The Ingredient That Will Change Your Pecan Pie Forever

When it comes to Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie may win the popularity contest — at least according to YouGovAmerica. The site reports that 36% of those polled said they favored the flavors of this fall pie. However, although pumpkin pie won the top spot, pecan pie is in no way the outcast dessert. Pecan pie came in second to pumpkin, garnering 16% of the popular vote. And per Fox Business, if you are from the South, pecan pie is probably a dessert staple you often eat — or at least at every major holiday feast. After all, pecan pie is a favorite in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

Pecan pie is a uniquely American pie, according to Texas Hill Country. What makes this pie special is the rich, thick, smooth sugary filling that is typically made with eggs, butter, corn syrup, and a little brown sugar. In addition, it features a sticky mix of meaty pecans baked inside its flaky, buttery pie crust. This classic formula is hard to beat, although many have tried, riffing on the original recipe by adding chocolate, bourbon, or even maple syrup. But leave it to Joanna Gaines to surprise us with an unexpected ingredient that enhances the iconic pie's taste and gives it a whole new vibe for your taste buds. 

This ingredient will heat things up

According to MyRecipes, Gaines adds ancho chili powder to her pecan pie to give it a little cha-cha to counter the sweetness of this pie. Ancho chilis, per blog Isabel Eats, are dried poblano peppers. Their heat is considered mild, but their flavor is sweet and smoky. Gaines admits that by mixing things up and adding this peppery ingredient, she isn't trying to cause a food fight with those who live and breathe the traditional version of this pie. But she also notes that ancho chili powder gives pecan pie whole new energy. 

Per the Baltimore Sun, chilis work well with sweets like chocolate because while chilis pack a bit of heat, they also have sweet undertones to counterbalance spiciness. But don't grab for any kind of chili powder just yet. 12 Tomatoes cautions against regular chili powder because it is often mixed with other spices and seasonings that might not mesh with the flavors of a sweet pecan pie. Ancho chili powder, however, is sure to be a pecan pie game changer, elevating your dish to a whole new level, along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course.