2/3 cup pecans, chopped small
20 buttery crackers, crushed, about a cup (I use Ritz crackers)
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (the lagniappe)
1 1/2 cups cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, chopped roughly
Place pecans and cracker crumbs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in oven for 10 minutes. Carefully take the parchment with nuts and crackers off of the hot pan and onto your counter to allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pie plate well.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, then slowly mix in 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until well incorporated. Fold in 2/3 cup pecans and cracker crumbs into meringue carefully not to deflate the egg whites. Pour mixture into greased pie plate spreading batter up the sides of the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
Take chocolate chips and place in a small plastic freezer bag. Microwave for 15 seconds at a time or until chips are melted. With scissors cut the bottom corner of the bag and dispense chocolate on top of the baked pie shell. Spread chocolate evenly on the shell with a knife or small spatula. Place in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.
Pour cream into a cold bowl, add 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla and whip until medium peaks form. Don’t overbeat. Pour cream over chilled pie and top with remaining 1/3 cup of pecans. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve and enjoy!
Following the steps correctly ensures a better meringue for the crust, especially if the egg whites are at room temperature.
Now, most of the Pecan Delight recipes called for whipped topping, but I prefer the real stuff, always!