Decadent Pecan Pie

It was stormy and raining pretty hard Sunday morning when I drove to the Farmers’ Market. As I drove through the rain I was thinking about the farmers and how hard it must be to forage into wet fields and harvest their crops. Without their tenacity I would not be able to enjoy fruits and vegetables, hand picked the day before or sometimes the very morning they are brought to market. I started thinking about how grateful I am for their labor.  So, as I made my rounds buying fruits and vegetables, I thanked each person I bought from for being there that morning. Many reciprocated, thanking me for braving the weather and coming out too, a mutual admiration society both of us understanding how much we appreciate and depend on each other.

That morning I bought small heads of cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Seckle pears, Fuji apples and pecans. The pecans were for Sunday’s dessert, something special that I would make that morning to take to a friend’s house for dinner.

The recipe was from David Lebovitz, an American living in Paris, who worked for about thirteen years at Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, in the pastry department with executive pastry chef Lindsey Shere, creating desserts and baking with an amazing team of people. I follow David’s blog and enjoy his stories, his recipes and his sense of humor.  The dessert I chose was a decadent sounding pecan pie infused with dark chocolate and spiked with a little bourbon. You can find the recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie, on David’s blog, David Lebovitz, Living the sweet life in Paris.

The pie went together easily and looked and smelled heavenly. The test would be with my fellow critics after we had enjoyed a lovely dinner.

Dinner finished  we started clearing the table. The next act was mine. Would the pie live up to my expectations? I carefully cut the pie into eight pieces and topped each with a dallop of freshly whipped cream, sprinkled with semi-sweet dark chocolate shavings and served it. The response was immediate and unanimous, “it’s delicious”.

If you’re looking for a pie that is delicious and easy to make this is the pie to bake.

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Macadamia Heaven – A Valentine From Me To You!

This is, far and away, my favorite Valentines’ Day dessert. It’s a luscious combination of dense chocolate cake studded with chopped roasted macadamia nuts, topped with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache, and all sitting atop a beautiful raspberry coulis. It might look complicated but it’s quite easy to prepare and more than easy to enjoy.

Happy Valentines Day!

MACADAMIA HEAVEN

Cake

¾ cup roasted macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon flour

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large eggs

½ cup sugar

Ganache:

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

3 tablespoons cream

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Raspberry Sauce

2 baskets of fresh raspberries or  210 oz. packages frozen raspberries, thawed

¼ up powdered sugar, or to taste

Prepare cake: Generously butter an 8” cake pan. Preheat oven to 350°. Finely chop macadamia nuts, add flour. Melt chocolate with butter until just melted in top of double boiler.

In large bowl, beat eggs with sugar. Beat in nuts and melted chocolate. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until cake almost tests done-don’t over-bake. Cool 10 minutes. Invert to wire rack and cool completely.

Prepare ganache: In top of double boiler, melt chocolate with cream and butter, stirring frequently until smooth. Quickly pour ganache over cake, turning cake so glaze falls evenly over top and sides.

Prepare raspberry coulis: Puree raspberries and strain out the seeds. Add sugar and stir well.

To serve: Pour a small amount of raspberry coulis on each plate and top with a thin slice of cake.

Serves 12

What to buy at the Farmers’ Market:

Raspberries

Macadamia nuts (available at some Southern California and Hawaii Farmers’ Markets)

Eggs