Monday, November 24, 2014

Feasting Friday: Yes We (Pe)Can!

Pecan Pie Cake

Recipe from Southern Living
I had been making pies for family holiday gatherings for a couple of years, then saw this cake recipe and decided to try it for a change.  I did not know enough about recipes at the time to be able to look it over and realize that it fell a bit higher on the “challenging” scale than most recipes I was used to (though having to call my mother for assistance in just creating the first ingredient – do you toast the pecans first or chop them first?? – should have tipped me off).  I managed to finish the cake, and the family loved it so much that it became an annual request, and is now, 16 years later, a tradition.  I have gotten more familiar with the recipe over the years, and have discovered ways to make things a little easier (start the filling first so it can chill while you are toasting/chopping the nuts, etc.; also, parchment paper seems to work better than wax paper on the cooling racks).  Fortunately, I seem to forget from year to year how much work it is – what I do remember is how much the family enjoys it and that I do really enjoy making it as well.

The Filling
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Place a sheet of wax paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4 hours.
Note: To chill filling quickly, pour filling into a bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Whisk constantly until cool (about 15 minutes).

The Cake
3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark corn syrup

Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly into 3 generously buttered 9-inch round cake pans; shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.

Lora’s Favorite Chocolate Pecan Pie

I started making this pie because my father-in-law loves pecan pie, and is a chocoholic. It turns out that he prefers these two favorite sweets separately, but everyone else at the dinner loved it. It is even better with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

1 Store Bought Pie Crust (I like Trader Joe’s crusts, and to keep my sanity)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 bittersweet chocolate chips, (I like Ghirardelli’s) gently melted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Prebake pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan, according to package directions.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs, sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla extract, and salt in a large mixing bowl until smooth and glossy.
Gently melt butter and chips together in microwave, in 20 second increments, until you can stir it into a smooth mixture.
Slowly beat the chocolate into the custard
Once the base is thoroughly mixed, gently fold in the pecans.
Put pie on a cookie tray and place in an oven for 45 minutes.
The pie is ready when the filling has puffed and a knife placed in the center comes out cleanly.

RumNog Cookies

This pecan cookie recipe comes from the Veganomicon, a vegan recipe book in our collection.

The Cookies:
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup soy/rice milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl combine the oil, soy milk, sugar, molasses, rum and vanilla, and beat until slightly foamy. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, and mix until a soft dough forms.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls (about 1 tablespoon), roll in chopped pecans and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have puffed. Remove from oven and cool.

The Frosting:
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, softened
2 tablespoons soy milk, soy creamer or rice milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat the margarine until light and creamy.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir with a fork until crumbs form, then beat in the soy milk, rum, and vanilla.
The frosting should have the same consistency as buttercream frosting.
If it’s too thin, beat in more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
Spread 1 teaspoon of frosting on at a time.

Let sit until frosting hardens.

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