When I went to work as a secretary in Procter & Gamble’s corporate offices, they were located in the old Gwynne Building on Sixth and Main Streets in downtown Cincinnati. The 12-story Gwynne Building was completed in 1914 and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (wife of Cornelius III) dedicated it to her father, prominent Cincinnati lawyer and Judge, Abraham Gwynne. Procter & Gamble leased the building and eventually purchased it in 1935. The building served as Procter & Gamble’s corporate headquarters until 1956. When I went to work there in 1950, on the ground floor was a Dow drugstore and an Italian restaurant. The drugstore was handy for a quick candy bar or soft drink and when the girls got together for drinks after work, they usually chose the Italian restaurant (whiskey sours were a favorite).
On the 12th floor of the building was a huge employee dining room. I liked to choose a one-person table near a window where I could have a gorgeous panoramic view of the city while I ate the wonderful food that was served. Maybe because of the Crisco connection, they always offered an array of pies which was excellent. I had my first taste of pecan pie here and it was memorable. After I left the company to start my family (most women did not continue working after their first baby at that time), I tried several recipes, trying to duplicate the P&G cafeteria pecan pie. In the 1970s, I found this recipe in Dear Abby’s column in the newspaper and I thought it came closest to what I was looking for. It’s been a family favorite ever since – often included with our Thanksgiving pies. This is an easy pie to make.
ABBY’S PECAN PIE
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup melted butter (cooled)
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (my favorite is here)
- 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk in the eggs, salt, vanilla and cooled melted butter.
Place on a flat sheet to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
“This is a specialty of the house recipe from the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. I begged this from the pastry chef to share with you. Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)”
Servings: 6 to 8. This is a very rich pie and a smaller piece might be just right for most people, but it’s my youngest daughter’s favorite and she likes a nice big slice.