Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thanksgiving Favorites... Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, An All Time Favorite

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One of Lindaraxa's most popular posts published six years ago. 

Now that I live in the South, the DEEP South, I think it would only be appropriate to have pecan pie as my other dessert on Thanksgiving.  I have been mulling whether to have pecan pie or chocolate pecan pie or chocolate bourbon pecan pie and the choice was made for me last night by my friend Libby Wilkie who publishes the beautiful blog An Eye for Detail.  Isn't that what friends are for? Although I have to admit that the bourbon part is my contribution. Who wouldn't exchange that for vanilla extract, especially on Thanksgiving!

Pecan trees are so abundant in this part of Georgia that they are all over my son's backyard.  The area where he lives used to be a pecan farm in the middle of what is now a suburb of Atlanta.  Maybe I can get them to gather some  for me, since, after all, the pumpkin pie filling is a product of our visit together to the pumpkin farm last month.  Talking about home grown pies!

One of the most important things about this pie is toasting the pecans beforehand.  Really, do go the extra mile, it makes a world of difference as far as flavor is concerned.  Place whole or halved pecans on an ungreased sheet pan and toast in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times until light brown and fragrant. Let cool and set aside.  Don't go overboard on the pecans. Just add what it says in the recipe or you will overwhelm the pie  Been there, done that.

 Don't scrimp on quality when it comes to making the best chocolate pecan pie for the holidays. As important as toasted and roasted pecans are to this pie, so is the type of chocolate used. Gourmet chocolate would include such brands as; Lindt chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate and Callebaut chocolate. Mini chocolate chips are easy to use, and shaved or finely chopped dark chocolate works well too. These two ingredients -- toasted or roasted pecans and gourmet chocolate -- will be the deciding factor between a so-so chocolate pecan pie and a knock-your-socks-off, have-to-have-some-now chocolate pecan pie! A few drops of Bourbon won't hurt either.

Servings:  8 - 10


1 deep dish 9 inch basic pie crust

3/4 cup gourmet chocolate chips or shaved dark chocolate

1 1/2 cup toasted pecans, shelled and chopped in half if desired

1/3 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup Karo light corn syrup

3 large eggs

3 TB Bourbon


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F with rack in lowest position.  Prepare pie crust ahead of time  whether you are making one or buying one already made such as Mrs. Smith's. Place toasted pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell (don't worry, they will rise to the top when the pie is fully baked ). Sprinkle chocolate chips or shaved chocolate over the pecans. Place the pie crust on a baking sheet to prevent drips and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Turn off heat. Add brown sugar, stir until dissolved and pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix well with the whisk attachment.

Add corn syrup and mix again. Scrape.

Mix in bourbon and eggs, beating to mix well, but not foamy.

Carefully pour batter over the chocolate chips and pecans, being careful not to disturb them.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until top is slightly browned and puffed up. This will fall during cooling.  Make sure you let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours.

Chocolate Pecan Pie cuts best when it is chilled. Use a sharp knife. Let cool completely before wrapping. This pie freezes well, so make extra!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Fond Memories of Fall, Pumpkin Spice Bread....Tracking My Jarsdale Pumpkin From Farm To Table.

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My friend Cronica Domus' new post reminded me of this adventure when I first came to live on the lake.  It also reminded me of Lucy, my Sous Chef who loved to go to the farm.

Are we there yet???

The beautiful Jardale pumpkin which my friends at the pumpkin farm gave me a few days ago is now pumpkin pie and Pumpkin Spice Bread!  I can't believe I did it but I roasted the pumpkin yesterday, strained it, drained it and froze it for a later use, just like my friend Patti Londre recommended.  All in all, I got 4 Cups of pumpkin flesh, 2 1/2 for the pie and 11/2 Cups for the bread.  A meaguer yield for a lot of work.  I did follow their advice and mixed the pie filling before I froze it;  that way I won't have much to do before I serve it on Thanksgiving.

The pumpkin bread was a cinch and a welcomed addition to my afternoon tea.  By the way, it gets better and better every day that goes by.

Before it went in the oven---look at the beautiful orange color!

and the contrast with the blue- gray of the skin

After they came out of the oven

After mashing...look at the water in the bottom!

the end result just after it came out of the oven

Pumpkin Spice Bread


1 1/2 cups (210g) flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup (200 g) sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée*

1/2 cup (1 dL) vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts or almonds*

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Drain on top of a colander for a couple of hours. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.

3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

*This time I used almonds

Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.

Fresh Pumpkin Puree on Foodista

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I'm Back!... Carbonade A La Flamande, A Ma Façon

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If it is accompanied by French fries it's Belgian.  If it says Flamande it is Flemish and involves beer ; and if it says a ma façon, it means I can do to it anything I want.

Hi, I'm back! 

Yes, that is truly me with a new neck.  It's all bolted up but only I know that.  I was hopeful of getting a new swan neck like Babe Paley and Marella but when I asked my doctor,  he said he could only get me one millimeter.  Nothing is for free, ever.

Now, it's been there, done that.  While I was convalescing, I connected with friends on Facebook.  It is worse than sugar or nicotine.  It's so addictive I was afraid of  overexposure.  I'm still weaning off. 

So today I did some serious cooking.  As in it has a name.  It was for Madame Mere to remind her of her days in Belgium.  I think it worked.  I added the sweet potatoes,  The Belgians will probably set the gendarmes after me but that's what life is all about.  Vive la difference!


  • 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2″ x 12″-thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups Belgian-style ale, like Ommegang Abbey Ale or dark beer
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Thyme, tarragon, 
  • 1 bay leaf\
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed. (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen boiled onions
  • kitchen bouquet, (2 TB.)
  • French fries


Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes. Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped Pomi tomatoes,  half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil. After 30 minuted add sweet potatoes (if using). After 1 hr. add frozen boiled onion. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Add kitchen bouquet.  cook a few minutes. Serve with french fries or bread.

When you cook your french fries, make sure the heat of the oil is very hot before you add them.  I know about the splash.  It's a tough shot but it's what works best!

Don't tell her but my neck is longer...all I can say is, it hasn't been easy.

All photos Lindaraxa

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