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.
In a medium bowl, mix together the light corn syrup and dark brown sugar.
Whisk in the eggs, salt, vanilla and cooled melted butter.
Pour into the unbaked pie shell and sprinkle pecans evenly over the top of the filling.
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.