Apple pie may have become an American icon, but sticky-sweet pecan pie is the one everyone takes to family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some say it has its roots in New Orleans and the meeting of French settlers with Native Americans. More patriotically (try telling the heartland that the French invented pecan pie), the Karocorn syrup people claim the wife of one of their sales directors invented it in the 1930s, and that in some Southern states it is better known as Karo pie. Whatever the truth, the poly-talented Mr Ford, a Texan who has triumphed in Paris, Milan and Hollywood, has chosen a simple, singular dish.

1 cup of white Karo syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs flour
1 cup pecans

Beat the eggs and sugar together, add flour, then syrup, vanilla and pecans. Pour into a 9in prepared pie shell. Bake in an oven at 150°C for one hour. §