11.14.2016

Pecan Chocolate Tart



Check.  Pecan Chocolate tart is baked, wrapped, and in the freezer.   Thanksgiving morning I will remove it from the freezer, unwrap, bring to room temperature, EAT!



For step-by-step photo's and instructions just go to Pecan Chocolate Tart

If you're a baking pro, you can just print the recipe below.  You've got this.

Pecan Chocolate Pie

2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup or honey
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup light cream
2 1/4 cups Pecan halves
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 prepare (unbaked) tart crust
9-inch tart pan

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Whisk the eggs an sugar together in a big bowl just enough to combine them.  Whisk in the golden syrup and the corn syrup.  Add the butter, cream and whisk until smooth.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.  Pour  the mixture into the prepared tart shell.

3.  Place the tart on the center rack in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the filling is firm to the touch and the nuts and crust are golden brown.

4.  Remove the tart from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly.

5.  To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can.  Make sure the tart is steady and balanced.  Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart.  Move the tart to your work surface, and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a serving dish or cutting board.

6.  Serve warm or wrap with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.  

Makes 1 9-inch tart.


11.04.2016

Pie Crust 101

 

With the holidays upon us, I thought I'd share my Pie Crust recipe with you again.  I have started stocking up my freezer with discs of pie crust dough, pie shells, and tart shells pre-rolled ready to be filled and baked.


My daughter received an invitation from a neighbor who announced that her family loves pie so much they decided to have a pie night every Sunday during the month of November.  How fun is that?  They invite different families to their home each Sunday for pie.  I love this idea.  Maybe next year?

Disclaimer:  The following photo's are from a post from 6 years ago.  I apologize for the photography. As you can tell I'm still working on that skill.  Seriously still working on photography!!!


You will need the following:

1 cup butter, cut into pieces and frozen
1/3 cup lard or shortening, frozen
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ice water


I like to use a food processor to make my dough.  A large bowl with a pastry blender, or two knives will work just as well.  If you use a food processor, but careful not to over process the ingredients. Pie dough does not like to be handled very much.  The least attention you give it the better.

Mix the dry ingredients first then add the frozen butter and lard.  Pulse a few times to work the fats into the flour.  


Pulse until the mixture and butter is about the size of small peas.


In a measuring cup add the egg yolk and lemon juice. Mix together. Add water until the liquid comes to the 2/3 cup measure. Mix water in with the egg yolk lemon juice mixture. Pour the water over the flour mixture. Pulse food processor just until the dough begins to hold together. Do not over process or you will have a tough pie crust. 

If mixture seems to be too dry add more water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together.




Divide dough in half and form two flat discs.  Wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to rolling out.  


Pie crust discs can be placed in a plastic bag and frozen for a good 3 weeks.  Thaw in refrigerator for a few hours before rolling out.


More great news.  I have pre-made a tart shell crust to use for a Chocolate Pecan Pie.  I carefully wrap the tart pan and crust with plastic wrap then I wrap it again in foil to prevent any frostbite. Place in freezer until ready to fill.  This step really simplifies Thanksgiving pie making for me.


A pie crust with a fluted edge takes a little more care.  I like to place the pie crust in the freezer until completely frozen so I don't mess up the edges. Then I carefully wrap the frozen pie shell in plastic wrap then in foil and return to the freezer until ready to bake.


Easy as pie.  Right?


I hope this post will help inspire you to get a jump on your holiday baking.  If you'd like more detailed step-by-step photo's and instruction for rolling and baking pie crust please click on this link:

Pie Crust 


Pie Crust

1 cup butter, cut into pieces and frozen
1/3 cup lard or shortening, frozen
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ice water


Cut the butter and lard into pieces and place in the freezer. In the bowl of a food processor add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening. Pulse several times until the mixture is the size of small peas. In a measuring cup add the egg yolk and lemon juice. Mix together. Add water until the liquid comes to the 2/3 cup measure. Mix water in with the egg yolk lemon juice mixture. Pour the water over the flour mixture. Pulse food processor just until the dough begins to hold together. Do not over process or you will have a tough pie crust. Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate until cold. Can be refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 2 weeks. Makes two (9-inch) pie crusts or 1 double.

For a single pie crust: Roll out half of the dough. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Option: You can line the unbaked pie shell with parchment paper then fill with beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes. This is called blind baking the crust and helps it from not shrinking. Remove the parchment paper and beans after the 10 minutes and continue baking until golden. About an additional 4-5 minutes.

Print recipe




10.26.2016

Halloween Tricks and Treats

We try to be as non-traditional for Halloween as possible.  It's hard to explain exactly what we do with the 200+ trick or treaters that ring our door bell each year.  Since the average age is between 10 and 17 years of age, we decided to have a lot of fun with them.  

We spend a year gathering up odds and ends from around the house.  One year we gave out a purse collection that one of my daughters had from her high school years.  Yes!  She had that many. We have dropped everything into the tricksters bags from stuffed animals to college text books to wall clocks.  Funny thing is the kids keep coming back for more!  With more friends!  It's a night we look forward to all year long.  

We stay pretty traditional with our Halloween pre-trick or treat dinner.  I want to share some of my favorite Halloween treats and eats.   

Enjoy.



 Ghostly Chocolate Cupcakes




Licorice Caramels hauntingly addicting and so easy to make.




Nothing is better than Old Fashioned Spudnuts.  Fry up a batch this year.




Creepy Witch Fingers will creep out most kids.  I tried this on my Primary class, ages 7-9.  I could only get one daring boy to eat them.  He thought they were delicious.  Why wouldn't they be?  They are made with a delicious shortbread dough. 




Creamy Chicken Noodle soup is a must at our house for Halloween.  My married children still return home for a bowl of this warming chicken noodle soup.




My personal favorite for Halloween is Pumpkin Coconut Bisque.  Quick and easy to make and so comforting.

Halloween comfort foods from my family to yours.  


10.21.2016

Apple Dumpling with Apple Cider Creme Anglaise


One of the reasons I started this blog was to catalog family favorite recipes.  I can't believe it has taken me so many years to post this beloved recipe of my grandma's apple dumplings.  My grandparents had an apple orchard in Lindon, Utah.  Grandma had one particular tree that she loved for making apple dumplings.  I remember one year her tree didn't produce too many apples.  She told us not to pick any of the apples from that tree because they were for Ira's (my dad) apple dumplings.

Probably one of the fondest memories I have of my grandmother was the smell in her kitchen while she was baking apple dumplings.  The cinnamon and apple combination is heaven.  Wouldn't you agree?

This is my dad's favorite dessert.  He used to always say, "I like two kinds of pie...hot and cold apple".  I'm pretty sure he puts his mother's apple dumplings in that category.  When I told him I was making apple dumplings, he was as giddy as a little boy.  I need to make apple dumplings for him more often.


 As you can see in this photo, my grandma didn't make individual dumplings.  She gathered dough around a pile of sweetened apples.  She generally placed two large dumplings in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  If you are saying that these aren't apple dumplings, to my family they are.  They are really easy to make.  You'll love them.

Grandma topped her apple dumplings with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which is the perfect way to eat them.  I made an apple cider creme anglaise just to switch it up a bit and because it's so fabulous to serve cold over hot dumplings or crisps.


You will need:

1/2 recipe pie crust dough
8-10 cups peeled and sliced apples (I like using a tart apple that holds up to baking)
1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated preferred)
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup butter - divided
1 1/2 cups apple cider (I used fresh pressed)
1 cup water

Apple cider Creme Anglaise:
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup apple cider reduced to 1/4 cup (I used fresh pressed)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla




Pour 1 cup apple cider into a small saucepan and simmer until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup.  Set aside while making custard.


 Whisk 6 egg yolks.


Beat in 1/3 cup sugar.


Heat 1 1/2 cups whole milk in a medium saucepan.


Once milk begins to steam slowly add it to the egg/sugar mixture one ladle at a time until 3/4 of the milk has been added to the egg mixture.  Pour mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat do not boil.


Cook until mixture coats a spoon.

Strain mixture into a bowl.  Straining is always a good idea just in case some of the egg has cooked. This will make sure the custard is smooth and creamy without any lumps.

 
Stir in 1/4 cup reduced apple cider.


And 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  This can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

 

Peel, core and slice 8- 10 cups apples.


Place apples in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, juice from 1/2 lemon, zest from one lemon.  Set aside.


In a sauce pan heat 1 1/2 cups apple cider.


1 cup water.


and 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Heat until mixture simmers gently and butter melts.


Roll out chilled pie dough into a large 18-inch circle.


Mound 8-9 cups apple mixture into the center and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.


Gather and pleat pie crust around the apples.


Lift and gently place the large dumpling in a baking dish or a 12-inch cast iron skillet.


Brush crust with 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk.


Sprinkle with a bit of course sugar.

I decided to cut out some of the pie crust into leaf shapes.  I think the look more like Christmas trees.
Ha!  I purchased copper leaf shaped cookie cutters from Martha Stewart in the day.  They come in handy every now and then.


Pour hot apple cider mixture carefully around the dumpling.


Add remaining apples around the outside of the dumpling.

Note:  Dough may be divided into two rounds and made into two dumplings.  Arrange in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

This sauce is my dad's favorite part.  He calls it "the dip".

Bake the large apple dumpling in a 350F degree oven for about 60-65 minutes or until golden brown.


Serve hot with Apple Cider Creme Anglaise.


The taste of autumn.


Apple Dumplings with Apple Cider Creme Anglaise

1/2 recipe pie crust dough
8-10 cups peeled and sliced apples (I like using a tart apple that holds up to baking)
1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated preferred)
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup butter - divided
1 1/2 cups apple cider (I used fresh pressed)
1 cup water

Apple cider Creme Anglaise:
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup apple cider reduced to 1/4 cup (I used fresh pressed)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


To make the Creme Anglaise:  
Pour 1 cup apple cider into a small saucepan and simmer until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup.  Set aside while making custard.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar int medium bowl to blend.  Bring milk to a simmer in medium sauce pan.  Gradually whisk hot milk into yolk mixture.  Return mixture to saucepan.  Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves an path on the back of a spoon when finger is draw across.  Do not boil.  Strain into bowl.  whisk in reduced apple cider and vanilla.  Chill until cold, about 3 hours (Can be made 1 day in advance).  Cover and keep chilled.

To make the dumpling:

In a large bowl toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and zest.  Set aside.  roll out pie crust to an 18-inch circle.  Mound 8-9 cups apple mixture in the center of the crust, dot with 2 tablespoons butter and gently bring dough about the apples by pleating.  In a small saucepan bring apple cider, water and remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter to a simmer.  Gently pour hot mixture around the dumpling.  Arrange remaining apples in the cider.  Bake in a preheated oven for 60-65 minutes.  Dough may be divided and made into two smaller dumplings.  Place two dumplings in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.