Muddy’s Blog

the legend of shady wake

Southern pecan pie... a CLASSIC Thanksgiving choice. I am totally bragging here, but ours is the very best ever. I am especially proud of this pie and if you'd care to know why, here is the tale...

My dad, Wake, LOVES a good pecan pie. However, he also has very high standards for it.

Dad's Rules for an Excellent Pecan Pie:

-Filling must be sweet and a little gooey, but not overwhelmingly so.

-Crust must be buttery, yet flaky, thick enough to support the filling and a pleasing taste contrast, but not so thick that it is at all doughy

-Pecans must be ample but the pie must also slice easily (a difficult task with all those nuts!)

About 5 years ago we were all discussing who was to bring which dishes for Gordon Thanksgiving and I got dessert. I was looking forward to perusing cookbooks and choosing what to make when my dad did the unthinkable... he specified WHAT KIND of dessert he wanted me to bring. What??? I'm not a store where you walk up and order! (or I wasn't, at the time)? Also, I'd never made pecan pie. I was a bit nervous about being required to show up with this fearsome dessert (see Dad's Rules for an Excellent Pecan Pie above). What to do?

It turns out, Thomas's mom also had to make a pecan pie, so Thomas, Nan, and I carved out an afternoon for experimentation. Nan's kitchen became our laboratory. We rolled pie dough and tried multiple recipes for filling. We baked, cooled, then tasted the pies. We took detailed notes... "A has a good consistency, but flavor is a little lacking", "B tastes great, but oozes everywhere", etc.

Armed with my notes, I studied the recipes' methods, ingredients, etc. and formed my hypotheses for round two and then did it all again, using recipes I'd constructed, much like Dr. Frankenstein, from bits and pieces of the first set. A third round of baking (and many pies later) I had developed a real winner. This pie was PERFECT! The crust was buttery, delicious, and flaky. The filling held its shape without sacrificing flavor. I'd discovered that breaking the pecans into smaller pieces made it possible to use lots of nuts AND slice it easily!

I proudly used my recipe to make the Thanksgiving pies and everyone loved them. More importantly (to me) Dad said it was the BEST pecan pie he had ever eaten in his whole life, including his own recipe. It's still one of his favorite items at Muddy's and every single time I make or eat a Shady Wake pie, I think of him.

If you'd like to order some Shady Wake pecan pie for YOUR Thanksgiving celebration, just give us a call during business hours* or shoot us an email at