My family has a tradition of opening up one gift on Christmas Eve. It used to be a way of putting me, the youngest, at bay and give me patience until the next morning where I would anxiously await everyone to get up so we could open the rest. Our tradition evolved over time to now just be a nice way of welcoming in the holiday. After a big dinner, where we’d be warm with laughter, remarkable food, and fuzzy socks to combat the bitter cold outside, the family would gather in the living room to exchange one present. Sometimes it was a toothbrush, and sometimes it was a gift card, but no matter, it was something special. It meant that the next morning wouldn’t be a regular morning; it would be Christmas morning.
In that tradition, I’ll unwrap one of my presents for Christmas. Except, this isn’t a present to me, but from me. See, at work we are all gathering together for a Christmas lunch on Christmas Eve Day and having a white elephant gift exchange. I ran through a couple ideas of what I could give someone in the office (see: scarf, blanket, socks, soap, lotion, some gag gift…) but nothing really felt like it was good enough. So what did I do? I remembered that usually my best gifts are hand made. And since I’m not all that crafty with a pencil or paint brush, I made my way into the kitchen and came up with the perfect idea: Pecan Pie.
Where’d this idea come from? No idea. But I think it fits perfectly: hearty southern dessert to get us through some whipping winds and negative temperatures!
One problem: Korea doesn’t have pecans. It has walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios and some other nut that’s generally covered with sugar and served at bars, but no pecans.
Home to the rescue. About four days ago, I received a package full of – you guess it – love. That’s right folks, it’s the holidays so I can be corny every now and then. But this love was comprised of a couple of wrapped packages from my family, dried mangos, chocolate covered espresso beans, and – wait wait, don’t tell me – pecans.
So equipped with my chocolate digestive crust, some corn syrup, sugar, salt, eggs, oranges, and pecans, I set off to see if I could make pecan pie, in Korea, in a toaster oven, for a Christmas gift.
Deck the halls, it was a success. Firm, chocolatey crust set up a good foundation for the creamy-sweet filling and the decorative and equally essential top: arranged pecans.
And there, fine readers, is my Christmas Eve present to you. Don’t worry, there will be more gastronomic gifts to come over the next couple of days. Happy holidays, and stay warm.