Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen Miss Pecan Pie

There is change in the wind here in Dublin….I have just three days of full time '9-5' work left and it is with great joy and celebration that, for the first time in ten years, I will become a full-time mother and housewife.  My son starts school in September and, although unfortunately we will have to set our wonderful, inventive, patient and kind childminder free, I am looking forward to spending time with my boys, enjoying their day and doing all manner of cool things which they seem do on a daily basis.  Not to mention all the cooking I will be able to do at a more sociable time of the day ... like making fresh morning scones, dinosaur cookies, French toast, all things that just cannot be made at nine o' clock at night – the list is endless and my enthusiasm is greater than ever.

The other very exciting thing that is about to happen is that the boys and I are going to Berlin for the summer – the flights are booked, the list has started…I am really excited about this as my previous trips to Berlin are never longer than four or five days which, quite frankly, is not at all long enough for the type of exploration that such a dynamic and eventful city deserves.  I have not, for example, visited Rogacki on Wilmersdorferstrasse – this is something of a major thing for a foodie like me to miss out on – with over 150 types of cheese, over 200 varieties of cured meat, smoked fish etc... it has been open since 1928 so I imagine it will be there for another few weeks until I get out there.

I am looking forward to Wednesdays and Saturdays at the colourful market in Karl-August Platz, the amazing food floor in KaDeWe, the myriad of bulging Russian shops like the Rossiya fruit shop under the Charlottenburg S-Bahn bridge which has apparently been expanded to include a pelmeni and piroggi bar serving all sorts of wild and wonderful, sweet and savoury dumplings, the Franziskushofladen on Mommsenstrasse,  the great children's play park at SavignyPlatz, and this is just Charlottenburg! I will be trawling through my favourite Berlin info site, BerlinReified, for delightful references and rapturous things to see…
I will of course miss my wonderful husband who will be coming only at weekends initially, but the beauty of this blog is that he will get a glimpse of our day in Berlin!

There is one problem though ... I am only going for a few months so it really is not possible to transport the kitchen sink!  I am currently having to deal with the prospect of not having my closest kitchen friends with me, my Kitchenaid, my deadly knife collection, my prized digital weighing scales...what will I do?  So I cannot promise a lot of accurately weighed home-baking, and as a result I will go into precision-baking overdrive for a few weeks before I go.

Tonight I made a deliciously, not-so-sweet, maple and pecan tart....

For the sweet short crust pastry base, you will need:

200g plain flour, sieved
110 g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge and diced
1 tblsp icing sugar
0.5-1 egg. beaten

To make the base, follow the directions and photos on my previous post for the lovely lemon tart.

For the filling, you will need:
100g light moscovado sugar
110g butter, at room temperature
110g mejool dates, stoned and finely chopped
zest and juice of half an unwaxed lemon
100 mls maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 organic eggs
300g pecan nuts, crush 250g of them in a coarse dry mix, keep the other 50g for decoration

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and have a piece of greaseproof paper handy.
Place the sugar and butter into a bowl and mix with beaters until they are soft, creamy.  Then add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice and the eggs and beat again until everything is well combined.  The mixture might be slightly lumpy but this does not matter.  Add the maple syrup and dates and mix slowly until blended.  Then add about 250g of the ground pecan nuts.

The mixture will now look like a lumpy, cold bowl of porridge.
Pour it into the blind-baked pastry case and decorate until your heart is content with halved pecans - the fun bit!
Put in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.

Have a peek, and, if your pecans are starting, like mine were, to turn a dark shade of black, place the greaseproof paper over the top - this will protect the nuts but cook the rest of the pie.  Cook for a further 10 minutes.

Turn it out onto a wire cooling rack and when cold transfer to a serving dish.  

Cream, eat, enjoy, cry if you like, this is really good and just as I like it, not sickly-sweet and who cares if it is nearly midnight, this is worth it!


  1. All the best with packing and I'm looking forward to following your further discoveries. I hadn't heard of the Franziskushofladen and will have to check it out when I pick up my knives this Friday!

  2. Thanks, I just hope this icelandic ash cloud shifts itself elsewhere or we will be staying in Dublin for another bit! The Franziskushofladen has been my saviour on several occasions - my boys love the wiesswurst and they sell very fresh eggs...and also good beer...saying that, I do not think I have had any bad German beer!