Reporters' Cookbook

We invited Monitor writers, editors, and staff around the world to send in their favorite, it-wouldn't-be-a-holiday-without-it recipes. Give us the time-tested, family dishes to share with readers, we said--and say a little about what they mean to you. Here is a selection. A Holiday Recipe Dispatch

IN the 1930s, my wife's mother owned a fine eating establishment in Champaign, Ill. It was famous for its pecan pie - a rather new item in that area of the country then.Duncan Hines himself visited this restaurant and later gave it an excellent rating in one of the first editions of his "Adventures in Good Eating." On Christmas 1942 my bride made her first pecan pie for her new soldier husband, using pecans from a tree in our Mississippi backyard. Pecan pie became a favorite Christmas dessert over the years as we raised our family. It always brings back happy memories.

1/4 cup butter (not margarine) 1 cup light brown sugar 1 cup light Karo corn syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 large (not extra-large) eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup pecans, broken up (see note) 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

Cream butter. Add sugar and syrup, creaming constantly. Add salt to eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs to butter mixture, and stir. Add vanilla and broken pecans. Mix. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in pre-heated 350-degree F. oven for 50-60 minutes, until center is firm or knife inserts and slips out easily. Don't let pecans get too brown. Serve warm with real whipped cream. Note: Do not use pre-packaged, finely chopped pecans or a food processor or chopper. Break up pecan meats mostly by hand, with a little assist from a knife.

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