Moonshine is a real part of Appalachian culture, and because of this, I wanted the scenes in Be Still My Soul that revolve around it to be as authentic as possible. I also wanted Gideon’s journey to be real. As the hero of the story, he struggles with putting alcohol above the people in his life, early on. But thankfully, there is no struggle too great for God to work and Gideon will grow throughout the book. Here is a brief scene that shows part of his journey:
Bert motioned to the still. The big pot, capped with a lid, seemed to be made of solid copper. A small hose poked out and curved down into a simple green jar, then, as if the hose couldn’t make up its mind, it bobbed out, running down into a galvanized pot.
Bert held up the offering.
Gideon hesitated. Battled. And when his heart lost, he reached for it.
With a chuckle, Bert drew it back. “Ain’t you gonna pay first?”
Pay? Gideon patted his pocket. “I don’t have any money.”
Bert set the jar beside him. “Aw, shucks.”
Even as he spoke, Gideon detested the desperation in his own voice. “I could pay you next time I see you.” Just walk away.
Bert shook his head. “I’ve been burned enough times by that promise.”
His men laughed.
Heat splintered along Gideon’s neck. He took a few steps back and folded his arms across his chest. He wanted to leave.
Bert took a swig, his eyes keen, focused. Gideon’s mouth watered, and he fought the urge, knowing his escape had already been granted. His thumb found his ring finger. The metal was cold to the touch.
Bert followed the movement.
Shutting off all his thoughts, Gideon slid the metal from his finger.
A subtle nod was enough for him to hand it out. Bert took it and studied it a moment, displeasure in his face. Gideon knew it wasn’t worth much. But surely it was worth enough.
Bert butted the quart jar onto his knee. “All right.”
Gideon stared at his ring in the man’s palm. Shame coursed through him, like the hot liquid itself. His fingers itched for the glass, and he forced his eyes away from the only thing Lonnie had ever given him. “Are you sure?”
Bert rolled his eyes and thrust the drink toward Gideon.
The jar was cool in his hand—the glass icy smooth—but the liquid burned as it slid down his throat. Instead of feeling satisfaction, guilt settled into the pit of his stomach.
“You know what? I changed my mind.” He held out the jar. “Keep it.”
Bert made a face—his annoyance clear. After hesitating a moment, he snatched the drink back. “Suit yerself.”
“I’ll take that ring back.”
I spent a great deal of research on moonshining. I’ve found the culture around it fascinating, the drink itself thought provoking, and the beauty of victory over sin–glorious.
A taboo topic, moonshine is, yes. Still, I’m a hands on research kinda girl. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But this was no rug braiding or soap making. We’re talking moonshine. Real, live Appalachian moonshine. And if I were to get my hands on some…what to do with it?
Well, other than the obvious *wink*
I did a little brainstorming on recipe ideas but had to sit on this awhile because, well, I just couldn’t find any moonshine in California, and I figured the “Adventures of Country Living : Moonshine Still” would be a little too authentic. Hehe. Not too mention I’d scare the neighbors. Then, recently some friends of ours were traveling to Tennessee…and the idea once again sparked. And yep…they brought me a little souvenir 😀
Welcome to the Adventures of Country Living: Moonshine Pecan Pie. 🙂
Moonshine Pecan Pie with Butterscotch:
You will need one pie crust (I use Ina Garten’s recipe and LOVE it, but I know most folks have a family favorite, so use what you like best!)
5 Tbsp butter
1c. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
Heat this in a sauce pan until bubbling. Allow to bubble rapidly for about a minute, stirring gently. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together:
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp Moonshine
Now you’re going to want to temper the egg mixture. Add a few tablespoons of the warm sugar-butter sauce to the egg mixture and stir quickly, do this several times, mixing quickly and then pour all of the egg mixture into the sauce pan and mix well. Gently stir in:
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
(I had asked my hubby what he thought about the idea of me adding in butterscotch chips. He said that he’d never known butterscotch chips to make anything worse, so with those words of wisdom, I dumped them in 😀 And I am SO glad because they really give this pie something special.)
Mix the pie filling well and pour into the prepared (uncooked) shell. I wanted to do something fallish, so I poked around in my cookie cutters and found an owl that felt sort of festive, and I cut out a scrap of dough for the middle. 🙂 Gently place the pie in the oven for about 1 hour @ 350 degrees. Allow to cool and set and enjoy!
Before I go, I just want to say one more thank you to all of you who joined us for the Hope Chronicles this week and for visiting my blog here for Lonnie’s letter! We drew the winners and I’ve announced them there at the end of the comments! 🙂
So, this looks AWESOME! Great photography too, by the way.
But what can I use if I’m lacking moonshine?
Jennifer, it taste’s awesome!! I had to practice great self control to only have a slice! That is a great question. I know you could use something like bourbon, or leave it out all together. The moonshine gives it a nice depth of flavor–you can’t quite tell what it is unless you know it’s there and of course, people could use more if they want…this was the family friendly version 😉
I should qualify that. Not *if* I’m lacking moonshine, because, hahahaha, I don’t have any. And not that I’ve run out, I never had any. Oh wait, that sounds like if someone brought some over, I would have had some…annnnnnnnnyway….
You are cracking me up! Don’t worry, I’m the one with a jar of it in my kitchen 😉 Now what to do with it, what to do with it…I think I will be making a LOT of pie!
Cute blog and I love the photos. Looks like a delicious pie and with just a tad of moonshine in it and baked – safe for the kiddos to consume too. YUM!
Thanks, Nettie! Noah gave me a camera for my birthday last year and I am having lots of fun with it 🙂 Yes, it’s just a bit of the moonshine, then it bakes. Though in my first attempt, I used way too much moonshine and had to toss it. My chickens, I’m sure, are grateful 😉
Girl, you impress me with your baking skills. Seriously.
Aw, thanks Lindsay 🙂 It’s my favorite thing to do next to writing.
I’m sharing this one! I’ve had moonshine and apple pie moonshine, which would make a delightful addition to this pie as it’s sweet. Butterscotch is never wrong! Wise husband.
Thanks, Melissa!! I’m getting braver about inventing new recipes and can hear you in my head as I try things 😉 I was amazed at how good this pie is. It took me a couple tries to get it all right and I’m definitely going to be bringing this one to Thanksgiving!
I am strangely not even a fan of pecan and this still looks oh so good!
LOL, Lisa :)Thank you!! My husband’s not a pecan person either. I used less in this one just for him and he ate a whole slice.
Is moonshine still illegal? I have no idea and I’m living in moonshine country! Anyway, the pie looks lovely. I’d bake more if my oven was working right now….
But my MIL makes a mean pecan pie, only she uses WALNUTS instead. It really gives it a good texture. That’s about the only pie-hint I have, since I don’t make my own pies much–I just eat hers every time we go to visit!
Heather, its my understanding that there is both legal and illegal moonshine. There are legal distilleries, open to the public or that sell online, and then there are your good old fashioned stills set up in the woods, that I *believe* are illegal if there is no regulation or permit and if it’s sold via the underground. The kind I have came from a legal distillery.
Hey that sounds like a good idea! I know sometimes people prefer walnuts over pecans. Also, pecans are more expensive, so that’s a great way to get more for your buck! Hooray for MIL who bake, right?! 😀
Moonshine?! I must admit you remind me I’ll always be a transplant! Moonshine is something I have only heard of at the cinema!
The pie looks scrumptious but ex-RAF hubby insists I am not to use his Glenlivet under any circumstances! Brandy maybe?
Thanks for sharing and love the lines about Gideon and his dilemma about Lonnie’s gift…I was holding my breath hoping he would make the right choice!
Oooohhh I was not a winner…But very much looking forward to see what develops for the Hope Chronicles!
Hi Noelle! Thanks for your fun comment! Yes, it’s definitely still around. It’s hard to get, at least in my experience, but especially in the Appalachian region, it’s very much around and still being made. I really do think you could substitute many things, and even just leave it out and the pie would be great!
I am so glad you enjoyed this little peek into the book! I really wanted to show the pull it has on Gideon, and also the seeds of change that are beginning in him at this point in the story. And thank you SO much for being apart of the Hope Chronicles! It turned out so amazingly better than we ever envisioned, made wonderful by people like you! Thank you.
“Yes, it’s definitely still around.” (no pun intended that the still is still around ~ luv-it) Wonder if I could find some in these Missouri hills? Doubtful ~ not from any I know, anyway. I was going to suggest exchanging for vanilla, but see it is already in the recipe. I can hardly wait for book 2~ love the new cover! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
LOL, Kathleen 😉 I’d imagine there would be some in your neck of the woods. It’s also just as tasty, I’m sure without the moonshine. I served it to some friends last night and they all gave it two thumbs up. The moonshine gave it a little something extra that was hard to pinpoint, but made for a nice round out of the flavors, so I’m glad that it has the approval of a crowd! I’m so glad you love the cover for book 2. I do too! That shot of Lonnie is stunning. Feeling very blessed to have such a talented photographer and designer on the job. 🙂
Still full from dinner last night, topped off with the best pie ever!! Thanks, Joanne!! And loving the beauty of God prevailing over sin!!
Me too! That soup salad and cornbread was the perfect meal. So fun! I’m glad you girls enjoyed the pie!! And thank you! It is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? 🙂
Best.Pie.Ever. And Joanne makes a killer crust, too. What Joanne didn’t mention is that we also had a moonshine tasting party at our critique meeting…I will tell. And no, I’m not still >hic< affected this morning. JK 😉
We decided that moonshine must be trending because of everything Hatfield and McCoy, and Cadence of Grace-Appalachian retro.
My sample was courtesy of the Walton's 40th Anniversary Gala held recently (another flashback still trending). Anyone remember the Baldwin sister's recipe? Oh yeah, the party favor was a jar of moonshine.
Now I need to run check my supply, a pecan pie is definitely required this Thanksgiving.
Thanks for the recipe and "research" slice, Joanne!!! Yum!
Best. Soup. Ever. Oh my goodness that was good! It’s chilly up here today, so I’m still dreaming about it 🙂 Though that jar of apple pie moonshine was a fun surprise! Also fun to each have a little taste and I think it made us much better critiquers, lol. Now a few tablespoons of THAT in a pie would be oh-so-good.
I totally agree. There is something fascinating about the Appalachian culture and it keeps popping up in the media through shows, movies and books. I’m so happy to get to be a part of those books 🙂
this pie looks delicious!!!
thanks for sharing 🙂
My pleasure, Karen! It really tastes as good as it looks 🙂 Oh, and I just got your package mailed off today!
Wow, that looks delicious! But where am I going to find Appalachian moonshine in Australia? One of us is going to have to make the journey over the Pacific, methinks! (wink) xx
Haha, that’s a really good question! And an even greater solution! In the meantime, I wonder if there might be a local Australian substitute that would work nicely 😉 And if not, the pie would be great without it! Thanks so much for the encouraging post on your blog today!
What an interesting idea to put moonshine and butterscotch chips in a pecan pie. Will be making pecan pie for our family gathering this weekend and I think I will try adding the chips to my regular recipe w/o the moonshine.
BTW, there are still moonshiners even here in west Tennessee. We live in a rural area just east of Memphis and some friends heard a lot of gunshots in the woods behind their home. When they called the sheriff’s office, they were told that some officers were destroying a still on the property next door. They had no idea it was there!
It really gives it a unique flavor. It’s not real strong, but just gives it a little “something” and the great thing about this recipe, is you can leave it out and it will still be delish! 🙂 My family really enjoyed it! And we can’t go wrong with butterscotch, right?
I would love to come see your neck of the woods. I believe it! When my friend was going to bet me the shine from TN she asked if I wanted legal or illegal, and I confess the historical researcher in me *was* tempted…but I went with the kind from a legal distillery. 🙂 My hubby and I have a guilty pleasure of watching “Moonshiners” on TLC. 🙂
thanks for sharing it…. i really liked it…