Thanksgiving is past, but that doesn’t mean the holiday cooking is over. Between now and the new year, there will be a lot of holiday fun in the kitchen preparing those rich desserts we enjoy during this season.
What would the holidays be without pecan pie? Growing up in the South, we always had this super-rich dessert at Christmas and at various dinners and parties. My daughter, Twila, is our pecan pie maker, and I can almost taste her delicious pies.
From time to time, I have experimented with different ways to make pecan pie. I especially like using fresh cranberries in pecan pie because they help reduce the sweetness a little. This also makes a beautiful dessert.
If you don't mind the extra calories, my fried pecan pies might be a way to impress your family and guests with a new version of a holiday classic.
CRANBERRY PECAN PIE
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
3/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 cup pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, beat eggs with a fork until blended. Stir in corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and orange peel. Sprinkle cranberries in pie crust. Arrange pecan halves on top of cranberries. Pour syrup mixture carefully over pecans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until filling is set. If edge of crust browns too quickly, cover with a strip of foil to prevent further browning.
FRIED PECAN PIES
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 cups self-rising flour (see note below)
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
Oil for frying
In heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Mix well. Add eggs, corn syrup and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring continuously until mixture has thickened. This will probably take 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in toasted pecans. Refrigerate until completely cool. Heat oil (about 3/4 inch deep) in electric skillet to 350 degrees. Combine self-rising flour, shortening and milk in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture forms a ball. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead until slightly firmer than biscuit dough. Divide into 6 to 8 portions. Roll each ball into circle about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Dough should be thin. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in center of each circle. Fold to form a half moon shape. Press edges with a fork to seal well. Gently push fork into top and bottom of each pie 3 or 4 times. Place into hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning as needed. Drain well on paper towels.
NOTE: If using all-purpose flour for the dough, add 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the 2 cups all-purpose flour.