Monday, June 22, 2009

Caramel Pecan Pie

My attempt at Caramel Pecan Pie served a la mode
I have been craving pecan pie for weeks now but didn't want just any pecan pie. I was in the mood for a piece of deep dish gooey caramel pecan pie. I was thinking about this kind of pecan pie because I grew up in southeast Ohio and there were many amazing pie bakers in the area. One of my mother's friends made this pecan pie that had caramel in it and I just loved it. I haven't had anything like that in years so I tried to come up with the recipe. I pie ended up tasting soooo good but was a bit more gooey than I remember. I think I may have needed to bake the pie for just a little while longer and on lower heat....but the only issue was really the consistency because everyone loved how it tasted.....especially with the vanilla bean ice cream we served with it. We also didn't cool the pie in the fridge which could have helped the pie set better....but I like my pie warm so that was not an option for me. Maybe some of you out there could tweak the recipe a bit and let me know what you came up with to make this a perfect caramel pecan pie!

Avesta's Caramel Pecan Pie

1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup of caramel chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups pecans (I left some of them in halves and coarsely chopped the other half)
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell

In a medium saucepan bring the sugar and corn syrup to a boil for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the caramel chips, mix until they start to melt. Turn the heat off, and add the pecans, butter and vanilla and mix well then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly and slowly pour the cooled syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is completely mixed together, pour into the unbaked pie shell. I put foil around the edges of my pie for the first 45 minutes so that they would not burn.

Bake in a 350°F oven for about one hour or until set.

You can make your own crust or buy a pre-made one (just make sure it's a good deep crust) I sprinkle a little flour in the bottom of my crust.I used caramel chips that I found near the chocolate chips, but you can also use caramel candies.
I used 2 cups of pecans because I love lots of pecans in my pie!
It looked so good even before I baked it and the smell was amazing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Smoked Salmon Egg Salad

Hot Smoked Salmon

Here's a twist on an old classic....egg salad with chopped up pieces of smoked salmon in it! I thought about making this after having smoked salmon and deviled eggs at one too many brunch buffets. Now don't get me wrong...I love classic egg salad, deviled eggs and smoked salmon with creme fraiche and dill but next time you have friends or family over for brunch...try this recipe and see what they think. And it really is an easy way to impress your guests without a lot of work. You can make these for baby or bridal showers, too. Just buy petite baguettes or mini Italian loafs and they end up being so cute and yummy! This recipe is just a great way to make a sandwich a little more sophisticated without making it too complicated.

Smoked Salmon Egg Salad:

6-10 Hard Boiled Eggs (this will make about 4 large sandwiches)

for tips on how to boil the perfect egg go to my post:

6-10 oz Smoked Salmon (this is the hot smoked salmon not lox)

2 tablespoon creme fraiche (sour cream if you can't find creme fraiche)

3 tablespoons mayo (I like mine a little may want to add a little more mayo for your liking)

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (honey mustard is also good in this recipe)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

pepper to taste

paprika for color & taste

no salt since the smoked salmon is salty and will give the egg salad enough salty flavor

Chop up your eggs into small chunks and mix in a bowl with the creme fraiche, mayo, mustard, pepper, dill and paprika. Make sure your eggs and other ingredients are mixed up well then chop up your salmon into small chunks and add to the egg mixture. Serve as a dip with crusty bread and crackers or serve on toasted french baguette for the best egg salad sandwich you've ever had! For brunch I serve this on petite french baguettes with a side of fruit. And seriously try this as a dip appetizer at your next get together! Your guests will not be able to stop eating it! Enjoy!

I always try to buy good eggs, cage-free & organic and from local farms when available. You can tell the quality of an egg by the color of its yolk. See how nice and bright and almost orange like these yolks are...that's a good egg!

Paprika doesn't add much flavor but I love the red specks in my egg salad. You could also use ground hot red pepper if you want it to be spicy.

Mixing up the egg salad before you add the salmon ensures that the eggs are coated in the sauce and seasoning.

You can add as much smoked salmon as you like. Remember that it is salty so don't add salt to the egg salad.

Toasting the baguette gives the sandwich an extra crunch. If you get a french baguette that's already pretty crispy, you could skip toasting it.

How good does this egg salad sandwich look? So much flavor with the dill and smoked salmon...I promise that you're gonna love it!