The Pie Lie


Between the midst of Halloween and several December holidays, sits Thanksgiving, a time of giving thanks, family, and food! Thanksgiving serves several iconic dishes such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the infamous pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is one of the most popular holiday desserts for its sweet taste and that highly desired pumpkin spice flare that every fall product needs. Despite its popularity, pumpkin pie is not the best holiday pie. Hiding in the shadows is the less popular, yet far superior pecan pie. 

Image courtesy of Caden Semenza

To understand why pecan is objectively better than pumpkin, we must first understand how their flavors work. Pumpkin pie has somewhat of a cheesecake texture of creaminess with that iconic pumpkin sweet and tartness. Pecan pie has a sweeter and robust taste with butteryness and nuttiness, go figure. Pecan pie wins in this area because pumpkin simply cannot compete with its sweetness paired with its savoriness. Pumpkin pie attempts to compete in both these areas but ends up falling flat in both. Some may argue that this shortfall is a pro because it is more palatable and pecan is too sweet. While pecan pie may be too sweet for some, this can be counteracted with the pairing of coffee which adds a bitter element to wash it down with. Not only does this combo balance out the flavor, but also provides another cozy, warm flavor to this winter seasonal dessert. 

 Texture wise, pecan pie takes the cake once again. Pecan has much more complexity with its smooth and buttery components, along with its complementary crunch of the nuts which gives your mouth an amazing feeling to explore. Pumpkin pie on the other hand, has one texture in the filling, a slimy, pasty texture that feels like mud going down your throat! Not only does pecan pie’s filling fill mouths with joy, but pumpkin is also beat in the crust. Pumpkin pie is traditionally served with a graham cracker style crust. It is possible to make good ones, but most of the time this crust tastes like a sweetened sawdust merely there to hold the filling. Similar to sawdust, the crust crumbles and dries up your mouth. Pecan pie however, is commonly baked with a pastry style crust. Flakey, crusty, and delectable, pecan’s crust is far more delectable.

Another factor that plays into deciding the superior pie is the time of year. Both dishes are commonly served the same time of year: fall and winter. Pecan is simply better when it comes to how well it works with the time of year. Everyone will argue that you can not knock pumpkin food in the season of fall. That logic however, is just as flawed as it is legitimate. With fall’s flavor being pumpkin, we have pumpkin everything! Pie, rolls, bread, cookies, muffins, lattes, and so many others! Is pumpkin pie really that unique with all these other pumpkin foods to compete with? Pecan however, is a flavor that is not overly exaggerated and overused in everyone’s kitchens. Its flavor is also relevant for much longer. Once Thanksgiving is over and December rolls around, everyone is ready to throw out the pumpkin in exchange for the cinnamon and peppermint. Pecan pie’s warm flavor however, stays relevant for much longer. Its coziness is enjoyed all throughout the winter season as it hits the spot in cold weather, while pumpkin is left in the dust. 

Pecan beats pumpkin pie in flavor, texture, and time of year. With all of this, it should be reasonable that everyone should have a pecan pie on their Thanksgiving table this year.