Friday, November 10, 2023

A Poor Recipe for a Rainy Day

Old timey advice says one should avoid attempting this candy recipe on a rainy day. Both my grandmother and mom would tell you cooking this recipe when the air is humid is a good way to fail at making an acceptable batch of Pecan Divinity since too humid conditions can make it drop into soft puddles. Avoiding rainy day cooking has not been a problem at our house since sometime back in July. I guess the only good thing I can say about the sixteen plus weeks we have gone without appreciable rainfall in Clinton is we have had more than enough dry days for us to make lots of Pecan Divinity.  

I was driving across the Delta National Forest from Satartia to Rolling Fork last week when it occurred to me that although I was not lost, I was certainly a bit confused. In an attempt to get my trip back on track I stopped at the Silver Creek Cotton Gin on H-16 N, to make sure I had not turned wrong when I took a right turn off of Satartia Road onto H-16 in Holly Bluff. After absentmindedly taking my right turn, I immediately began to suspect I was headed in the wrong direction and stopped at the gin to get some expert clarification on where I was and if there was any way of getting from where I was to where I wanted to be when I got there.

There were two older gentlemen seated on a bench in front of the Gin, watching a farmer offload his blue plastic wrapped rolled cotton bales on the gin lot to await their turn for ginning and I figured they could help me out. Unfortunately, they were involved in a serious discussion, and I chose to not interrupt as of them told the other, "You know, we always had a lot better weather when Mr. Woody Assaf was our weather man. We ain't had a decent year of weather since Mr. Woody retired and Channel 3 hired them folks they got doing the weather down there, now." His friend nodded and said, "I still notice you never miss watching that short-skirted girl they got at 6:00."


Here is how I make Pecan Divinity


2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup cold water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon salt


Need a good thermometer. The recipe is temperature sensitive (Soft ball)

Need either wax paper or a non-stick sheet to drop the hot candy on so it can cool. More of this later.


Prep ingredients. Everything needs to be ready (in place - Miz en place) before you start. 

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir the mixture after this point. 

Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer and cook the syrup mixture until it reaches 260 degrees F on a candy thermometer. 260 F is 10 degrees hotter than the hard ball stage of 250 degrees F. Most recipes call for 250 F syrup (not 260). The extra temperature in this recipe helps prevent humidity in the air from affecting solidification of the divinity. At 250 degrees (standard hard ball stage) divinity success is very dependent on low humidity. The lower (less wet) the humidity of the air, the better (more solidly) the divinity will set at 250 F. At high humidity, it may never get above a thick creamy stage.  Many cooks will not make divinity on a rainy or overcast day. That might be a wise rule to follow, regardless of temperature.

While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 

If you have a heavy-duty mixing paddle, switch the mixer to it. I have seen divinity bend a wire mixer blade as it gets thick.

Once the sugar mixture reaches 260 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. BE CAREFUL! THE SYRUP IS VERY HOT! Some will say they make divinity by hand stirring the syrup/egg white mixture. A mixer works better and is all we would use at our house. In fact, I would say your mixer needs to be a good one to withstand the torque required to mix divinity. Add the vanilla while the mixture is still very hot and continue to beat until the candy holds its shape and begins to lose some of its shine (approximately 4-5 minutes of strong mixing). As soon as the shine begins to dull, stir in the pecans and start scooping out the divinity immediately.

Using 2 spoons, drop/spoon scrape the divinity onto Silpat sheet or waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. Size of the scoops is your preference. 1 X 2 or 2 X 2 inches seems like a reasonable size piece. If the divinity becomes too stiff, add a few drops of boiling hot water. You will need to work as fast as possible when scooping the hot candy, because it will set up quickly and you may be left with concrete in your mixer bowl. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper or Silpat sheet, you're done. Allow the candy to fully cool and store in a closed/airtight container for up to 2 weeks. It stores best with wax paper between the layers in the container.

 Occasionally (back in the good old days), Mom would substitute Candied Cherries - the green and red ones folks use in fruit cake. She would cut them into quarters or thirds and add them when she would normally add the pecan bits. They were good. Mom is 96 now and past her divinity making days. I have a few more years in me, but I guess everyone deserves to retire eventually.

Thanks for looking at my post.

God Bless You.


Anonymous said...

Instantly drooled when I saw the pic. I haven't had good divinity since my brother in law passed (he was the only one who was successful). I've always heard its temperamental. I wish I had every piece you had made. haha

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. My grandmother made the best divinity. You have inspired me to try to master it.

Anonymous said...

Love divinity; however, making it is not my cup of tea.

I did try his Chicken Bayou LaFourche and Hambruger Steak--WOW! WONDERFUL!

Anonymous said...

When I glanced at 1st photo, I honestly thought it was a pile of drier lint. But it's divinity, a popular confection I tried twice in my life but found too sweet. I tell my wife, who makes candy for all the rest of our family, that sugar is poison. In fact, drier lint might be healthier than candy.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS