Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pecan Pie

I recently saw Aaron Sanchez on Food Network make a Pecan Pie with one of my most favorite ingredients...Agave Nectar!  So, today seemed like a perfect day to try it out.  Oh, and don't judge....because yes I've already had dessert and I haven't ate my dinner. :)

I should also note, that if you clicked on the link to Aaron's recipe you would see that he made his own pie crust and also used orange zest.  I took the short cut with the crust (thanks Pillsbury!) and orange zest in pecan pie just sounds strange.  I also only had dark brown sugar and realized after filling my pie that my pie plate is a deep dish and a little oversized for this particular recipe.  So, I add more pecans and even decided to get a little rustic with the style of my edges.  It didn't look the greatest, but it still tasted good! is my adapted recipe.



  • 1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter (I used my homemade butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups pecan halves (1/2 pound)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a baking sheet on the middle rack.

Prepare pie plate with the refrigerated pie crust by rolling it into a 9-inch pie plate and trim the edge, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively.

 Lightly prick the bottom all over with a fork.

Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze for 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, salt, and agave nectar. Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in the butter and brown sugar mixture.

Put the pecans into the pie shell and pour the butter and brown sugar mixture evenly over them.

Place on the hot baking sheet and bake until the filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

I didn't wait an hour and mine was still a little runny.....I have no patience when it comes to letting my food cool :)

Homemade Butter

If someone asked me what I was doing between 11:35am and 11:50am on any random, dreary, and cold Sunday I would probably answer something like "ehh, making butter?"  Wouldn't you?  Wouldn't everyone?  Isn't that what people do on their Sundays?  Hmmm.....

Well, in case you haven't done this before and wanted to try it I listed some step-by-step directions below on how easy it is.  All you need to know is how to shake and listen. 

STEP 1:  You will need one clean mason jar (any size will work) & Heavy Whipping Cream. 

STEP 2:  Pour whipping cream into jar about half full and attached lid tightly.
  Note:  If you want salted butter, just add a pinch of salt during this step.

STEP 3:  Ready...SHAKE IT!!!!!!

STEP 4:  Keep shaking and when you no longer hear anything sloshing around, you have just made whipped cream...but we want BUTTER so keep on shaking!

STEP 5:  You are going to start to hear the liquid begin to start sloshing around again, but keep shaking.  If you took the lid off, this is what you would see.  The fat (aka: butter) starting to seperating from the buttermilk.

STEP 6:  Once you hear that there is a significant amount of buttermilk that has seperated, drain off into a seperate dish.  Do not throw this away! This is great for fresh buttermilk dressing or buttermilk pancakes!!!

Step 7:  Repeat step 6 again a few more times until you no longer have much buttermilk seperating from the fat.

STEP 8:  Sit back and enjoy the fact that you just made fresh BUTTER and BUTTERMILK in 15 minutes!!!  How cool is that?  Note: I used two different size bowls here, but your yield is going to be half butter and half buttermilk.  Example:  If you use 1 Cup of cream you will end up with 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

STEP 9:  Spread this creamy goodness on something and say to yourself "I'm never buying butter again!"

Happy Sunday! 

Fleur de sel Caramels (Salted Caramels)

Some of you may be wondering what Fleur de sel is, right?  It's salt.  A fancy french finishing salt, but let me say that I just used Morton's Course Sea Salt found at my local super Wal-Mart and they tasted super fabulous.

I admit...I have never attempted to make any sort of candy before.  The reason is simple.  I'm not really all that great at baking because it is so darned precise.  So, as you can imagine candy making is even more so!  However, I really wanted to try these homemade caramels and I refuse to pay the outrageous prices people ask for them.  I do have to say though after making these caramels I do now appreciate why homemae candy is more pricey even though the ingredients aren't that expensive.  It is very time consuming and  you really can't just step away for a minute without almost having a nervous breakdown.

I used the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten's recipe for my Fleur de sel Caramels.  I saw her make these a few months ago so I looked up the recipe online.  Mine didn't come out as dark as hers did, but I'm chalking that up to the fact that I'm a newbie candy maker and I was a tad bit chicken to take the sugar mixture as far as it probably should have gone.  I didn't want it to burn.  I also used a recipe that was posted on Food Network's website that was not exactly correct.  AFTER reading the reviews I realized this, but still they came out fantastic. For the record...I'm posting the corrected recipe here.  You're welcome. :)

If you like salty/sweet....this is the recipe for you!!!

Fleur de sel Caramels


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used my homemade butter)
  • 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


PREP THE PAN:  Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.

BOIL THE SUGAR:  In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don't stir -- just swirl the pan.

HEAT THE CREAM:  In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

FINISH THE CARAMEL:  When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful -- it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

FILL THE PAN:  Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

CUT THE CARAMEL:  When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half.

ROLL IT UP:  Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log.

CUT INTO PIECES:  Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 8 pieces. (Start by cutting the log in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until you have 8 equal pieces.) It's easier to cut the caramels if you brush the knife with a little oil.

WRAP THE CANDIES:  Cut parchment paper into 4-by-5-inch pieces and wrap each caramel individually, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled.