Pecan Pie and a Tribute for My Dad

Classic Pecan Pie – so easy to make and one of my favorite pies.  Pecan Pie was also a favorite of my Dad’s!  My Dad passed away December 23, 2014; following the recipe is a tribute I wrote that was read at his service.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
  3. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.  Once cooled, share with someone you you love!

A Tribute for My Dad

From the day I was born I was “Daddy’s Little Girl”. I think a Father and Daughter have a very special bond. I was also his favorite daughter … of course, I was his only daughter! The admiration and love went both ways. I thought the world of my Daddy and as a young girl I couldn’t wait for him to come home from work. As soon as I saw him coming up the driveway I would yell “Daddy’s home” and go running to see him.

My Dad loved to garden and even after working a long day he would go out to work in the garden after dinner. Being a typical girly girl, I didn’t like to get my hands dirty, but that didn’t stop me from following him everywhere he went and helping him to plant seeds in the garden. He used to pay me a penny for every potato bug that I picked off the plants; I amassed quite a few pennies and saved the potato crop!

When I was young he worked for a Dairy making home deliveries. I think what he enjoyed most about his job was that he was able to get out and talk with people. He enjoyed that so much and always had a kind word and a friendly smile for anyone he crossed paths with. What a treat it was when I got to ride in the truck with him to deliver milk! I got to sit up front with him on top of the cooler. When it was my birthday he would open the back of truck and I’d get to pick out any flavor of ice cream I wanted.

Every Sunday afternoon was “game day”. It was designated family time and we would play board games together. Sometimes we would play badminton or he would throw the softball for me to hit. No matter how busy he was he always made time for me, for his family.

Laughter and love filled our home. I remember how he and my mother used to tease each other and laugh around the kitchen table. God filled our home as well and I remember going to church Sundays and seeing him preaching and singing … oh how he loved to sing! I loved standing next to him hearing him singing the hymns.

When talking about my parents I always told people how lucky I was to have such great parents and what a great man my Dad was. I would tell them that he was a minister and how much I admired him. He lived the life he preached, he lived his faith. And what a great example and testimony to God that was!

Throughout my life my Dad always encouraged me, supported me and uplifted me. He was my strongest supporter and showed confidence in me when I didn’t have it for myself and helped to me to be a self-confident young woman. He lived his life as God wanted him to and was a shining example of everything God wants us to be. He was kind, loving, accepting without being judgmental, understanding, loyal, trustworthy, forgiving, sensitive, a good listener, giving, a great sense of humor, patient, steadfast and true. True to himself, his family and first most true to God. I am so proud to have called him Daddy.

Perhaps without knowing it my Dad passed many things down to me. I inherited his love of walking the beach and picking up shells, I inherited his love of gardening and flowers, and his love of antique dishes, glassware and old bottles.

The last word I remember my Dad saying was when he was in Nursing care. I brought him a flower cookie on a stick that I had decorated. He had always encouraged my artistic and creative endeavors and I hoped he would appreciate this or at least enjoy a homemade cookie. He wasn’t speaking much those days and when he did often times you couldn’t hear him or it didn’t make sense. But when I gave him that cookie he looked at it and said clearly “pretty”. Even at that stage he could appreciate what I made. I don’t know how aware he was during the past year but I always held his hand and made sure I told him I loved him.

I am so fortunate and blessed to have had such a truly amazing father – the best Daddy God could have ever given me. I am glad that my Dad is in heaven with God now and at peace. Selfishly, I miss him like crazy and I just wish I could hold his hand again and talk to him. When I was going through a particularly hard time my Dad said to me “the sun will shine brightly again another day”. He was right .. it did. And so today I remember those words and I know the sun will shine brightly again and I remind myself that now my Dad is in heaven singing with the Angels praising God.

Pear Gorgonzola Tart

This recipe I found on Food Network really surprised me.  I love fruits and vegetables,but I would have to say that pears are not one of my favorite fruits. I thought I’d give this a try to practice my pastry making skills.  It was love at first bite.  The combination of the tartness of the gorgonzola cheese, the sweetness of the pear and the saltiness of the prosciutto is absolutely divine perfection.  This is one recipe I will be making again and again!  Enjoy!

Pear Gorgonzola Tart

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4 to 6 servings

 Ingredients

    • 1 store bought pie shell (I used a homemade tart shell)
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 2 ounces Gorgonzola
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
    • Pinch salt
    • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 small pears, cored and sliced
    • 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips

    Directions

Bake the pie shell in a square or round tart pan according to package instructions. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, Gorgonzola, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Using a hand blender, whip the cheeses together.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pears and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes.

When the tart crust has cooled slightly, gently spread the whipped cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart. Place the pear slices in a decorative pattern over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the thin strips of prosciutto over the pears.

Cut into squares or wedges and serve.

 

 

Apple Pie and Fall Memories

The sense of smell plays such an integral part in our lives.  Scent has the ability to conjure memories and transport us back in time.  Soon after the pie was in the oven, the kitchen was filled with the scent of cinnamon and apples, and my mind was filled with wonderful childhood memories of fall and apples.  I grew up in the beautiful state of Vermont and as a child I remember every fall going with my parents to the local apple orchards to pick bushels of apples!  It was always so much fun.  The air was crisp, the apples were delicious, and trees were fun to climb.  I even lost my first tooth in the apple orchards, while eating a big juicy apple.  After a fun day at the orchards, our bellies full of apples, we headed home and then the work began for my mother as she baked apple pies and made apple sauce.  On a Sunday afternoon, stocked with apples for the car ride, we would take our annual road trip in the back roads of Vermont to view the exquisite, brilliant colors of the fall foliage spread so vibrantly across the mountains in hues of reds, oranges, yellows and greens.  Each year it was breathtaking and something we all looked forward to.

I hope this recipe will bring wonderful memories to you as you bake it in the oven and you breathe in the wonderful scent of apples and cinnamon.  Enjoy!

 What memories do you have of fall and apples?

Little Pie Company’s Sour-Cream Apple-Walnut Pie

  •  ¾ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 lbs. tart apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ¼ inch thick slices (about 10 cups)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

 Topping:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, chopped coarse

 Heat oven to 400 degrees

Wisk sour cream and egg in a large bowl until blended.  Wisk in sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in apples.  Spread in unbaked pie shell, mounding in center.

To make topping:  mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in walnuts.

Sprinkle evenly over filling, then press down lightly.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes until topping is dark brown and apples are tender when pierced.  (If topping browns too quickly, drape a piece of foil over the pie.)

Cool on wire rack.