I confess, I never really liked pecan pie. Something about the gooey, gelatinous interior contrasting with the tooth-shattering pecan crust, , was just unpalatable to me. I finally gave in to pecan pie love at a barbecue joint in southern Texas, and was smitten. Rich with pecans with a slightly softer crust, it was perfect topped with some bourbon laced whipped cream (and shared with a certain someone who I’d eventually marry!). Then, once I made one for myself, after discovering pecan pie nirvana, I wasn’t too comfortable with the inevitable use of corn syrup in most recipes.

I’ve made a variation of this recipe every year, once a year, for my chocolate-loving husband on Thanksgiving. Each year has been a little different as I’ve worked on making it mine, and it’s only been this year (last week, actually!) that I finally hit my stride with a recipe I wanted to keep, turning it from a too-rich pie into an elegantly thin tart, perfecting the baking technique, and real-foodifying it just a little bit through using more natural sugars and nixing the corn syrup.

Don’t expect health food, however. It is a chocolate pecan tart, after all. An indulgence.

Just a sliver of it will suffice. Rich, deep chocolate with a crunch of sweet pecans. Perfect.

 November 29, 2010  Posted by Heartland Renaissance Autumn, Baking, Desserts 7 Responses »
Nov 292010
 

Pie Crust.

I’ve made them all. Recipes with a touch of vinegar or vodka. Recipes with a precise blend of cold butter to cold lard. Recipes with yogurt, whole wheat flour, sugar, no sugar, with an egg, flour kept in the freezer first. . . the list goes on.

But for the past two years I’ve made the same recipe. I’ve found a winner. And, though I briefly mentioned it last year in a guest post, I decided that once and for all, I had to share it here.

The Perfect Pastry Dough.

According to me. . . .

 November 29, 2010  Posted by Heartland Renaissance Autumn, Baking, Desserts, Winter 3 Responses »
Aug 162010
 

Even though I currently have over 10 pounds of peaches on my counter (I have two different peach preserves coming up this week – at 49-cents a pound for ripe, local peaches, how could I not?)  I have a confession to make. I prefer nectarines. Shhhhh . . . don’t tell the peaches! There is just something luscious about nectarines that I adore.  A variety of the peach, I love the smoother skin, the more vibrant flavor and the firmer flesh for eating out of hand.  The scent is intoxicating, just slightly more exotic than it’s sister, the peach, and one that I would voluntarily dab behind my ear for a sweet surprise for my sweetheart . . . When it is nectarine season, I keep pounds of them on [... To read more, click here ...]

Aug 092010
 

I’m not one to gild the lily on most things. I like simple, pure flavors of whatever is freshest and in season. Especially when it comes to fruit. It is my personal opinion that there is nothing better on a hot summer day than a nice wedge of cold watermelon. Sure, every summer I make some jams, enjoy a few strawberry shortcakes, peach tarts and blackberry cobblers in the summer (my personal favorite, by the way) but when it comes to summer fruit, more often than not, I eat it fresh, unadorned and straight out of hand. I’ve seen those recipes for melon salads before.  The one that tries to take the melon’s innate sweetness and turn it savory by adding pungent, crumbly cheese, or thrown in with something like [... To read more, click here ...]

 

How cute is this kid? Seriously.  I’m so glad he’s mine. And what is even cuter is it’s almost an exact replica of a picture of me from when I was a little two or three year old surrounded by stockpots and colanders full of strawberries from our garden. When I have the opportunity, I’ll scan it in to share. (And anyway, isn’t it a better picture than one of a bowl of white ice cream?  I thought so too. . .) Buttermilk ice cream was the debut recipe I made in my new ice cream maker this season. We served it to friends after a meal of smoked pork ribs Memorial Day weekend topped with those very same strawberries John helped pick. However, even though strawberry season is just [... To read more, click here ...]

 June 23, 2010  Posted by Heartland Renaissance Desserts 13 Responses »
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