Peppermint Brownie Bites

dsc_0163Does it feel like 2013 is already flying by for everyone??? For myself it definitely has. I know the posts have been lacking in frequency lately but it has been a crazy past few weeks for me. I just recently gave birth to my first child at the end of January and it has been a whirlwind ever since. From the sleepless nights to family staying in the house for a visit, it has not been the ample environment for baking and blogging. Have no fear though… I did squeeze in some time for a quick little Valentine’s Day themed post since the holiday is fast approaching.

dsc_0197Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that… for most… can be controversial depending on your relationship status at the time. For me it has always been a good day despite my former single years. Although there was a time I hated the holiday more than I do now, I still always dreamed of the day I would be able to share it with someone who would appreciate me and appreciate spending such a day with me. Now I no longer have to dream of that day but actually get to experience it… so all those years of waiting were not in vain and I’m glad that I never looked at the holiday too sourly just because I may have been a bit bitter toward all the mushy stuff at the time. The recipe I present to you today is one that I made during those single years and have carried with me ever since. They are quick and simple which gives you ample time to spend with your sweetheart. Depending on the tastes of the ones your sharing these little bites with, you can either leave them plain, frost them, or add a little decal to the frosting for added character. I left some plain for my boyfriend since he doesn’t care for frosting and I frosted the rest with decals added to bring out the Valentine’s Day theme further.

dsc_0200Besides using pink frosting and heart decals for a Valentine’s theme, I also used a small heart cookie cutter to cut the cooled brownies into a fitting shape. With that said, you can make these brownie bites for different holidays in the future by using alternative shapes or simply cutting them into squares for everyday munching. I am going to provide a formula for the brownies, however if you really want to shortcut the process and need to make these brownies in a jiffy, you can use a box brownie mix, plain fudge or double fudge recipes only, and follow the package instructions for preparation. Once the batter is prepared, pour half in the pan, cover with peppermint candies, then spread the remaining batter over top and bake as directed. I don’t recommend as from scratch is always better and doesn’t have that synthetic artificial taste but it is always great to have a quick go to method for emergencies which is why I will still mention it as you never know when you may need to prepare something and be short on time. I couldn’t be more aware of that now with having a newborn in the house of a baker.

dsc_0207Peppermint Brownie Bites

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 2 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
  • ¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 16 York Peppermint Patties (or other chocolate covered Peppermint candy)

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to its middle position and heat to 350°. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil and be sure to leave an overhang of about 1 inch on all sides. 
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler. Set aside to cool slightly. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Gently fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated. 
  3. Pour enough batter to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Spread the batter evenly and tap on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. There should be about 1 cup of batter remaining to pour on top. Arrange the peppermint patties over the smoothed batter. Be sure to leave about ½ in. between each piece. Pour the reserved batter over the peppermint candies and smooth. 
  4. Bake the brownies until just set in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for approximately 2 hours. Once cooled, grab the foil overhang and lift the brownies from the pan. Place the brownies on a cutting board. Choose a cookie cutter shape and carefully arrange and cut out the brownies in your desired shape making sure to strategically plan out your placement of the cutter to maximize the amount of shaped brownies you will receive. Once cut, you can leave the shapes plain or frost them with a flavor and color of your choice. Brownies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days.

dsc_0201SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM LAUREN CHATTMAN 

dsc_0173ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

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St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes

Happy Hump Day Everyone!!! Boy has it been a rough couple of weeks but have no fear I am still around and today I will be bringing you a regional favorite that you may not be aware of if you have never been to the Midwest. Although I haven’t visited my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa in a while, I still remember some of the regions favorites… Taco pizza from Happy Joe’s, Maid Rite Sandwiches, Chicago Style Coney Dogs, and for dessert the Gooey Butter Cake of St. Louis, Missouri. This quirky dessert is a favorite of St. Louisans  and according to the area bakeries it is an acquired taste of the locals. I gave it a shot and I must say was surprised at how delicious it is. Now there are two different types of Gooey Butter Cake. The first is one with a cake batter/cake mix bottom with the gooey layer up top. This is often found in St. Louis supermarkets, restaurants, and made by the home baker as it is easier than the original. However that type of Gooey Butter Cake is more like a chewy and messy bar cookie rather than a delicious cake. The original formula for Gooey Butter Cake resembles an old-fashioned coffee cake base made up of yeast dough and topped with a gooey custard. The second type of Gooey Butter Cake is the one you see in the photos and is worthy of regional recognition. As popular as the Gooey Butter Cake is it comes as no surprise that there are many claims to its fame in St. Louis. Several bakeries were making it years and years ago but two particular families have their own stories claiming they made the original and all the other bakeries followed suit after it’s popularity peaked. The most accepted origin of the cake is that it occurred by accident in the 1930’s by a German-American St. Louis baker who was attempting to make a regular cake but reversed the proportions of certain ingredients. The bakery owner, John Hoffman, had hired a new baker who certainly messed up the formula and created this concoction. Being that it was during the Great Depression, a little screw up was a big deal and so rather than throw out the large amount of screwed up cake, they decided to sell it. Surprisingly it became a huge hit at the bakery and so then they were forced to try to duplicate it. Once it was duplicated they began selling the Gooey Butter Cake as a staple item of their bakery and other bakeries nearby followed suit, creating St. Louis’ most popular ethnic treat. I have chosen two produce two flavors of Gooey Butter Cake, Butterscotch and Chocolate, although there are several more flavors you could experiment with and try. The classic flavor is vanilla and that formula I will provide below. I will also provide the alterations to the original formula so that you can also produce the Butterscotch and Chocolate varieties seen in the photographs. A few quick notes before I leave you… Be sure to remove the cake from the oven when the perimeter is golden brown and the center jiggles when gently shaken. The topping will continue to set up with residual heat as the cake cools. The secret ingredients in this formula that are not exactly traditional but allow ease for the home baker to recreate the original in a snap are light corn syrup and Instant Pudding mixes. These two ingredients quality are crucial. The corn syrup aids in the gooey topping and the instant pudding adds flavor, sweetness, and structure to the gooey topping that would otherwise be much harder to achieve. I suggest using Karo brand corn syrup and Jell-O brand Instant Pudding for best results.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Ingredients: (Original Vanilla Version)

Dough:

  • ¼ cup Milk, heated to 110°
  • 1 ½ tsp. Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ cups Bread Flour
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened & cut into pieces

Topping:

  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 2 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)

Formula:

  1. For Dough: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 200°. When the oven is preheated to 200°, turn it off. Line an 8-in. square baking pan with foil. Grease the foil and a medium sized bowl. 
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix milk and yeast on low speed until the yeast dissolves. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour and mix until combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated, then continue mixing for 5 minutes. Transfer batter prepared bowl, cover with plastic, and place in the warmed oven. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Heat oven to 350°.
  3. For Topping: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add corn syrup, egg, and vanilla until combined. Add flour and pudding mix and continue mixing until just incorporated. Portion dollops of topping evenly over batter, then spread into an even layer.
  4. Once oven is fully heated, bake until exterior is golden and center of topping is just beginning to color. The center will still jiggle slightly when you shake the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan at least 3 hours. Use the foil overhang to lift the cake out of the pan. Dust the cake with some confectioner’s sugar. Serve. If the entire cake is not completely consumed at once the cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. 
 

Alternate Versions:

Chocolate Fudge Gooey Butter Cake

Following the formula above make the following adjustments. For the dough, replace 3 tbsp. flour with an equal amount of Dutch-Processed Cocoa powder. For the topping, substitute 3 tbsp. instant Chocolate Fudge pudding mix for the vanilla pudding mix.

Butterscotch Gooey Butter Cake

Following the formula above make the following adjustments. For the dough, substitute ¼ cup packed light brown sugar for the granulated sugar. For the topping, substitute 3 tbsp. instant Butterscotch pudding mix for the vanilla pudding mix.

Special Thanks To:


Cali Rich

Peter Mendoros – Photography

Jello Brand Pudding © 2012 Kraft Foods

Karo Brand Syrup © 2012 ACH Food Companies, Inc.


All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012


Carrot Cupcakes

Spring is officially here. The plants are in full bloom, spring breakers are flooding the area, and the Easter holiday is just around the corner. I must say I do love the smell of Orange Blossoms in full bloom, which scents the air of citrus when I walk out my door. It is most definitely the best perk of living outside the city and near the orange groves. The thing I hate most about spring happens to be the spring breaker tourists, which remind me of the long few months ahead of tourists. I shouldn’t much complain about tourists I suppose, as they do keep me busy in business equaling  more hours and a larger paycheck. However I can’t get myself to like the onslaught of invaders crowding the Florida roadways with maps on the steering wheel driving twenty miles under the speed limit looking for the nearest Disney World signs and causing me to leave for work and school hours in advance just to get anywhere on time. Perhaps the best part of spring is Easter as I love all holidays. I love the food, I love the cute Easter bunny toys and bags and chocolates. It is with the Easter bunny in mind that this cupcake has come about. What better way to lure the Easter bunny to your home then with his favorite food inside it… the carrot. Carrot Cake is traditionally…well a cake cut into squares and covered in a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. But in order to make it more accessible for mom or dad err I mean the Easter Bunny to eat on the go after hiding countless Easter eggs and baskets around the house, I present to you the Carrot Cupcake.

These little Easter delights are a mouthful of moist and richly spiced cake with a fluffy sweet cream cheese frosting. The Easter bunny would never know these cupcake versions of the 1970’s cake fad were once considered health food as they are so deliciously satisfying as a junk food treat. By adding chopped walnuts and raisins, they are also more interesting and a bit more eclectic when put against the traditional cake. Even though the Carrot Cupcakes are reminiscent of a bake sale offering for children they are most definitely a grown up treat. So to all the Easter Bunnies out there this year…enjoy a treat designed just for you!!!

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup Flour
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ # Carrots, peeled and grated/processed
  • ½ cup Raisins, chopped
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°. Line a standard sized muffin tin with cupcake liners. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. 
  2. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool frost cakes with a thick and even layer of cream cheese frosting (formula follows).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened but slightly cool
  • 1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened, cut into pieces
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar together until it appears light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition (you should have about four pieces). Add the vanilla and mix gently until no lumps remain.
  2. Using an offset spatula, gently spread a thick layer of frosting over the cooled cupcakes.

Special Thanks To:

Keri Fisher

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Happy Tuesday everyone. Sorry for the momentary disappearance from my blogging recently but I have just acquired a new job and have been dedicated to learning my training. Let me tell you it took too much out of me and whenever I would come home it was way too much to even think about looking at a computer screen, let alone writing all night. So on my day off, my gift to you is a post on Pumpkin Spice cupcakes. My mood was feeling simplistic and this is the result. It probably would have been better to post this around Halloween or Thanksgiving perhaps…well at least the fall season, but of course me the procrastinator waited until almost Spring! Oh well, as the saying goes better late then never.

 So to start these simple Pumpkin inspired cupcakes, you can do one of two things based upon your skill level or your alotted time needed. You can either make the cupcake batter from scratch or you can buy a boxed spice cake mix and build on it from there. I suggest for the best results to make the batter from scratch but as always sometimes we have short notices and we all have lives and it is often hard to spare enough time for kitchen matters. Completely understandable. Regardless they will turn out delicious, impressive, and best of all… simple. If you choose to make the spice cake batter from scratch you will need a handful of spices on hand. For the most important spice, Cinnamon, I chose to use a certain variety for in this formula.

Although it is not required that you use China Cassia or Ceylon Cinnamon as I did, I do recommend using either as it does add an exoticism to the flavor of the cupcake. Some of the other spices you will need is Allspice, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mace, and Cloves. This combination of spices provides a perfect compliment to the Pumpkin and gives rich flavor to the cupcakes without overpowering the pumpkin flavor, only enhancing. Keeping in mind not to overpower the pumpkin or spice flavoring of the cake itself, I chose a Simple Buttercream formula for the frosting, flavored only with a hint of vanilla as not to detract from the cake but rather enhance it with a smooth creaminess up top. With the theme of pumpkin in mind, the frosting is tinted orange. For this I used Wilton’s Orange dye to achieve a light pastel orange that remains soft and elegant on the eye. You don’t want it to be the actual color of the pumpkin which is much darker and brighter as it will take away from the sheer elegance and look more like a store bought kid’s party cupcake, which is fine for your child’s birthday but for this particular formula we want adult, classy cupcakes here 🙂 One the pastel orange color is mixed, grab your decorator’s bag and a star tip (I used #843). You can choose to decorate the tops in any way that you wish however. I have provided you two simple examples. The first and perhaps easiest is simply piping the typical swirl topping around the entire surface of the cupcake. I did two sweeps around to give height to the cupcake then topped it with some prepared nut topping anyone can find in your local supermarket near the packaged nuts of your baking aisle or near the ice cream toppings. The other option is to use a small star tip and gently press down and lift to create mini stars across the entire surface of the cupcake. These look fancy but are extremely simple to create. I suggest you do some of both to add contrast to your presentation. Now for those who do not like pumpkin, you can also leave out the pumpkin puree and solely have a spice cake. Both are delicious!!!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

*Cake*

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix or the following…
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ginger
  • ¼ tsp. Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. Mace
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened/room temperature
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350°. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with paper liners. Grease lightly with cooking spray. In a bowl, either prepare the spice cake mix according to package directions, stopping before proceeding to the step asking you to fill the cupcake tin with batter…or sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and mace together. 
  2. In another bowl, mix together the sugars, butter, and eggs. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. If using the homemade version or the box mix, be sure to add the pumpkin puree now. If making a spice cake without pumpkin, proceed to step 3. Whisk in the pumpkin puree until combined and smooth.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each no more than halfway. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, being sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Prepare the buttercream frosting.

*Buttercream Frosting*

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Vegetable Shortening
  • ½ cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 4 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. Milk

Formula:

  1. In a bowl, cream the shortening and butter together until smooth. Add vanilla. Gradually add the sifted Confectioners’ sugar until all sugar is added and combined. The mixture will appear dry. Add milk and whisk well until smooth and creamy. Add a few drops of orange food color until desired pastel color is achieved.
  2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large or small star tip. Pipe along the top of the cooled pumpkin spice cupcakes in a circular motion, building up a round height or gently press down and gently pull up and away creating mini stars all across the surface. If not piping the mini stars, sprinkle some nut topping or your favorite chopped nuts on top. Serve.

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012

Pecan Praline Pie

Around the holidays, those of us in the south can’t resist having a pecan pie on the table along with, of course, the traditional Pumpkin. Pecan pie, although a holiday tradition to most families nowadays, is a rather new addition to the pastry world. The oldest formula for pecan pie dates back about 70 years, and is most likely a result of the Karo Corn Syrup companies marketing strategy. Too bad Goerge Washington and Thomas Jefferson never realized they had another use for all of those pecans grown on their Virginia estates. Traditionally, pecan pie should be presented to the table with a perfectly golden crust and rich, buttery center. Sadly, many people are forced to choose the storebought variety when strapped for time, which is often dry, burned, and overly chewy to the point of resembling a nutty taffy.

 So let’s begin constructing the pie of your families dreams, just in time for Christmas. The first crucial step you must make is to select the proper formula for your pie crust. Most people will select flaky believing it will lend them the rich, flaky crust they love but you will end up with a soggy mess. This is because in a flaky pie dough formula, there is more butter added to create the desired flaky finished product. But flaky pie doughs do not belong on the bottom crust of a pie, only the top. For the bottom, you must select a mealy pie dough. In a mealy pie dough formula, less butter is added so that when the pie bakes, the juices excreted from the filling will be absorbed into the crust. This creates a more flavorful crust and also maintaining its structure. Mealy pie doughs have the ability to absorb extra moisture so they prevent the dreaded soggy bottom crust.  Once you have selected a mealy pie dough formula, lets swap out the granulated sugar in exchange for brown sugar and use all butter instead of shortening and butter. This will lend the praline flavor to the crust.

To ensure a proper filling, begin by cooking it on the stovetop before pouring it into the crust. To prevent a gritty texture or non-cohesive filling, corn syrup is used rather than cream. The addition of eggs create added flavor and a binding agent, ensuring the filling will set up properly in the oven. For proper richness, a non-healthy dose of butter is melted in. Last but certainly not least, a bit of bourbon rounds out the nutty, praline flavors and is a much desired addition after dealing with a long month of holiday stress. I poured in about two tablespoons full but if you really want to taste the bourbon, as much as four tablespoons may be added without altering the filling’s texture.

*Note: The pecans called for in this formula must be chopped but be sure you do not include any of the dust or else it will cloud the filling. The pie should be removed from the oven when the center is set but still a bit jiggly. The residual heat will continue to cook the filling, allowing it to set up firm but not be dried out.

PECAN PRALINE PIE

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9 in.) Pie Crust, baked
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 2 cups Whole Pecans, toasted, roughly chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 275°.  If pie shell is not warm, place in oven to slightly re-heat while preparing filling.
  2. Cook butter, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add corn syrup, vanilla and bourbon. Return pan to heat, and stir until mixture is glossy and warm. Do not overheat. Remove pan immediately from heat if the mixture begins to bubble or steam. Temperature should register 130°. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in pecans.
  4. Pour mixture into the warm pie shell. Bake until the center feels like gelatin when pressed, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie completely. Pie is best served at room temperature but can be warmed briefly. Top with bourbon whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 Special Thanks to:  My boyfriend Peter and Bridget Lancaster

 All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

Jefferson Davis Pie

Here in the south lies a delicious little known dessert originating from the Civil War era. It’s name you ask… is Jefferson Davis Pie.  This simple brown sugar custard laced with dried fruit and nuts is named after the Confederate leader. Jefferson Davis was not the only civil war era leader to have a pie named after them. Mr. Robert E. Lee inspired a cake filled with lemon curd. Quite possibly a future test formula so stay tuned!

 Now back to Mr. Davis. Before one should concern themselves with the custard it is crucial to establish a perfect basis for the custard to set. This basis being the pie crust. For a bottom crust of any pie, one should always choose a mealy pie dough recipe over flaky. Mealy has less butter and more open to receiving juices excreted during the baking process. Therefore when the pie is finished baking it will absorb the flavors of the above layer without causing the bottom crust to become soggy. Of course if you find yourself in a pinch or are too lazy then the Pillsbury Dough Boy can always come to the rescue and magically unroll your pie crust before you. This can save you an extra tedious step. Once the crust is pressed into the pie plate be sure to chill it while preparing the custard and fruit/nut mixture, regardless if you’re using a homemade mealy pie dough or the variety constructed by Pillsbury and his processed cousins.

Although I thoroughly enjoy the fruit/nut portion of the pie, I don’t feel it should be suspended in the custard as many formulas require. I desire a smooth, sliceable custard with the perfect flavor combination of sweetness and spice without any crunchy or chewy distractions hanging about. To simply solve the problem, process the fruit and nuts together until finely ground and press the mixture into the chilled pie dough. This creates a beautiful layer of fruit and nuts when sliced and continues to compliment the flavors of the custard poured above it without being a noticeable distraction. Having resolved the problems with soggy crust and distracting fruit and nuts the next step lies with the finicky custard.

In case you didn’t know, custard and I have never been the greatest of friends. However I’m trying to get to know it a little better with each baking experiment. The biggest issue with me and custards is texture. Baking the pie longer at a lower temperature allows the custard to set up to the proper firmness and the crust remains golden. If cooked at a higher temperature, the outer edges of the custard would burn along with the pie crust before the center ever set. Besides altering oven temperature and cooking time, heavy cream needed to replace milk in order for that slice to come out perfectly smooth. The cream thickens the texture and feels silkier on the palate. It also contributes a richer flavor. Which brings me to the next topic. How to achieve the balanced flavors of sweet and spice. The secret for this custard is to hold back on the sweet. Less brown sugar allows the subtle cues from the spices to shine through.

Once the pie has baked and cooled completely there is one final addition to enhance the flavor to mouth watering level. The addition of a homemade whipped cream. This is where I stress not to cheap out and dollop the pie with Cool Whip or spray a rosette of Redi-Whip on top!!! Why spend so much time creating this elaborate flavorful pie just to disgrace it with a bland processed variety of whipped cream when it is so simple to make from scratch. Honestly it takes no more than three minutes to whip up with a mixer. At times I have been known to whip by hand and still come out under five minutes. I will provide a quick and easy recipe for whipped cream below, however this pie also tastes great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. If you do choose to whip your own cream, make sure to keep the heavy cream as cold as possible to shorten the whipping time. You may even place your whip attachment and mixing bowl in the refrigerator to speed up the process even further.

Jefferson Davis Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Raisins
  • 4 oz. Chopped Dates
  • 2.25 oz. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 1 (9 in.) pie shell, chilled
  • 3 tbsp. Pastry Flour
  • 1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 4 oz. Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 2.75 oz. Egg Yolk (about 5 large eggs)
  • 10.5 oz. Heavy Cream

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 325°. Pulse raisins, dates, and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Place mixture into chilled pie shell and press into an even layer.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a small bowl. With mixer on medium-low speed, cream sugar and butter together. Add in yolks, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add flour mixture and cream. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour custard filling over the fruit and nut mixture in the chilled pie crust. Bake until the surface of the custard appears dark brown and the center jiggles slightly, approximately 55 to 65 minutes.
  4. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 4 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Top with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

With mixer on medium speed, beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 tbsp. light brown sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whipped cream can be refrigerated for 4 hours. To decorate, fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe reverse shells around the outer edge and rosettes in the center. Dust with ground cinnamon.

References: Special thanks to my boyfriend Peter for his photography and Cali Rich.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011