A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Wilted Kale Salad with Apples & Pecans Maple-Pecan Coffee Cake Sausage, Sweet Potato, & Pecan Dressing Pecan Bourbon Pie Pecan Tarts Pecan Party Mix Pecan Crunch Coffee Cake Pecan-Crusted Flounder

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Wilted Kale Salad with Apples & Pecans Maple-Pecan Coffee Cake Sausage, Sweet Potato, & Pecan Dressing Pecan Bourbon Pie Pecan Tarts Pecan Party Mix Pecan Crunch Coffee Cake Pecan-Crusted Flounder

10 Pecan Recipes Perfect for Fall


Wilted Kale Salad with Apples & Pecans

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large apples, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup pecan halves
1 pound kale, de-stemmed and chopped
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add olive oil and sauté apples for 4 minutes. Add pecans to pan and cook for 1 additional minute. Add kale and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until kale wilts. Season with salt and red pepper. May be served hot or cold.



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Maple-Pecan Coffee Cake

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup pecans, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup whole milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon maple extract (can be found at specialty kitchen stores)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces sour cream, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the crumble: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well using a fork. Use fork to stir while you pour in melted butter until a crumb-like texture forms. Break up any large crumbs with fork.

For the coffee cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and pecans. In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and extracts. Stir the sour cream into the wet ingredients until combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the crumble. Spread the remaining batter over the crumble. Sprinkle with the remaining crumble.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

For the icing: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and maple syrup until a thick, pourable icing forms. Drizzle icing over warm cake. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days.


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Sausage, Sweet Potato, & Pecan Dressing

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

Butter for the dish
4 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread, day-old and slightly stale
4 cups cubed country-style white bread, day-old and slightly stale
1½ pounds hot pork breakfast sausage
1½ pounds small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾-inch pieces
2 medium onions, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
(about 2 lightly packed tablespoons)
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pecan pieces
1½ to 2 cups richly flavored turkey or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or mist it with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix cornbread and bread.

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 8 minutes, crumbling the meat with a spoon. Transfer with a slotted spoon into the bowl with the bread and toss, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Stir sweet potatoes into the drippings and cook until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in onions, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from the heat and stir in parsley, sage, and thyme. Stir into cornbread mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together theeggs, orange zest, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir into cornbread mixture.

Stir in pecans.

Stir in enough broth to make the dressing very moist, but not so much that there is standing liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake until set and lightly browned on top, about 45 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving warm.


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Pecan Bourbon Pie

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 servings.

1 unbaked refrigerated pie crust
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375°. Place pie crust in pie pan and crimp the edges to form a decorative edge. Mix together eggs, sugar, corn syrups, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt until well blended.

Prick the sides and bottom of the pie shell with a fork. Spread the chopped pecans on the bottom and pour the egg mixture over them. Place pecan halves on top of egg mixture, forming a circle inside the edge of the pie crust.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until just set around the edges but still slightly loose in the center. Place on a rack to cool slightly.


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Pecan Tarts Recipe


Pecan Tarts

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 dozen.

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese, ½ cup butter, and flour in mixing bowl; mix well. Cover dough and chill 1 hour. Roll dough onto floured surface. Cut into 3-inch rounds and place in small muffin tins, pressing dough about ½ way up the sides.

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Spoon sugar mixture into each muffin cup and sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 325° for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.


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Pecan Party Mix Recipe


Pecan Party Mix

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 12 cups.

3 cups Crispix cereal
2 cups Cheerios cereal
3 cups Cheez-It crackers
2 cups pecan halves
2 cups mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
8 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dill

Preheat oven to 300°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place cereal, crackers, pecans, and pretzels in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add butter, Worcestershire, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Pour seasoned butter over dry mix, and toss until all dry ingredients are coated.

Pour party mix onto baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to reach room temperature. Place in airtight container.


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Pecan Crunch Coffee Cake

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 10-12 servings.

½ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pint heavy cream

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Tap pans to remove excess flour.

Topping: Mix together chopped pecans, cinnamon and ½ cup sugar. Set aside.

Combine butter and ½ cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding dry ingredients and cream to batter, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Combine ingredients for filling in separate bowl.

Sprinkle ½ of the filling on bottom and sides of pans. Pour ½ the batter over filling. Sprinkle remaining filling over batter. Pour in remaining batter. Top each pan with topping mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes before removing from pans, then place loaves on rack to cool.


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pecan crusted flounder


Pecan-Crusted Flounder

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 fillets.

1 cup finely chopped pecans (not ground)
¼ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 3 lemons’ worth)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 (6-ounce) fresh flounder fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges

In a shallow bowl, mix pecans, bread crumbs, and lemon zest. In a separate shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk with a whisk or fork.

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Coat fish with egg mixture, then coat well with pecan mixture, pressing slightly into fish.

Heat oil and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once carefully. Pour remaining butter over fish before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.


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Pecan Pie

Recipe by Elena Brendt Rosemond-Hoeer

Yield: 6 servings.

For the crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup very cold water

For the filling:
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup corn syrup (feel free to substitute sorghum, maple syrup, or sugar cane syrup)
3 eggs
2 cups chopped pecans

For the crust: In a food processor combine flour, salt, sugar, and cubed butter. Pulse until texture resembles cornmeal. Add water, a little at a time, pulsing until a ball of dough forms. Place food processor bowl in the fridge for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350º.

For the filling: Melt butter. Add sugar, syrup, and salt and stir. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add pecans and mix well.

On a floured surface, roll out your pie dough and transfer it to your pie dish. (I like to roll the dough onto my rolling pin and then lift it, sliding the pie dish underneath and setting the dough down into it.) Push it into your dish and pinch off any extra dough. Pour filling into the dish, spreading it out with the back of your spoon to make sure that the pecans are evenly distributed.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the center is firm but not necessarily hard. (A little jiggle is good, but it shouldn’t be sloshing around in there.)

Let cool to room temperature before serving.


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Pecan Puffs

Recipe by Anna Grace Thrailkill

2 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
6 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar (don’t skimp!)
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 additional cups powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter, then mix in powdered sugar and vanilla until fully combined. Add all other ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t overwork the dough!).

Roll dough into small balls and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cookies sit on baking sheet for ten minutes, then roll in powdered sugar. Roll cookies in powdered sugar once more after they’re completely cool. Enjoy!


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This story was published on Oct 11, 2022

Our State Staff

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