Thanksgiving is just around the corner and as everyone is buying their turkey, green beans, and sweet potatoes to prepare the holiday’s traditional dishes, I can’t help but get caught up in thoughts of one thing… Pie, Pie, and more Pie. As a kid we always had a large spread of food at the table but it was the end of the meal that made me so excited. My family always had many different types of pies to choose from which made me ensure I left a shred of room to try slices of a few different ones.
The most famous pie of the season and go to at Thanksgiving is undoubtedly Pumpkin. It is a flavor that seems to only have a rightful place this time of year. Everyone can’t wait for the time of year to come around so they can enjoy pumpkin again, but at the same token are very quick to dump the thought of Pumpkin once Thanksgiving ends, trading it for frosted sugar cookies and peppermint, even though pumpkin is still readily available in our modern market.
The pie that takes a backseat to Pumpkin but manages to sneak onto most family’s Thanksgiving spreads is Pecan. I never cared for Pecan Pie growing up. It was always too dry and overly sweet. A few years ago I thought I would give the pie a try having more grown up taste buds. I did enjoy it more than I did as a kid but it still couldn’t beat out Pumpkin for my fall favorite pie. I made sure not to burn the thing but it still had way too much sweetness.
A few more years passed and here we are today. This time I decided to use a more traditional recipe for Pecan Pie that did not use the processed, overly sweet Karo Syrup that originally marketed the pie to fame. The traditional style recipes of the south uses less processed syrups like sorghum and cane syrup. Sorghum is made from cereal grass and cane syrup comes from boiled down juice of the sugarcane plant. These aren’t widely available unless you scour organic markets or live in the south. Hence why Karo takes the place of these since it is more affordable and widely available. It is very easy to replicate the old-fashioned flavors using molasses, brown sugar, and pure maple syrup.
To kick the pie up a notch and stray from tradition just a wee bit I added a touch of Bourbon. You can use any type of whiskey but my boozy preference is Bourbon. Be sure to use mild or regular molasses and not the more potent blackstrap variety. Also be sure not to use imitation maple syrup over pure as the results would be similar to the Karo syrup recipes since both are filled with corn syrup as main ingredients and produce overly processed, intensely sweet final products. You need the pure maple syrup to give complexity and compliment the earthy tones of the toasted pecans.
As an option you can serve this with some whipped cream dolloped on top. If you really want to drive home the boozy flavor you can even add a bit of bourbon or other whiskey to the whipped cream. Add about 2 tbsp. of Bourbon per cup of heavy cream. Whip to stiff peaks with 1 tbsp. of light brown sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla. Keep refrigerated until ready to use or about 4 hours. This recipe makes 3 mini pies. You will need 3 mini tartlet pans.
Boozy Pecan Pies
- ½ cup Maple Syrup
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
- ¼ cup Heavy Cream
- ½ tbsp. Molasses
- 1 tbsp. Bourbon
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 3 Egg Yolks
- ¾ cup Pecans; toasted & chopped
- 1 Sheet of Rolled Pie Crust; such as Pillsbury
- Unroll one sheet of pie crust over the first tartlet pan. Gently press into bottom and sides. Gather remaining dough and re-roll. Repeat with the remaining two tartlet pans. Place all three prepared pans in the refrigerator and chill crust for at least 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 450°. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, sugar, cream, molasses, and bourbon. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove the syrup mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled, whisk in the butter and salt until combined. Quickly whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated.
- Remove the tartlet pans from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet. Divide an even amount of pecans between the three tartlet pans and scatter pecans into each pie shell. Carefully pour the syrup mixture over the pecans. Place the pies in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Bake until the filling is set. The pie center will still jiggle slightly when the baking sheet is gently shaken, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool pies on a rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until completely set, about 3 hours but no longer than 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired. Bourbon whipped cream recipe can be found in the final paragraph above.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM DIANE UNGER
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013
Now that the holidays are approaching the shopping fever is beginning. What also begins is the hunt for the perfect Holiday Cookies to serve at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I am a bit of a conservative traditionalist and Thanksgiving always has to have that Pumpkin or Pecan Pie and Christmas always must have its Sugar Cookies cut into fun holiday shapes but I also like to always add one new element to the table. A little bit of a mix between old traditional favorites you look forward to every year and a new and exciting thing to try to spice up the look of the table and cause some fun discussions. So for the next few weeks I will be testing some cookies. I’ll be sure to throw in some other items, like a cake I have in find, however it will still be inspired by a famous Christmas cookie 😉
So I introduce to you the first cookie on the hunt for 2012’s Most Interesting Holiday Cookies… The Hazelnut Kahlua Chew. This cookie is loaded with all the goodies…. Nutella, Alcohol, Sugar. What better way to satisfy all your holiday cravings in one bite size on the go cookie. And not to mention Nutella is trending at the moment and with good reason. It’s rich blend of hazelnut and chocolate makes it a snap to add both amazingly compatible flavors to just about anything you can think of. Top that trendy pairing off with a dash of coffee flavored liquor that never goes out of style and you got yourself the perfect cookie addition that makes you psychologically believe you’re boozing up, a popular way to pass the stressful holiday season and caffeinating yourself for the long days ahead without having to stop at McD’s for a cup of Joe. This bite size confection is incredibly delicious, spectacularly simple, and way too easy to snatch along for the ride throughout all your holiday travels.
A few notes before I send you off to baking. Although I love the flavor the Kahlua adds to the cookies and wouldn’t recommend deleting its presence from the formula, I do understand people have their own preferences regarding alcohol. Either they do not like alcohol or do not like the thought of it in a cookie that kids may eat, despite the fact that all alcohol is burned off in baking. With those individuals in mind, you can substitute 1 tsp. of Instant Espresso powder for the Kahlua. That way, you still retain the coffee flavor and the benefits coffee flavors have on blooming and defining the flavors of chocolate already present. For those that may not be familiar with the Nutella craze, Nutella is a chocolate-hazelnut spread with a texture much like that of peanut butter. It is conveniently sold in most supermarkets in the peanut butter aisle. You will need one jar for this formula. The formula makes 3 ½ dozen cookies.
Hazelnut Kahlua Chews
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 1 ¼ cups Nutella Spread
- 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cups Sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp. Kahlua or Coffee flavored liquor
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 cup Milk
- 1 ½ cups Hazelnuts, toasted & chopped fine
- 1 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
- Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the Nutella, butter, and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, Kahlua, and eggs and mix until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and milk, mixing until just combined. Fold in ½ cup hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour.
- Place the remaining hazelnuts in a bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in another bowl. Once dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll in the hazelnuts and then in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set and a little cracked on the surface, about 8 minutes, making sure to rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time. Cool 5 minutes on the warm pans and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM JENNIFER PARKS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2012
Of all the requests I receive to prepare desserts, there is one particular component that is always mentioned no matter what age, sex, or cultural background…chocolate. Then if it wasn’t cliche enough, when asked what kind of item the individuals wanted me to incorporate the chocolate ingredient into, I get the generic pastry offering….cake. I suppose I was expecting them to say something like “the sky is the limit” or “you choose something exotic for us to try but be sure to incorporate chocolate”…but instead I get “cake…how about cake”. It must be the itch inside of me to now make grand, exotic pastries having completed culinary school and had it pressed into my brain the entire time to come up with new and cutting edge items to serve for 5* establishments that I now find it hard to go back to making products you could easily find on a bakery shelf in your local grocery store. Although it is hard to undo the damage of Le Cordon Bleu, I do see the point of locations such as Publix (local grocery store chain) preparing the simple yet satisfying items such as chocolate cake and apple pie. They are comfort foods to Americans and no matter how many exotic offerings you could place in front of them, each and every person would end up at least having one bite of that chocolate cake or apple pie. Which led me to prepare today’s offering…chocolate cake. In order to spruce up the typical chocolate cake, I decided to take the Le Cordon Bleu method and spike it with a bit of liqueur. At Le Cordon Bleu, we had a tremendous amount of liquor at our disposal and one of my favorites to work with was Kahlúa. So to spice up the traditional chocolate cake and prevent my sheer boredom, I added a generous amount of Kahlúa brand rum & coffee-flavored liqueur.
A common professional way to intensify chocolate flavor in products is to add coffee. The flavor profiles of chocolate and coffee enhance each other on the palette, bringing forth the chocolates richness. Many recipes add instant coffee to the cake batter in order to achieve this but I chose to use a coffee flavored liqueur instead. To further enhance the chocolate flavor beyond the coffee trick, I swapped some flour with cocoa powder, which not only added more chocolate flavor but also allowed the minimization of melted chocolate in the formula, which helps to cut down on fat in consideration of the addition of liquor. One last way to optimize chocolate flavor, plus add moisture to prevent a dry, crumbly cake was the unexpected addition of chocolate syrup. For the chocolate glaze, I used a traditional butter, confectioner’s sugar, and milk mixture as the base. To create a rich, chocolatey flavor, I added melted chocolate, swapped some cocoa powder for a portion of the confectioner’s sugar, and added a bit of Kahlúa.
Kahlúa Chocolate Cake
- 3 oz. Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 tbsp. Chocolate Syrup
- 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp. Kahlúa Original (or your favorite coffe-flavored liqueur)
- 1 ½ cups Low-Fat Milk
- Chocolate Kahlúa Frosting (formula follows)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 350°. Line bottom of one 13×9 in. pan or two 8 in. pans with parchment. Spray sides of pan with cooking spray. Melt chocolate with cocoa powder until smooth. Once smooth, whisk in the chocolate syrup. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and continue creaming until incorporated. Add melted chocolate mixture and beat until mixture is thick and appears grainy. Add eggs, vanilla, and Kahlúa. Beat on medium-high until mixture is fluffy and pale brown. With mixer on low speed, add a portion of the flour mixture. Once incorporated add half of the milk. Repeat until all of the milk and flour mixture has been incorporated. Be sure to end with the last addition of the flour mixture. Beat until no lumps remain, on medium speed. Be sure not to overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top and gently tap the pan to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes then invert the cake out of its pan. Peel off the parchment paper and re-invert to cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Kahlúa Frosting
- 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
- 1 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Kahlúa Liqueur
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
- 3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
- 1 cup Skim Milk
- Melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in the salt and Kahlúa until dissolved and transfer to mixing bowl to cool, about 10 minutes.
- Sift cocoa and confectioners’ sugar together in a bowl. With mixer on low, gradually add cocoa/chocolate mixture. The mixture will appear grainy. Gradually add milk until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread on cooled cake.
Special Thanks to: Kahlúa Original Liqueur & Sandra Wu
(Mentions of KAHLÚA® Liqueur are ©2011 The Kahlúa Company)
All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012