Easy As Pie

Fresh out of the oven, one Chocolate Pecan Rum Pie and one Chocolate Pecan No-rum Pie, both gluten-free. EVERYONE GETS PIE.

Pecan Pie is a wonderful thing. You mix up a bunch of stuff—in one bowl—pour it into a crust, bake, and people are impressed. Pretend you worked hard. Don’t tell them how easy it was.

The hardest part is the crust, and you have options. If gluten isn’t a problem, and you enjoy making traditional crusts, knock yourself out. If gluten isn’t a problem, and you don’t enjoy (or fear) making piecrust, use a Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pie Crust or something similar. They’re not bad. I put them past my grandmother—the woman who taught me to make piecrust—for years before she found out, and she only found out because I confessed. Near the end of her baking years, she used them herself.

If gluten is an issue, you’ll need to do a little more work but not much. I highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix. It’s easily available in most grocery stores, not hard to make, and it’s delicious.

The gluten-free version did not suck. EVERYONE HAD PIE.

I made the two pies pictured in honor of a visiting cousin. She has Celiac Disease and loves pie (because who doesn’t love pie?). You know That Person at family gatherings? The one who as soon as they hear gluten-free lifts their eyebrows and acts skeptical, sure they’re missing out on something even though they went decades before they ever heard of gluten? That Person went back for seconds. Maybe thirds.

Traditional Pecan Pie, which usually contains both some sort of syrup and sugar is really sweet. Some say too sweet. My grandmother came up with the following recipe for Not-So-Sweet Pecan pie. When I take it places, people rave. They go back for seconds, often saying, “I usually can’t eat two pieces of Pecan Pie. I WANT THREE.” Less sweet also makes it perfect for adding chocolate. Or booze. Or BOTH.

In honor of the new year, I give you my grandmother’s Pecan Pie recipe, with my variations.

Happy New Year. May it be filled with pie.

Grandma Fischer's Pecan Pie


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1½ cups dark corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ cups pecans
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust, traditional or gluten-free


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Beat eggs.
  3. Fold in other ingredients, adding pecans last.
  4. Pour into unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
  5. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn oven to 350° and bake for 40 minutes or until done.


  • Chocolate Pecan Pie: Prepare through step three. Before pouring filling into shell, cover the bottom of the pie shell with 1 to 2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks. Continue as directed.
  • Tipsy Pecan Pie: Add 3 tablespoons to ¼ cup of bourbon or dark rum to filling, in step 3. (Rum is the safer gluten-free option as some bourbon may contain traces of gluten.)
  • Better Yet: Add both the chocolate and the bourbon or rum!


  • Pecan halves make for a pretty but hard to slice pie. I either use half pecan bits and pieces and half pecan halves or break up about half of the pecan halves. Pretty pecan halves float to the top, and the pie is easier to slice.
  • For gluten-free, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix. The texture is more like a cookie-crust than a traditional crust, but it is delicious.

Recipe by Patricia Lillie: https://patricialillie.com/2015/01/01/easy-as-pie/

Speaking of Little Bitty Bad Things…

Black Widow and Super Dragon Ninja Warrior. Do not mess with them.
Black Widow and Super Dragon Ninja Warrior. Do not mess with them.

Despite the number of ninjas roaming the streets on October 31st, I was incredibly pleased when Thing One and Thing Two, aka the grand-nieces, decided to go with Black Widow and Super-Dragon-Ninja-Warrior rather than Elsa and/or Anna. (And not just because I blame the arctic Halloween weather on the number of Frozen Princesses.)

Thing One and Thing Two are sisters, but they are very different people. Thing One wants to be a princess, but not because she needs rescuing or craves pampering. Okay, maybe a little bit on the pampering. She wants to be in charge. She wants minions. Princess is her first step in ruling the world, and I suspect, on her journey to Empress of the Universe. As a bonus, when you’re a princess, you get to wear pretty dresses AND be in charge.

Thing Two, on the other hand, wants to grow up to be an Avenger. At two-years old, she announced that Astro-Boy was her boyfriend, and they would marry as soon as they were old enough. She’s fickle and soon moved on to her beloved Hulky. I’m not sure who her current Super-Crush is, but she plans on more than marrying her hero. Those Wife in Training t-shirts? She scoffs. No basking in reflected glory for this one. She plans on kicking butt along side her Super Significant Other, and if SSO needs rescuing? She’s just the one to do it.

I often marvel at the technology these two take for granted. Video calls are not the things of the future, but an everyday part of their lives. They score a goal in soccer, get on FaceTime, and not only tell the extended family about it but demonstrate exactly how they did it. Happiness ensues on both sides of the connection. But, as much as I love techie tools and toys, there is something even better for me to marvel at and them to take for granted.

Notice Thing Two’s pink? She is not a girl pretending to be a boy warrior. She is a girl-ninja, and if you need taking down (or out), she’s ready. Black Widow not only has better skills than Liam Neeson, Thing One got to dye her hair for the very first time. Although they may someday decide to choose between sparkly nail polish and their badass selves, they don’t have to make that choice if they don’t want to. If they want both, they’ve got it.

And next Halloween, who knows—they may choose to go the princess route. (Last year, they were Merida and Cowgirl Jessie.)

So, HOORAY for kick-ass little girls. May you live long and prosper.

You’ll one day save the world. Or rule it.

Or both.

And, you get to be just as girly—or not—as you want while doing it.