The pecan is the nut of a large hickory tree, grown in Mexico and the southerly part of the USA. The nut itself resembles an elongated walnut, both in its brainlike convolutions and in its taste, but its thin shell is smooth and shiny and of a rosy brown colour. Its name originated among the Algonquian languages of the native Americans: Ojibwa has pagân, for instance, Abnaki pagaan, and Cree pakan. These words seem originally to have been used for any hard-shelled nut, and only gradually became specific to the pecan.
The apotheosis of the pecan is the pecan pie, a speciality of the southern states of the USA consisting of a flan containing pecans in a rich mixture of eggs and molasses, syrup, or sugar. It is first mentioned in Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking-school Cook Book (1935).
Subjects: Medicine and Health — Cookery, Food, and Drink.