A NUTTY SWEET WINEDessert wines with hints of nuts, spice, and dried fruits naturally complement the brown sugar and pecans. Sporting bright acidity to keep the pairing lively, Pedro Ximénez—a grape used in very sweet sherry— has syrupy notes of molasses, spice, and raisins that mesh beautifully with pecan pie's toasty richness. Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximénez "San Emilio," Spain ($25)

A DARK AND CREAMY BEERYup, this works. In dark beer, heavily roasted malts provide toasty, coffee-like flavors that beautifully offset the sweet caramel taste of pecan pie. Try milk stout—creamy, with a smooth finish. Its robust nuttiness and warm vanilla flavor are great with the pie's sugariness, while its pillowy texture contrasts the crunch of pecans and crust. Milk Stout Nitro, Left Hand Brewing Company, Colorado ($10.50/6-pack) -- by Jordan Mackay

OOPS! Avoid dark beers with bitter hops, which will sour the pairing. Likewise, dry table wines will conflict with the pie's unctuous sweetness.