Since watching Gone with The Wind and reading Cold Mountain for the first time last year the American South has become an intriguing obsession, especially when it comes to food. I have never been to the south but the romantic descriptions of sweet tea, salt pork, red eye gravy and fried chicken skins makes my mouth water. So today i decided to bake something I have never tried or made before, Pecan Pie. First of all finding dark corn syrup in rainy Cambridge was my first mission, which i failed and had to settle for golden syrup, corn syrup can only be bought in the UK online or in specialist stores. I used a mixture of different recipes I have picked up and tried to create my own… which turned out not so bad. (^-^)
What You Need:
Pastry: 1 egg, 175g butter, 250g plain flour, 20g caster sugar, 1 tbsp water
Filling: 100g pecans, 50g butter, 3 large eggs, grind of salt, 250ml golden syrup, 25ml apricot brandy, 200g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c.
In a mixing bowl sieve the flour and rub in the butter to create bread crumbs, then stir in the sugar. Add the egg and water and combine with a round edged knife in cutting motions. Once into a ball, kneed lightly on a floured surface and refrigerate for 10mins. Then roll out the pastry to fit the case and refrigerate for a further 20mins.
For the filling, add the syrup, sugar and salt to a pan and melt down and boil. Set aside. Whisk three eggs in a heatproof bowl and pour in the slightly cooled mixture. Over a tray of boiling water place the bowl of mixture into the bath and stir vigourously making sure it is combined well, then adding the butter and brandy. Place the chopped pecans into the refrigerated pastry case and pour over the warm mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 45 mins or until dark brown. Then serve.
This month I decided to try the famous cupcake bakery which is in London and New York. The book is a joy to look at with delicious pictures and easy to follow instructions. I wanted to try the Key Lime Pie, as this is something I have never tried before and is not a popular treat in the UK, but is a traditional american dessert, naked after the Florida grown lime .also i had loads of limes left over from christmas (^-^) . I suppose a key lime pie is a cross between a cheesecake and a lemon meringue pie.
The natural green filing and the crunchy biscuit crust really compliment well, topped with fluffy meringue, or cream . I will definitely try this again as it is so easy to make, does not take much time and I think will suit well for summer BBQs and parties. The book helped me perfect my biscuit crust skill which before was hit and miss. You can find the book in all good bookstores, i got mine for christmas. Yum .
My Family sat down today to a lovely traditional pork roast dinner, which was lovely. So I decided to make a dessert for everyone. I was a bit dubious at the start as for starters when it comes to pastry making I feel a little devil is sitting on my shoulder watching me screw up, and secondly cooked bananas have never been my taste, ever since eating a tin foil wrapped hot banana with chocolate sauce on a very cold and wet camping trip with the Cub Scouts when I was a child. However, a new challenge is always good, and I will never perfect my pastry making skills unless I keep practising, and the result was not bad at all, but quite delicious!
What you Need:
Filling: 7 bananas, 100g of butter, 1/2 cup of water, 1tsp of mixed spice ( cinnamon, coriander and cloves), 2tsp vanilla extract, 1tablespoon of caster sugar. Syrup : 4 tsp butter (melted) 1/2 tsp of mixed spice
(For the pastry I followed a simple short-crust pastry recipe, which I let rest in the refrigerator for one hour and the rolled out and baked blind)
Preheat the oven to 180c
Simply, slice four bananas and add to a saucepan with the water, butter, vanilla, spices and sugar. On a low heat gently heat and watch the the butter melt and the bananas soften, until it forms a nice thick sauce. Set aside to cool. Then pour into the awaiting pastry case and even out with a spatula. With remaining bananas chop and arange on the top of the mixture. Place in the oven for 10mins.
Whilist in the oven prepare a light syrup with melted butter and mixed spice. Once the pie is heated take it out and pour over the syrup and spinkle the top of the tart with sugar. Pop the tart under a hot gril for 2-3mins, or until golden brown.
Serve hot with a dollop of fresh cream. (^-^)