Chocolate Pecan Pie with Bourbon Maple Whip Cream

(this recipe was first published on November 7, 2013)

Pie is essential for Thanksgiving. While the classic pumpkin pie is always a crowd pleaser, I decided to go for something a little more decadent this time: pecan pie. I just love the combination of sweet carmel roasted pecans with buttery flaky pie crust. I added to the bottom of the pie a layer of bittersweet chocolate, which- let’s be honest- makes everything better. And in keeping with the holiday spirit and our habit of sneaking booze into desserts, I topped this bad boy off with a bourbon maple whipped cream. I purposely made the cream light on sweetness since the pecan pie is sweet enough. And add more bourbon if you like (as I did) because the bourbon and sweet pecans are absolutely incredible together!

Chocolate pecan pie

Photography shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR camera. Small in size, enormous in performance.

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, unsalted and cold
  • 3 tablespoons of shortening
  • 1 cup of iced water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

Filling ingredients:

  • 5 1/3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 of salt
  • 3 cups of coarsely chopped pecans, plus more whole pecans for topping
  • 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces of semi sweet chocolate

Bourbon Maple Whip Cream ingredients:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons of bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pecan pie 9

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Meanwhile on Honestly WTF

Turkey Pho

One of our family Thanksgiving leftover traditions is to make stock out of the turkey bones. That stock eventually becomes rice porridge or sometimes a great soup, but we never just throw the bones out. And neither should you because this turkey pho will heal your soul. It is that good. If you’re making my smoked turkey this year (which I hope y’all are!), I wouldn’t suggest making the pho with the leftovers because it may impart too much smokiness into the broth. A classic roasted turkey is perfect for this. A good pho is all about the broth, but don’t be intimidated by it. The key is to simmer the stock low and slow so you get a clear and but flavorful broth. The other key is to char the shallots and ginger to get some of that sweetness and flavor out of them. If you don’t have access to some of these special ingredients like rice stick noodles or Thai basil, just improvise! The stock is so delicious you could make anything with it. And isn’t that what Thanksgiving leftovers are all about?

Turkey leftover pho | HonestlyYUM

Place all the turkey bones in a large stockpot and cover with 3 to 4 quarts of cold water. Don’t worry about getting all the meat off the bones. If there’s some left on there, just throw it all in, all the more flavor for the stock. Place the shallots (whole and with skins on) and the ginger (with the peel on) under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes, turning them every now and then so they char and blister on all sides. Allow them to cool enough to handle and peel the charred skins off the shallots and ginger. Cut the ginger into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. Place the shallots and ginger in the stockpot with the turkey.

Turkey pho | HonestlyYUM READ MORE

Classic Dry-Brined Turkey

(this recipe was first published on November 13, 2013)

Everyone will tell you that brining a turkey is a must. And for good reason. A few days in a salt water bath and the turkey comes out deeply seasoned and perfectly moist. With traditional brining, you submerge the turkey in a bucket of salt and seasoned water. I only did this one year and swore NEVER again. First of all finding a bucket big enough is a challenge, and second who has room in their fridge for a huge bucket of raw turkey water! The solution? Dry-brining. You simply cover the turkey in herbed salt and let it marinate for a couple days before Thanksgiving in a bag or pan. I’ve used a simple and classic combination of citrus zest, pepper, bay leaves and thyme.

For our dinner, we used a pasture raised turkey, which has much better flavor. Marin Sun Farms provided us with a Broad Breasted Bronze turkey from their farm for the occasion. Their turkeys are raised completely out on pasture in a way that resembles the natural behavior of wild turkeys– they even roost in trees and enjoy a diet of grasses, pasture plants and insects! Marin Sun Farms has a limited supply of several types of turkeys that you can have shipped to you, so order soon.

Dry brine turkey

Photography shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR camera. Small in size, enormous in performance.

 Dry-brine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt (for a 13-15 pound turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon of white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • zest of 4 lemons
  • 5 bay leaves
  • Unsalted butter, softened

Turkey 2

 

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Pecan Crusted Cheesecake With Salted Bourbon Caramel

We take cheesecake very seriously in our family. There are many prerequisites to the perfect cheesecake – it must not be too sweet, it should have a light, fluffy texture and the crust is always just as important as the cake itself. So needless to say, cheesecake is a must have Thanksgiving menu item but this year, I wanted to change things up a bit by adding a fall inspired twist. “Twist” as in a pecan crust laced with pumpkin pie spices and a salty bourbon caramel sauce.

pecancheesecake1

And did I mention it’s gluten free? Read on . . .

pecancheesecake13 READ MORE

Caramelized Shallots

This is an oldie but goodie. Of course it is– it’s an Ina Garten recipe and she’s amazing. I’ve made this side dish for so many Thanksgivings I can’t keep track anymore, but it’s always a big hit. These caramelized shallots are packed with so much flavor: deeply developed sweet and savory flavors and a kick of sour from the vinegar. This year, I switched it up a little and added a bit of Roquefort cheese, which really complimented the sweet caramel flavors in dish, but of course, you could serve this with out it.

Caramelized shallots  | HonestlyYUM

Start by peeling the papery skins off the shallots. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shallots for just a minute and then drain them. The outside skin will slip off easily. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

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The Best Mashed Potatoes Ever

I know “best mashed potatoes ever” is a bold claim, but these mashed potatoes really are the silkiest, smoothest and creamiest mashed potatoes ever. Like, lick-the-bowl-clean good. I’ve been making mashed potatoes for years (they’re quite possibly my favorite form of carb) and have learned that there are certain tricks to making mashed potatoes heavenly. And no, my trick is not a pound of butter. First, I like to use a waxier potato like a Yukon Gold rather than Russet. Second, I’ve found that using a potato ricer (or food mill) is a must. It’s the only way to get that ultra-smooth texture. Also, make sure your cream is hot when you add it into the potatoes. Finally, I think just a little tangy creme fraiche cuts through the richness of the cream and butter in a way that is so subtle you probably won’t even notice it. Trust me, you want a big heaping bowl of this on your Thanksgiving table.

The best mashed potatoes | HonestlyYUM

Start by peeling your potatoes. Quarter the potatoes and add them to a medium pot of heavily-salted cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. In a small sauce pan, heat (don’t boil) the cream over medium low heat. Once the cream is hot, turn the heat down to low to keep the cream hot.

The Perfect Mashed Potatoes | HonestlyYUM READ MORE

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