Pecan Chocolate Pie

Cakes, Other, Recipes

I love pecans, only they are really hard to get in Austria. When a friend of mine flew to the United States last spring, I asked him to get me a big bag of pecans. He did! So this spring and summer I had a lot of fun trying different pecan-recipes.

I held on to the last pecans in that bag for a long time. They were just enough for one more recipe, and I simply could not decide upon one – there were too many recipes I still wanted to try. I also did not want to use up my entire supply of pecans. Where would I get more?

Well, last month I found an answer to that question: a local supermarket now has pecans! They are expensive, but at least they are available. I immediately bought a bag and am happy that I now know where to restock.

I used a part of those new pecans and the rest of the pecans I got in spring for this Pecan Chocolate Pie. I made the pie in spring for the first time and liked it very much. It has an intense chocolate- and pecan-aroma. There is also a special taste to the pie because of the golden syrup or the sugar beet syrup, which is what I used.Pekan Schoko Pie 2   Pekan Schoko Pie 1

The pie is just right for fall. It will warm you from the inside, and it will make you happy!

Ingredients:

Dough:
½ cup (110 g) soft butter
2 ¼ cup (225 g) flour
¾ cup (80 g) sugar
1 egg

Filling:
½ cup (110 g) soft butter

1 ¼ cup (225 g) fine brown sugar

⅓ cup (110 g) golden syrup or sugar beet syrup

3 eggs

A bit more than 1 cup (260 g) pecans, coarsely chopped

16 pecan-halves for decoration

½ cup (85 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%), coarsely chopped

Pekan Schoko Pie 3

Grease a pie plate (the one I used is 11 inches) with butter.

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C).

With a handmixer, combine the soft butter and the flour until you get crumbs of about pea size.

Add sugar, then the egg, until the mixture forms a dough.

Place the dough onto a clean surface and knead it through once.

Lightly cover the surface with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle, about 1/5 of an inch thick. Put the dough into the pie plate. (If the dough is very soft, roll it into a small disk first and put it into the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling it into a circle.)

With a knife, cut off the excess dough so that you get a nice and tidy edge. Poke tiny holes into the dough with a fork.

Put the pie plate into the fridge and chill for 45 minutes.

Remove the pie plate from the fridge. Cover the dough with parchment paper or wax paper and fill the pie with pie weights. I keep a jar of chicken peas in my kitchen which I use for this purpose only.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Put a baking sheet into the oven.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling:

In a small pot, melt butter, sugar and golden syrup at low heat. Remove from the oven and let the mixture cool a little.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter-sugar mixture and combine until the mixture is smooth.

Spread chopped pecans and chopped chocolate in the pie crust.

Carefully pour the filling over the pecans and the chocolate. With my pie plate, the form will be filled to the brim. Decorate with the pecan halves.

Put the pie onto the hot baking sheet. This will allow the pie to bake evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the heat to 280° F (140° C) and bake for another 20 minutes. The pie will be a bit soft in the middle, but will firm up when cool.

If you feel like adding some more calories, enjoy the pie with whipped cream – delicious!

 Pekan Schoko Pie 4

Adapted from: the hummingbird bakery (2011): Süße Sünden, München: Dorling Kindersley.

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Biscotti with Chocolate Chips and Roasted Hazelnuts

Other, Recipes

I have wanted to make these Biscotti many times, but never got around to it, mostly because other recipes came in between. Last week I finally succeeded in making them. When I looked through my baking books, I kept coming back to this recipe. I was intrigued by the fact that the Biscotti would be baked twice, and by the mouth-watering list of ingredients. As I had never made Biscotti before, though, I had no real idea about what they would taste like.

Biscotti Schoko 4

Now that I know how good they are, I regret not having made them much earlier. They were incredible. Lots of dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts in a crunchy dough. You can probably keep them in an airtight container for about three days, but I can only guess that. They did not last that long.

In these Biscotti, the chocolate-flavor is so intense that you should really use high-quality dark chocolate. It´s definitely worth it.

Biscotti Schoko 3

Ingredients:

2 ¾ cups (280 g) flour
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
¾ cup (175 g) sugar
2 eggs
⅜ cup (45 g) butter
6.2 oz. (175 g) high-quality dark chocolate, lactose-free (Lindt 70%, Merci 72%)
3.5 oz (100 g) hazelnuts

Roast the hazelnuts in a large pan at medium temperature until they become fragrant and the skins crack. Pour the hazelnuts onto a kitchen towel and let them cool a little – they will be really hot! Close the towel over the hazelnuts and rub the nuts against each other so that the skins will come off. Do not worry if they do not come off completely. Let the nuts cool down.

Coarsely chop the roasted hazelnuts.

Coarsely chop the chocolate. Mix with the hazelnuts and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 355° F (180° C).

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a small pot, melt the butter at low heat. Let it cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, ground hazelnuts, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla sugar, and sugar.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together eggs and melted butter.

Pour the egg-mixture into the flour-mixture. Beat it in well, using a wooden spoon.

Stir the roasted, chopped hazelnuts and the chopped chocolate into the dough.

Mould the batter into two to three small loafs, about 8 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. This might be a little tricky, as the dough is rather dry. You might have to press it together well to keep the loaves from falling apart.

Biscotti Schoko 1

Bake the loaves in the oven for about 25 minutes. Take them out and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

Turn the oven to 340° F (170° C). Cover another baking sheet with baking paper.

With a sharp knife, cut the loaves diagonally into slices of about ⅔ – ¾ of an inch. I did this directly on the baking sheet. That seemed easier than transporting the loaves to a cutting board and cutting them there.

Biscotti Schoko 2

Put the slices on the baking sheet. Bake them for 7 minutes, then turn them around and bake them for another 6-8 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the Biscotti cool down.

Store the Biscotti in an airtight container, so that they will stay crispy.

 Biscotti Schoko 5

Adapted from: Cynthia Barcomi (2010), Backen: I Love Baking, München: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag.

Peace Pastry (“Versöhnungsstangerl”)

Other, Recipes

It is really hard to find an English equivalent for the German word “Versöhnungsstangerl”. Reconciliation Sticks? Appeasement Strips? I went for Peace Pastry. I think it is closest to what the German name wants to express.

I do not know how the pastry got its name. Maybe because the pastry tastes so good that you will forget about any fights and arguments when you have one? Or maybe because the wife would serve them to her husband if she wanted to apologize for whatever she did wrong? I have no idea. Whenever I make them, we keep wondering and guessing.

Versöhnungsstangerl 6

I discovered the recipe in the Sacher baking book many years ago. I cannot remember anymore why I tried it. The recipe looked so simple and not spectacular at all. There was also no picture. I assume I just had all the ingredients at home and felt like trying something new.

It was definitely worth the try. This pastry is really easy and quick to prepare, and the result is heavenly. You could really forget about arguing when eating them!

Versöhnungsstangerl 7

Ingredients:
Dough:
10 oz. (270 g) puff pastry, lactose-free (e.g. “Tante Fanny´s Blätterteig”)

Filling:
3.5 oz. (100 g) marzipan paste
2 tbsp. rum or 2 tbsp. milk, lactose-free
1 egg
1 ½ cup (150 g) ground hazelnuts

Additionally:
2 egg yolks
½ cup (50 g) ground (or chopped) hazelnuts
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).

Put baking paper on two baking sheets.

About ten minutes before you start baking, take the puff pastry out of the package. It will thus get a bit softer and easier to handle.

Roll the pastry into a rectangle.

Cut the marzipan paste into small pieces. Add the rum or the milk and beat with a hand mixer or a kitchen machine until smooth. There might still be small lumps of marzipan, but do not worry about those. It is not really a problem.

Add the egg and beat it in well.

Add the ground hazelnuts.

Spread the nut mixture on the lower half of the puff pastry rectangle. Fold the upper half over the lower half. Go over the pastry dough with a rolling pin once.

Versöhnungsstangerl 1Versöhnungsstangerl 2

Cut the pastry dough into strips of a bit more than half an inch. Twist each strip twice and put them onto the baking sheets.

Versöhnungsstangerl 4

Chill in a cold place for about 20 minutes, if you have the time for it. I usually skip this step.

Whisk the egg yolks. Brush the pastry strips with the whisked yolks. Sprinkle the strips with the ground (or chopped) hazelnuts.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy. The pastry tastes warm as well as cold.

Versöhnungsstangerl 5

Comment 1:
I have also tried baking the Peace Pastry with walnuts, which I usually like better than hazelnuts. I would not recommend it. With walnuts, the pastry does not get as crunchy and crispy as with hazelnuts. I definitely prefer the hazelnut version.

Comment 2:
This recipe will make about 20 pieces of pastry. If I have friends over, I usually make the double amount. The pastry is so light and good that people usually have at least three to four pieces. 20 pieces will rather not be enough if there are more than five people.

Adapted from: Kellermann, M. (1994), Das große Sacher Kochbuch. Weyarn: Seehamer Verlag GmbH.

Waffles with Whipped Cream and Strawberry Jam

Other, Recipes

I did not plan on baking waffles last week. Then my teenage son unexpectedly invited a friend to come over and stay into the evening. With teenagers you never know how hungry they will be, so I wanted to make sure I would have something at home that I could feed them before it was dinner time.

Initially I wanted to make muffins. Whenever I need a quick recipe which kids will definitely appreciate, I will make muffins. I was just looking for my favorite recipe in Annik Wecker´s “Göttliche Kuchen,” when the book suddenly fell open at the page with the recipe for waffles. Waffles would also be a good idea, I thought. They would be a welcome change to the muffins, which I make quite often.

1-IMG_9948-001

I had some buttermilk left from the Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate. The buttermilk would expire soon, so I was happy to read that the recipe said I could substitute the milk with buttermilk. Waffles really were a good idea, I realized: They would make the teenagers happy, and I could use the rest of the buttermilk. Perfect.

The recipe says you can substitute a part of the flour with ground nuts or almonds, or with wholemeal flour. The milk you can substitute with buttermilk, as I said, but also with cream, yogurt, curd cheese, even with mashed bananas or apple sauce. The recipe thus allows a lot of experimenting and varying. The main point is that the batter needs to be semi-fluid and gooey, that is not too fluid, but also not too firm.

I used “normal” wheat flour and buttermilk. After I had added the 350 ml buttermilk I had left, the batter was quite firm. I added a good shot of milk (lactose-free), then the batter was right.

I served the waffles with whipped cream and home-made strawberry jam. Wow.

1-IMG_9963-001

Ingredients:
1 ½ sticks (180 g) butter, softened
1 cup (200 g) Zucker
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
4 cups (400 g) flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 ¼ – 1 ¾ cups (300 – 400 ml) milk or buttermilk, lactose-free
Icing sugar

Beat the butter with the kitchen machine or the mixer until fluffy. This will take several minutes.

Add the sugar and the vanilla sugar and keep beating. The sugar should dissolve.

Add the eggs. Beat each egg in for about one minute, until it has combined will with the butter-mixture.

In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.

Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk/buttermilk to the batter: about ⅓ of the flour, then half the milk/buttermilk, another ⅓ of the flour, rest of the milk/buttermilk, last third of the flour.

If the batter is too liquid, add some flour. If it is too firm, add some milk/buttermilk.

Heat the waffle iron.

Depending on the waffle iron you have, fill in the appropriate amount of batter and bake the waffles until golden brown. With my waffle iron, this takes about 3-5 minutes.

Put the waffles on a big plate and let them cool down. Sprinkle the cold waffles with icing sugar, if you want.

1-IMG_9969

They can be eaten warm as well as cold. My kids like to have them as a snack at school.

Nach: Annik Wecker: Anniks göttliche Kuchen, Dorling Kindersley Verlag.

Hot Fudge Sauce

Other, Recipes

I love this Hot Fudge Sauce. It is smooth and dark and is great with vanilla ice-cream. It also goes well with all kinds of chocolaty, nutty ice-creams. And probably also fruity ones like strawberry ice-cream or banana ice-cream, although I´ve never tried that.

The Fudge Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, maybe longer. I do not know how long because it never lasted any longer. If you want to warm it up, just put the amount needed into a double boiler and melt it until it is smooth again.

The picture shows the Hot Fudge Sauce with homemade lactosefree Peanut Butter Ice Cream (see “The English Version: Recipes”):

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients:

4 oz. (110 g) lactose-free dark chocolate, e.g. Lindt 70% Mild or Lindt 85% Mild
½ cup (120 g) butter
¾ cup (85 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups (400 g) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) milk
½ cup (120 ml) whipping cream

Chop or break the chocolate into small pieces. Cut the butter into cubes of about ½ inch (1-2 cm). Put the chocolate and butter into a pot or mixing bowl and melt them in a double boiler: place the pot or mixing bowl over a smaller pot filled with about one inch (2-3 cm) of simmering water.

When the chocolate and butter are completely melted, add the cocoa and whisk until dissolved.

Next, gradually stir in the sugar. The mixture will now look and feel like wet sand, very crunchy. Let it cook over simmering water for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and then. Make sure there is always water in the double boiler.

Stir in the milk and cream until completely blended. Continue cooking 1 hour, stirring every now and then.

The fudge sauce is ready when it is completely smooth (and yummy).

Here you see the Hot Fudge Sauce over vanilla ice cream (not lactosefree) from the store:

Hot Fudge Sauce mit Vanilleeis

Note:
The last time I made a batch of this sauce I discovered that I had nearly run out of cocoa. I had already melted the butter and chocolate, so I decided to still give it a try. The recipe worked well with just ½ cup (40 g) of cocoa. Nobody noticed the difference.

Adapted from the recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce in „Ben and Jerry´s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.“