Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Bourbon Brine

As you may know, I’m a big fan of a brined, fried turkey.  That’s the way we make it at home, and that’s the way Dan and I have made it for the past two years.  Not only is the end result totally moist, delicious, and perfectly seasoned, it’s a lot of fun.  And quick.  Have I mentioned how quick and easy it is?

This year, in keeping with the bourbon theme, I decided to brine the turkey in a bourbon and brown sugar solution.  The end result, even before the maple-bourbon glaze that everyone was dipping their faces in by the end of the night, was an out-of-this-world turkey.  Perfectly salted with hints of sweetness and a spicy bourbon flavor.

 

 

Bourbon Brine

 

Water

4 cups bourbon

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes

5 cloves garlic

 

Fill your pot halfway full of water.  Add all ingredients but the bourbon.  Bring to a boil, then let cool completely.  Add the bourbon, then add the turkey.  The brine should cover the turkey completely, add water as necessary.  Cover and let sit for two days.

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Bourbon Pecan Pie

Originally my dessert plan for fake Thanksgiving was to make a classic apple pie, and add some fun how-tos on making the top crust more fun and playful (I still plan on doing that post, it just might not be part of this Thanksgiving spread).  However, the day before the big meal I was discussing the menu with my friend Sara, and she made a face.  Her patented “meh, that sounds boring” face.  Instead, she suggested, I make a pecan pie.  I explained that I already had a pecan pie on the blog, and that the point of fake Thanksgiving was to offer up new, exciting Thanksgiving ideas.  Her response was something along the lines of “well, put bourbon in it.”  I can always count on fellow southerners to suggest boozing things up.

So, when I was making the pie dough, I added some bourbon.  And then a splash more.  In fact, I substituted almost all the water in the pie dough recipe for bourbon.  And then later, when I was making the filling I added about a quarter cup of bourbon.  And then I figured, if I’m going to do this I might as well do it right and added another quarter cup.  Then topped it off with a splash more.

This is may be the booziest pie ever.  But I have to say, it’s also one of the best pies I’ve ever had OR made.  I’m not just flattering myself, I’m pretty critical of what I make.  This is amazing. As in, I want to make another one right now just to eat by myself. If you’re thinking of making a pecan pie for Thanksgiving and your family is cool with a little (lot) of bourbon, DO THIS.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Pie Dough (makes two crusts):

2 1/2 cups all p flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold

1 1/2 stick cold butter

1/4-1 cup bourbon

Splash of ice water

Spices/flavor enhancers

Pie Filling:

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup chopped (or crushed) pecans

1/2 cup bourbon

Start with your dough. Sift dry ingredients.  Add shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat the flour.  Add butter and work it in until it resembles coarse corn meal.  You should be able to pinch the dough together to form chunks.  Add the ice water/bourbon, a little at a time, stirring in with a wooden spoon  Only add as much as it takes to make a ball.  Any more than that and you will be left with chewey crust.  However, make sure you’re using enough for your dough to hold together.  If you’re adding honey, now would be the time to whisk it into the water.  Be cautious with the amounts you chose, you don’t want it to get too sticky, I don’t recommend more than 3 tbsp.

Form a ball and divide it in half.  Cover each half with saran wrap and flatten into a disc shape.  Pop in the fridge for at least half an hour.  Take half the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.  It also helps to cover your rolling pin with flour.  Fit the dough into your pie dish.  The rest of your dough you can use for another pie.

Next, time for filling. Melt butter and set aside to cool.  Beat eggs, then add sugar, syrup, bourbon, and butter.  Whisk together.  Incorporate pecans.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

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On Family

Last week, my Aunt Wendy passed away.  It was unexpected, yet not surprising, as she had spent most of her life battling lupus.  Wendy was a wonderful, loving, incredibly strong woman.  She used to say that she and I were kindred spirits because of our mutual love of photography, I think of her every time I pick up a camera.  My family gathered in New Jersey to say goodbye, to be together, and to celebrate Wendy’s life.  So often family gatherings can devolve into criticisms, arguments, and frustration, but this trip we all came together, grateful to be with family.  I wanted to share some photos of this gathering, it was one of the most special family trips I can remember.


Thanks for letting me share something a little more personal. I’ll be back later this week with more Thanksgiving.

On Family from elena rosemond-hoerr on Vimeo.

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