarah Mann-Yeager’s cinnamon streusel-topped muffins are packed with pecans and raisins and perfect for breakfast, break or teatime treats.

The dark brown nuts make a gorgeously crunchy crust for Sally-Ann Thwaites’ baked salmon. A fast and simple supper that’s smart enough for Shabbat.

For a more indulgent chocolatey treat that might also make nice Chanukah host gifts, try Denise Phillips’s salted caramel pretzel bars

And for a snack heathy enough to justify eating it for breakfast, this pecan nut butter and apple toast from Pip and Nut will have you at hello. It’s fast simple and will make light work of any leftover nuts.

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