Monday, March 14, 2011

Four Lost Souls Amaretto Pecan Pie

shine bright 
Lately it seems that pretty much everyone I know is dealing with a death of someone dearly. It has been a long, cold and icy winter, and now mother nature has claimed three now four(as of yesterday) lovely souls. We live in a very tiny community of only 1900 inhabitants, but this tragic loss has reached further than our little village. I am so great full to announce that there was on life saved and we wish her a speedy recovery, and us her little community will be there to help hold her up and to hold the hands and wipe the tears of those who lost a loved one on that icy night.

Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. -Author Unknown.

I am one of those people who needs to be in the kitchen when tragic events happen. It is my solace and my forgiver. I hope that perhaps there are other's out there that feel the same, and maybe this recipe will drive away or give you some sort of peace. I know it made me feel better.
Let's start with the pie crust. It is my favorite part to eat, and it is the foundation to any great pie. I really like pie crusts made with butter, instead of shortening or margarine. I think it gives a flavor and the crumb it develops is so flaky and it bakes wonderfully. Here is my all time favorite pie crust recipe.

How to basic pie crust.(Enough for two single filled pies or one covered pie)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
250 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled.
about 3-5 tablespoons of ice cold water

The secret to a great pie crust that bakes into a wonderfully flaky, crispy crust. Is not to over work the dough. It is not difficult to make an amazing dough, just be aware that the more you "man handle" the mixture the tougher the dough will be. I always use my mix master and add the flour and salt blitz or a second then add the butter and blitz until it starts to form a pea like dough. Usually just a few seconds then add the water tablespoon by tablespoon until it reaches a ball like stage, but not over sticky, but just easy enough to remove to my counter. You can always do it by hand with a couple of forks or with a pastry blender. It literally takes 2-4 minutes and it is ready to be flattened into disks and wrapped in plastic and set into a cold fridge for 1 hour to rest.
If doing it by hand combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, then add the butter and combine gently. With your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour. Tossing and incorporating any loose pieces. Do this until the butter pieces are no longer bigger than a pea. Drizzle the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together when pinched.Add more water if your dough seems dry. Work in, but do not over knead it. Divide the dough into two half's one bigger than the other. The bigger one will be for the bottom.( I used the other half to decorate the top of my pie.)
Let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour before use. If it is too hard to roll let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes at room temperature . Lightly flour your work space and and rolling pin.Lightly flour your disk of dough and roll out until 1/8 thick and roll up your dough around your rolling pin and roll over your pie plate. Makes it much easier to handle. Return to the fridge for 15 minutes to let the gluten rest. If you omit this stage your dough will shrink when baking.

rice, dried beans work well here.
When making a "open face" pie like pecan. You need to pre-bake your pie crust for at least 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees C. I have just ordered my new baking weights and they have not arrived yet, so I used rice instead( See photo.) Just line it with tin foil or baking paper first. Remove when it is looking a little golden brown, and gently remove the tin foil and rice.

How to Pecan Filling: 
:Pre heat your oven 180 degrees C 
1 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cups golden syrup
1 tablespoon of *DISARONNO Italian Amaretto Liqueur or traditional rum or a dash more!
4 tablespoons butter
blending eggs, cream into syrup
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups of pecans chopped ( I leave a few un- chopped to decorate the top).

Roast your pecans on a baking tray for 5 minutes at 180 degrees C. Remove from oven and let cool. Chop and set to the side.
the good stuff. :)
Next, in a large pan add the sugar and syrup Amaretto/rum,butter on high heat and stirring constantly bringing to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool until tepid. In a new bowl, whisk eggs. When the boiled syrup has cooled beat in the eggs, salt and cream.

I like to stain the mixture in-case of any extra egg parts
Add your chopped up roasted pecans to the bottom of your pre-baked pie shell and pour over your tepid syrup/egg mixture.I choose to decorate this particular pie for the the three new stars in the sky, but traditionally this pie is enough without any topping. Add to your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the middle is not springing back to much to the touch. Should have a firm top, but not jiggly. Let cool completely, before serving. Even better the next day. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or it is fine just on it's own.

Star bright
star light
E. we are praying for a speedy recovery.
the first star I see tonight.......

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