Posted: November 17th, 2010 | Filed under: Pie | Tags: best pecan pie, pecan pie, pioneer woman pecan pie, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving pie, thanksgving pecan pie | 1 Comment »
I follow Ree Drummond pretty closely — she is a phenomenal cook, and a really neat woman. (I can’t wait to see her Throwdown with Bobby Flay tonight!) So when I saw this pecan pie on her blog — I had to test it out. I tweaked it a little. And I have to say… it is phenomenal. The pie crust is delicious, super flaky, the pecans are the perfect size, and they have just the right amount of butter and salt to make them even tastier, and the filling — ohhhhhhhh — lets just say this is absolutely Thanksgiving worthy. In fact, it will be on my Thanksgiving table this year, so you know it has to be pretty fantastic.
*A note — if you follow the pie crust recipe, it will make enough for most of your Thanksgiving pies, which is pretty spectacular. You can thank me later when you finish your desserts early and are maxin’ and relaxin’ while everyone else is scurrying around.
Sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust
adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1-½ c crisco (vegetable shortening)
3 c all purpose flour
1 whole egg
5 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
In a food processor pulse the crisco and flour until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork, add the egg, cold water, white vinegar, sugar and salt. Pulse until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together.
Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)
When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.
With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.
adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust *Use “sylvia’s Perfect Pie Crust” Recipe* Just do it. You won’t regret it.
1 c sugar
3 tbsp brown suga
2 tsp salt
1 c corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
⅓ c melted unsalted butter
3 eggs beaten
1 c chopped pecans *Melt an additional 2 tbsp butter and 2 tsp salt and mix into pecans so they are buttery and salty and perfect
Whisk sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
Pour butter and salted pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
Pour mixture on top of the pecans. The pecans will float to the top! Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.
The pie should not be very jiggly when removing it from the oven. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe.
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.
Posted: November 16th, 2010 | Filed under: Cake | Tags: cream cheese icing, pumpkin and cream cheese, pumpkin bundts, pumpkin cake | 1 Comment »
So I know that all over the country people have been enjoying fall weather and colors for well over a month. Some places have even had snow… but here, in Denton we are just starting to enjoy all of the beautiful fall colors. The trees are turning reds and golds and beautiful oranges… and it really makes the drive around town surprisingly pleasant… and the cold isn’t too bad yet either. (We’ll go over my dislike of the cold another day.) So today I want to share something that is appropriate for the beautiful weather and the beginning of the holiday season we are all upon.
These litte bundts can be baked into bars, or mini loaves, but I just really really love them as the tiny bundt cake. It is the perfect little bite of pumpkin with the sweet tangy-ness of the cream cheese icing. It’s pretty great.
Pumpkin Bundts with Cream Cheese Icing
adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 c canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a mini bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pans – about 1/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes — keep a close eye on it — because baking times will vary — bake until set and the cakes bounce back. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
4 oz package cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c sifted confectioners’ sugar
In a small bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, beating until smooth and creamy.
Put the icing into either a piping bag, or a squeeze bottle and drizzle over the pumpkin bundts.
Enjoy with friends and apple cider!
Posted: November 10th, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: apple bars, apple caramel bars, apple crumble bars, apple pie bars, caramel apple bars | 1 Comment »
More apple-y goodness just for you! (I am trying to get all of these out before it is officially holiday season.) Next up is pumpkin… yum. But lets talk just a little more apple. Last week we used apples and made a homemade caramel. So now you have some left over caramel (unless you happened to gobble it all up) so here is a great way to combine the caramel and apple again — in a bar with a terrific little crumble! These are a perfect treat for the end of fall - and they are super portable, so you can share them with friends too!
Caramel Apple Crumble Bars
For the Caramel
1 c cold water
3 c sugar
2 c heavy cream, at room temperature
In a medium size saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Set over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes, making sure no sugar is sticking to the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the syrup becomes a deep amber color, about 15 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally for even browning. Once the syrup turns deep amber in color, immediately remove from the pan. Slowly add the cream to the syrup (there will be lots and lots of bubbling, don’t be scared) whisking vigorously until the cream is incorporated. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature before chilling. (This can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator.)
For the Bars
3 cups All-purpose Flour
¾ cups Packed Brown Sugar
¼ cups Granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Of Salt
1 cup (2 Sticks) Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Small Pieces
1 whole Egg
Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan; set aside.
In a food processor, mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until pea-sized clumps form and virtually no loose flour remains. Press half of mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
For the Apple Mixture
½ cups Granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
4 whole Medium-sized Apples (I Used Sweet Tango), Peeled, Cored, And Grated
In another bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the grated apples with your hands, then mix them into the sugar until thoroughly combined.
Sprinkle the apple mixture evenly over the crust. Pour and spread the caramel over the apple mixture. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Filed under: Cake, Candy | | No Comments »
I can’t believe that it is already November. I mean– it seems like summer was just here– is time just going to start going faster and faster and faster now? Last weekend we celebrated Halloween with friends. We let our Mad Men love get the best of us, and we dressed up as a 1960′s advertising executive and a housewife. We even put lipstick smudges on Ryan’s outfit – it was way scandalous slash adorable.
But other than that, I got to spend some great time in the kitchen last week also.
This fall has been full of apples. I not only have been playing with a few apple recipes, I was gifted a bag full of fresh local apples — so even more apple dishes made an appearance in the kitchen! Its been pretty awesome. So I wanted to share this recipe with you — the cake is just very lightly caramel-ish – slightly more than a regular white cake, but not overwhelming at all. The filling is super yummy and really balances out the cake and thick creamy icing. And don’t worry – there will be some left over caramel — which is amazing warmed poured over apple slices and ice cream. (Or, if you are me, just by the spoonful.)
For the Cake:
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Filling:
2 large apples, grated
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
For the Filling: Combine all ingredients in saucepan and cook until apples are tender.
For the Caramel:
1 c cold water
2 c heavy cream, at room temperature
In a medium size saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Set over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes, making sure no sugar is sticking to the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the syrup becomes a deep amber color, about 15 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally for even browning. Once the syrup turns deep amber in color, immediately remove from the pan. Slowly add the cream to the syrup (there will be lots and lots of bubbling, don’t be scared) whisking vigorously until the cream is incorporated. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature before chilling. (This can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator
For the Icing:
1 1b cream cheese, softened slightly, cut into pieces
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened slightly, cut into pieces
1 c cold caramel
1 tbsp kosher salt
In a medium sized bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the caramel and salt and beat until well incorporated. Spread onto and over the cake liberally.