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Totally Addictive Spiced Orange Pecans

spiced pecans with orange

It has taken me a few weeks to face pecan shelling after my TEDx pecan shelling marathon.  I spent most of a weekend hand shelling pecans for my contribution to the the crowd farmed TEDx catering.  It was so very worth it to be part of something so exciting and inspiring, but what with being OCD about keeping every tiny bit of  shell out, by the end of it I was totally over smashing pecans.

My pecans appeared at afternoon tea time in nougat, which was spectacular and worth all the cracking, but rather too sweet for me.  I’m not a sweet tooth – give me a spicy chili salty sweet and sour balance any day.  So I’ve been waiting to get back into a mood for smashing enough pecans to make these. Pecans are my glut crop, still, and though they will last in shell for a few months, fresh nuts do need to be eaten in season.

Beware – these are extremely addictive.  Put a bowl of them within reach while you are watching a movie or reading or chatting with friends, and you keep swearing this will be the last handful all the way till they’re all gone.  Which is not all a bad thing.  We generally don’t eat enough nuts.  There’s some very good science that a handful of nuts a day is very good for you.  OK, so it’s impossible to limit these to a handful, but if you could, it would make them the ultimate guilt free indulgence.

The Recipe:

Turn the oven on to heat up.  I use my Rayburn wood fired oven, so I’m not very exact with temperatures, but it doesn’t need to be exact – you want a medium oven.

In a small pot, melt together:

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind (grate the rind before you squeeze the orange, and it’s much easier)
  • ¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 3 big teaspoons of honey (or you could substitute brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cook for a minute or two to get it a bit syrupy, then add 3 cups of pecans.

Stir to combine well, then tip the spice coated pecans out onto an oven tray and spread them out evenly.

Bake for around 40 minutes.  Watch them very carefully at the end.  They go from undercooked to overcooked in minutes.  Tasting is your best indication of when they are ready.  The flavour changes and they get crisp and roasty and caramelised.

Cool on the tray, stirring occasionally to stop them clumping.

They will keep for quite a while in an airtight jar.  I dare you.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kirsten May 26, 2013, 4:18 pm

    I’m dairy intolerant. Do you think I could replace the butter with coconut oil perhaps?

  • Linda May 26, 2013, 4:24 pm

    Hi Kirsten, I don’t see why not. What you’re after is just that kind of sticky honey-butter base to dissolve the aromatics from the spices and coat them onto the nuts. So any kind of oil would probably do it, but (without trying it), I’d give my best bet to a saturated oil that will go solid when cool – which coconut oil is I think? You don’t use a lot of it anyhow.

  • Kirsten May 26, 2013, 4:50 pm

    yum! tips for anti-cocky strategies so that the pecans get to a shell-able point?

  • Linda May 26, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Now that is a problem. Lots of yelling and swearing kinda works.

  • Kirsten May 27, 2013, 9:16 am

    Thanks Linda. If I get an opportunity to try it I’ll report back.

  • Vanessa May 27, 2013, 6:01 pm

    Oh wow, I’m definitely putting in a pecan or two at our new place so I can make these…and practising my shouting and yelling to keep the birds off. 🙂

  • celia May 29, 2013, 8:08 am

    Linda, yum! We make something similar using egg white as the “glue” and I have to lock them away or I’ll eat an entire jar in a single sitting! I love the addition of orange in your recipe!

  • Jason Dingley May 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

    I am glad you said a handful of nuts is good for you, as I eat a couple , maybe 3, maybe 4 every day. Sadly not the fresh though. Our almond tree is still a baby and only gives a handful at a time. Another addictive delight is backed pepitas covered in honey and soy sauce.

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