Holly’s scoop: A healthier holiday classic

Pecan pie is honestly one of my very favorite desserts. The holidays just aren’t complete without one of these sweet treats on the menu. I have been known to sliver and eat half of an entire pie in one sitting! This Thanksgiving, I couldn’t decide which pie to include on my menu so I had to give you all of them. But why not sneak a few healthier recipes using my trim and terrific versions? I promise your family won’t be able to tell the difference because there’s no sacrifice in flavor. You don’t have to change what you make, just how you make it—this rule even applies to desserts.

Ever have a hard time trying to decide between pecan pie and sweet potato pie? With Yam Pecan Pie in Gingersnap Crust, you can have them both in one delectable dessert. The gingersnap crust sets the stage for the perfect blend of pecan filling and sweet potato mixture, capturing the best of Louisiana’s bounty. Place gingersnaps in a food processor or blender to easily process into fine crumbs, and feel free to use fresh cooked sweet potatoes in place of the canned variety.

Chocolate Pecan Pie is a twist on the classic, with rich chocolate combined with delicious pecan pie for the ultimate finish to your holiday meal. Since I start with a store-bought crust, this pie is so simple to make. Dig in guiltlessly, as pecans are rich in nutrients including fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they’re also a great source of plant protein. Did you know that pecans contain the highest amount of antioxidants of any nut? And they’re packed with Vitamin E, which can help prevent cell damage.

Last but definitely not least, it is hard to beat my trimmed-up classic Pecan Pie that gets an extra oomph with the indulgent Honey Crunch Topping. And your secret is safe with me if you prefer to add this fabulous topping to your store-bought pecan pie. Either way, you will earn bragging rights for years to come. This is one of my favorite tips: save time by picking up your favorite pie, add the Honey Crunch Topping, and it will look and taste homemade!


Holly Clegg has sold over 1 million cookbooks in her trim&TERRIFIC and Eating Well series. Sign up for her Monthly Menu newsletter at hollyclegg.com, check out her blog at thehealthycookingblog.com, or watch Holly on YouTube at youtube.com/user/hollycleggonline




Pecan Pie with Honey Crunch Topping 

For a perfectly party-worthy pecan pie, splurge with the Honey Crunch Topping.  

Holly-pecan honey2 eggs

1⁄4 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (9-in.) unbaked pie shell

Honey Crunch Topping

(recipe follows, optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, flour and vanilla until creamy. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until pie is set. During last 5 minutes of baking, remove pie from oven, and spread Honey Crunch Topping evenly over top. Return to oven, and broil until topping is bubbly and golden brown, watching carefully. Makes 8-10 servings.

Nutritional information per serving (pie without topping):
Calories 280 | Protein 3g
Carbohydrates 40g | Fat 13g | Calories from fat 42% | Saturated fat 2g | Dietary fiber 1g | Sugars 32g | Cholesterol 42mg Sodium 136mg | Dietary exchanges: 2.5 other carbohydrate, 2 1⁄2 fat

Honey Crunch Topping

1⁄3 cup light brown sugar

3 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. honey

1 1⁄2 cups pecan halves

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Add pecans and stir until well coated.

Nutritional information per serving (topping): 
Calories 189 | Calories from fat 68% | Fat 15g | Saturated fat 2g Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 43mg | Carbohydrates 15g | Dietary fiber 2g Protein 2g | Dietary exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 3 fat

Yam Pecan Pie in Gingersnap Crust

When you can’t decide between pecan and sweet potato pie, have them both! 

Holly-yam pecan1 1⁄4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1  1⁄2 tsp. vanilla

1 (15-oz.) can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed, or 1 cup fresh mashed cooked sweet potatoes

2 eggs, divided

1⁄4 cup light brown sugar

 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 egg whites

2⁄3 cup dark corn syrup

 1⁄2 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2⁄3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine gingersnap crumbs, butter and vanilla in pie plate, pressing up sides. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. In a mixing bowl, blend together sweet potatoes, 1 egg, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread evenly on bottom of crust. In another mixing bowl, beat together remaining 1 egg, egg whites, corn syrup, sugar and vanilla until mixture is creamy. Stir in pecans. Carefully spoon over yam layer. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until filling is set around edges or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 311 | Calories from fat 28% | Fat 10g | Saturated fat 3g | Cholesterol 48mg | Sodium 168mg | Carbohydrates 53g | Dietary fiber 2g | Sugars 26g | Protein 4g | Dietary exchanges: 31⁄2 carbohydrate, 2 fat

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Combine a rich pecan filling with a hint of chocolate for a holiday indulgence.

Holly-choc pecan2 eggs

2 egg whites

1 cup light corn syrup

1 Tbsp. butter, melted

1⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1⁄3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (9-in.) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, corn syrup, butter, sugar, brown sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool completely.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Calories 383 | Calories from fat 42% | Fat 19g | Saturated fat 5g Cholesterol 49mg | Sodium 136mg | Carbohydrates 53g | Dietary fiber 2g Sugars 25g | Protein 5g | Dietary exchanges: 31⁄2 carbohydrate, 4 fat