I write this feeling more bloated than I have for a long time. I had a lovely day with two of my sisters and their families but it was another day of over-indulgence. Tomorrow will be more austere!
In acknowledgement of Thanksgiving this week and wanting to give my sisters a taste of some of the flavours of America we had experienced recently, we had an all American menu. I used this lovely sugar in the 2 puddings I made to give them a real taste of Florida.
One of my favourite puddings is chocolate pecan pie. I have never made one before but today I did. It is very hard following American baking recipes because they ask for sticks of butter, shortening, all-purpose flour, baking soda and other ingredients unfamiliar to the British cook. I looked up the conversions and checked translations but forgot to write them up so I am giving you the translations where I can remember them or just copying the American recipe and you can check it yourself.
To be honest, I was not massively impressed with the pastry in either recipe so use your normal favourite shortcrust recipe or buy some packet stuff. I did really like the tip of rolling it on greaseproof or parchment paper. It made it much easier to manoeuvre in to the tin and to clear up afterwards
NB: as well as preparation time and 1 hour cooking time, this takes 2 ½ hours resting time.
Chocolate Pecan Pie (taken from Country Living magazine, November 2012)
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening (I used Trex)
- 4 tbsp butter cut in to small pieces
- Ice cold water
- 1 egg white
- 6 oz chopped pecans
4 oz plain chocolate, chopped in to chunks
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 oz butter, melted
- ¼ cup syrup
- ¼tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Add shortening and butter and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some butter lumps.
- Sprinkle in ¼ cup iced water and mix gently until mixture comes together in to a dough.
- If dough is too dry, add more 1 tbsp at a time, up to a maximum of 3 tbsp).
- Pat dough in to a disk, wrap tightly with cling film and place in fridge until chilled, about 2 hours but can be up to 2 days.
- Roll out dough on to a sheet of floured greaseproof paper until 11 inches.
- Place dough in to a 9 inch pie tin (I used a flan tin) and trim edge to create a ½ inch overhang. Use your fingers to crimp edges.
- Mix the chopped chocolate and pecans together in a bowl
- In another bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together.
- Whisk in the melted butter, syrup, salt and vanilla essence.
- Place the chilled pie crust on a baking tray.
5. Place half the chocolate and pecan mixture on the pie crust.
6. Pour in half the filling, then the remaining chocolate and nuts and then remaining filling.
7. Bake until filling has set and top has browned – about an hour.
Serve warm or cold.
I apologise for no photo of the final pie which is a shame as it was FABULOUS. It comes out dark brown and is moist, chocolatey and nutty. Delicious. By the time it was ready my sisters had arrived and I was too distracted to take photos but please try this dessert – it is excellent.
The second pudding goes by the intriguing name of Shoofly Pie. Apparently this molasses pie is so called because people had to shoo flies off it while it cooled. It makes a good nut free alternative to pecan pie which is commonly eaten at Thanksgiving.
Again, buy shortcrust pastry and I am not even providing the recipe for the pastry in this pie. I did even more badly with photos for the Shoofly Pie as I didn’t manage any at all! This is a photo I took of the picture in the magazine – Food Network Magazine November 2012.
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 1 packet sweet shortcrust pastry
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp softened butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ cup boiling water
- Roll out pastry and use to line a 9 inch pie tin with enough pastry to create a small overhang.
- Place in fridge to rest for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 190 ° C.
- Place a baking sheet in to the centre of the oven.
- Whisk the flour, sugar and butter in a large heatproof bowl.
- Set aside 2/3 cup of the mixture to use as a topping.
- Whisk the egg, molasses and bicarbonate of soda in to the remaining brown sugar mixture.
- Whisk in the boiling water until smooth.
- Pour the filling in to the chilled crust.
- Sprinkle the reserved brown sugar mixture on top.
- Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180 ° C and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is firm – 40 to 45 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
This was easy to make and tasted lovely. The flavour was of molasses but it was not too overwhelming. I personally preferred the chocolate pecan pie but this was great too.
So what else did we have? I made the delicious chicken casserole and James made the sweet potato dish I blogged about previously here. Removing the skin from 28 chicken thighs and frying that many took a long time!
I endured the rain and popped outside to dig up carrots and parsnips. Look how long this one was – as compared to a 12 inch ruler. It was quite a tussle to get this one out!
They scrub up easily and I don’t bother to peel them as the skin is thin and goes soft when cooked.
This may seem silly but I get a real sense of pride that I have grown vegetables and provided them to my family. Today I served up new potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onion and garlic that I had grown myself. I also added a leek provided last week by BJ which he grew himself.
Lunch was delicious; garlic chicken with root vegetables, sweet potato with pecan praline topping and new potatoes. This chicken dish is so good. The meat just falls off the bones and is full of flavour. This is becoming a household favourite.
A lovely long lunch with dear family. Two of my sisters and their families were there all afternoon and my cousin Bruce popped in with his family for dessert and tea.
Lucy and Fiona
Abi and Jim
James and Bruce. This photo contains a slice of the amazing chocolate pecan pie. I want to eat that again!
We fed the
animals in the zoo children in the kitchen so we could enjoy a less interrupted lunch which worked a treat. It also means they can eat and go and play and not hang around waiting for us to eat at a more leisurely pace. By the end of the day they were all chilling in front of Heston’s programme about making a giant cup of tea and giant dunking biscuit.
What a lovely day. Too much eating and drinking again so tomorrow will involve a long walk and very healthy food.