Whenever our extended family gathers for a holiday dinner, I'm expected to prepare the pecan pie. That's because I love to put grits in the South's favorite pie! The sweetened grits-enhanced filling adds a hint of texture and makes a perfect pecan pie. You can use a store-bought pastry shell in a pinch, but I think it tastes much better in the Buttermilk Cornmeal Crust.
Combine water and grits in a small saucepan; stir and let stand 1 minute. Carefully remove husks floating on top of water, using a small strainer. Add salt to grits; place over high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick, stirring often. (When cooking this small amount of grits, cover pan to avoid losing too much liquid as steam during cooking.) Cover and set aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan; add sugar and corn syrup, and cook over medium-low heat about 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk cooked grits into butter mixture; cool slightly. Whisk eggs and vanilla into butter mixture until blended.
Preheat oven to 325°. Place 1 cup broken pecan halves in bottom of unbaked Buttermilk Cornmeal Crust. Pour grits mixture over pecans in piecrust. Sprinkle with additional 1/2 cup pecans, and stir pecans very gently to coat with syrup and distribute evenly. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until set. (Shield edges of crust with aluminum foil after about 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if needed.)
Susan McEwen McIntosh, Glorious Grits – America's Favorite Comfort Food