Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

This is the result of being asked to make pumpkin pie, but not having whipping cream in the house: Pecan Pumpkin Pie!
I found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 14th Edition, page 440. They called it Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie. I enjoyed it the first day, after being in the fridge just long enough to say it was cool. But I thought it was even better the second and third day! It solidified more and tasted even more sugary on top. The pecans took over as the main flavor in this pie. Since I like pecans a lot, that was fine with me. If you wanted it to be more of a pumpkin pie and less about nuts, I would recommend making it with half the nuts and sugar and butter that goes with them and just using the nuts on top, not on bottom and top. Certainly a make-ahead pie for those fall occassions!
Here's their recipe:
Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Pie Recipe
1 single pie pastry
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups pumpkin (15 oz can)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or light cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the pie pastry. Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with pastry circle; trim and crimp as desired.
2. In a small bowl combine pecans and brown sugar. Spread 3/4 cup pecan mixture in the bottom of the pastry-lined pie plate; reserve remaining pecan mixture. For filling, combine pumpkin, half-and-half, granulated sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well. (I used 1 can evaporated milk since I didn't have half-and-half or cream either).
3. Place the pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Carefully pour filling over the pecan mixture in pastry shell. (I'll leave mine on the counter next time and risk spilling it as I set it in the oven, versus letting out all that oven heat and almost burning myself on the edge of the open oven as I poured the filling in). Bake about 50 minutes or just until set in center. (45 minutes was enough in my convection oven). Stir melted butter into remaining pecan mixture. Sprinkle pecan mixture over pie filling; bake for 10 minutes more or until topping is bubbly around edges. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill within two hours. (Let chill for two hours more before serving for best results.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

40th Birthday Cake

This may not be my most beautiful cake ever, but a good deal of thought went into it. I made it for my older sister who insists she is not having any more birthdays. ha ha. But she is always busy at something and she is great at what she does, so I had to celebrate it. I put a few of her favorite and/or most important roles and passtimes on her cake in three dimensional fondant figures.

The cake itself is a two-layer carrot cake with cream cheese icing and filling. The figures are all fondant and gum paste. Warning: do not put fondant on cream cheese icing until you MUST because it softens quickly due to the fat in the cream cheese. It also turns shiny and looks greasy. Here's the view from the other side:
It was easy to decorate, once I had made the figurines. I marked off the cake in 6ths (hidden under border that was added later) and then piped the lettering. Then I added the borders and finally I added the figurines at the last moment. My only regret is not giving more space where it was needed around the tent and less around the "40" but that's how it was divided. And apparently I should have written "Carol is 39 again."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Orange Zucchini Loaf review

My friend shared with me some orange zucchini loaf that looked like lemon poppy seed loaf.  It was so good that I had to try it for myself.  She got the recipe from mennonite girls can cook. I made it just like the recipe (without nuts) but swapped 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of flour. It was still awesome! My children loved it and it is school friendly - no nuts. My husband commented that he could only taste the orange in it. I think that's why it is so good.

Next time I will, of course, try swapping some applesauce for some of the oil in the recipe. I think it will work well with that substitution. Enjoy your zucchinis!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Picnic Cake

If you want to have a great cake for a barbeque or a picnic, try one like this:
I made a double batch of white cake in two 9x13" pans. I stacked them with buttercream icing in between. I used my new "grass" tip (picture a tip with a flat top with 11 holes in it like a salt shaker) and made green buttercream "grass". To cover the cake took about an hour.

Then I applied the picnic blanket. It was made of rolled fondant mixed with gum paste. First, I made strips of red and white fondant/gum paste using my fondant ribbon maker set at 1/2 inch. I lined those up and rolled over them lightly with a rolling pin. Then, I cut strips in the other direction and lifted each of those strips and offset the squares to make the checkerboard. It was all laid out on my roll and cut mat, so when the checkerboard was done, I could "flip" it onto the cake.

All of the picnic items were formed in advance from a mix of fondant and gum paste.  They were left to dry for about a week. To finish the cake, I just placed the picnic items on the picnic blanket and piped the greeting with white buttercream icing.

The trickiest part was definately the picnic blanket. The squares didn't always want to stay together. The most fun part was making the little hot dogs and hamburgers. Those took about 3 hours to form, so it wasn't quick, but I would have been quicker if I didn't have to color the fondant first. It was worth the effort. Happy Picnic-ing!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Canadiens fooler cake

My son wanted a cake that would look like a puck with the Montreal Canadiens symbol on it. Only, since his name is Adam, he wanted an "A" instead of an "H" in the middle. Here's how it turned out:
The cake is a chocolate, two layer cake. All the icing and the filling is buttercream except the "C", which is rolled fondant. I had extra icing so I did the fancy 3-layer deep shell border, but I don't think Adam even noticed it!