It’s Christmas Eve and we are at home, family all here. With all the wonderful snowy (and treacherous for travelling) weather over the past few days, I just feel grateful that we are all together, safe and happy with a lovely Christmas at home to look forward to. This evening we will go to the carol service in the village church. It is so beautiful and joyful, all by candlelight. And it’s a time to think about friends and family who are not close by. The recipe and story that follows is about one such dear and distant friend.
Wishing you all a blessed and happy Christmas!
Growing up, my family travelled and lived around the world because of my dad’s diplomatic career. In my early teens, we moved to Dallas, Texas and spent the next few fun, fabulous years there. I loved Texas – the generous and extravagant spirit, the old fashioned manners (some of my school friends called their parents Ma’am and Sir – and not even ironically!) and a great sense of occasion. Texans really know how to party! They also know how to put on a really festive Christmas, with decorations and groaning tables of delicious treats.
I have a lot of wonderful memories from those days and this, one of my best and most profound Christmas memories, is among them. Every year, the mother of my dear friend would carefully roast huge batches of glorious Texas pecan nuts with butter and salt, and pack them into gift jars to share with family and friends over the holiday season. These pecans were the most delicious present, rich and aromatic, and utterly addictive.
This year, my friend became a mother herself, giving birth to her beautiful baby daughter. And now, she prepares the pecans as gifts to share at Christmas.
I love to make them too, and doing so always takes me back to Texas for a moment.
For those pecans roast them on 140 degrees centigrade in the oven until they start to brown and go aromatic 45-60 minutes. Pull them out and toss with unsalted butter to coat and put back in the oven for 10 minutes or so. Pull out, toss with salt to taste and you’re ready to go!