Piccadilly Cafeteria Pecan Delight Pie

Pecan Delight Pie is a favorite dessert at the Piccadilly Cafeteria restaurant. It’s a light, fluffy, creamy pie with a toasted pecan and Ritz cracker meringue crust.

overhead view of a homemade Piccadilly pecan delight pie

For nearly 80 years, Piccadilly Cafeteria has been serving up classic American food in a casual atmosphere. Over the years, the popularity of certain items on the menu have waned, but Pecan Delight, one of the original pies served at the cafe, continues to maintain a loyal following. T

his pie may look simple, but the complex flavors and textures make it an absolute standout. But what makes this pie unlike anything you have ever tasted is the airy menagerie crust studded with toasted Ritz crackers and pieces of pecans; truly unlike anything you have ever eaten. This Pecan Delight recipe isn’t too difficult to make, and it’s sure to impress, no matter where you serve it.

What is Meringue, and How Can I Make It?

When most people hear the word ‘meringue,’ they immediately think of the crunchy top of a lemon meringue pie. But meringue is much more versatile than that. Pastry cooks use meringue to make everything from tart shells to cookies. While the ingredient list for meringue is short, it does require a fair bit of technique to get right.

The easiest way to make meringue is using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment. If you don’t have either, you can still make meringue using a balloon whisk, but get ready for a workout.

There are two different kinds of meringue, soft and hard. Soft meringue is what bakers use to top a lemon meringue pie or to combine with other ingredients. It is not the kind you want for this recipe. Ritz cracker pecan pies and tarts require hard meringue that can form a solid shell.

To make a hard meringue, first, you have to separate the eggs. The simplest way to do this is to crack each egg into a small bowl and use your fingers to scoop out the yolk. If you prefer, you can always use an egg separator to keep your hands from getting messy. Be sure to check that there are no bits of yolk with the egg whites before adding the whites to the mixing bowl. Repeat for each egg.

Add the vanilla and cream of tartar to the egg whites, and mix on low until foam starts to appear. At this point, start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. After adding all the sugar, you can increase the speed of the mixer slightly. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until it gets glossy. Check for stiff peaks by lifting the whisk or attachment straight up and turning upside down. The meringue is ready when the peaks don’t lose their shape.

Tips For Making Pecan Delight

  • Don’t use fresh eggs to make the meringue. Older eggs are better, don’t use spoiled ones. You can check by placing an egg in a glass of water. If it floats, throw it away, but you can use it if it stands up on the bottom of the glass.
  • Make your own whipped cream. Since you already have the mixer out, why not make homemade whipped cream? You can’t beat the flavor.

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Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Eggs
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sugar
  • Pecans
  • Ritz crackers
  • Whipped Topping (Cool-Whip)
Piccadilly Pecan Delight Pie ingredients

How to Make Pecan Delight Pie

  1. Place chopped pecans and crushed Ritz crackers on a baking sheet.
    crushed Ritz crackers and chopped pecans on a baking sheet
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. They should be light golden brown.
    toasted chopped pecans and crushed Ritz crackers
  3. Remove pecans and crackers from the oven and place them on a paper towel to cool.
  4. Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees.
  5. Separate yolks from egg whites. Place egg whites in a mixing bowl.
  6. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until stiff.
    egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl
  7. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat egg whites until very stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved.
    stiff beaten egg whites on a mixer whisk beater
  8. Add pecans and crackers to the beaten egg whites.
    beaten egg whites, chopped pecans, and crushed Ritz crackers in a mixing bowl
  9. Fold in pecans and Ritz crackers.
    pecan cracker meringue in a mixing bowl
  10. Spray a 10-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Spread the meringue in the pie pan, covering the sides and bottom of the pan, about 1-inch thick. You may have extra meringue (see tip below).
    pecan cracker meringue crust in a pie pan
  12. Hollow out a little hole in the middle of the bottom of the meringue the size of half a dime to help with an even baking of the shell.
  13. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.
  14. Turn oven off and let shell dry in the oven for another hour.
  15. Remove shell and cool.
  16. When the shell is cool, spread the whipped topping in the shell.
    homemade Piccadilly pecan delight pie with whipped cream filling
  17. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
    homemade Piccadilly pecan delight pie and a pie server
  18. Place the pie in the refrigerator to completely chill before serving.

CopyKat tip: If you have any extra meringue, you can make nests and bake them the same way as the crust.

baked pecan cracker meringue nest

Then you can fill the baked nests with jam, pudding, or fruit. What a great bonus dessert!

a slice of homemade Piccadilly pecan delight pie on a plate

Love homemade pies? Try these recipes!

Favorite Pecan Desserts and Treats

Be sure to check out more of my easy pie recipes and the best Thanksgiving dessert recipes here on CopyKat.com!

overhead view of a homemade Piccadilly pecan delight pie

Piccadilly Pecan Delight Pie

Make a light and creamy pecan delight pie at home.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pecan Delight Pie, Piccadilly Cafeteria Recipes, Pies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 243kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Pecans (chopped small, lightly roasted for crust)
  • 1/4 cup Pecans (chopped medium, topping)
  • 1/2 cup Ritz Crackers (chopped in fine pieces, lightly roasted for crust)
  • 12 ounces Whipped Topping (Cool-Whip)

Instructions

  • In a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Place 1/3 cup pecans and Ritz crackers for 5 minutes. You want to lightly roast the nuts and crackers. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. The crackers and nuts should be light golden in color. Remove from oven when golden and place on paper towel until cool. 
  • Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until stiff. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat egg whites until very stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold in 1/3 cup pecans and Ritz crackers. Place in a 10" pie pan that has been lightly sprayed with a nonstick baking spray. Spread the meringue to the sides and cover the bottom of the pan. 
  • The meringue will be about 1" – 1 1/8" thick layer in the pie pan. Hollow out a little hole in the middle of the bottom of the meringue the size of half a dime, this will help with an even baking of the shell. If you have any meringue left make a little nest bake the same manner and fill with leftover pudding or fruits. Place in a preheated oven at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Check shell, the meringue should not scorch, it will turn light tan in color. 
  • Turn oven off and let shell dry in the oven for another hour. Remove shell and cool. When the shell is cool place the whipped topping in the shell and sprinkle with 1/4 cup broken pecans. Place in refrigerator to completely chill before serving. Meringue will whip fluffier and be fuller when prepared at low humidity.

Equipment

Pie plates
Pie server

Nutrition

Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 0.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Stephanie Mosley

    5 stars
    This is “the one”! Everyone asks me to make it all the time. When in doubt, walk away a blue ribbon winner with this pie!

  2. Chris Hansley

    I’d love to have the recipe for the Yeast Rolls they served at Picadilly’s. They were sooooo good. Wish they were still around. There food would beat out golden coral and Old country buffet any day.

  3. Kathryn Thompson

    I worked as the “pie girl” at Piccadilly all through high school and my dad was the manager there for 38 years. Sorry to say, but this is NOT the Pecan Delight we served. Our pie had pieces of the Ritz Crackers and pecan halves in the pie. I’m looking for that recipe.

  4. Eleanor Watson

    I went to the same Piccadilly’s in the late ’50’s. I worked downtown at City Bank (I think) and went to Piccadilly’s whenever I had the money. I went to the Toddle Houses and Lester’s Hickory Inn (again, I think), too. Oh, my. Those were some good pies, also, at the Toddle House, and I ate my first steak in Wichita Falls, Texas. I think I was 19.

    • Kathryn Thompson

      That’s the Piccadilly my dad managed!! It was in downtown Wichita Falls. Then they opened one in a mall in 1973 and Dad opened that one. He retired from there in 1987 after more than 37 years with the company.

  5. DEBRA

    This IS the same recipe Picadilly uses. Years ago an employee gave me their recipe, and this is it exactly. I have high cholesterol and can eat this one without guilt. Recently we ordered it in Arkansas at Cliff House Inn, only difference is they add a little crushed pineapple in the whipped cream…. and it’s supposed to be the state pie of Arkansas.

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