Posts Tagged ‘baking from scratch’

Perfect Pecan Pie Recipe and Tips

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Today is National Pecan Pie day!  Like so many of those other food related holidays, we think that it’s a pretty good excuse to get creative in the kitchen and bake something delicious, and pecan pie is one of  my personal favorites! Even if you’re not a pecan pie fan, this simple recipe is sure to change your mind. It is fragrant with orange peel, rich with bourbon and cinnamon, and amazing with vanilla ice cream.  So let’s get started!   This is a great pie to finish off a summer BBQ, but it’s also wonderful for the holidays, so make it now and bookmark it for later! Trust me, it’s a total crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving!

First, gather up your equipment.  You’re going to need a saucepan, a mixing bowl that can handle heat (our Mason Cash cane mixing bowls are perfect,) a rolling pin, a pie dish, a baking sheet and a whisk. If you’re making crust from scratch, you’ll need a separate bowl for that. I suggest popping a Mason Cash bowl in the fridge for your crusts. They stay cold forever, which makes for a better dough!

 

A note on pie dishes:  You’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different kinds of pie dishes on the market. On a recent trip to the cooking store in my area I saw flimsy foil dishes along with metal, Pyrex, enamel, ceramic and stoneware.  For pies with a pre-baked crust, I’m partial to enameled pie plates like our Enamour dish.  It conducts heat really evenly which is essential for baking an unfilled crust.  For other pies, I really love terracotta bakeware. I use our Mason Cash terracotta pie plate for pretty much every fruit pie I make, along with this pecan pie. It promotes a really crisp crust, but keeps it flaky and buttery, rather than drying out the crust.  Now on to that pecan pie recipe!

Ingredients

  • Pie crust (either store bought or use our favorite recipe HERE)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or whiskey
  • Zest of one orange
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups lightly toasted pecan halves (1/2 pound)

 

Instructions

  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round.
  • Place in buttered terracotta pie dish.
  • Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
  • Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively.
  • Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork.
  • Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add brown sugar and cinnamon, whisking until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, bourbon, orange zest, and salt.
  • Let cool for 2 minutes
  • Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl that can handle heat.
  • Gradually beat the corn syrup mixture into the eggs, whisking the whole time
  • Put pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them.
  • Bake on baking sheet until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Cool completely.

 

Enjoy! It’s National Pecan Pie day, so the calories definitely don’t count.

Summer Strawberry Shortcake

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Last week wasNational Strawberry Shortcake Day! For us here at Pacific Merchants, even if we’re late, it’s just a great excuse to get out our Mason Cash baking supplies and bake up a storm!

To make strawberry shortcake, you’re going to need a few bowls in a few different sizes: one for making the fruit filling, one for whipping the cream, and one for mixing up the dough.  Naturally, this was a perfect excuse for us to whip out our Mason Cash strawberry mixing bowls. They come in four sizes, so I used the littlest one to eat out of, the next  up for the whipped cream, the 2 quart for the strawberries, and the large mixing bowl to make the dough!

Mason Cash bowls are perfect for strawberry shortcake because both the bowls and the desserts are classics with a long history. Strawberry shortcakes were actually mentioned in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, so we felt it was natural to make a British heritage dessert in bowls from a British heritage company.  And while Mason Cash isn’t Shakespeare old, it does date back to the early 1800’s.  So let’s get cooking

You can use anything from angel food cake to pound cake to biscuits for your shortcake dough. Personally, I love this scone-inspired dough. It’s not too sweet,  it’s sturdy enough to hold up to juicy strawberries, and it comes together easily with just a little work and very little equipment, just a large mixing bowl, a couple of butter knives, and a wooden spoon.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg,
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup half and half

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place rack in middle of oven.
  •  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together the egg, half and half, lemon zest and vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat or roll the dough into a 7 inch round.
  • With a 3 inch round cookie cutter or an overturned drinking glass, cut out rounds and place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream.
  •  Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Once those scones are cooling, start on the strawberry filling. Because strawberries are so good this time of year, they don’t need much, just a little sugar, some orange zest, maybe a splash of vanilla and (if you’re serving adults) a dash of bourbon, which really highlights the sweetness of the berries.  This mixture fits perfectly into a medium Mason Cash bowl, or you can use your large strawberry mixing bowl again.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons good bourbon, optional (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it)

Instructions

  • Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries.
  • Toss strawberries with the sugar, citrus zest, vanilla extract and bourbon
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before using

Next, use a small bowl to whip up some cream. You can use a larger bowl and more cream if you want more whipped cream, but 1 cup of cream is plenty for me (probably because I put ice cream on my shortcake as well.  Do this right before serving or your whipped cream will fall flat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl
  • Whisk until medium peaks are formed
  • Serve!

Now, assemble your shortcake!

  • Split each scone in half.
  • Put a few strawberries on the bottom of the scone.
  • Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Put a generous helping of strawberries over the top of the ice cream
  • Top with the second half of the scone
  • Top with whipped cream and more strawberries.
  • Enjoy


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