Classic Pecan Pie

So, my family acquired a very large amount of pecans. I'm not sure how, but it's certainly not unusual in Louisiana where pecans are plentiful!

After making the pumpkin pie for Christmas, I decided that I wanted to make another pie, but I didn't want to make an extra trip to the grocery store to pick up any ingredients. Luckily, we already had everything that I needed to make a pecan pie.

We used the recipe on the back of the Karo syrup bottle. According to my mom, everybody uses the recipe on the back of the Karo syrup bottle!

Like pumpkin pie, this recipe could not be easier! You just mix all of the ingredients together and pour them into a partially-baked pie shell (or unbaked pie shell if you are using a store bought pie shell).

Recipe-Classic Pecan Pie

1 cup light or dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups pecans, chopped in halves and quaters
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust (or 1 partially-baked 9" pie crust if homemade)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract with a spoon. Stir in pecans.

3. Bake on center rack for 60-70 minutes (the pie is done when: the center springs back after being given a light tap).
4. Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours.



Pumpkin Pie

Ok, so apparently there is this disconnect in American culture between the sweet potato pie people, and the pumpkin pie people.

I seriously thought they were the exact same thing until very recently.

Anyway, so back to these "sweet potato pie" people and "pumpkin pie" people. My mom has always made sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So... I guess that makes us sweet potato pie people. BUT, she grew up eating pumpkin pie..

I have discovered that sweet potato pie is often associated with traditions in African-American families, while pumpkin pie is associated with traditions in other American families.

I like baking new things, so I decided to bake a pumpkin pie this Christmas. It tastes slightly different than a sweet potato pie, but I'm seriously convinced that the taste is indistinguishable to many people.

Baking a pumpkin pie could not be easier with all of the right ingredients!

If you are making the crust yourself, partially pre-bake the crust.  If you are using a store-bought crust, don't worry about pre-baking the crust.

Recipe-Pumpkin Pie

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 14-ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 9-inch pie crust

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour into the pie crust.  Bake 15 minutes.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F, and continue baking for 35-40 minutes (when given a shake, the center should jiggle slightly. A knife inserted one inch from the crust should come out clean). Let cool. Serve with whipped cream.  Store the leftovers covered in the refrigerator.


Buche de Noel (Yule Log)

I love pies, cakes, and cookies at Christmastime.  But, I also like trying new things, and I wanted to bring a little bit of France with me home to Louisiana for the holidays.  The Buche de Noel is a traditional Christmas dessert in France, Belgium, French Canada, Lebanon, and Vietnam.  It is traditionally made from a sponge cake, and filled with chocolate buttercream frosting, rolled up to look like a log.

I wanted to make one a little more--interesting. I found a recipe that combined Nutella, whipped cream, and toasted almonds. I couldn't resist!

The toasted almonds really bring out the nuttiness of the Nutella, and compliment the Genoise cake splendidly.  The finished product is so festive and really adds a nice flair to any dining table set for Christmas dinner.  You can always enjoy a left over piece the next morning with coffee for holiday-only guilt-free breakfast ;)

This Yule Log recipe is particularly wintry since the whipped cream frosting symbolizes snow on the log.  Get creative and really create a winter wonderland! Enjoy!

Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/chocolate_nut_yule_log

The genoise cake, ready to be baked (below).

The genoise cake, baked and coated with powder sugar. (above)

Roll the cake and let it cool. (below)
Once the cake is cooled, spread the Chocolate-Hazelnut frosting, and then roll again. (below)

Lastly, top with the whipped cream frosting and toasted almonds. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.  


Tortilla de Patates (Spanish Omelette/Spanish Tortilla)

What the Spanish call a "tortilla" is not the tortilla that we think about when referencing Mexican food.  This tortilla is actually an omelette with fried eggs and fried potatoes.  It can be served by the slice, and is found in pretty much every eatery/bar in Spain.

Recipe- Spanish Tortilla

  • 10 ounces red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and cool.
2. Whisk eggs and next 5 ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Mix in potatoes. Heat oil in large ovenproof nonstick skillet over high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add egg mixture; cook 3 minutes, occasionally stirring egg from sides of skillet. Place skillet in oven and bake eggs until set in center and no longer wet on top, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove tortilla from oven. Immediately place skillet on cold wet kitchen towel to prevent further cooking. Let stand 2 minutes. Run spatula around edge of skillet and under tortilla. Lift skillet and tilt, sliding tortilla onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into wedges.


Big City, Little Kitchen Cookin- EASY Quiche Lorraine

My roommate came home and said she was going to make a quiche lorraine for dinner (yes!)

She seriously whipped this thing up in about 10 minutes before putting it in our toaster oven.  You can make this simple dish in an entirely unequipped kitchen. You only need a stove (or hot plate), an oven (or toaster oven), and a cake pan/pie pan/ tart pan (or premade crust in a pan).

The difference between French recipes for quiche lorraine is that they use "creme fraiche" instead of heavy or light whipping cream.  Creme fraiche can be found in American grocery stores--it is often in the fine cheese section.  Creme fraiche is similar to sour cream--but don't think about substituting it with sour cream!

Ingredients: one sheet of pate (dough)
3 whole eggs
30 cl creme fraiche (1 and 1/4 cups and 1 teaspoon)
25 cl milk (1 cup and 1 tablespoon)
300 grams of bacon (about 12 ounces)
150 grams of shredded Emmental cheese (about 3/4 cups)
salt, pepper, nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 475 F for 10 minutes.
2. Press the sheet of pate into a large cake pan and use a fork to poke holes throughout.  Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool on the counter.
3.  Cook the bacon in a skillet until it is crispy. Then, drain the oil off with a paper towel and cut into small pieces.
4. In a medium bowl, whip the eggs together with the creme fraiche.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to beat the mixture.
5. Add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.
6. Spread the cooked bacon and cheese evenly across the bottom of the pan.   Then, pour the egg mixture on top.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400. The quiche is ready when a knife inserted one inch deep comes out clean.