Sunday, 23 October 2011

Perfecting That Pie

Practise, practise, practise is the theme of recent bakes. After an unexpected, but well received phone interview from a certain amazing baking programme (*cough* GBBO *cough*), I have decided it's time to perfect some of my otherwise not perfected baking areas.

Today's task:

Pie Crust!

Back to Basics.

Basic Pie Crust:

225g Flour

1/2 tbsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

100g Butter (non-salted, cubed)

120ml Cold Water

Sift together the flour, sugar & salt, then pour into a food processor. Drop the butter cubes into the processor and pulse the contents in 3 second bursts until mixture forms small pebbles. Whilst still pulsing, slowly pour the cold water into the mixture. The contents should begin to loosely form a ball.

Remove the mixture from the processor and fully form it into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling film, and place it in the fridge for approx 40min to cool.

Liberally dust a clean countertop with flour, then roll out the dough into a thin layer and place it into a lightly buttered pie tin. Wrap with cling film, and pop it back in the fridge until needed (it's best to bake with a cold, or even a frozen, dough).

Classic Pecan Filling:

200g Pecan Halves (toasted)

3 Eggs

177ml Maple Syrup

3 tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tbsp Caster Sugar


1 tsp Vanilla

3 tbsp Butter (non-salted, melted)

100g Chocolate Pieces

Evenly arrange the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 160C for approx 7 minutes. Remove to cool. (They should keep a golden hue, and will make a lovely sizzling noise.) When cooled, split the contents into two batches: batch 1 for the topping (try to pick out the prettiest pieces), and batch 2 for the inside of the pie (coarsely chop these little buggers with a sharp knife).


In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, maple syrup, brown & caster sugars, salt, vanilla, and melted butter until well combined. Fold in the chopped pecans and set aside.

Sprinkle the chocolate pieces onto the base of the pie crust, then blanket them with the wet mixture. Decorate the top of the pie with the remaining pecan halves, then pop in the oven at 180C for approx 60min.

A Bit o' the Old South.

*Tip: Rotating the pie every 20min or so will ensure even baking. And remember to closely monitor the crust & pecans so that they do not burn!

Verdict: The late night smells of pecan and chocolate swirled through the chilly October air and over to my neighbour's house, who in turn came right over for a slice. Dark chocolate and a twist of maple give this pie a bit of a sweet bite. And the crust turned out nice & crisp if I do say so myself - no soggy bottoms here...though I could have rolled it a bit thinner.

Until next time...(bread time!)


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Gone Grovin

Every September I hitch a ride back to the land of my alma matter to reunite with family members old and new. Tailgating with the rest of the Ole Miss community (and our rivals - we southerners are very hospitable), the extended family bluebirdcage pitched tent next to the University's iconic Lyceum.

Ain't no family reunion like a Grove family reunion!

The Lyceum - a true icon of the University of Mississippi's past. Once an old plantation home, transformed into a hospital to serve wounded soldiers in the Civil War. Years down the line it provided the backdrop for a major civil rights movement.

The family tents: 2 for dining, 2 for lounging

The sweets: pecan pie, banana pudding (two LARGE batches), cookies, trail mix...

Assorted chilled salads & Rebel roses.

Breakfast scramble, brisket & the infamous Shipley's donuts.

More nibbles (not pictured, glass bottled coke with salty peanuts.)

My niece getting ready to attend her first American football game - Go Rebs!

Family portrait with Colonel Reb (and a random drunken Georgia fan who's buddies paid $50 to pop into our picture)

Until next time...

Hotty Toddy

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Don't You Step on my Blue Suede Shoes


Main Stair Case

Peacock Room

TV Room

Jungle Room

Shag Carpet!

Memorial Garden

The Lisa Marie

Takin Care of Business in a Flash

Car Collection

Say 'Uh huh huh'