A birthday is always better with chocolate!
A dear friend celebrated number (ahem.....53) this past Saturday and we joined him for an evening of delicious food, good wine and a Greenbay Packer victory! Go Pack! Let's just say, watching a football game is much more bearable if one is surrounded by friends, surrounded by women, and surrounded by delicious food. It was like I was actually enjoying myself for once. Shhh, don't tell my husband. He will be jealous. He always wants me to plop down next to him and "enjoy the show". I can't do it alone! I need those distractions of food in the oven, mixing drinks, hanging with my kids, and ladies to gossip with. If only every game day my house could fill up with beautiful people, stellar food and good beer and wine. When my husband reads this post, he will be planning the next big game day at our house, brimming with joy that I actually admitted to enjoying myself. There will be one caveat though, (he will insist upon a larger T.V.). I told him before, bring the party to our house, if our screen is too small, have them bring their binoculars!
Wavy Gravy Pie Crust - waiting for the fresh pecans
I was asked to make a pie, a pecan pie for the birthday boy! Happy Birthday Carl! No problem, I have never made one before but that wasn't going to stop me. I love a challenge! But there were going to be about 16 of us at the party. How was a little pie going to serve everybody? A second dessert was definitely in order - a mile high chocolate layer cake with dark chocolate pudding and whip cream! The perfect companion dessert for the humble pecan pie!
Chocolate Liquor Tablets... waiting to be melted into chocolate pudding submission
The party was beautiful. Barb and Cal live out in the country on a secluded dead end road in a beautifully remodeled farm house. Every time I visit, I leave feeling refreshed and healed. The quite of winter surrounded their house with its beauty. The wood stove was burning, the house was cozy and warm and the hosts were so loving and kind.♥♥♥
Sweet Orange Pecan Pie
Sweet Orange Pecan Pie Recipe
Pate Brise - 1 recipe
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
1 & 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh pecan halves - If you can source fresh pecans... do it. They make a big difference
High Quality Grey Sea Salt -
1) Oven to 350. Roll out chilled pastry dough to about 12" round. Fit into a 9" pie plate. Design the edge of your crust as you wish. Prick bottom of crust with fork. Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer. Take pie shell out, use pie weights over crust and bake for about 15 minutes, no longer. Take out, remove pie weights and let cool again, set the pie shell outside if you live somewhere with cold temperatures. Another option is to let pie plate and crust cool a bit by placing on a cooling rack.
2) While the crust is chilling, melt butter in a saucepan on the stove. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy. Take off the heat and add in orange zest, salt, lightly beaten eggs and corn syrup.
3) Place pecans into the pie shell. Pour syrupy filling over the pecans, being mindful that you do not pour the filling over the edge. If it seems that you have too much filling. Reserve this liquid for later. Place in oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the filling is set. Sprinkle hot pie with grey sea salt, about 1 tsp for the top of the pie. Let cool and serve with fresh whip cream.
4) If you are lucky enough to have extra filling left over, bring this liquid to a simmer on the stove and let cook until it becomes aromatic and delicious. About 5 minutes would do the trick, depending on how much liquid you had leftover. This can be used to drizzle over the top of the pie and whip cream when being served. It will be extra decadent.
Six layer chocolate pudding whip cream cake
Six Layer Chocolate Pudding Whip Cream Cake - This is a take off of the Blackout Cake. I have made the Blackout Cake recipe before with additions. Here is the cake, again with some variances.Cooks Illustrated 2010... God I love that magazine!
Ingredients for Pudding
1 & 1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon (mounded) salt (use a good salt)
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 oz of dark, unsweetened chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Ingredients for Cake
8 oz unsalted organic butter
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 C. coffee. I use 1 Tbs of Megdalia D.Oro Instant Espresso to 1 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
Sugar to taste
Making the Pudding
1) Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half and half and cream in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk continuously until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture begins to bubble. Stir in vanilla at that point and whisk vigorously. Pour pudding into large bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for several hours until cool. Can be made the night before.
Making the Cake
2) Oven to 325. Butter and flour two 9" cake pans. Place parchment over the buttered surface. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
3) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Take off the heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla and slowly add flour mixture.
4) Divide batter equally between pans and cook until a toothpick comes out clean. About 35 minutes. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in pan, slide knife around the edge and then flip onto the cooking racks and let cool for at least 1 hour.
5) Make the whip cream. Add sugar to taste. Take pudding out of fridge.
6) Slice each cake into thirds. Begin layering cake with chocolate pudding, then adding another cake layer and then whip cream. Finish with whip cream. Put in wooden skewers to hold the cake in place. Believe me... this cake will slide. Top the cake with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate cake until you are ready to eat.
Even the dog enjoyed the night!
Note: I even dressed in Packer colors for the party.... Green and Gold! There is a first for everything!
Loads of foodie love, birthday wishes and football fantasies! xoxo Megan