Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cooking for Christmas...

(Yes, those are my pies for Christmas. I bet you are wondering how I manage to bake them and have perfect... unburnt edges....)

I knew I wanted to bake pecan pies for Christmas. But with the brutal summer that we just lived through here in Texas... it seems to have affected the cost of pecans. 

I live in a town that has oodles... of hundred year old pecan tree's.... all over old town. 

This is a town that you can buy your pecans at the dang pawn stores. Seriously. The pawn stores have these huge banners waving outside their door "We BUY/SELL pecans!!!"

I have always suspected, that the local merchants had a fire sale on pecan tree's, at the turn of the century. Along with magnolia tree's. The town is cover in both of them. Which honestly, I love the magnolia tree's when they are blooming. 

Anywho... the cost of pecans have always been fairly priced here, cause they were always plentiful. 

But not this year. (stupid drought)

So I was looking for something to bake. That would not require me to pay at least 12.00 dollars, to get 3 cups of pecans. 

And I stumble upon this recipe.

And above is my first "Mock" pecan pie.   (That I did alter a bit...)
(Notice my wonderful stainless steel vintage Sunbeam mixing bowl) 

This is the best bowl to mix in. It has a weighted bottom. So it will sit still when mixing. But light enough to handle when pouring.
As you can see I cheated a little. I had a tiny bag of left over pecans. Maybe a half cup. And I have two pies to make. So I need to split the pecans between the two pies. So I mix them into the oats.
I always chopped my oats when baking. But not to the point of being flour. Just a quick spin in the handy chopper for about 15 seconds. I still want to see oats. And if I had enough pecans... they too would have went for a spin in the handy chopper. I want to be able to cut the pie, without tearing it up.
Now I have learn how to bake a pecan pie through a few disasters. The biggest issue for me...  is it not being cooked long enough and still runny in the center.  With burnt edges!

But I have finally learned to put a lid on it... as strange as that sounds. This pie needs to cook for at least an hour. So I had to learn how to save the edges. Yet, have the pie actually done in the center. Oh, how I detest burnt pie edges.
I learned to make a foil crown and cover the outer edge. Then I place another piece of foil on top... to hold in the heat as it cooks.
Yes, my pie is in that mound of foil. hahaha! I actually place that top piece on, after I get it into the oven. And I leave it there till the last 5 minutes of cooking. Then I pull that flat piece of foil off and let it bake uncover for those last few minutes. And I get this....
A wonderful pie... that is done in the center... with perfect edges.

I did alter the recipe from Coleen's site. 

These were really deep pie shells. 

And I want a pie filled to the top. So I combined things from the one from Coleen's site and the one from the Karo site...

I used one full cup of light corn syrup and one full cup of light brown sugar. With the three eggs and 2 tablespoons of butter. Plus vanilla, Oates and those 6 pecans that I had. :)

From my previous disasters... I had learned I really prefer light corn syrup and light brown sugar the best, in my pies.

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