Image via Wikimedia Commons.
This week, Slate undertook the heretofore ignored, but very necessary task of designating the official desserts for all 50 states in The Union in what they call “The United Sweets of America.” Surprisingly, this is not a thing that each state has taken the time to do, which should be viewed as a profound failure on the part of state governments across the country, because, come on, desserts are delicious.
According to the article, only 8 states have made declaring an official state dessert a priority, while 15 states have designated sweets in a variety of what could be considered dessert sub-categories. Texas, it should be noted, has, not one, but two official state pastries: strudel, the flaky, German import; and sopaipilla, the airy, honey-drizzled fried dough. But Slate assigned neither sweet to the Lone Star State.
So what did the site crown as the official state dessert of Texas? Pecan pie. That makes sense. After all, it’s hard to think of an after-dinner treat that is more quintessentially Texas than the southern Thanksgiving staple. Pecans do have an elevated place in the pantheon of official state things here in Texas. The pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis) is the official state tree, and the pecan is the official state nut. Designating pecan pie as the official state dessert seems like a natural extension. It’s hard to argue that pecan pie shouldn’t be the official state dessert, should the Texas legislature decide to get off their asses and make that happen. There is just one problem.
Pecan pie is fucking disgusting.
It’s a nut pie. Say it out loud: “Nut pie.” One more time: “NUT PIE.”
Does that sound appetizing at all? Pecan pie simply isn’t a very attractive pie. Pecans look like miniature, calcified brains, and the pie itself looks like a congealed, nutty goo that looks like it was regurgitated by a sickly bird into a crust that should have been reserved for a more superior filling like apple or blackberry or really anything else. And it feels unholy in the mouth, a shockingly sweet slime that melts on the tongue, yet has a characteristic crunch that feels out of place amidst all the squishiness. In fact, the very idea of pecan pie is all sorts of wrong. Sugar and its maligned cousin corn syrup join forces to overpower what is already a flavorful nut until it is unrecognizable to the taste buds.
Yet, despite the fact the pecan pie is a dessert that should be stricken from our culinary consciousness, people really, really love pecan pie, especially here in Texas. So should Slate’s designation put you in the mood for a slice of the sugary and nutty pastry, there options outside of H-E-B and Bill Miller’s for those who want a satiate a craving.
Bird Bakery in Alamo Heights, which is co-owned by The Lone Ranger actor Armie Hammer and his wife Elizabeth Chambers, offers two versions, classic southern pecan and a delectable chocolate pecan. 5912 Broadway, (210) 804-2473, birdbakery.com. Tootie Pie Co. Gourmet Cafe is another place to savor the Texas staple. 16615 Huebner, (210) 479-7608, tootiepieco.com. Frio Farm, which is based out of Concan, Texas, has a handcrafted southern bourbon pecan pie that they sell at the Quarry Farmers Market. (830) 965-7646, friofarm.com.
So there you have it. For those who consider pecan pie is not only edible, but delicious, there are three options to celebrate its designation as the offical Texas treat.