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The Tantalizing History of the Chocolate Pecan Pie

Aug 19, 2008
While chocolate pecan pie is definitely delicious, you might be surprised to learn that the dessert's ingredients also have a unique and fascinating history. Knowing the secrets of the pie's past may not make it more delicious but it can be a great way to break the ice at a party or to strike up a conversation.

The History of the Chocolate in Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate, in particular, has an impressive history, especially in North America. The Aztecs had been drinking chocalatl, a warm chocolate liquid drink, since the late 15th century. The drink was a favorite of Emperor Montezuma who was said to have consumed more than 50 cups worth a day and even served it to the Spanish explorer Cortez in gold goblets.

The Spanish took it back to their country and decided the bitter drink would be even better with a bit of sweetness and a few spices so sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla were eventually added. The drink became a hit and the country's monks were charged with processing the beans. Eventually, the monks spread the news throughout the rest of Europe.

Not until the mid-19th century did eating chocolate come into vogue. Then les than three decades later, milk chocolate was devised in Switzerland and the rest of the story can be enjoyed as one of the luscious layers of a chocolate pecan pie.

The Pecans' Past & Role in Chocolate Pecan Pie

Like chocolate, the pecans in your tasty chocolate pecan pie have a long history in North America, too. In fact, the pecan tree is the only nut tree that grows on this continent naturally. The word "pecan" actually comes from a Native American word which referred to the need to use a stone to crack open these delectable treats.

Lone before colonists arrived on the continent, Native Americans were already big fans of pecans which were also a major food source in the fall. Some say the nuts were even used in an alcoholic drink known as Powcohicora, the origin of the word hickory.

Pecan trees were first deliberately grown by the Spanish in northern Mexico in the early 18th century but quickly spread throughout the colonies along the Atlantic Ocean. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were believed to grow pecan trees in their gardens.

Before Chocolate Pecan Pie

You can't have chocolate pecan pie without first knowing the history of pecan pie. Interestingly, it wasn't the Spanish who discovered this ingenious use of the nuts but the French who had settled in New Orleans. Native Americans in the area taught them about pecans, and it is believed they began experimenting with recipes. However, the oldest known pecan pie recipe dates back to about 1925.

Pecan pies themselves were popularized by the company who made corn syrup, the primary ingredient (besides the nuts, of course) in the pies.

The Modern Chocolate Pecan Pie

The good news is all of this delicious history has finally combined in one amazing treat: the chocolate pecan pie. Remember that the next time you are savoring a piece.
About the Author
Tanner's Pecan is owned and operated by Danny Fox and Michelle Parks and offers great chocolate pecan pies. Visit Tanner's Pecans today for the best selection of Chocolate Pecan Pie and Pecans.
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