Honey Pecan Cake

A wonderful light cake fragrant and sticky with honey and pecans

Possibly one of the best cakes I've ever made. Quite something.
Possibly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Quite something.

Possibly the best cake I have ever made and I think my dedication to cake is well established.

For a few weeks I’ve had a hankering for a honey-scented cake, similar to my quest for a decent honey ice-cream, even though ice-cream and my stomach don’t see eye-to-eye.

Honey pecan cake.
Honey pecan cake.

Food52’s Baking book delivered. Honey AND pecans, we were onto a winner.

There are steps, there are bowls, just work with it.

The caramel pecan base
The caramel pecan base

Food52 uses a 23cm round springform pan with baking paper that comes up above the join but this sounded like a doomed plan to me so I used a 20cm square tin, which I lined with one piece of baking paper with no joins in it whatsoever (so the caramel can’t escape)

Honey Pecan Cake
 
A stunning combination of honey and pecans in a delicate cake
Author:
Ingredients
For the topping
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
For the cake
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 110g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line your prefered pan
For the topping
  1. Melt the butter with the honey then pour over the bottom of the pan
  2. Evenly spread the pecans over it
For the cake
  1. Blitz the pecans into a flour, add to the plain flour and set aside
  2. Whisk the eggwhites to stiff peaks and set aside
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale
  4. Then add the egg yolks, then the honey, vanilla and buttermilk
  5. Gently stir in the flours
  6. Gently fold through the egg whites and then spoon into the pan over the pecans
  7. Bake for 35-40mins
  8. Let it cool a little then flip onto a serving platter
  9. It'd be divine with ice-cream or cream. Or both.

 

Onward!

Pecan Shortbread (pecan puffs)

A pecan shortbread recipe which just dissolves on your tongue.

Let it be known the pecan is the king of nuts. I won’t hear any battle cries from cashews or pistachios, the pecan has it. This recipe is based on an almond kilfi recipe but I had pecans and needed them in my guts in a baked form.

I do this all in the food processor which I view as a good thing because I’ll often avoid the processor if it’s for just one step of a recipe because it’s a bastard to wash up. See also: lazy.

Don’t over mix it, just until it all comes together. And don’t make them too big – this recipe should make 60, yes SIXTY, little crescents. Basically work with a little ball of dough about as big as your thumb to the first knuckle. If you make them too big they clag in your mouth rather than just dissolving on your tongue.

Pecan shortbread
A pecan shortbread recipe which just dissolves on your tongue

 

Pecan Shortbread (pecan puffs)
 
Delightful little shortbreads that just dissolve on your tongue
Author:
Ingredients
  • 125g pecans
  • 250g butter
  • 350g (2⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 1 tblsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup (or so) icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160C and have two baking trays ready to go
  2. Blitz the pecans in a food processor
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the icing sugar and blitz until it all comes together
  4. Roll little half-thumb sized balls of dough into a little log then press in the middle to make into a crescent. Don't be precious about this, mine always end up looking more like little logs than crescents
  5. Place on baking trays, they don't spread so you can put them quite close to each other
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until they're light brown
  7. When cool roll in the icing sugar (to be honest I never measure the icing sugar)
  8. Store in a container and pour over a bit more icing sugar.
  9. Try not to eat 10 at a time.

 

Triple Chocolate Praline Tart

Several years ago now (I KNOW!) a became friends with some remarkable women through this blog. A few weeks ago one of those, the MIGHTY Eleanor (from the commentbox) hosted a lunch at which we were honoured to meet some of her ‘real life’ friends.

Naturally I had a fillerbuster of a day getting there, trying to fit in way too many things before heading across town. I arrived in a complete snit after leaving home late and then being held up by some first-time-in-60-years resurfacing of the Harbour Bridge and stupid Eastern Suburbs traffic in which everyone must drive nice and slowly so everyone else can notice they’re driving the latest Lexus, Mercedes or BMW. That and the small but important issue of me taking a wrong turn. Details.

But as I walked into Eleanor’s serene abode (also alarmingly devoid of dust, I think she could be a witch) the blood pressure dropped, the tension in my shoulders eased and I proceeded to spend a sublime number of hours in the company of smart, funny women. Truly divine.

I was on dessert duty and on offering a fruit, custard or chocolate option our host chose chocolate.

Making this tart does not require any special cooking talents but it does require time. As that afternoon at Eleanor’s reminded me, sometimes the best thing to do is stop. Slow down. Take one step at a time and savour each step.

It’s one of the reasons I love making things like this – you have no option but to slow down and in slowing down you take more care, enjoying the process as much as the outcome.

Having made this twice I can say that the flavour is more developed – ie better – the next day.

I also use pecans as I am obsessed with them.

So gather your ingredients, set aside some time and make something outrageously decadent with love. It makes everything better.

Triple chocolate praline tart

From Australian Gourmet Traveller

Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 60 pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 30g Dutch-process cocoa
  • 100g cold butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks

Filling

  • 150 gm hazelnuts, roasted and skins removed
  • 175 gm raw caster sugar
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 400 gm milk chocolate, finely chopped

Ganache

  • 160 ml pouring cream
  • 40 ml milk
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (61% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the pastry

  1. In a food processor combine everything except the egg yolks
  2. Once combined add the egg yolks and pulse until it comes together in a ball
  3. Give it a knead – it is very short and I found it needs a bit of working to get it into a pliable ball – then wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 and roll the dough out to 3mm thick to line a 28cm tart case. I find the trick to this is to let the dough come back to room temperature and to then roll out between two sheets of baking paper. It is a really short pastry so don’t worry if it breaks, just smoosh the edges together.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour and then bake blind for 8-10 minutes. Remove paper and weights and then bake for a further 8-10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s cracked, the filling is solid enough it won’t pour out and turn the whole thing into a red hot mess.

For the filling

  1. Spread the hazelnuts (or your nuts of choice, mine are pecans) on an oiled baking tray and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel in colour (4-5 minutes) then pour over nuts.
  3. Stand until cool and set (8-10 minutes) and then process in a food processor until finely ground.
  4. Bring the cream to the simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in two-thirds of the praline mixture (reserving the remaining to serve).
  6. Spoon into pastry case, smooth top, refrigerate until just set (1½-2 hours).

 

For the ganache

  1. Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan, bring to the simmer then add the dark chocolate.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Spread over the tart and refrigerate until just set (45 minutes-1 hour).

Cut into wedges with a hot knife and serve immediately scattered with reserved praline.

 

Seriously, it’s a tart that makes everything better.

 

Onward!

Dulce de leche ice cream with toasted, salted and buttered pecans. You’re welcome.

 

You guys all know Inner Pickle right? She’s basically living the life I want to live so you know, I stalk her in a completely creepy and inapropriate way. You’re welcome.

 

Apart from the fact she offers up a new slice recipe every Wednesday, she also cooks things I love to cook. Or make. And she does so without fanfare or fuss, just the way I like it.

 

So a few weeks back she posted a recipe for easy chocolate ice cream and even though I didn’t concentrate when making it and put in too much cream (as IF there’s such a thing) it was delicious. In the comments was a post from one of her neighbours who’d given her the recipe in the first place, mentioning dulce de leche and well, I had those jars of condensed milk boiling on the stove quicker than Black Caviar passes the winning post.

 

 

 

I didn’t mix the dulce de leche through completely, choosing to drop dollops in the last few minutes of churning with the nuts. Next time I would mix one tin through the cream/milk mix and then do the dollopy thing with another. Maybe not a whole tin, but you could just eat the left off the spoon. Because I know you want to.

 

Dulce de leche icecream with toasted buttered salted pecans

From Darren at Green-Change via Inner Pickle’s blogging of his chocolate ice cream.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 600ml cream
  • 1 tin dulce de leche*
  • 1 packet (180 g**) pecan halves, toasted with a few dabs of butter and a smattering of sea salt then chopped
  1. Combine the milk and cream and dulce de leche
  2. Churn in an ice-cream mixer for 30 minutes, adding the pecans for the final 2-3 minutes
  3. Scoop into a container and freeze.

 

* to make dulce de leche cover a can of sweetened condensed milk with water and boil for three hours, checking regularly to ensure it is still covered with water.  You could, at a pinch, use the ‘pie caramel’ you can get in the cake decorating/cooking chocolate section of the supermarket.

** this is because I am addicted to pecans – a 110g packet would probably be ample.