• BA’s Pecan Pumpkin Pie

    Welcome back to Sweet D, two weeks in a row, are you impressed?? The bar is really low, I am aware, but this was the first weekend in ages that I had literally no plans. Who knew that would be such a satisfying thing to say, you know? That’s how I know I’m a grandma in a 24 year old’s body, I have to actively reserve weekends to do nothing so I can actually get some sleep. And, after sleeping until 11:30 on both Saturday and Sunday, I can tell you that I am, in fact, STILL TIRED lol. BUT in addition to sleeping forever, I caught up on all 7 episodes of Bon Appetit’s “Making Perfect” Thanksgiving addition. To me, Thanksgiving is like the Olympics of cooking, so naturally I start preparing weeks in advance. I watched Brad Leone and Queen Claire Saffitz bake this remarkable marriage of two classic pies and you KNOW I had to try it out. So yes, that was my whole Saturday and now there’s a pie in my fridge, someone come help me eat it thanks.

    Since I was old enough to cook, I have taken responsibility for most of the pies at my family’s Thanksgiving. I would make 2 apple and 2 pumpkin, and my mom would take the pecan. I take the day before Thanksgiving off from work and my Mom and I are prepping LITERALLY from the moment I wake up, and I’m usually still making pie well past midnight. Now as anyone who cooks Thanksgiving knows, any time saving measures you can take, the better, so I made this pie with a frozen pie shell. It saves me over an hour of prep time, and can be baked straight from the freezer, plus it still tastes good! But, if you’d prefer to use a homemade crust, the one from the original recipe is never a bad idea.

    So let’s get down to what makes this pie special. The filling is perfectly smooth thanks to the eggs and heavy cream, with every fall spice you could ever hope for. But the real showstopper? The gorgeous pecan topping!! Toasted pecans tossed with butter, cinnamon, maple syrup, and egg white, then baked until crisp, you’ll have to restrain yourself from eating them all off the top of the pie. I had some left over that I baked separately, and I’m keeping them in a tupperware exclusively for snacking!

    Before we go full Thanksgiving, here are five things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Eating too many cheese and crackers before dinner.
    TWO. Coming inside after being out in the cold.
    THREE. Running errands on a Sunday and rewarding yourself with coffee.
    FOUR. Pie for breakfast.
    FIVE. Hot drinks in clear mugs.

    Let’s bake!

    BA’s Pecan Pumpkin Pie

    This impeccable dessert is the marriage of two Thanksgiving classics, the pecan pie and the pumpkin pie. A smooth, custardy pumpkin filling with ALL the warm Autumn spices, topped with toasty, maple-caramelized pecans, it's the best of both worlds!!
    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time50 mins
    Total Time1 hr 10 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Servings: 8 people

    Ingredients

    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 additional egg; yolk and white separated
    • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
    • ¾ cup whole milk
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp whiskey
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • ¼ tsp nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
    • Pinch ground cloves
    • 8 Tbsp brown sugar; separated
    • 3 Tbsp melted butter; divided
    • 1 tsp salt; divided
    • cups whole pecans
    • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
    • Frozen pie shell; or see link to original recipe for homemade crust!

    Preparation

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and place the still frozen pie shell into a small sheet pan. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, extra yolk, canned pumpkin, heavy cream, sugar, whiskey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, 6 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and a pinch of salt. Whisk thoroughly until evenly mixed. If you prefer a completely homogenous mixture, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender in batches, making sure not to incorporated too much air.

    Pour the filling into the pie shell and carefully transfer the whole sheet pan to the oven so that the filling doesn’t spill, it’s very runny. Bake until the filling has puffed and the center is a little wobbly when shaken. This should be about 40 minutes.

    What happens when you pour filling into a pie shell on a lopsided oven rack!

    About 15 minutes before the pie is done, spread the pecans in one even layer on a second sheet pan and toast, tossing once, until they are fragrant and slightly darkened in color.

    In a bowl large enough for the pecans, whisk the reserved egg white, remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and remaining salt until foamy. Add the syrup and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and whisk until combined. Add in the toasted pecans and toss until they are all evenly coated.

    Remove the pie from the oven and arrange the pecans on top as you’d like, making sure the extra egg white mixture drips back into the bowl. Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the filling is totally set and the pecans are dry to the touch. Allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

    Looking for more pie? check out classic apple, banana cream, cheesecake pudding, and pear!

  • Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    Hello my loves! I’m back this week with a fun and fancy new cake recipe, because it’s never not the time for cake. This weekend, we hosted my sister’s birthday party in our apartment, and to be honest it felt like an Olympic Sport to me. 25 people in our little apartment? Bring it on. Food and cake and drinks to fill all these people? I’ve got this. After a very successful trip to Trader Joe’s, my biggest concern was making a cake that would provide a slice for everyone. A Sweet D cake was promised in the Facebook invite, so the pressure was on!! Then, earlier in the week I came across a cake recipe that clicked PERFECTLY. Specifically, this cake, which has a surprise visit from my sourdough starter!

    To keep you all updated, last week, I suddenly got very motivated to make my own sourdough starter, despite knowing how much of an undertaking it is. If you’re interested in taking the plunge yourself, I found that this article from King Arthur Flour to be very informative. To give you a brief summary, sourdough starter is made by combining parts of flour and water and allowing it to sit, with daily feedings of more flour and water, so that the natural yeast develops to produce a tangy, flavorful loaf of bread. But sparing you all the intricacies of sourdough making, part of the feeding process is that every day, all but 4 ounces of the starter is discarded before more flour and water is added. It requires a relatively consistent feeding schedule, which is how I ended up getting up at 6:20 every morning to feed my starter before work, like it was a small dog. Good times.

    Now, yes, starter is just flour and water, but throwing out large portions of flour can feel wasteful, so that’s where this cake comes in. Originally a recipe from one of my favorite food writers Posie Harwood, this deeply chocolate cake is both decadent and simple somehow. Now before you get worried that this is more bread than cake, rest assured. The sourdough starter only creates the most moist, intensely flavored cake you’ll ever have. As my sister said, “This is the platonic ideal of a birthday cake”. The original author recommends eating the cake on its own, no need for frosting. I’m sure she’s correct, but since this was a birthday cake, frosting isn’t just wanted, its required.

    I call this shot the “I forgot to take pictures until the cake was almost gone” shot.

    You may remember a few weeks ago when I took a cake decorating class with Claire Saffitz of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen. If you weren’t here for that, YES that happened and it was glorious. Among the bits and pieces that I took home from that experience was a recipe for Claire’s chocolate cream cheese frosting. I feel silly for saying that I never thought about making a cream cheese frosting that’s anything but vanilla, and now I feel silly because this is DELICIOUS. Together with the cake and this frosting, it’s an unstoppable creation that had multiple guests going back for seconds. Have I tempted you enough yet?

    Before we start obviously, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Discounted Halloween candy on November 1st.
    TWO. A crystal punch bowl set with glasses and a ladle.
    THREE. A well organized cheese plate.
    FOUR. Vintage bar carts.
    FIVE. Pre-sliced carrot and celery sticks with little cups of ranch and hummus.

    Let’s bake!!

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    A moist, intensely chocolate cake slathered in maybe the best frosting known to man, you will want to keep sourdough starter at all times for this recipe alone!!
    Prep Time3 hrs
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: cake, chocolate, cream cheese, frosting, sourdough, sprinkles
    Servings: 24 people (max)

    Ingredients

    Sourdough Chocolate Cake

    • 1 cup discard sourdough starter
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • cup white sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • 1 tsp salt
    • tsp baking soda
    • ¾ cup Non-Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
    • 2 eggs

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 6 oz. cream cheese; at room temperature
    • 2 cups confectioners sugar
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
    • pinch salt

    Instructions

    Sourdough Cake

    • In a large mixing bowl (not your stand mixer bowl), combine the milk, sourdough starter, and flour. Stir until all the flour has been moistened, but don't worry about getting out every single lump. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and allow to sit for 2 hours.
    • After the 2 hours is up, preheat your oven to 350°F and generously grease a 9 x 13" baking sheet, then line the bottom with parchment paper for easy release.
    • In your stand mixer or another large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
    • Add the sourdough mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until it's totally combined into the batter. It's very sticky, so it does help to stop the mixer and scrape everything down a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
    • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top is very shiny, and only slightly bounces back when pushed with your finger. Run a knife or spatula around the sides and allow to cool completely in the pan before frosting or removing from the pan.

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    • Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and whip until smooth and evenly combined.
    • Frost the cake as desired- you could leave the cake in the pan and just frost the top, or your could flip the cake out onto a sheet tray and frost all sides. Top with sprinkles, candles, or whatever you want! Now eat up!! YUM!

    Want more cake? Look here, here, here, and here!

  • Kimchi Fried Rice with Bacon and Mushrooms

    I’M HERE! I’M HERE AND I’M READY TO COOK KIMCHI FRIED RICE! I would first like to apologize for this extended hiatus, my weekends have been absolutely jam packed and it’s been out! of! control! I ordered Seamless for dinner 3 times last week!! Three!! Unacceptable. So, this weekend, after meeting my baking hero Claire Saffitz (more on that later), I was fully in a Bon Appetit mood. When I moved, I never got around to bringing my stack of cookbooks with me, so the last time I went home, I grabbed one from the stack, Where Cooking Begins, by Carla Lalli Music. I love this cookbook specifically because of how versatile it is. This book not only contains recipes, but also ways to “spin” each one, PLUS detailed pages of some basic cooking techniques. So you see why, if I had to grab one book, it’s this one.

    Me trying to keep my cool in front of my idol NDB

    Before we get into this weeks recipe, let’s quick re-cap the last few weeks since I’ve been here. First, I went to Seattle! And ooooooh I loved it. My sister and I stayed with my brother, who recently moved there, and wow what a wonderful city! I couldn’t get over how perfectly Fall it felt, the trees were changing, it was nice and chilly, and we ate so much food. Highlights include: a hike up Rattlesnake Ledge (I am horribly out of shape), the Chihuly Glass Museum, and an entire bar dedicated to PIE and PIE THEMED DRINKS! Insanity. Then, this weekend, I attended a cake decorating class with none other than Claire Saffitz of BA’s “Gourmet Makes” and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly starstruck. She is so sweet and talented and told me my cake was perfect and I’m still emotional. Also she signed a pastry brush for me and it will hang in every kitchen I ever have, the end.

    Okay so now that we’ve covered what I’ve been up to, let’s talk food. So on Sunday, after sleeping until noon and doing not much besides watching Parks and Rec on the couch (it was raining, what else could I do?) I cracked open Carla’s book and found this life changing kimchi fried rice recipe. I am a huge fan of having eggs for dinner, so any time I find a recipe that includes that, I’m already interested. What’s more, this recipe has crispy bacon, mushrooms cooked in said bacon, and KIMCHI. It’s a perfect combination of salty, tangy, spicy, fresh and I want to eat it forever. I’m getting too excited, let’s start.

    But of course, before we do, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Your at-home comfy clothes.
    TWO. Doing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in one day.
    THREE. A basket full of blankets in your living room.
    FOUR. Visiting a new city.
    FIVE. “I’m on vacation” as an attitude for decision making.

    Let’s cook!!

    Ingredients

    7 Tbs vegetable oil
    4 strips bacon, cut crosswise into ¾ inch pieces
    8oz. mushrooms, washed, stems removed, and caps torn
    2 cups cooked brown rice
    1 cup kimchi, liquid reserved and roughly chopped
    Handful of chopped cilantro
    2 eggs
    Salt and pepper
    Sesame oil, hot sauce, for serving

    Steps

    ONE. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil until warm, then add the bacon. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the fat is rendered. Scoop out the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

    TWO. In the same pan, add the mushrooms to the bacon fat, seasoning with salt. Cook undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes, until some liquid is released and they get slightly browned. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for another 2 minutes, then transfer to the same plate as your bacon.

    THREE. Add another tablespoon of oil to the same pan, then add your cooked rice, allowing to heat for 2 minutes undisturbed. Toss with a wooden spoon and then cook for another 2 minutes, until the rice is warmed and a little crisp, but not dried out. If you need, more oil can be added during this process.

    FOUR. Add the kimchi to the rice, and cook for about 1 minute. Off the heat, add back the mushrooms and the bacon, plus the reserved kimchi juice and cilantro. Mix to combine and transfer to a serving platter.

    FIVE. In the skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high, and add the two eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until the eggs whites are set, but the yolks remain runny, for proper yolk-breaking satisfaction. Spoon a generous portion of the rice onto eat plate, then top with an egg and a drizzle of sesame oil and/ or hot sauce.

    Yum!! Xoxoxoxox

    Want more dinners? Look here, here, here, and here!