For all who have been following my Tweets, Facebook and this blog you'll know that I've had a pretty crazy 2 months, crazy as in bloggers nightmare come true.
1. My home PC blew up - see rant here
2. My work PC also decided to fail me (I swear, I swear it's not me!!! *puppy eyes*)
3. I lost my kitchen - when I say I've lost my kitchen, I mean that "it" (EVERYTHING) has been ripped out so that we can extend it and get a shiny new one in time for the new year! yay! but boo for not being able to bake over the festive season! :'( I had such great grand plans for all the sweets I was gonna make but I guess it'll have to wait until I get a brand spanking new kitchen to devirginise!
See its all gone!!!! ... I do still have my fridge, ohh cold one, how I love thee!!
Admist all these set backs, we had the Annual Food Blogger Xmas Picnic about 2 weekends ago and there was just no way I was gonna go empty handed. So, as they say 'where there is a will there's a way' ...coupled with my very persuasive flattery... I invaded and conquered my lovely girlfriend's kitchen (love ya babe!), early in the morning and banged out some lovely Pecan Pies with Brandy Cream & Caramel! mmmMmmm
Pecan Pies with Brandy Cream & Caramel
Tart shell - Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry)
Adapted from Joy of Baking
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water
Adapted from Pecan Pie Recipes
36 individually wrapped Caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional, but highly recommended)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves - lightly toasted (shove into an oven at about 200oC until fragrant)
Brandy Cream & Caramel
300ml double cream
1/4 cup brandy (of course you can add more if you want to be naughty... don't think Santa would hold it against u ;P )
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 can Nestle Top & Fill Caramel - don't hold it against me, I didn't have time to make my own caramel - but this stuff is awesome could eat it by the spoonful!!
Extra pecan halves - for decoration
Preheat oven to 180oC, grease 8 mini tart shells or 1 x 9 inch (23cm) tart shell.
For the tart shells
In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.
Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).
Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.
After the dough has chilled sufficiently, place on a lightly floured surface. If you are using the large tin then roll dough into a 13 inch (33 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself. Use a fork to make a decorative border or else crimp the edges using your fingers. If you are using the mini tart pans, grab a ball of the dough (about a fistful) and press into the shell until uniform in thickness. Use a knife to run along the top to cut off any excess dough, repeat for remaining tart shells. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes before pouring in the filling.
For the filling
On the stovetop over low heat, combine caramels, butter and milk in a small saucepan. Stir frequently until smooth.
Remove caramel mixture from the heat, set aside.
Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt & bourbon (if using) in a large bowl.
Slowly mix in the caramel mixture, so the eggs don’t scramble. Add the pecans.
Pour pecan pie mixture into pie crust.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until edges of crust is golden brown.
Allow pie to cool so filling stops cooking and firms up.
For the cream
Whip the cream with the sugar & brandy until it stands at soft-medium peaks.
For the caramel
Spoon out the caramel in a bowl and beat until smooth - it comes out kinda congealed.
Remove the tarts from tin as soon as the temperature allows, let the tarts cool completely.
Top with some cream, then caramel and a pecan!
Enjoy!! Bon Appétit! ♥
These are all some of the lovely people I got to meet and catchup with at the picnic :)
Also FYI, this will be my last post for the year peeps *sob sob* because as of today I will be flying to HK and South Korea for the biggest eating and shopping experience of my life! muahahahha!!! Will be back in early Jan though, so until then....Have a WONDERFUL Christmas!! Party lots, drink even more, be safe and dont forget to share some Christmas loving!! May God Bless you all and I shall see you in 2011! ;)
Here's a gingerbread house I made a few years earlier... will have to live vicariously through old photos since I can't make new ones right now hehehe
Peace out! xxx