December 29, 2014
Pie is probably my least favorite dessert, but I love pecan pie. I don't like desserts that are overly sweet, but I love pecan pie. I'm not a big fan of southern food, but ... well, you get the picture. Against all reason, I just love pecan pie. This one was exceptionally good, although I don't think I really get why it has to be frozen. I understand why it's a tart because that makes it shallower so it's not quite so tooth-achingly sweet, and I can see that slicing it when it's frozen makes it less messy to cut, I'm not sure why it remains frozen after that. (In fact, at my house, it stayed in the refrigerator, which was a compromise to a problem I still don't understand).
This pecan tart would make a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert, and would be splendid at Christmas. I made it for an Argentinian reunion. It made no sense for that occasion, except that it was next on the list and the people coming over to our house to watch an Argentinian movie like good food. (Don't you love it when people make happy noises when they're eating something you've cooked). We ate this pecan tart while watching "The Motorcycle Diaries," an excellent movie about young Che Guevara and a friend of his motorcycling through beautiful scenery in Argentina and Chile while becoming radicalized politically. After we were done with the pie, we drank several glasses of Argentinian Malbec. I'm not sure pecan pie and Malbec is a match made in heaven, but it tasted good to me. But this is all after the pie has been assembled, baked, and frozen.
"The dough will be in crumbly pieces." If I do say so, I believe this is as close to a textbook example of "crumbly pieces" as you're likely to get. I remind myself that "crumbly pieces" is not my final goal to stop myself from getting to pleased with myself. And a good thing, too, because just a few minutes later, I find that the dough is sticking to my pastry mat and I have to scoop the whole mess up and start over.
This is the dough while it was still behaving itself.
This is my second try. I put LOTS of flour on the pastry mat so I wouldn't make the same mistake twice. I've found that there are plenty of brand new mistakes just waiting to happen, so it really is quite foolish to repeat an old one.
This frying pad lid is my template. Only it's not 12 inches in diameter, so I have to make the dough a little bit bigger than the lid. This obviously lessens the utility of the template, but it's surprising (to me, anyway) how difficult it is to find a 12-inch circle in among one's kitchen supplies. I had many things that were smaller than 12 inches and a few things that were larger, but nothing was 12 inches on the nose.
If you don't look too closely at the flaws in this uncooked pie crust, you might think it looks pretty good. I thought it looked pretty good myself, which is why I told Jim to take a picture of it. Then I noticed the fat parts and the skinny parts, the unevenness, the blotches on the bottom of the crust. Etc. etc. I was growing less sanguine about having a presentable, edible pie for our friends, and I thought I might have to go buy several more bottles of Malbec so they'd forget that I actually invited them over for dessert.
I decided to make up for my devil-may-care attitude with the pie crust by putting more weights than Charles Atlas could lift in my pie crust. Oh, you don't even know who Charles Atlas was, do you? Don't you hate it when you make a reference that leaves everyone looking blank? How about Jesse Ventura? Do you at least remember him? I suppose it doesn't matter. Even if you don't know about the poor sap who got sand kicked in his face at the beach because he was a weakling, you can still be impressed by my makeshift pie weights.
They did work. The sides of the pie crust stayed firm and did not sink down into the bottom of the pan, as has often happened in the past. It seems to me that there are more unfixable things that can go wrong with a pie than with any other kind of dessert. Once a pie has slumped down into its shell, there's just no good remedy.
There is nothing instructive about this photo. It's just golden syrup dripping slowly out of the bottle, but I like the shot. It either looks like blown glass or like aliens.
Cooking the egg yolks, brown sugar, golden syrup and butter. It doesn't look like a diet dessert, does it?
I'm actually pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I could have fit some more pecans on top, but this is good enough. I can't believe the crust hasn't folded in on itself, as it usually does. I think that I can serve this to my friends after all, and not have to rely on Plan B, which was getting them drunk.
This post makes me want to recommend three things to you, in order of ease and likelihood of accomplishment:
1. Make the frozen pecan tart, and, if you don't mind, tell me your opinion of the usefulness of the "frozen" part.
2. Watch The Motorcycle Diaries, while eating pecan pie and drinking Malbec, if possible.
3. Go to Argentina, where you will probably not eat pecan pie but you'll have a good time anyway.