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southern food blog
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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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Butternut Squash & Sausage Stuffing

This weekend, we had our annual fake Thanksgiving.  Each year, around the end of October or the beginning of November, we have a large meal full of all the Thanksgiving dishes I’m planning on sharing here on Biscuits and Such.  Usually we invite friends over and make a day of it.  This year was no exception.  I have an awesome array of Thanksgiving (and other holiday appropriate) dishes for you, starting with the chipotle cranberry sauce I posted last week.  This might have been our best fake Thanksgiving yet, I cannot wait to share the spread with you!

Today’s recipe was one of the favorites of the meal.  To begin, I’ve never made stuffing before.  I am not usually a big stuffing fan, as I would rather spend my Thanksgiving stomach space on mashed potatoes and crescent rolls.  And pie.  Stuffing, for me, was always something I could skip over without regret.  But, when planning the meal this year, I felt like there needed to be a filling, delicious, carb.  And since I wasn’t making a potato dish I went with stuffing.  I’m happy to announce that it was an excellent choice.

When I first started thinking about the menu, I decided I would do a bourbon brine on the turkey.  And then I was all hell, let’s also do a bourbon glaze.  After that my friend Sara convinced me to make a bourbon pecan pie instead of the apple I had been planning, and before you know it there was bourbon in every inch of this meal.  Delicious, delicious bourbon.  I’ll clarify that when it comes to drinking bourbon straight, or even in a mixed drink, it kind of makes me want to die.  But in food, hot damn! I want to put bourbon in everything I eat from here on out.

So anyway, while I was sautéing the squash, onions, garlic, and shallots for this stuffing I thought, what the hell, a splash of bourbon can’t hurt.  And it didn’t.  It helped, a lot.  Overall, this stuffing is everything I would like from a side dish.  It’s a little sweet (because of the squash and bourbon), a little spicy (because I don’t make anything without red pepper flakes), and finishes with a burst of rosemary.  This recipe makes enough to fill a squash boat (if you so desire), plus a 9 x 9 pan’s worth of stuffing.  It was exactly the right amount for 6 adults plus leftovers for everyone.  In fact, I’m about to go fry and egg to eat over the last little bit.

Happy Fake Thanksgiving, friends!

Butternut Squash & Sausage Stuffing

1 large butternut squash

1 white or yellow onion

5 cloves garlic

1 large or 2 small shallots

3 large hot italian sausage (I went with turkey)

1 whole wheat or demi wheat baguette

1 cup turkey stock (or drippings)

1/4 cup bourbon

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 pat butter

Parmesan cheese to grate

I opted to make a boat with my squash because it’s fancy.  You really don’t have to, it would probably save you a lot of tedious time.  But doesn’t it look pretty?  If you want to make a boat, start by finding the side of your squash that sits flat.  Then, cut a wedge about 3-4 inches across out of the top.  Using a knife and a spoon, core the squash (leaving at least 3/4″ on each side so the boat is stable).  Dispose of the pulp and set the flesh aside.

Chop your onions, squash, and garlic.  Heat oil in a pan and sauté everything.  Add salt, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and bourbon. Cook until the onions are semi-translucent.  This way, the squash is tender but not mushy.  While that is on the stove, cube your bread.

In a large bowl, combine bread, stock, and everything you just cooked.  Stir together.

Using a paring knife, cut a long slit down the side of each sausage.  Remove the casing.  Throw your sausage into the pan, using a spatula to break it up as it cooks.  Cook until almost done.  Add them to the bowl.

Slice your shallots into rings. Throw them into the pan, letting them caramelize in the sausage juices.

When everything is cooked, mix together well in the bowl.  Cube your pat of butter and place it in the bottom of the sausage boat.  Fill the boat with stuffing, and then fill your 9×9 pan with the remainder.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.


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