Tis the time for Christmas in July. My lovely English friend Ferret doesn’t understand the concept, as where she comes from Christmas is in winter (“like it should be”, I can hear English people say) Always a nation to use any excuse for a party, the Australians do Christmas in July fantastically well! Having spent my fair share of Christmases in the cold, not only has having a warm Christmas become even more wonderful, but in winter I do love having a mini-Christmas to pig out on all the winter fare!
Our friends the Hoggetts decided to throw a Christmas-in-July at their house two weekends ago. Mr Hoggett, being English too, made the meanest roast to be seen on this side of the Equator. It brought back memories of London! Keen to join in, I made my apple pie with a Christmas twist – I made brandy cream to go with it. And now Folks, I am sad to reveal that I am addicted to brandy cream. So much so that when Frank made his request for what birthday baked good he wanted, it was definitely being served with brandy cream.
Frank and my birthdays are both in the middle(ish) of the year. I think this is the best time of year to have a birthday, as there is an equal amount of time to wait between Birthday presents and Christmas presents. Given the choice of what to have for his birthday treat, Frank chose pecan pie and carrot cupcakes – pecan pie for his actual birthday, and carrot cupcakes for the weekend celebration. (Although Frank claims he didn’t actually ASK for pecan pie, apparently I volunteered it…) As I took him to Steersons at King Street Wharf for the best steak on this earth, we were both too full on Thursday night to have the pecan pie. So, we kept it for the weekend to take the place of the carrot cupcakes and it lasted brilliantly. After pizza with the family, everyone came back to the Pig Palace to finish off the pie smothered in brandy cream. It was a perfect winter dessert to finish off a lovely evening!
Pecan pie with brandy cream – recipe adjusted from Women’s Weekly’s Old-fashioned desserts recipe book
This recipe can be made 1-3 day in advance. Uncooked rice or dried beans used to weigh down the pastry are not suitable for eating. Use them every time you blind bake; cool, then store in an airtight jar.
2 cups (280g) toasted pecans
6 egg yolks
½ cup (175g) golden syrup
½ cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
90g butter, melted
¼ cup (60ml) thickened cream for pie and 150ml for the brandy cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1¼ (185g) plain flour
1/3 cup (55g) icing sugar mixture
125g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Grease 24cm-round loose-based tin. Make pastry.
Place nuts in pastry case. Combine egg yolks, syrup, sugar, butter and cream in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over nuts; bake, uncovered, in moderate oven about 30 minutes or until set. Cool. Whip remaining cream until stiff, pour in icing sugar and brandy and whip until combined. Serve pie topped with cream.
Blend or process flour, icing sugar and cold butter until combined. Add yolk and juice; process until ingredients just come together. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll dough between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line prepared tin. Ease dough into tin, press into side; trim edge. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced. Place tin on oven tray. Line pastry case with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice. Bake, uncovered, in moderate oven 15 minutes. Remove paper and beans; bake, uncovered, in moderate oven about 5 minutes or until browned lightly.