PECAN PIE WITH BOURBON CARAMEL WHIPPED CREAM

  With Thanksgiving just a mere two weeks (plus a few days) away, I thought I’d post a classic dessert that is often found on holiday dinner tables this time of year here in the South- pecan pie.  This recipe hails from an old 1930’s church cookbook I found while walking about an antique mall not too long ago.  I adapted it a tad bit as I am not very fond of using corn syrup, so in its place, I used maple syrup.  Which, in my opinion, adds so much more flavor to the pie.  The crust is buttery and the pecans on top are crunchy while underneath is perfectly gooey; combined with the boozy caramel whipped cream, the entirety of it all is delicious.  Like other pies, this one did not last long in my home.

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I really love finding such things in antique malls or thrift stores.  The pile of church cookbooks sitting in small corners of such places is often neglected.  But they can be little treasures, really, especially the really old ones.  You don’t know what you’re going to get from them as it’s a collection of recipes from various people of various heritage. Each person contributed one recipe they deemed as a favorite that was passed down to them from generation to generation.  This cookbook I bought has many interesting recipes inside(some advertisements as well that I can’t help but chuckle at; oh, how far we’ve come!) which had me researching the ones I wasn’t familiar with.  The recipes range from fattigmann, rødgrød, and vanillekipferl; to blushing bunny, chicken cacciatore, and stuffed eggplant.  Then you have American classics like apple crisp, this pecan pie, and many others.

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PECAN PIE WITH BOURBON CARAMEL WHIPPED CREAM

pie crust:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

5-8 tablespoons ice-cold water

pie filling:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dark maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups pecan halves

 

for the caramel

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 tablespoon bourbon

caramel whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

1/4 cup bourbon caramel 

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

pinch of salt

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Add the cold butter in cubes and using a pastry blender or food processor, blend it into the flour till it’s crumbly(crumbles should be pea-sized).  Push the mixture to one side of the bowl and add 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water to the other side.  Using a fork, gently toss the flour into the water.  Add more water by the tablespoon when it becomes dry.  Repeat this until the dough comes together and all the flour is incorporated; it should be a soft, moist dough when complete.  Using your hands, shape it into a disk and loosly wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 25-30 minutes; meanwile, preheat the oven to 350°F.   Once the dough has firmed up some, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it until it’s about 10-inches in diameter.  Gently wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unravel onto a 9-inch pie tin.  carefully press the dough into the pan using your hands and then finish by crimping the edges however you would like it to look.  Place the crust in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2.  In a medium sized saucepan, melt the tablespoon of butter; add the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla.  Whisk over medium-low heat until warm(not hot).  Slightly whisk the eggs together and add to the sugar.  Whisk until all is combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle on all the pecan halves.  Brush the crust with egg wash(1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)  if you would like it browned.  Bake for about an hour to an hour and 40 minutes.  It will be done when tapped with a spoon and the top is hard.  Cool completely and serve with whipped cream.  

for the caramel and whipped cream:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the water and sugar.  Whisk over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved, once the sugar is dissolves stop whisking and watch the mixture very closely for the next 5-10 minutes.  It should start to turn a light amber, when it does so, quickle remove from heat and stir in the tablespoon of butter.  Once the butter has melted, slowly stream in the cream and stir.  Heat the bourbon until warm and stir into the caramel.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator until cold. 
  2. Place a medium sized mixing bowl in the freezer along with a whisk that attaches to an electric mixer.  Chill for 5 minutes.  Once chilled, add the cold cream, caramel, and powdered sugar.  Whip until soft peaks form.  Serve atop the pie.  

CHOCOLATE RUM BROWNIE WITH SALTED APPLE CIDER CARAMEL

    Comfortably snuggled up in a warm, cozy sweater, quietly contemplating the morning view from a window seat someplace far away with a steaming cup of coffee warming my hands;  that is an ideal chilly, October Thursday.  One I laughingly wish I woke to.  Instead, I awoke to the worst bedhead, no clean clothes to wear to work, and an empty coffee bean container.  Even though the day began in such bad taste, I am grateful that the weather is beautiful and that there was a pot of homemade chili to eat for lunch on this semi-chilly Virginia day.

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  It’s been a busy past two weeks as my family awaits the birth of my eldest sister’s little boy any day now.  We’re hoping he stays put a wee bit longer until hurricane Matthew passes (they happen to live in North East Florida).  It’s quite nerve racking being six hundred miles away from almost all your family while there’s a dangerous hurricane on its way that will affect them and others where ever it goes.  I am staying hopeful that all will be safe during its chaos.

  On top of all that, I was having yet again one of (what I like to call) my rut weeks.  To refresh my mind, I made a quick trip to the apple orchard not nine miles down the road from me.  Upon arrival is a barn, and inside lie crates full of freshly picked red and green apples of all varieties.  In the back of the barn are more crates, but instead of apples, these are full with some of the prettiest looking decorative gourds, local pumpkin, and butternut squashes.  Lining the walls are glass jugs and mason jars filled with apple cider, honey, and maple syrup.  Each time I go to this particular orchard, it’s so hard to leave with only the apples I came for.  They also make some of the best fruit preserves!  It’s rather tempting.

  Arriving home I had my heart set on apple cider and chocolate, but what to create with two.  So, I decided on this apple cider caramel(which makes the sinfully rich brownie even more sinful), with a decadent chocolate brownie flavored with rum; there wasn’t but a couple tablespoons left in the bottle so, why not?

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CHOCOLATE RUM BROWNIE WITH SALTED APPLE CIDER CARAMEL

-brownie-

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cups cocoa powder

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons rum

2 large eggs, cold

-salted apple cider caramel-

1/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoon water

1-ounce unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

sea salt 

-method-

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease and line with parchment paper one, 8-inch cake pan.
  2. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and place over medium heat till it simmers.  Place a heatproof bowl that will sit over the top of the pot(don’t let it touch the water).  Add the butter, chopped chocolate, sugar, and cocoa powder.  Stir until just combined.  Let it sit over the simmering pot till the butter has melted and the mixture is somewhat hot when you dip your finger into it.  Remove the bowl from the pot and stir in the rum.  Let it cool until it’s just warm to touch.  Once cooled, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The mixture should be glossy.  Whisk together the flour and salt in another bowl, then add to the chocolate mixture.  Stir well with a wooden spoon till all the flour is combined.  Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread around the pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking for doneness at the 20-minute mark with a toothpick(if it comes out clean it’s done, if not, bake for 5 minutes more).  Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then using a sharp knife, loosen around the edges.  Invert onto a wire rack then peel off the parchment.  Let it cool completely, then pour the caramel over the top.  Garnish with more sea salt(optional).

-caramel

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the apple cider, cream, butter, and sugar.  Stir slightly until just combined.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stirring occasionally, boil till the mixture till it becomes a light amber color, then remove from heat.  Add a pinch of sea salt and stir.  It should thicken after sitting for a few minutes, but make sure you don’t let it sit too long in the pot or it will start to become firm.  After letting it sit for a couple 3-4 minutes, pour over the brownie and garnish with more sea salt(optional).