Friday, January 25, 2013

Texas Buttermilk Pecan Pie

So, before Thanksgiving I was looking for a *different* kind of Pecan Pie recipe. Wanted something that would cut through that cloyingly sweet, gummy business that it usually has. My friend (maybe he's my new cooking guru) Mike sent me this (I've mentioned before that he's about to publish a book, right?). From a pastry chef he worked with who trained at Stars in San Francisco. The tang of the buttermilk does just what I needed. And there's just enough pecans to be nutty and rich, but not oily.

And the sugar forms this amazingly delicious, caramel-y, crispy crust on top that you have to experience to believe.

I toasted my pecans to give a little extra smoky nutty flavor to the pie, but you can do whatever you like best!

Here's the recipe:

Texas Buttermilk Pecan Pie *click here for printable version*
recipe courtesy Peter Jackson via Mike Bottoms

1/2 c. butter, slightly softened
2 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. pecans

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 300 for 1-1/2 hours.

- do not use more than 3/4 cup pecans or pie will be oily and not solidify
- after 1-1/2 hours, the center should be almost set when you shake it
- make sure to cool the pie and then refrigerate for best flavor

Perfect way to celebrate National Pie Day!

TGIP Rating--Texas Buttermilk Pecan Pie--KEEPER. So good. I could eat it every night. Okay, maybe not every night. Every OTHER night. And on alternating nights I'd have Cherry Pie.

Next up: A variation on these bars. With coffee buttercream. And maybe something crispy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cherry Chocolate Truffles with Coconut

Truffles are SO EASY! Who knew?! Recipe is here. There are a couple of things I would change about this one: 1) I would add more cherry extract than the recipe calls for, I could barely taste the cherry at all; and 2) I would pour the ganache--(look how pretty--smooth and shiny)--

into a bigger pan to cool/harden (I used an 8x8 baking pan). I think with a thinner layer of it, it would be easier to scoop/scrape into balls and I wouldn't end up using my hands to roll them. Hands aren't the best tool for ganache, it melts SO quickly.

This article was in the December 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine. I think I'll try more combinations since they're so easy.

TGIP Rating--Cherry Chocolate Truffles with Coconut--KEEPER. Delicious and easy!

Next up: A variation on these bars. With coffee buttercream. And maybe something crispy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Doughnut Bread Pudding

No, I still can't give you the recipe because it still belongs to this guy (and I don't want him to look at me like this):

BUT, I will say this: you know that favorite bread pudding recipe you have? The one that was handed down from your Great Aunt Mabel? Make it exactly like you do with bread, except use leftover doughnuts. And maybe waffles just for some texture variety. What's that? You've never heard of "leftover" doughnuts? You don't make doughnuts at home? Fine. Use these (or something like them) (and also, stale) (I used about 14-15 oz for an 8x8 pan):

And here's some bonus advice from him ^ as you're making your egg/milk mixture--you should be able to smell the egg and vanilla, but just barely smell the sugar. Wise.

Then, maybe, for a change, sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top instead of brown sugar (doesn't it look fuzzy and cozy?):

And, you know, bake it. Like you do. And you can top it with whatever sauce you like. Something rummy? Sure! Or something like this:

You do have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, right? Good. I thought you did.

Next up: I wanted to make these Cherry Chocolate Truffles with Coconut for Christmas, but got too lazy. Not baking, in the strictest sense of the word, but still. I've never made truffles and want to give them a try.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review

I think I did substantially less baking in 2012 than I have in recent years past. Some incredible successes and some astounding failures.  Here are my favorites of the year:

Coconut Cream Pie (regular) and Chocolate

Coming in 2013: I'm not going to get specific here. Seems like when I do, the specific thing I mention is the ONE thing I don't get around to over the course of the year. So, I'll just say this: lots of good stuff, including maybe some modern reworkings of very old-world traditional holiday baked goods. I will also reiterate my annual plea: FRIENDS and FAMILY WHO LIVE NEARBY come over and eat things! They may not always be good, they may be on their way to something better, but come be my guinea pigs!

First up: Mister did his usual homemade doughnuts for Christmas morning this year. Lots of leftovers, which we popped in the be used in bread pudding...along with some leftover waffles.