April is Pecan Month, and we pe-can’t express how nutty we are for them! Co-owner Peggy’s parents traveled a lot after retirement, and they always brought back pecans whenever they went to Georgia, the top pecan-producing state. These pecans weren’t just a snack; they bought enough to use at home in treats like pecan bars and pecan pie.
Her mother’s pecan pie was one of Peggy’s father’s favorite desserts, and our Pecan Tart is enjoyed by many families during the holidays. But pecans don’t just shine as the star of the show; they also fit well as part of an ensemble cast in classic flavor combinations like Turtle.
Here in the land of frozen custard, we might be more familiar with turtle sundaes than turtle candies, but this beloved flavor first appeared as a candy. The gooey treat got its start in Chicago in the 1910s. DeMet’s caramel nut clusters claim to be the original turtles, which got their name from their shape: the curve of the chocolate over the mound of caramel resembles a turtle shell while the bits of pecan sticking out look like a turtle’s feet and head.
If you want to experiment with making your own turtles at home, you can try Emeril’s recipe, which includes how to make your own caramel. Or The Spruce Eats has a simpler three ingredient method. Or combine the two; we like that Emeril’s cluster of five pecans will more closely resemble a turtle’s four feet and a little head poking out.
You can also take the classic turtle flavors and swap in something else for a slightly different flavor. Try cashews instead of pecans or dark chocolate instead of semisweet. The Spruce Eats suggests other variations like adding pretzel under the chocolate or putting coconut flakes on top of the chocolate. Yum!
Let’s get back to talking about frozen custard. The turtle sundae adaptation usually involves vanilla custard (or ice cream), caramel sauce, hot fudge, and pecans, with chocolate sauce occasionally substituted for the hot fudge. And a sundae is not complete without whipped cream and a cherry!
Did you know that Two Rivers, WI claims to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae? Located on Lake Michigan an hour and a half north of Milwaukee, Two Rivers isn’t the only city with this claim, but the story as told on their historical marker goes like this:
“In 1881, George Hallauer asked Edward C. Berner, the owner of a soda fountain at 1404 15th Street, to top a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce, hitherto used only for ice cream sodas. The concoction cost a nickel and soon became very popular, but was sold only on Sundays.
“One day a ten year old girl insisted she have a dish of the ice cream ‘with that stuff on top,’ saying they could ‘pretend it was Sunday.’”
As for the spelling change?
“It lost its Sunday-only association, to be called ICE CREAM SUNDAE when a glassware salesman placed an order with his company for the long canoe-shaped dishes in which it was served, as ‘sundae dishes.’”
How perfect that the Dairy State has a strong connection to a favorite ice cream treat!
Bringing our culinary journey back home to Sweet Perfections, the turtle recipe adaptations you’ll see in our shop include a cupcake, a doughnut, a cookie, and even a cheesecake. Let us know how your adaptations turn out, and we hope you enjoy Pecan Month!
Fresh from our oven to yours – happy baking!