Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pecan Pie Cake

This is a decadent cake to serve at Thanksgiving. Your guests will be impressed with the presentation and the taste. We eat with our eyes first and that's why this cake is amazing. I will certainly make this one for Thanksgiving this year.

Pecan Pie Cake:
Southern Living Recipe.

Here's what you'll need:
3 - 9" round cake pans generously brushed with my Pan Release Mix (equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil, Flour) I start with 1 C of each and store it in a jar in the refrigerator. I always keep some available for all of my baking needs.
A variety of 3" leaf shaped cookie cutters for garnish.
1 Sheet Pan
Aluminum Foil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3 C finely  chopped pecans  + 2 dozen that have not been toasted, for garnish. ( toast the pecans in the oven before chopping, recipe at the end)
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C Crisco
2 C granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 TBS vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 C buttermilk
3/4 C dark corn syrup

1 recipe of Pecan Pie Filling , recipe to follow
1 recipe of Pastry Garnish, recipe to follow.

Evenly distribute 2 C of the chopped pecans among the 3 cake pans.

In a Stand Mixer with a paddle attachment:
Beat until creamy.
Gradually add sugar and continue beating until incorporated.
Add egg yolks 1 at a time beating well after each one.
Add vanilla.

Baking Soda
Alternate with the Buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour.
Beat on slow speed after each addition until mixed well.
Add remaining 1C of chopped pecans.
Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl.

Clean the bowl of the Stand Mixer and prepare a meringue:
Add the egg whites to the bowl of the mixer and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the Meringue, by hand, into the batter until combined.
Fold in the remaining meringue just until incorporated ( do not over mix).
Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans.

Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the pans on cooling racks  for 10 minutes.
Cover cooling racks with waxed paper and invert the cakes onto the racks.
Brush the top and sides of the cakes with the corn syrup.
Cool the cakes completely.

1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C dark corn syrup
1/3 C cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 C Half & Half
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBS butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a Saucepan over medium heat:
The first 6 ingredients
Whisk together well.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly for 1 minute. It should begin to thicken.
Remove from heat.
Whisk in butter and vanilla.
Place a piece of waxed paper directly onto the surface to prevent it from forming a film.
Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Make the Pastry Garnish.

Pastry Garnish:
1 (15oz.) package of refrigerated pie crusts
1 large egg
1 TBS water
24 pecan halves (toasted)

Unfold the pie crusts.
Cut 8 - 10 leaves from each crust.( mark leaf veins with a paring knife)
Keep the pastry trimmings.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the water
Brush each leaf with the egg wash.

Crumple 12 small 1/2" balls from small pieces of the aluminum foil.
Spray each ball with a vegetable cooking spray and place on the Sheet Pan that's been lined with Parchment Paper.
Drape a leaf over each ball and place the remaining leaves onto the Sheet Pan.
Bake at 350 for 6 - 8 minutes.
Remove the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Gently remove the foil from  leaves.

Pinch off 12 pea sized pieces of the remaining pastry trimmings.
Place a piece between two pecan halves creating a sandwich.
Cut the remaining pastry into 2" squares and wrap a piece around each pecan sandwich, leaving part of the pecan exposed to represent a half shelled pecan.
Brush dough and pecans with egg wash.
Bake all of the pieces on a parchment paper lined sheet pan at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan to a cooing rack for 10 minutes.
Transfer the pecans to the cooling rack and cool completely.
Begin assembling the cake.

Transfer 1 layer, pecan side up onto a serving platter and spread with 1/2 of the filling.
Pace the second layer , pecan side up onto the first layer and spread with remaining filling.
Add the third layer onto the top.
Garnish the top and the edges of the platter with the Pastry Leaves and Pastry Pecans.

Toasted Pecans
This recipe is for 6 C of Pecans. I generally roast them and store them refrigerated until I need them.
6 C Pecan Halves
2 sticks (16 TBS) Butter, melted
Pour melted Butter into a large mixing bowl.
Add Pecans and mix to coat well.
Place the nuts on two Sheet Pans in a single layer.
Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use in a recipe.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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