Sara P. brought us two delicious slices of
Southern Living's Pecan Pie Cake. It was very good -- and not overly sweet -
but full of nuts -- just perfect. Here's the
3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted & divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly
into 3 generously buttered 9-inch round cake pans; shake to coat
bottoms and sides. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with
electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add
egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Stir in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter
mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat at low speed until
blended. Stir in remaining pecans. Beat egg whites at medium speed
until stiff peaks form; fold 1/3 egg white into batter. Fold in
remaining egg whites. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 325
degrees for 25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans on wire racks 10
minutes. Invert layers onto wax paper-lined wire racks. Brush tops
and sides with corn syrup. Cool completely. Spread on half of Pecan
Pie Filling on one layer, pecan side up. Place second layer, pecan
side up, on filling and spread with remaining filling. Top with
remaining layer, pecan side up. Arrange Pastry Garnish on and around
cake, if desired. Makes 1 three-layer cake.
Pecan Pie Filling
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until
smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking
constantly, and boil 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat;
whisk in butter and vanilla. Place a sheet of wax paper directly on
surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4
On a related note, I am trying to make a
perfect popover. Throughout the past 25 years I've been attempting this
almost impossible task. Once or twice, the popovers have actually
popped. Unfortunately, I can not repeat my rare successes even though I
follow the same steps. Its a real mystery. I still make them but I call
The closest I got to perfection was a
recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Nevertheless, repeated attempts failed
to produce the right results. I could not figure it out.
Then on Good Morning America appears a
review of cookbooks. One of the books recommended is
New Best Recipe. The authors of this book tried
different recipes with variations and various ingredients to come up
with the best version of any recipe. (I guess that is the premise of
other cookbooks like The Joy of Cooking, but in Best Recipe, they
discuss their failures and how they corrected them.)
I needed a book like that so I went to the
bookstore and read the section on popovers (then later ordered the book
from Amazon.com). What I had not been using was a popover pan - a real
official pan, not just a muffin tin (Best Recipe explained the
difference). I ordered one from CooksWorld.com (they had the best
Some recipes had me beating the popover
batter well, others said to beat very little. Best Recipe explained why
it should be barely mixed, the importance of letting a batter rest, the
importance of using a real popover pan (but said they could be made in a
muffin tin with slightly varying results) and more. I could identify
with this book.
I like being a breakfast chef. I want to
make perfect homemade pancakes and waffles, hash browns and popovers. I
want to be able to whip up the best breakfasts in the family -- as well as
a good dessert now and then.
P.S. I was going to see Lemony Snicket's A Series of
Unfortunate Eventsbut I stepped outside into low 20's
temperatures and much lower wind chills. Suddenly, all I wanted to do
was be in my house, wrapped in blankets with a cup of hot cocoa and a
cat in my lap. The movie will have to wait until next week. My sister who just left her home near the
southern Georgia coast to come here for Christmas, e-mailed me before
she left. She said it was 60 degrees there and exclaimed over our low
temperatures. It will be about 17 when she gets here. Maybe we should
all have gone to her place this year.
Diet soda is becoming increasingly popular.
Yay! The diet soda wars are on.
I was very happy when visiting Nothing But Noodles and Tellini's
last week; they both offered diet and caffeine-free in the same Coke. It has always
been a pet peeve of mine that we couldn't find a single restaurant soft drink free of
and caffeine. I am so-o-o-o-o glad to see this new trend.
Now, if Huntsville could only get back my
favorite soft drink of all: Diet Orange Slice.
Life was busy today, but in a happy way.
Richard got to remove his bandaging this morning. Underneath was a 4 inch scar-
that was a big cut!
It looks like it is healing cleanly.
Someone I know got a flame point Himalayan kitten today and I got to go
along to check him out. He's a little doll and I'll get to take pictures
of him from time to time. His father is a very dark, rich brown sealpoint.
His mother is a light tortie. It will be interesting to watch him grow up.
My daughter and I went to the mall and the
bookstore -- very busy places in these few days before Christmas. I loved
being in the Christmas shopping crowds (well, except for the traffic and
if I have to wait in a long line). People were amazingly nice. There
seemed to be much good cheer - at least what I experienced today.
I saw a cute little girl with long light
brown hair being lifted into Santa's lap. She gave him a big hug - so
sweet. A visiting friend brought over a couple of pieces of her new recipe
for Pecan Pie Cake - yummy! I have asked her for the recipe. It's from
Southern Living Magazine. I love this time of year.
(P.S. This is a picture of my favorite Santa
pin. It's 10 years old or more.)
Throughout history, science came up with some
strange ideas. This site is an
interesting place to read about those.
I plan to see Lemony Snicket's A Series of
Unfortunate Events this week. I am trying to get the movie
times from RottenTomatoes.com but the site is not working right today.
Right now, they are saying that Huntsville has no theaters. Its only a
city of about 170,000 people so right, we'd have no movie-goers living
Google is doing cute
things with their logo today -- and probably all week or more.
Richard is continuing to improve
(see Dec. 17th). He can move
around a lot more although he's still in some pain.
Myst has been living with us for a week, now.
He's a very small shaded silver Persian and an absolute doll. He and Muddy
are already friends. We have to keep him apart from Dandelion who is older
and more inclined to "defend the home against marauding cats" but we can
do that since Dandelion likes the garage more and Myst likes the house
more. Muddy gets along with everyone. What a great cat he is! Recent photos of the cats.
is only a week away! Too much has happened this December, but I still
enjoy Christmas. I wish it was not so soon. I want to look at my tree,
wear holiday clothes, bake Christmas cookies and listen to Christmas music
on the radio for another month.
This Santa is from a jacket that I bought at
a craft show. I love going to these shows. If nothing else, just walking
through one makes me feel Christmasy.
The stores are filled right now. (The
Saturday before Christmas is truly the biggest shopping day of the entire
year.) I like being out in the crowds (well, except for long lines - both
at the register and in traffic). People are fun to watch, the malls are
well-decorated. Life seems a little more exciting and sparkly right now.
An interesting tidbit that I read
in one Sunday's Parade Magazine is that
suicides do NOT go up at Christmas. They actually go down. The worst time
of year is in summer. So maybe the holidays are good for us.
I've gone snickerdoodle crazy, thanks
daughter who made some for us last month. I made them for every occasion
this month and will bring them on Christmas Day to put on the family snack
Richard is doing well. He is in a bit of pain. Medication
works for that. It makes him sleepy. I think sleep is a good way
to rest, though. He can move around -- we even went out to eat today. He
moves very slowly. I like it. For once I can keep up with him.
Richard had a benign tumor (an "intramuscular
lipoma") in his stomach muscle. It was "huge" was all the doctor said -
I'm guessing golf-ball sized or bigger. The doctor advised that it be
removed because of its location. Richard had the surgery today. We thought
this would involve muscle-cutting and overnight stays at the hospital.
Fortunately, it did not. The surgeon
made a 3" incision to pry it from the muscle. Richard had to
have complete anesthesia, he got to go home right away and will recover
much more quickly than we originally thought. The muscles were not cut
as we had expected.
In fact, Richard is here walking around - a
bit stiffly, but walking nevertheless (which the doctor said was okay - he
is even allowed to climb stairs - just not lift heavy objects). I
keep trying to tell him to sit down and let me serve him, but after all the stresses of the
day, he wants to go brush his cats. Isn't he a sweetie?!!