Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pecan pie & small pleasures in life

What I liked the most in the movie "Amélie" (or "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain") was the admiration for small pleasures in life.  I have a list of quite a few of such small pleasures, that make a grey day just a bit more colorful.  The silky milk foam on a expresso-enforced latte, sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.  A long bath, with aromatic bath salts, relaxing music, candles and a glass of wine.  The smell of fresh hay.  Curling up near a heater with a good book, watching it rain cats and dogs outside.  Melting chocolate au-bain-marie and making swirls with the spoon in the glossy mixture.   A cup of hot lemon & honey tea when you have a cold.  Waking through fresh, virgin-white snow.  The radio playing your favorite song and you singing as loud as you can with it.  Kicking off your shoes on this first warm spring day and feeling the grass under your bare feet.  The smell of freshly roasted nuts...   

Speaking of freshly roasted nuts -- the unquestionable stars of this pie are the dashing pecans.  And pecans are your typical top-knotch stars: expensive, luxurious and a tad mysterious (is the pronunciation "pee-kahns", "pi-kahns" or "pee-cans"?!).  I didn't grow up with pecans -- we always had walnuts instead.  The nuts are very similar in appearance and taste, yet still different.  Pecans are much softer in flavor and physical characteristics, more buttery, a tad sweeter.  They are the more sophisticated brother of walnuts -- the star of the family.

This pecan pie is unique in flavor, thanks to the golden syrup -- there is nothing like it!  It's quite sweet, but absolutely divine, so you can't stop eating it (you have been warned).  The rich taste of crunchy roasted pecans is elevated by the honey-like, rich filling, and perfectly completed by the shortbread crust.  Serving the pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is a must for me - as it balances the sweetness with a fresh, milky touch.  Nothing left to say but: enjoy this divine pie!


  • 185 g flour
  • 50 g fine sugar
  • 125 g cold butter, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp ice water

  • 300 g pecans (or walnuts)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 175 g golden syrup (I tried honey & molasses mixed half-half: works very well too)
  • 100 g dark brown sugar
  • 90 g butter (melted)
  • 80 ml cream

  • Mix all the ingredients of the base in a mixer (or knead by hand) until the dough forms a ball.  Butter a tart form (preferably with removable bottom) and distribute the dough evenly, also on the sides of the form.  Refrigerate for approx. 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Remove the base from the fridge and punch little whole in the bottom with a fork.  Cover with parchment paper and put ceramic balls on top (you could also use beans or rice) - this will prevent the base from rising.  Bake for around 15 minutes, remove the paper and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Roast the pecans in a dry pan, until fragrant (watch out not to burn them).  Put the nuts on the pre-baked base.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the filling until they form a smooth mixture.  Pour over the nuts.
  • Bake for approx. 30 minutes (same temperature).  Let cool and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The recipe comes from the Polish blog Moje Wypieki.
Bon appetit!

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