Look, pecan pie is best eaten during the holidays. I get that. The buttery, nutty flavor of the pecans mixes so well with the super-sweet pie filling, no matter if it’s grandma or Table Talk who does the baking. It’s weird for National Pecan Pie Day to be in the middle of July, a time that feels so far removed from the chilly days of fall. But, fuck it. It’s National Pecan Pie Day, for whatever reason, and I am never, ever going to turn down a reason to eat pecan pie. End of story.
So, if you’re like me and don’t care how hot it is outside, you’ve just got to have a good piece of pecan pie today, where do you go? To Queens, where else? The appropriately named El Ay Si (sound it out and you’ll discover what neighborhood they’re in!) serves a hefty chocolate bourbon pecan pie all year round. This isn’t for those who are just “meh” on pecan pie; you have to know you want to shove your face into a whole pie before you order this momma. Served whole in a cast iron skillet and topped with ice cream (as all good pies are!), this pie transcends the super-sweet corn syrup-addled pies that clog the market. The chocolate and bourbon make this pie stand out from its imitators even more: the bourbon gives it a depth of flavor you don’t usually see in one-note pies. And El Ay Si definitely does not skimp on the pecans. (Don’t you hate it when you buy a pecan pie to find only a thin layer of nuts on top and corn syrup in the rest of the filling??) Bring some friends along who also love pecan pie more than they love tradition: this pie is huge and decadent, and you’ll likely feel as stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey if you try to tackle this behemoth alone.
El Ay Si
47-38 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City
“Chef Chris Frakes’ menu also gives a nod to international comfort foods with a wild mushroom agnolotti from northern Italy and a traditional British shepherd’s pie prepared with wild boar meat. Save room for dessert, because the chocolate bourbon pecan pie square arrives in a warm cast iron skillet topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.”–Bloomspot
“Start your meal with the mild black-eyed pea cakes served with a potently spicy side of chipotle mayo (which Frakes hopes to bottle and sell at local markets) and finish it with the decadently warmed chocolate bourbon pecan pie a la mode; your food coma may last for days.”–Edible Queens
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“We shared dessert as per usual; my favorite is the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Square. I’m definitely a pecan fanatic and I love the presentation on a small cast iron skillet, then garnished by powdered sugar, strawberries and mint and a side of ice cream. The “brownie,” as our guests called it, was warm and lustful in a sense, a great way to end an evening.”–Francis M.
“Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, I could eat you all day every day. You are so good sometimes I stand in front of El Ay Si the days that is closed and silently cry that I cannot have you again. If it were just for you, with your gooey graham cracker crust and chocolately goodness I’d give this place five stars but alas you are not the only thing I’ve tried at this lovely establishment.”–Julie M.
But I do understand that some people are complete devotees to tradition, and wouldn’t think of sullying their memories of holiday festivities by having a slice of pecan pie in July. If you’re one of those foodies, fear not! National Pecan Pie Day is still available to you! Get out of Long Island City and take the G train (…if it’s running) to Carroll Gardens, where Buttermilk Channel has got you covered. The super popular comfort food station in Brooklyn serves a sundae that is like taking a slice of pecan pie and running it through the blender. Actually…they might do that to make this dessert! A slice of pecan pie is decomposed and layered with ice cream and whipped cream, making for a delicious looking and tasting take on pie a la mode. (The flavor ice cream? Why, butter pecan, of course.) It’s a mix of textures and tastes, the graham cracker crust of the pie still crispy, the nuts still chewy in their molasses glaze, and the ice cream smooth and cool. It’s the perfect mix of warm and cold for a hot day’s dessert, and the perfect way to have a traditionally autumnal treat for the summer.
524 Court St (between Nelson St & Huntington St), Carroll Gardens
“What do you do if you have a leftover pie and, for some ungodly reason, are tired of eating JUST pie? Buttermilk Channel in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, has the answer: you take that pie and mash it up in a glass full of butter pecan ice cream. That’s right. It’s a pecan pie sundae.”–The Examiner
“You’re better off with the made-to-order, warm, crunchy apple cider doughnuts, but you’re best off with — you’ll never guess! — the pecan pie sundae. It’s audaciously true to its name, a treat that might have been invented by a toddler who smashed up his slice of pie and stuffed it into a tall glass with butter pecan ice cream.”–The New York Times
“In Carroll Gardens lives a restaurant that serves a slice of pecan pie a little differently. Buttermilk Channel serves their pie in a glass and calls it Doug’s Pecan Pie Sundae. Who is Doug anyway? It is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that they take a slice of pecan pie, break it into sections and layer it with ice cream and fresh whipped cream. Somehow, they manage to still have a crunchy crust. YAY! Does it really get any better than this? Actually, it does because the crumbled piece of pecan pie is served warm.”–Eat Some Sweets
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Pecan Pie Sundae – 5! Mother.of.GOD. This is one of the best sundaes I’ve ever polished off and one of the THE BEST sundaes in NYC. It’s a trifle of ice cream, a layer of pecan pie crust, oooey gooey pie filling, candied walnuts, more ice cream, and a dollop of whipped cream. I will be dreaming of this tonight and asking it to marry me tomorrow and introducing it to my family members next week. “–Masha M.
“For dessert, their pecan pie sundae was the highlight, with ice cream sandwiched between rich, pecan goodness, topped with fluffy whipped cream. I am addicted to the pecan pie at Peter Luger’s and this was just as good, only deconstructed. The chocolate and caramel tart was also good, but honestly overshadowed by the pecan pie sundae, but my personal bias is probably playing in.”–Valery C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!