Pecan pie

I met Monette when we were in first grade (age 7) in school. Then we became neighbours in 1985. She recently moved to London to study and work, and after 8 months, she found her way on a megabus to visit me in Cardiff. Yay!

So, a special treat was in store for this wonderful visit. Drinks on Friday night with friends from work, Saturday brunch on my balcony and home-made dinner, and Sunday kedgeree brunch (from previous post) and trip to the beach.

I wanted to try a new dessert from one of the cookbooks I got for my birthday– I got 2 cookbooks from Dan and 2 from my brother and his wife. More on the other cookbooks in the next posts. For this pecan pie, I used a recipe from the hummingbird bakery cookbook.

It was a decision between pecan or key lime pie. Pecan won.

basic pie dough on tuesys hand © dan and tuesy

basic pie dough on tuesy's hand © dan and tuesy

You need:

  • Basic pie crust dough – the recipe I used will be for another post, here are some recipes
  • 100g chopped pecan nuts, leave some whole ones to put on top
  • 3 eggs
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250ml golden syrup – if you can find dark corn syrup, use that instead
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Tools

  • 23-cm pie dish
  • rolling pin
  • preheated oven at 170˚C

What to do:

  1. Dust a clean work surface in your kitchen with flour. Roll out the dough using the rolling pin. Line the pie dish with the dough and then trim the edges.
  2. In a large saucepan, put the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil on medium heat then remove from the heat. Allow it to cool a little but don’t let it cool down completely or it will be very thick!
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs until they are mixed. Pour the warm syrup into the eggs and stir quickly.
  4. Add butter and vanilla extract to the mixture until the butter has melted and evenly distributed.
  5. Put the chopped pecan nuts into the crust then pour the mixture on top of it. Put the remaining pecan nuts on top of the mixture, close to the edge.
  6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until it is a caramel colour.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream!

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Smoked fish pie

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This is an easy one, and pies look quite impressive, especially if you pretend you made your own puff pastry. Quick! Grab yourself the following ingredients:

450g smoked haddock fillet, skinned
200ml carton creme fraiche
15g plain flour
20g flat-leafed parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry

  1. Preheat a large shallow baking tray in the oven set at 230C (210C fan oven). Try and pull out any stray bones from your haddock. Got them all out? Nothing spoils a fish pie like the fear of deadly little bones lurking inside it. When your fish has been cleared of these nasty little spears, cut it into little chunks.
  2. Save one teaspoon of creme fraiche for later, and put the rest into a bowl with the fish, flour and parsley. Mix it all together and season with salt and black pepper. Lots of black pepper works well for me.
  3. Now you’ll need a second baking tray. Roll out the pastry onto it, and brush the edges with water to moisten it. It’s like licking your envelope ready to seal it shut. But please don’t lick the pastry, especially not if any of your dinner guests are watched. Dollop the fish into the pastry and spread it over one half of the sheet. Leave a border along those wet edges. Fold the pastry to seal your fishy envelope, pressing the edges together. If you’re feeling fancy, you can crimp the edges. I’m just happy if I can get the pie to stay shut.
  4. Mix that last bit of creme fraiche with a little water and brush it over te top of the pie to glaze it, then slash the pastry with some diagonal lines, Freddy Kreuger-style, so that the steam doesn’t get trapped and explosive during cooking.
  5. I often have trouble getting the pie to bake evenly – the base sometimes burns before the top of the pastry has cooked enough to rise. The trick is to put your second baking tray, the one with the pie on it, on top of the hot one in the oven, and cook it for about half an hour (you’ll know when it’s sufficiently golden brown).

I promise you will want to eat all the pies if they’re as good as this one. You can use different fish if you prefer – the effect will be much the same, and you can serve it with your own choice of steamed or roasted vegetables, or have it with a salad. Better still might be to scoff it out of a paper bag while sitting on a cold, wet, windy sea-front, but that’s just me.