Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pecans and Pecan Recipes

Yesterday, Ben and I shelled pecans. Some of our friends had given us some pecans from Georgia. Thank you!

Pecans are tree nuts, and native to North America. (Note: Some people are allergic to tree nuts, so use caution!) George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees at their plantations. In Albany, Georgia, there are 600,000 pecan trees, and a pecan festival is held there every year. Also, Texas adopted the pecan tree as their state tree in 1919. Pecans have no cholesterol or sodium, and are an excellent source of fiber, protein and natural antioxidants.

When you shell pecans, you need to make sure that the center divider between pecan halves is removed. The divider is very bitter! Ben and I cracked the pecans by using vice grips. We would make the vice grips a little bit tighter than the pecan, and then cracked them. The pecans cracked easily!

Here are some recipes that we might be trying with our pecans:

Pecan Pie

1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups roasted pecans
pie dough

Melt the butter, and mix it with the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla.
Gently beat eggs and then add them to the batter and stir until the batter looks as it did before the eggs were added
Take your pie dough and roll it out to about 1/8 of an inch in thickness. Then, place the rolled dough in the pie pan. Cut the excess crust off around the edge of the pie pan, leaving 1 inch around the edge.
Fold the inch edge of the pie dough under itself so that it folds in half. You can also pinch the dough around the edge of the pie pan.
Pour the pecan pie filling into pie shell and sprinkle the roasted pecans on top of the pecan pie filling.
Bake at 350° F for 1 hr. - 1 hr. and 10 min.
After the pie has been in the oven for about 30 minutes, take it out, and put strips of foil around the edge to keep the pie crust from burning. The filling will be runny and quite hot. Then, put the pie back in the oven for the rest of the time.
After about 30 minutes, test the pie to see if it is done by sticking a knife in the middle of it. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done, and if it comes out dirty, it needs about 10 more minutes in the oven.

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Pecan Pie Cookie Bars

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and butter. Spread on bottom of the pan, and bake for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat together egg, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and remaining brown sugar. Stir in pecans. Pour on top of baked cookie layer. Bake 25 minutes, cool and then cut into bars. Store leftovers covered at room temperature.

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