For as long as I can remember, my favorite pie was Southern Pecan Pie. I remember when I was a child, my family visited our Uncle and his family for Christmas. Their kitchen was huge and they had the most kitchen gadgets and appliances I had ever seen. It was fascinating to observe how my favorite dishes were prepared, especially the pies! I desperately wanted to help but, was told I was too young. That day I made a resolution to myself to learn how to bake pies.
A few years later, my grandmother began to teach me how to bake. She always insisted on using JR Watkins extracts for her baked goods. I didn’t realize how much of a flavor difference it made until I tried using other brands. Even though I carefully followed my grandmother’s recipes, my baked goods never tasted as good as hers, then I realized why she was so adamant to use JR Watkins extracts and spices. Their extracts are true to flavor and don’t have an aftertaste like other brands. Granny’s secret ingredient is now my secret ingredient.
Today, my family is grateful for my commitment to learn the art of baking pies. Recently, my husband had a craving for Southern Pecan Pie. An hour later his pie was cooling on the rack. The following is our favorite recipe to achieve the rich buttery filling that makes Southern Pecan Pie so decadent.
Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 45-50 min. Serves: 8-10 Difficulty: Easy
9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. JR Watkins Original Double Strength Vanilla
1/2 tsp. JR Watkins Butter Extract
1 heaping cup pecan halves
Heat oven to 350ºF. Prepare pie crust and place in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, butter extract and vanilla; mix well. Pour filling into cold, unbaked pie crust (remember, cold crust plus hot oven equals flaky crust); sprinkle with pecan halves. Cover with pie crust shield to prevent over-browning of the crust.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set. (Toothpick will come out clean when pie is “done”). You can remove the pie crust shield for the last 5 minutes if necessary. Allow to cool completely before serving.
How do you like to top your Southern Pecan Pie? Do you prefer a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream?
Do you have a fond memory of how you learned to bake? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Here are some items we find useful when baking:
Visit our website to view all our baking essentials.
So, what’s the difference between an ordinary kitchen gadget and gourmet cooking utensils? The cost? Some gourmet cooking utensils can be quite expensive, but not always. Are they utensils that only professional chefs have access to? That’s not typically the case either. Let’s take a look at the whisk, one of the most common utensils found in most every kitchen. Are whisks considered gourmet cooking utensils?
Technically a whisk refers to a utensil used in a rapid, sweeping motion for the purpose of moving an item. In the kitchen, our intention is to move ingredients. Whisks are vital for incorporating air into eggs and batters or blending ingredients to a smooth consistency. While most kitchens have a basic whisk for whipping up scrambled eggs, others are stocked with several types designed for more specific purposes. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular styles.
A basic Balloon Whisk is designed for general all-purpose whipping. Most popular sizes range from a mini 6- inch, up to 13-inches. Commonly used for eggs, pancake batter, roux, dressing and a variety of other applications. The rounded structure conforms perfectly to the shape of mixing bowls. Generally, a 9-inch size is sufficient for many purposes and every kitchen should include at least one of these.
An Aerator Cage Whisk is similar to a balloon whisk except, its unique design includes a large head and an additional wire cage inside which contains a metal ball. It is used for heavy whipping and thoroughly blends thicker batters, culminating in an extra-smooth texture.
The Danish Dough Whisk has a unique design, which at first glance, doesn’t appear to be very useful. However, it has become essential in my kitchen for mixing sourdough starter, incorporating delicate ingredients into batter and mixing dough for cookies or biscuits. It requires fewer strokes to accomplish incredible results.
A Flat Whisk is routinely used to prepare a roux or sauce in a skillet. It is formed to efficiently sweep across the surface of your skillet while stirring to prevent lumps. This results in a smoother roux or sauce.
The Coil Wire Whisk is constructed with an individual wire, coiled into a balloon shape. It’s primarily used for liquids or beating eggs. Simply place it in a bowl and pump the handle up and down to distribute liquids. This springing action whips and fluffs batters.
The peculiar style of the Sauce Master consists of a main loop encased in a wire that is coiled around it. It is wonderful for preparing sauces, gravy, pudding, gelatin and batters. The long handle and angle allow it to be used in deep pots or bowls. The whisk head covers more surface than a traditional balloon whisk.
The Saucinator is an extraordinary whisk similar to the Sauce Master, with a few notable improvements. The heat resistant silicone coil covers more pan surface to prevent scorching and will not damage your cookware. The coil that extends up the handle performs like an additional whisk. Your sauce, gravy, pudding or batter will be even smoother. The silicone construction makes it easier to clean. It is available in a large size for deeper pots and a small size for saucepans. It’s another essential whisk in my kitchen.
The Flat Coil Whip bears a resemblance to the Master Sauce Whisk and Saucinator. However, it is smaller at only about 8-inches and the head isn’t quite as angled. It does have many handy capabilities. Its small, slender size enables it to fit easily into small containers to quickly whip up an egg wash for pastries, incorporate milk into eggs for light and fluffy scrambled eggs, mix cornstarch with water for a thickener or anytime you need to mix a small amount of liquid ingredients quickly and easily.
A Granny Fork, efficiently incorporates eggs, butter or other liquids with dry ingredients. It has slightly offset stainless steel tines and a sturdy soft grip handle. Due to its size, it can also be used to shred meat, mix together meatloaf or for cookie dough. Although, not usually thought of as a whisk, it can function as one in many instances.
The Rotary Beater Whisk is a throwback to a time before electric mixers. It brings back memories when, as a child, I was not allowed to operate the electric mixer. I have always loved to experiment in the kitchen so, I didn’t allow that minor restriction deter me. The rotary beater would be my alternative. At my young age, the rotary beater seemed so awkward to handle. I always ended up with a mess to clean and usually didn’t achieve the results I was striving for. It was a dream come true when I finally saved up enough money from babysitting to buy my own electric hand mixer. I still keep a rotary whisk, more for sentimental reasons than practical purposes. Even now it seems a little awkward to use, but you never know, I might get the hang of it someday.
In conclusion, all kitchen gadgets, regardless of how common, are considered to be gourmet cooking utensils when they’re used to prepare a gourmet dish. What do you think? Do you remember a time when you were excited to receive a new kitchen utensil? Leave a comment and share with us.
Recently, we went to dinner with our son and his girlfriend. As we were waiting for our waiter to serve our meals, I suddenly felt something very warm on my shoulder and chest. The waiter had attempted to reach over my head to place my dish on the table. While doing so, a small bowl of dipping sauce had slipped off the plate, spilling sauce onto the front of my blouse and splattered the remaining contents as it hit the table. Thankfully, it was not one of my best blouses and we all had a good laugh. I had ordered an artichoke spinach pizza and was really impressed with the flavor.
We enjoy a preparing our own freshly baked pizza. This Artichoke Spinach Pizza recipe is quick, easy and most importantly, delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Artichoke Spinach Pizza
1 pizza crust
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Pitted Green Olives
1 Garlic Clove
8 oz. can or jar Artichokes, drained
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 oz. fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh Baby Spinach
1 Tbsp. Sliced Green Olives
1/4 cup chopped can or jar Artichokes, drained
1/4 cup Roasted Red Peppers, thinly sliced
Preheat pizza stone in oven to 500 degrees F, then reduce to 400 degrees F.
Put the next 6 ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a smooth sauce consistency, about 30 seconds.
Roll out pizza dough to desired dimension. Place onto pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread the processed artichoke/olive pesto sauce over the pizza crust. Take a little more olive oil and brush the edges of the pizza crust, then evenly distribute the toppings: mozzarella, spinach, green olives, artichokes, and roasted red peppers. Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust gets golden brown and top is hot and bubbly.
Note: We enjoy adding a liberal amount of JR Watkins Pizza & Pasta Seasoning right before serving.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment while dining out? Please leave a comment telling us about it.
Here are a few items you may find useful while preparing pizza at home: