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Ava Gardner's Southern Pecan Pie

Ava Gardner kicks off our series of Thanksgiving recipes.

Ava Gardner was one of the great beauties of the screen and proved that she could act too! She starred in a variety of films from noir ("The Killers"), musicals ("Show Boat") , drama ("Pandora and the Flying Dutchman") and comedy ("One Touch of Venus"). She picked up a Best Actress Oscar nomination for the film "Mogambo".

This marks my third time making an Ava Gardner recipe for Hollywood Kitchen. While the Jerry Lewis recipe a few months ago was an outright disaster, Ava hasn't let me down once and I don't think she ever will. Given her North Carolina origins, her recipes are very Southern and easy to make. Plus there are plenty of them, so I'm sure there will be more episodes in the future. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I thought making Ava's Southern Pecan Pie was the best way to kick off the month.

The Recipe

This recipe is from the Ava Gardner Museum.


1 9” Deep Pie Shell

3 Eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 Cup Dark Corn Syrup

1/4 Cup Melted Butter

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

1 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans

1/2 Cup Halved Pecans


Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in saucepan, then add cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt and blend. Let mixture cool to room temperature. In bowl, beat eggs, then add vanilla, pour in other ingredients and blend. Fold in chopped pecans. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Top with pecan halves. Bake about 45 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is puffed. Let cool and set. Top with whipped cream or ice cream and serve.

Special Guest

Lora Stocker is a professional designer, illustrator, and artist and does graphic design work for the Turner Classic Movies social media team. She is a North Carolina native and is on the board of the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina.

The Final Product

My guest Lora Stocker spelled out "Ava" in pecans on the top of her pie. Brilliant!!

There are plenty of Ava Gardner movies you can watch while you lay around in your Thanksgiving food coma. Many of them are on DVD, streaming and look for them on Turner Classic Movies.

To learn more about Ava's life, career and more, visit the Ava Gardner Museum website. Their gift shop has some great items too!


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