Blog - biscuits and such
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Caramel Turtle Pie

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A few weeks ago, I was the wedding photographer for a friend, Candice.  Candice is the older sister of my close friend Kellie from college, and she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  When she got engaged the day after I did, she asked me to be her photographer and I was delighted.  So, the first weekend of November we hiked up to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and spent the weekend celebrating with the happy couple and their (incredibly fun) families.

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Because I never go anywhere empty handed, I brought up a pie.  At first I was going to bring my caramel apple pie, but then I changed my mind and decided to bring cupcakes.  Then I changed my mind again because I was invited to join this Springpad Thanksgiving recipe contest and I needed to try out my perfect Thanksgiving pie idea before the deadline.

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I came up with the plan for this pie a few months ago and I am so excited about it.  One of my favorite holiday treats is the caramel turtle, a chocolate candy stuffed with caramel and pecans.  Usually when a candy has the chocolate/caramel pairing the chocolate is hard and the caramel bursts out in a displeasing fashion.  Not so with the turtle.  It’s all the same consistency and texture.  It all smooshes together and nothing bursts.  I really hate it when the caramel bursts out.

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This pie is layers of chocolate ganache, caramel, and toasted pecans.  Candice called me a few days after the wedding and told me how much she and Trent (her new husband) were enjoying the pie.  My favorite part was when she told me that Trent cut himself a big piece, exclaimed “this is like eating 10 candy bars” and couldn’t finish it.  I love when I make pies that are too rich for even the biggest sweet-lovers to eat.  It’s as good as winning an award.

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This is also a good time for me to announce, officially, that Dan and I started a small business this month, Pressed Magnolia Studio.  I’d always kind of felt like working as a wedding photographer was a sell out of my BFA in photography, but something about seeing Candice tear up the day after the wedding while looking at the pictures just made me so happy.  Made me think I could do it, officially.  So here we are.

Caramel Turtle Pie

1 cup chopped pecans

1 pie crust (recipe here)

Caramel:

2 cups sugar

4 tbsp water

1 cup heavy cream

Ganache:

11 oz bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup heavy cream

Ganache:

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. When it is melted, stir in the cream.

Bake the pie crust in a pie dish with nothing in it. Allow to cool. Poor half of the ganache into the pie dish and let cool.

Caramel:

Heat sugar and water in a heavy medium size pan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly as sugar melts and turns a golden color. When sugar is completely liquid, remove from heat. Add cream and continue stirring. The caramel will bubble and steam like crazy- it’s okay, just keep stirring. When it is calmed down, allow to sit for 15 minutes.

When the ganache has hardened in the pie dish, pour half the caramel over it.

Toast the pecans for 3 minutes at 350. Chop and spread over layer of caramel. Cover with another layer of caramel- use the remaining. Top with the remaining ganache.

Let sit for 2 hours or until everything has cooled and set to room temperature.

**The second time I made this pie I used a springform pan, which was awesome because it allowed you to see the layers.  If you’re going to do this follow the same instructions, just make sure to butter the edges of the pan so that it comes apart easily!

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Roasted Mango and Habanero Turkey

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Nothing freaks me out as much as cooking whole turkeys.  Part of it, I think, stems from my years as a vegetarian.  Cooking all meats makes me squeamish, but there’s also just something about turkey.  Roasting whole chickens, which is essentially the same thing just a little smaller, makes me uncomfortable, but it’s doable.  But the turkey.  The big, honking, scary turkey gives me agida.  Ogeda? The willies.

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You know what didn’t help?  This year, MY TURKEY DIDN’T HAVE LEGS.  I spent more money than I’m willing to admit on an organic free range antibiotic free Whole Foods approved turkey because Dan and I are on this kick where we’re buying ethically raised meats.  And on top of being antibiotic free, it was also leg free. And you know what helps you understand which way is up when cooking a turkey?  THE LEGS AND WINGS.  I couldn’t figure out which way was up!  It’s whole center of gravity was off, it wouldn’t sit straight in the roasting pan and it kept falling over and I’m 99% sure I cooked it upside down.

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Thankfully, even though I cooked it upside down and I had no legs to truss together and I was home sick with a nasty stomach bug, it tasted amazing.  Totally delicious.  Now, you may think that the whole habanero thing is intense and scary and way too spicy for your “not the pepper again” family, but it’s not.  First of all, roasting a habanero takes a lot of the punch out of it, and so the marinade gives the skin a little extra (very subtle) flavor, and keeps the meat perfectly moist.  It’s incredible.

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Roasted Mango & Habanero Turkey

1 habanero

1 mango

1 cup orange juice

1 whole turkey (preferably with legs)

Salt & pepper

Aluminum foil for turkey triangle

*If you’d like your turkey to have an extra punch, you can inject the marinade into the meat of the turkey.  If you’d like to do so, double all the ingredients (save the turkey) and make twice as much marinade.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Roast whole mango for 90 minutes and whole habanero for 20. Let cool.

Peel mango and use a knife to scrape pulp off into the food processor. Combine with orange juice and pepper. Blend.

Remove your turkey from it’s packaging and remove any innards. Slather with marinade. Cover in plastic wrap and marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook your turkey place in a roasting pan legs up. Tie the legs together.

Fit your turkey triangle. A turkey triangle keeps the white meat juicy while cooking the dark meat. Make a triangle out of the foil and fit it around the body of the turkey.

Heat your oven to 500. Cook turkey at 500 for 30 minutes (without triangle). Then drop the temperature down to 350, put on the triangle, and cook until the temperature of the breast is 165.

Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.

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Potatoes Au Gratin

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I am a devotee of the potato.  Mashed, twice baked, casseroled, churned into pies, fried, you name it I love it.  One of the things I receive a lot of comments on is my family’s tendency to put mayonnaise in their mashed potatoes.  Which I get, kind of, because mayo gets a bum rap, but how is it any different than putting sour cream or even whole milk in your potatoes?  We’re all trying to achieve the same thing people, creamy carby goodness.  Or in this case, one notch above- cheesy creamy carby goodness.

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The phrase “au gratin” refers to a technique where a browned crust is created with breadcrumbs or, in this case, cheese.  Potatoes au gratin are (in this recipe, at least) scalloped potatoes layered with different types of cheeses, topped with cream, and baked in a shallow dish for an extended period of time.  The end result is a crunchy top and layers of soft, gooey, incredible potatoes.  This is the kind of dish that you’ll want to make in your big casserole dish.  Because this is exactly the type of dish that my sisters and I would eat in bed while watching an entire season of Celebrity Mole the day after Thanksgiving.

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Don’t forget, springing this recipe onto your springpad, either from b&s or my springpad page, will automatically enter you to win $100!  And if you’re feeling generous, spring all my thanksgiving 2009 recipes to help me win $500!

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NEW FEATURE:  Finally, a solution to the desire to print, email, & share our recipes has arrived.  If you scroll down, just below the instructions and before the comments, you’ll see a row of icons.  Run your mouse over them and they’ll jump up to full size, revealing their function.  Enjoy!

Potatoes au Gratin

for a small casserole dish. for a larger one, double the ingredients.

5 yukon gold potatoes

1 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Peel & slice potatoes, putting them in cold water after their sliced to prevent discoloration.

Shred your cheese. In a small casserole dish, layer potatoes and cheese until you are out of both, ending with a generous layer of cheese.

In a sauce pan, scald cream with the whole garlic cloves. Right before the casserole goes into the oven, pour the cream into the dish. Pour it along the edges so as not to disturb the layers.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

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