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Thursday, Nov 20, 2014
Food & Dining

This pecan pie packs a punch

Published:

Turkey Day is only 11 days away. And while the bird is the showpiece of Thanksgiving, I can guarantee that someone will have their feelings hurt if the desserts on the table are lackluster.

Sure, you could make a pumpkin pie. (Yawn.) But the granddaddy of desserts has to be the pecan pie.

Pecan is the pie of choice for Ree Drummond, food blogger and host of Food Network’s “The Pioneer Woman” series.

In her new book, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays” (William Morrow, $29.99), she writes, “There’s nothing in the entire universe like it. It’s dark and gooey and sinful and crunchy to the extent that it’s literally impossible to take a bite without closing your eyes and giving thanks to God for all things on the earth that made a pie like this possible.”

I could not agree more.

One thing I would add to her recipe: Toast the pecans slightly under the broiler before chopping and adding them to the mix.

Bread recipe found

Marie Pound of Brandon wrote in search of a recipe for homemade bread using stone-ground whole wheat flour and a little bit of bran.

Patsy Detamore of Plant City sent her own adaptation of a basic white bread recipe from her copy of “Sunset Cook Book of Breads,” which was published in 1976.

“I renamed (the recipe) to reflect the name my grandchildren use for me,” Patsy writes.

Leftover requests

A. Domingo of Tampa wants to make date and walnut bars. The recipe she wants includes orange juice while cooking the dates for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Beth Mainello of Tampa wants to make the salad dressing that was made tableside at Tio Pepe’s restaurant in Clearwater. She also wants to know what type of lettuce was used.

Susan Stevens wants to make the spaghetti sauce and salad dressing recipes served at the now-closed Gus’ Italian restaurants in Tampa.

Eva Ebert wants the recipe for the mixed greens salad with vinaigrette and grilled chicken she used to enjoy at the now-closed El Pilon Restaurant in South Tampa.

Pecan Pie

Makes 8 to 12 servings

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten

½ cup (2/3 stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled

½ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 heaping cup finely chopped pecans

1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the corn syrup, sugar, the brown sugar, eggs, butter, salt and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until it’s totally combined.

Place the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the sticky mixture over the pecans. Cover the pie in foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake the pie for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. (If it seems to be browning too quickly, cover it with foil again.)

The pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven. If it is, just continue baking it in 5-minute intervals until it’s done. Let the pie cool before slicing it into wedges.

Source: “The Pioneer Woman

Cooks A Year of Holidays”

Lita Bread

7 cups flour (½ cup Kashi grain, 2½ cups whole wheat flour, 4 cups white flour)

2 packages yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1½ tablespoons salt

½ teaspoon dried orange peel

3 cups scalded milk, cooled to about 100 degrees

Sesame seeds

Combine 3 cups flour, the yeast, sugar, salt and orange peel. Add warmed milk and beat well.

Stir in the rest of the flour to make a stiff batter.

Spoon into two 8½-by-4½-inch pans that have been greased and sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds.

Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds and pat them down gently with back of your wet spoon. (That helps them adhere after baking.)

Cover, and let rise in a warm place until center has reached the level of the top edge of the pan, about 45 minutes. Cover with wax paper sprayed lightly with a nonstick spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a rack.

Recipes Lost & Found runs every other Sunday in Baylife. Seeking a recipe? E-mail jhouck@tampatrib.com, or write to Jeff Houck, The Tampa Tribune, P.O. Box 191, Tampa, FL 33601.

For more fun with cooking, watch Jeff chat each week with celebrity chefs and cookbook authors on the “Kitchen Party” video hangout on Google+.

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