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Winner of the Cutthroat Tunno Pumpkin Pie Contest and a Killer Pecan Pie Recipe!

December 2, 2016

Yesterday was my sister-in-law Patty’s birthday. She is one of the nicest humans on the face of the earth and watching her raise her kids showed me the investment of time and love that goes into raising children.  Why do you think I put it off for so long?

I mention her because after many years of either not placing or not baking, she is finally the winner of the CTPPC, and it’s about damned time!

Patty on Roberto Clemente Bridge.JPG

When not baking, Patty is a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball lover- here she is on the Roberto Clemente bridge looking fab.

My nephew Chris did not enter a pie this year, but he has taken the trophy so many times, the glow of victory  can’t possibly burn as bright for him, so it was good that he gave others a chance.  You go Chris! I look forward to going to Patty’s house and just touching the trophy, so I can bask in the afterglow of her victory since I’ve never won it.   Congratulations Patty, you deserved it!


My Thanksgiving was awesome. I got to spend the day with my kids and their friends, cooking and fussing over pumpkins and table settings, which I love doing.  The next day my sweet Brandon came to visit with his wife and little girl and I was in heaven.  We all stood in the kitchen and grazed on leftover turkey with all the trimmings. That’s one of my favorite things to do with family membersIMG_6641.JPG

We went to the playground, played, talked, then ate a big pasta meal.The next day just whizzed by and as always, it feels like there’s never enough time when we visit. Having them here just made me want to see them more, so I think I’m going to have to do some traveling in the coming year!

I laid on the couch after they left around 6 or 7 and woke up at about 2 am. Then I fell asleep again in what appears to be a Thanksgiving coma, and I’m not sure I’m actually out of it yet. But I’m hoping that maybe by tomorrow I’ll be coherent, and getting over a nasty head cold.  But I can’t rest until I tell you about the pecan pie I made. (Please pardon my poor photo placement, but I had to post these because I’m a proud Franma.)

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Esther and Brandon coming down the slide.



Esther drinking out of one of my mom’s espresso cups with her mom, Ingrid watching.

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Esther and Milena looking at Koi in a pond.

I’d love to take credit for the recipe myself, but it’s my friend Kimberly’s. She’s an amazing cook. She baked a pecan pie back in 2010, which she brought to my house for Thanksgiving and it was the best I’d ever had. (I never forget good food!)  The flavor was wonderful and it had just enough salt to make it amazing. So, I begged her for the recipe. Then I scribbled it down on a piece of paper and lost it for a few years in a massive pile of recipes. (Thank God I write this blog or I’d never know where my recipes were.)

I found it just in time for Thanksgiving and my daughter loved it!  I actually added twice the amount of pecans it called for by mistake, but it was so good, I recommend doing that.  This recipe says it will make two pies, but when I cut it in half, the filling was just barely enough for a regular pie shell.

Some people put chocolate chips or chocolate ganache in the bottom of the crust then pour the filling in over that.  You could do that, but honestly, this pecan pie was really great just plain with a little homemade whipped cream on top!


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My pie with Kimberly’s scribbled, stained  recipe beside it.  


Kimberly Swan’s Amazing Pecan Pie (this makes two pies)


7 eggs

1 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 1/2 cup corn syrup (Karo)

1/2 cup molasses

2 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. salt (plus a pinch more)

6 Tbsp. melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

6 cups pecans (4 cups chopped 2 cups whole for top) The original recipe only called for half this many, but I think it’s better with more!

Mary Tunno’s Pie Crust (Makes enough for 2 double crust pies or four single crust)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup butter or Butter Flavor Crisco (Mom used Crisco, I like butter)

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. sugar

1/2 to 1 cup whole milk

Mix flour, salt and sugar together then cut in butter or Crisco.  Mix well, it forms small crumbs.  Add enough milk so that dough can be molded into soft balls.  Better that the dough is too soft and sticky than too hard. Once you add the milk and have made about four or five balls, sprinkle each one with flour and  wrap it in plastic wrap.  Flatten out the dough and place in the refrigerator or freezer to cool. After the pie is made and ready to put in the oven, you can gently brush the crust with the white of an egg or some cream to give it a nice finish.

Take one of the crusts, roll it out, place it in a pie pan and crimp the edges. Then set it aside in the refrigerator until the pecan filling is ready to pour in.

Combine the eggs, brown sugar, Karo syrup, molasses, flour, salt, butter and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.  Chop the four cups of pecans. Set aside the two cups of whole pecans in a cup. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the liquid brown sugar mixture over the whole pecans and stir them to coat them. Set them aside. Then pour the chopped pecans into the liquid mixture and divide that between the two pie pans. Take the whole pecans and arrange them in circles on the top of the pies.  Pour any additional liquid filling into pie. (Doh, first time I published this, I forgot the temp and baking time.) Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

If you make this, please write and tell me what you thought. when I tasted it, I thought it was one of the best pecan pies I’ve ever had because it wasn’t just sweet, it was salty too and that made it delicious!

By the way, I think they’re having a cyber sale at Gettasommadis, my online store, so go check it out. There might be something in there for the Italian in your life.

Now on to Christmas. I think this year, I’ll post some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes!






  • Reply
    December 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    “Franma!” I love it! So glad you had a wonderful time and added too many pecans to your pie. Sounds like the best day ever! xo

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      NIcol, if you ever make this pie, do the same, it’s really good with lots of nuts! Love you!

  • Reply
    Petrea Burchard
    December 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    You really shouldn’t share recipes like this, you should force us to beg you.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      You’re right, I should, but I would feel too much guilt and that would never do. Just enjoy the recipes! One of these days I’ll take the time to organize them correctly like I promised I’d do six months ago! Then it will be easy to find them!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I LOVE a girl(s) who serves pecan pie for Thanksgiving, since I am NOT a pumpkin pie fan. This looks SO good–too bad I’ve gone Keto for a while. Sigh.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Oh Dear God LInda, I don’t know what Keto is, but it sounds like something that could slowly drive you insane. Good luck with that. I will call soon. My phone charger is lost, or I would have called you tonight! Thanks for always reading!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    OK Fran, I always love your blog and recipes but I’m not seeing an oven temp or time to bake in the recipe. Please don’t tell me I’m blind, it wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      I had secretly hoped you were a little blind, but no, it was me, as usual. I totally forgot the temp because the paper I had scrawled the recipe on was so faded, I hardly noticed it. But thanks to you, I added it. It’s good to have proofreaders! Thank you. I hope you try the pie, it’s wonderful!

      • daedae51
        December 7, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        Thanks Fran, I will let you know.

  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Hej Fran, I always enjoy reading your blog and I miss you. I’m delighted that I share the same name with your so so very cute grand-daughter!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Esther! I can’t wait to see you and discuss our lack of swimming practice. Thanks for reading! See you soon!

  • Reply
    JoAnn Jones
    December 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Hi Frannie ! You have a darling granddaughter, it is wonderful to be with family just hanging out for sure. Congrats to Patty on the pumpkin pie , and she does look great 👍😊 Now onto Christmas 🎄!!! Have a wonderful day love reading your blogs. Love, JoAnn 😘

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      December 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Hi JoAnn! Thank you for always reading! I just got your Christmas card and it’s great to see all those little Joneses growing up so fast — and yet, you never seem to age! I’ll have whatever you’re drinking. I will send Patty your congrats! xo!

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