Mystery Pecan Pie – A Mid-Century Thanksgiving Recipe Test

Posted on Nov 21 2012 - 6:46am by RetroRuth

Well, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and let me tell you that I am cooking up a storm! But I just had to get this post up, because I think this may be the most delicious pie I’ve made on the Mid-Century Menu. If you are struggling to find an easy, interesting dessert that you can whip up before the big day tomorrow, this is it! You probably even have all of the ingredients on hand right now.

Behold, Mystery Pecan Pie!


Yep, that’s right. This is pecan pie with CHEESECAKE in the middle of it.

Cue heavenly chorus right….now.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mystery Pecan Pie - Pecan Pie With A Layer of Cheesecake
  • 1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
  • ⅓ c. plus ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ c. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 deep dish 9 or 10 inch pie shell
  1. Combine cream cheese, ⅓ cup sugar, salt, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 egg. Spread into pie shell.
  2. Sprinkle pecans over cheese layer.
  3. Combine remaining eggs, sugar, vanilla and syrup; pour over pecans.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 mins, until center is set.

This recipe comes from a cookbook I received from my Great Aunt Lorraine, who is 99, by the way. She is one great lady, and when Tom and I visited her this last spring she gave me pretty much every cookbook she owned because she knew I loved them. My cookbook haul included a vintage book from the community of Brigham City, Utah, which had this recipe for the Mystery Pecan Pie. (*UPDATE: I just ran across the original recipe for this pie from the 1964 Pillsbury Bake-Off!)

Oh, and you are wondering what the mystery is?  Well, I’ll tell you.


This is one of those great vintage recipes where the ingredients are put into the pan (or in this case, shell) in a certain order, but then they switch themselves around while they bake. I LOVE recipes like this and if you have kids, I can guarantee they are going to love it as well.

In this recipe, you put the cheesecake layer at the bottom…


…then cover it with pecans…


…then pour on the syrup…


…but when it comes out of the oven, the syrup is on the BOTTOM and the cheesecake is in the middle.

Love it!!


And Tom loved it, too.

“This is amazing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes. Normally I am not a big fan of pecan pie, but this is fantastic.”

The Verdict: Fantastic

From the Tasting Notes:

This vintage recipe has it all. It’s easy, there is a little bit of magic and the final product tastes amazing. The cheesecake layer stays nice and moist in the center, the bottom layer is delicious and gooey and the pecans at the top are nice and caramelized. Would be perfect served with a traditional pumpkin pie, with a small slice of each on the plate!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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14 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. veg-o-matic November 21, 2012 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Now THAT is a happy Tomface™!

  2. Sara In AZ November 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Lord have mercy this looks good! I MUST made this one day soon!!!!

  3. Zac November 24, 2012 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Whew, when I saw “mystery” I was worried it’d have tuna in it. Tuna or pimento cheese.

  4. Erica Retrochef November 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    This is the sort of recipe that makes me quite sad that our extended family has a lot of nut allergies and I can’t bring pecan pie to Thanksgiving every year. (But I’m back home now, so this is going on the “must bake” list!!!)

  5. Angela November 29, 2012 at 9:15 am - Reply

    Yes! You have solved a completely different mystery for me! I have recently begun watching “True Blood” and in an early episode Sookie is shown eating some sort of oddly custard-y looking pecan pie that clearly was NOT a traditional southern pecan pie. I’ve been scouring the internet and racking my brain to figure out what on earth her Gran’s pie contained only to find its twin here (they used whole pecans, but the rest looked the same!) on my usual Wednesday reading (I never miss MCM!). Thank you for posting this! It was driving me nuts not to know what was in that pie.

    I’m also totally going to make this, it looks delicious!

    • Maureen December 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Angela, I always wondered about that pie, too! Such a sad scene…

  6. Jennifer C March 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    This year is my “Year of Pie”- I’m making 52 pies, one for each week of the year. I decided to try this as my 10th pie. My family and I loved it! The creamy cheesecake layer really adds depth to the sweet nut layer. I did have a little oozing from the corn syrup, but not enough to ruin the pie. Thanks!

    • RetroRuth March 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Wonderful! Glad this pie turned out for you, and 52 pies sound like tons of fun!

  7. Cat June 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    you left the salt off the ingredients list. That’s what the 1/4 teaspoon refers to right? I’m totally going to make this, it looks amazing.

    • RetroRuth June 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      Yep, I sure did! Thanks, Cat! I just fixed it.

      Make this as soon as possible. It’s amazing.

  8. Inky November 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Ruth! I’m making two of these pies for Thanksgiving this year because of your repost 😉 How far in advance can I safely make them? Thanks and I hope you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving! Inky

    • RetroRuth November 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Inky! I would say two days, tops. After that the layers will start to separate when you cut them! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!! 🙂

      • Inky November 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

        Thank you Ruth!!

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