Pecan Pie

I have Joke to thank for the filling in this pie recipe. I hate using corn syrup. For starters it is a pain to get in Australia and for some bizarre reason is stocked primarily at health food stores where, by default, it therefore costs around EIGHT bucks a bottle. Ridiculous

This recipe used maple syrup and sure, it’s $10 for 250ml but hey, it tastes so much better and that is all that matters.

I use Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry for the base. Blind bake the pastry case (in a 9inch pie tin) at 220C until golden, knock the oven back to 160C, pour in the filling and bake until the middle is just set – probably around 30 minutes in a fan forced oven.

Pecan Pie
via Joke
1 sour cream pastry pie shell, baked blind

  • 2oz butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 6oz pecans, chopped
  1. In a double boiler melt the butter
  2. Stir in the sugar then beat in the eggs
  3. Mix in the maple syrup and stir until the mixture is nice and glossy
  4. Stir in the pecans
  5. Pour into the pie shell and bake at 160C until just firm in the centre, about half an hour.

Maggie Beer’s Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest

So I made this yesterday for our Christmas gathering with my Dad, step-mother and family. I was down for dessert and along with pavlova topped with cream, lemon butter and fresh fruit I was bringing our family’s traditional Christmas pudding cooked in cloth. Then the last fortnight came and firmly bit me on the arse. I only got the fruit soaking a few days ago for the pudding so getting one made and on the stove for five hours was just not going to happen.

I’d seen this recipe in Maggie Beer’s Maggie’s Table and knew it would be good some time ago – it came to me that it would make a fine Christmas pudding alternative and boy, was I bang on the money on that front.

This cake is seriously good. I only had a tiny sliver yesterday due to the dedicated food consumption that had gone before it and man, today all I can think about is making it again so I can sit in front of it like a fat fool and eat it until my head falls off.

I should say, I did not roast the almonds and then grind them, I simply used some store-bought almond meal. I am sure doing that step would take the cake to even greater heights but it was delicious even without doing so.

So go on, make it .

Chocolate Cake with Whisky-soaked Raisins and Orange Zest
Maggie Beer, Maggie’s Table

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup Scotch whisky
  • 160g blanched almonds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 375g dark couverture chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 210g unsalted butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 175ml pouring cream
  • 250g couverture chocolate
  1. Soak raisins in whisky for a few hours
  2. Preheat fan-forced oven to 180C
  3. Place almonds on baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly then process in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour and set aside
  4. Melt chocolate and the add the zest to it
  5. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add eggs one at a time. The mixture will split but don’t worry, it comes back together when the almonds and flour are added
  6. Fold in the melted chocolate then the soaked raisins and any of the whisky juices that are left in the bowl
  7. Sprinkle over the almond and flour mixture and fold through very gently, being careful not to overmix
  8. Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform round cake tin
  9. Bake for an hour or until skewer comes out clean (mine took at least another 10 minutes and probably could have done with another 5 or 10 minutes)
  10. Remove from the oven and sit on a wire rack in its tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and let cake cool completely.
  11. Make the ganache by bringing the cream to the boil and then pouring over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes to melt and then stir thoroughly
  12. Pour over the cooled cake and then leave to cool for a further hour (not in the refrigerator) before serving

Divine with double cream or vanilla ice cream.

Daring Bakers Challenge – Macaroons

Yep, funny how Daring Bakers always forces me to finally make something I’ve always wanted to but keep putting off. Do you know how long the Australian Gourmet Traveller with the pretty pink macaroons has been sitting in my recipe holder on the kitchen bench? SINCE IT CAME OUT. In July. Yeah.

This month’s challenge was brought to us by LA Monkey Girl.
It wasn’t a big success I must confess. They were too fragile and the ganache I used (from the Gourmet Traveller) was too runny so what I ended up with was a pink hot mess. Sure, a delicious pink hot mess but a mess all the same.
Next time I’ll:
– use old egg whites
– follow the instructions Tartlette – the apparent queen of the macaroon – gives
– not make them when I’m feeling frazzled, pressed for time, making other things for the school’s Spring Fair.

Adapted from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern
  • 2 1/4 cups (225g) icing sugar
  • 2 cups (190g) almond flour (which everyone seems to define as almond meal)
  • 2 tbsp (25g) sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 93°C. 
  2. Combine the icing sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery
  3. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks
  4. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter
  6. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper)
  7. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 190°C 
  8. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored
  9. Cool on a rack before filling.
Yield: 10 dozen. (who is she kidding – I got about 5 dozen)

Easy Peasy Custard

Does anything say comfort more than warm homemade custard? Sure but for this post let’s say that custard is the pinnacle of sweet comfort food goodness. Sure there is the need to stand and stir and yes there is the mild anxiety you could end up with a big vat of scrambled eggs, but really, when you’re running the finger around the edge of the emptied saucepan you know it is all worth it.

Now some of you die hard foodies will baulk at this recipe, claiming it is not real custard due to the presence of cornflour, but you know what? I don’t care. I can whip this up toot sweet and watch my kids swoon and that makes the occasional shortcut worthwhile.

This is yet another Bill Granger recipe. What can I say, the shiny happy man can cook.

Easy Custard
Bill Granger

  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Bring the milk and cream barely to the boil
  2. In a separate dish whisk the yolks with everything else
  3. Pour the milk and cream into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly
  4. Return it all to the saucepan and stir over a low heat for about 10 minutes. 

I mean COME ON, how simple and how delicious.

Apple and Rhubarb Pie

Pie. Even the word is satisfying don’t you think? Pie. I’d like a piece of pie. I feel like a pie. Sweet or savory pies sing happiness, comfort and satisfaction to me.

I guess it’s because they do take time. They require effort and a little bit of care. It’s hard to just whip up a pie but even if you did, I would be most grateful.
This has been in my repertoire for years. It’s from Bill Granger’s first book Sydney Food. A tome I still look to for simple dishes delivering outstanding meals. It appears in many forms in this house, sometimes just as an apple pie (if there is ever such a thing as just apple pie), sometimes with strawberries or raspberries instead of the rhubarb. I must say, I gave up sticking to the butter and sugar amounts he stipulates some time ago, but on this last making Iwhile only using a smidge of butter I did measure the sugar but still only used 200g to his 300g – we like our pies a little tart around here.
Oh, and the shortcrust pastry recipe he provides? An absolute winner I use all the time.
BUT – that said, this time around I used Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry – a recent discovery and such a joy to work with. It was equally good.
Apple and Rhubarb Pie