Tag Archives: Flour

Amazing Pecan Pie

Pecan pie.

By now, some of you are sick of pecan pie, but I didn’t think to post this recipe until this morning, when I pulled it out of a well-worn journal of mostly sweet recipes I collected while traveling and began making the Thanksgiving desserts (the others were Sichuan peppercorn ice cream and Dorie Greenspan‘s sour cream pumpkin tart from Baking: From My Home To Yours).  I’m pretty sure there are a lot of you out there who, like me, can and do eat pecan pie all year long – this is for you!

This is a variation on the classic you’re used to that I first had at a friend’s house in Paris a few years back and instantly fell in love with.  It is richly flavored with honey – make it your own with a specialty honey you really love that will transform the entire pie.  The crust is quite nontraditional in its execution as well. Typically, crusts do best with a minimal hands-on approach, but this one calls for a lot of hand mixing and even a touch of kneading. I thought for sure I’d be left with a tough crust the first time I made it, but the folding and rolling technique deployed at the end ensures that flaky, buttery layers will be infused into the crust.

Honey Pecan Pie

Makes one 8 or 9-inch pie.

For the crust (for one 8 or 9-inch shell):

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
3 ounces chilled butter (3/4 stick), cut into pieces
1 tablespoon corn oil
3/4 cup ice water


1. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together and cut in the butter with your hands in quick, smooshing motions until mixture contains coarse crumbs of varying sizes. Add oil and water and continue mixing with your hands until a soft dough forms.

2. Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead into a ball. Chill covered at least two hours or overnight.

3. Roll the dough out on a flour surface and then turn 1/4 clockwise, fold over in thirds and roll out again. Repeat 1/4 turn, folding and rolling out three more times.  Place in a pie pan and press gently into place, trimming edges where necessary. Chill pie shell for 30-minutes.

4. Line inside of pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or rice / beans) and bake at 350F until edges are slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and continue baking until crust is light brown, about another 8 – 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the filling:

 1 cup white sugar
1 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
2 sticks of unsalted butter (8 ounces), melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1-1/2 cup chopped pecan meat and extra whole pecans for the top


1. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar and honey. Add butter, salt, bourbon and chopped pecans. Mix well and pour into prepared crust. Arrange whole pecans on top in desired pattern.

2. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350F and bake another 35 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack to room temperature before serving.

English: A slice of pecan pie. (Edited with GI...

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Sichuan Spice Cookies

Happy Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rabbit has arrived! I always look forward to joining in on the festivities in NYC’s Chinatown at least a few times over the 15-day celebration by shooting off confetti bombs, catching lucky parachutes and hunting down colorful dancing dragons. And also by eating, of course, at the myriad of restaurants I adore in Chinatown.  The night before, I ring in the New Year by baking these flavor-packed Sichuan Spice Cookies, as I did last night after a meal of Grand Sichuan take-out.  Really, though, they’re good anytime and not just at New Year’s.

Now, I’m going to warn you: These cookies aren’t for sissies – they’re spicy, to be sure, with an after-kick that’ll peck at the back of your throat for a bit before wrestling with the tip of your tongue, leaving your whole mouth feeling tingly and maybe even a bit numb if I’ve done my job properly putting this recipe together.  If you like Sichuan or spicy fare in general, you’ll probably love these.  They’re a perfect way to finish a big meal of double-cooked pork, dan dan noodles, mapo tofu and Chong Qing chicken.  They’re also great on their own with a big glass of milk.

Sichuan Spice Cookies

Yield: about 36 cookies


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Sichuan powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup robust unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated (use a microplane) fresh ginger
1/3 cup granulated sugar


1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cayenne, Sichuan powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa powder and set aside.  In a small glass, combine the baking soda and boiling water and set that aside as well.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and light in color, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the baking soda mixture, molasses and freshly grated ginger, beating until combined, another minute or so.

3. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and turn the mixer on low speed until they are just incorporated with the wet ingredients, about 1 minute. Use a spatula to work the remaining bits of dry ingredients into the cookie dough by hand, being careful not to overwork the dough. Scoop the dough out onto plastic wrap and pat down into a 1-inch disk.  Wrap it well and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.


4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or cover with silicon baking mats and preheat oven to 325°F.  Remove the dough from the freezer and portion out into 1-inch balls that you roll between your hands.  If you have a kitchen scale, the balls should weigh about 15 grams each.  The dough is wet and sticky regardless of how cold you manage to get it in your freezer – if you find yourself in a sticky situation with cookie dough all over your hands, rinse your hands in water and keep on rolling balls of dough until you’re done. At this point, it doesn’t matter about cookie spacing, so you can set them on one baking sheet that fits in your freezer.  Put the balls of dough back into the freezer until firm, another 30 minutes or so. You can actually freeze the balls at this point and keep them in freezer bags for up to a month, baking as needed. Remove the chilled dough and roll in granulated sugar.  Set the sugared balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Keep the remaining balls in the freezer until you’re ready to bake more.  Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cookies will look a bit puffy when you remove them, but will flatten out and have a nice crackly texture after resting. Let them sit on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack until they are at room temperature. These cookies are best the same day they’re baked, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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