Recipe Finder: Pecan pie from Cacao Lane in Ellicott City

For The Baltimore Sun
Recipe Finder: This recipe takes the pecan pie to a whole new level.

Nancy Eakin of Linthicum was in search of the recipe for the Cacao Lane pie that was served at the restaurant of the same name in Ellicott City back in the 1970s and '80s. She said the pie, made with pecans, coconut and raisins, and was absolutely divine and she has never tasted anything quite like it.

Connie Crabtree-Burritt, Baltimore chef, restaurateur and caterer, ran the Cacao Lane restaurant until the late 1980s. She now runs a culinary job readiness program as part of Baltimore Outreach Services that has provided training to over 100 homeless women since Crabtree-Burritt founded it in 2005. I reached out to her to see if she remembered the pie and would be able to share the recipe.

While Crabtree-Burritt remembered the pie from some 40 years ago, she no longer had the recipe. However, she took some time from her busy schedule to re-create it. It's easy to understand why Eakin was a fan of this creation. The filling is so delicious, I think you could even get away with using a store-bought crust.

Thanks to Crabtree-Burritt's inventive additions, this recipe takes the pecan pie to another level. Serve a slice of this heavenly dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.


Jessica Wright of Ellicott City is in search of the recipe for the peanut butter cookies that were served in the cafeteria at her public school in Harford County in the 1970s and early '80s. As she recalls, the cookies came in individual waxed paper bags and were thick, chewy and about 4 inches in diameter. She has tried many recipes but has had no luck finding one as good as those cafeteria cookies.

Cacao Lane pecan pie

Makes 8-10 servings

1 basic pie crust for 9-inch pie

5 tablespoons butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup pecans

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup coconut

2 tablespoons whiskey

2 tablespoons vanilla

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven 400 degrees.

Prepare basic pie dough using your favorite recipe, or use store-bought refrigerated crust.

Place the chilled, rolled-out dough in the pan. Tuck overhanging dough and flute edges. Line the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill the parchment or foil with pie weights, uncooked rice or dried beans. Transfer to a 400-degree oven. Bake the crust until it firms up, about 15 minutes. It will still be very pale at this point. Remove the parchment or foil and weights, then return the crust to the oven to brown slightly. Bake the crust 5 to 7 minutes more, until it's a pale golden brown.

While the shell is baking, prepare the filling.

In a saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar, dark corn syrup and salt to a boil; remove from heat and stir in the pecans, raisins, coconut, whiskey and vanilla.

Cool for several minutes and stir in lightly beaten eggs.

Pour the mixture into the warm pie shell and return to oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes until set.

Let the pie cool at least an hour before cutting.

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