Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Chocolate Drizzled
Pecan Pie
Mm mm mm, Pecan Pie!
A classic Southern comfort dessert. Visually spectacular
with a touch of orange!
I remember travelling through Georgia, on our way to Florida. 
A beautiful luscious green State, full of friendly people.
Huge signs, competing with one another, directing us where to get off of the Interstate. Swaying our desires with sweet promises of pecan rolls, gooey caramel, richly coated pecan candy. Shelled, toasted, roasted or soft shell nuts.
Generally we stopped on our way home so I could have goods to bake with when we arrived home to use with all of my creature comforts!
On our last trip, years ago when the children were small, I got a tutorial from the local seller.
I asked why there were so many types of pecans?
Truthfully I only see one type in the bulk or grocery stores.
With or without the shell.
Well, I got the pecan lesson of my life.
All these years I thought pecans came in red shells and he explained that, the shell turns red when refrigerated or frozen and becomes hard as it ages.
Which is why you need nutcrackers.
The soft shell, a certain variety is picked sooner which is why you could crack the shell with your fingers just by squeezing the nut!
Who knew?
Those shells were all brown and not polished and red like they are here.
Needless to say that year I baked the most wonderful textured pecan pies and boy could everyone who ate them taste the difference with the crunch of the nuts. They truly had a different texture to them.
They were so inexpensive I literally brought back pounds for consuming, baking and sharing.
Well if we ever venture back,
driving down to Florida...
I'll certainly know what to look for!
I make it a rule when travelling to any country to find out what foods represent their region. We always stopped at the side markets to get snacks and talk to the locals. Who better to give you information?
Unfortunately when we travelled through Georgia we were never there in peach season. Another treasure that Georgia has to offer!
This recipe has a touch of orange flavour for an added subtle taste in it's gooey texture and it is not too sweet. This crust has butter and brown sugar in it, lending a texture similar to a cookie crunch, preventing it from becoming soggy...not that it would last long enough to get soggy in my house.
2 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed or shredded
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lg egg, whisked
pinch of salt
ice cold water (a bowl of water with ice cubes in it)
This makes two crusts. Divide in half
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Place dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk ingredients to remove any lumps.
Cut in the shortenings with a pastry cutter or rub shortening into the flour with your hands, working quickly so as not to melt the shortenings.
Pour the liquids in and stir with a fork. It will look raggedy.
Add 4-5 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing to see is the mixture sticks together.  The amount you need depends on the humidity in the air. Do not over mix. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate to allow the dough to rest and harden for 1hr.
Roll between two lightly floured sheets of wax paper. This prevents the dough from coming into contact with your body temperature, softening the dough.
Peel back the top paper when you have rolled as much as you can. Flip the package over. Now the bottom is on the top, peel back the wax paper and continue to roll and peel to the desired size. This allows the dough to expand without sticking to the paper.
If the dough begins to stick to the paper, lightly flour it.
You may also get cracks or tears.
No worries, take a chunk off of an uneven part and patch it up and continue rolling.
When it has been rolled 2" wider than your pie plate, peel top layer of wax paper off.  Place the pie plate upside down, centre the dish over the dough. Place one hand under the wax paper and flip the dough into the dish.
The bottom wax paper is now on top. Peel it off. Using a knife or scissors, evenly cut around the dough, leaving an inch overhang. Set scraps aside.
Roll the overhang under, creating an even and thick edge. Begin to pinch ridge as seen in diagram, to create a design. Pierce dough all over with a fork to allow air to escape when baking. This process is called docking.

Layer the nuts decoratively over the crust and pour in the filling. Press the toasted nuts down, immersing so as to coat the nuts with the sugar filling.
3 lg. eggs
1 tbsp orange or mandarin zest
3 tsp orange or mandarin juice
1/3 cup each of sugar and brown sugar
1 cup light golden corn syrup
2tbsp butter, melted
2 cup pecan halves, toasted
Place pecans onto a baking sheet and toast for 10 min on 350F, cool, set aside.
In a large stand mixer bowl with a paddle attached, whip on medium speed all of the filling ingredients.
2 squares of dark chocolate
Melt in the microwave for 1min on high. Remove and stir to melt all of the chocolate.

Bake in a preheated 350F for 40-50min until top is golden brown.
Drizzle melted chocolate over completely cooled pie.
Enjoy with love!

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