Pecan Party

I don’t think anyone could convince me that there is a thing in the world better than a pecan. With their unique flavour and handsome appearance, they are the King of the Nuts and, as nuts are at the top of the food kingdom, pecans are the King of the Food. 

This week I treated myself to a whole bag and had a pecan party! Not really, I just made this slice and this pickle. Each recipe has a sort of story, not especially interesting but hopefully enough to convince you that these recipes are worth the space they take up on the net, the time you take to read them and maybe you might let them take up some space on your kitchen bench. 

The first story is this; when I worked a café in Sydney I made this slice for my boss and he was so into it that he started paying me to make it!  It sold well, people seemed to like it and then I stopped working there and my slice-making career was over. I still make the slice for fun, not for profit and it’s frickin’ good. You should make it too. If that’s not enough, how about this; the base is like a big, chewy biscuit and the topping is like pecan pie filling.

This is the second story; on Saturday night I went to the Feather and Bone dinner in Rozelle. The evening got off to a rollicking start; an oyster farmer from Coffin Bay was there shucking his goods by hand and you were allowed to go up and eat them while sipping champagne. Also, there was a big slab of pate and this wonderful, wonderful pickle being dished up by a nice lady. She was carefully spreading the pate over bread and topping it with the pickle. I’m not sure what kind of pate it was but the pickle was totally and utterly mind blowing. It tasted rich and savoury, like Hoisin but it was also sweet and slightly spicy. I asked her where it came from and she told me Jeremy Strode made it. I found the recipe on the internet and it was an all round happy ending

 Pecan and Caramel Slice

This is a Belinda Jefferey recipe from Delicious magazine. It’s very good for afternoon tea, but it travels well so it’s also good if you need to take a dessert over to someone’s house.  

2 cups plain flour
½ cup of firmly packed brown sugar
180g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
Pecan topping
125g unsalted butter
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 ½ tablespoons pure cream
250g pecans, sliced lengthways
1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180. Grease and line a 21cm X 30cm pan.
Put the flour, sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt in the basin of a food processor and whiz for 15 seconds. Add butter and whiz until it looks like sand. Tip into the prepared pan and smooth with a glass. I find it helpful to press it down with my hands, then use the glass. Bake for 20 mins, or until golden.
Remove the base from the oven when done and make the topping. Melt the butter, add the sugar, honey, cream and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir for 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Boil, reduce heat and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the pecans and vanilla and remove from heat.
Pour the pecan mixture over the base. Smooth it over with a spatula. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. 

Apple, pecan and golden syrup chutney

This chutney is so Christmas, with the mixed spice and ginger, so I like the idea of eating this on Christmas day with ham. It would also be really nice at a Christmas party with cheddar or pate, or both. This recipe is adapted from a Jeremy and Jane Strode recipe. 

1kg green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 large onions, chopped
350g brown sugar
200g golden syrup
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp mixed spice
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cups pecans

Place all ingredients except the pecans in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for 50 minutes to an hour or until chutney has thickened. Stir through pecans and cook a further five minutes. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
Makes about 4 cups

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