Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Pinwheels



I really wanted to sneak in this post before the new year because it’s such an easy and tasty appetiser that you will WANT to make for your new year’s eve party. I made it as a quick snack for Maryam but me an Akber ended up eating most of them.


With only three ingredients and twenty minutes in the oven, you can rustle these up in no time at all. I personally felt they tasted better straight out of the oven because I like the flakiness of just baked puff pastry. But they tasted just as yummy cold. Another alternative would be to prepare these beforehand and freeze them. Then defrost in the fridge and bake just before serving. Lastly, if you do happen to have any leftovers, they can also be refreshed in the oven for 5 minutes to get them all crisp again.




I recently found whole wheat puff pastry sheets in my local supermarket so used those in the hope of being somewhat healthy but I’m sure they’ll taste even better with normal white flour puff pastry sheets. The recipe is very adaptable so you can add whatever takes your fancy. Next time, I think I’ll try them with grated onions mixed with the cheese and homemade Pesto. Or how about a sweet version with cream cheese, sugar and perhaps cinnamon? The possibilities are endless! These can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days.

Cheese and Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Ingredients:
2 sheets puff pastry
4 tbs chopped sundried tomatoes
4 tbs grated cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Spread the chopped sundried tomatoes onto the puff pastry sheets followed by the cheddar cheese. Roll each end of the puff pastry till you reach the centre. Slightly pinch the rolled ends together so it doesn’t open up. Using a sharp knife, slice into half inch slices. Place on parchment paper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy. Serve straight out of the oven.   

This yielded twenty small pinwheels.


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Bananas and Cream Pudding



I think the heavens were against me whilst writing this post as I lost my edited pictures twice when my PC just shut down! Now that’s a big thing considering I’m no pro at Photoshop and it does really take me ages to make even minor changes. 

Anyhow, back to the matter on hand, let me first start by saying that this elegant dessert took me literally 5 minutes to prepare. Now that excudes whipping the cream as I had some I had prepared earlier sitting in the freezer for me. So if you include that step, it will take only 10 minutes in total. Easy peasy eh!! The inspiration behind this yummy dessert comes from my beautiful neighbour Simi who came as such a blessing in my life. She sent me this dessert many moons ago but I’ve made a few changes to it that I feel takes it up a notch. The great thing about this recipe is that it is extremely versatile. You can add some chopped toasted peanuts to it if you please or perhaps a dash of fudge sauce as a separate layer too!



I made this for my sister and her huband who unexpectedly dropped in a few nights ago. This is best served after chilling for half an hour. I did find that the graham cracker crust layers became slightly soft the next day. If you did want to prepare this in advance, I would probably advise toasting the graham crackers as you would for cheesecake. So if you’re looking to make a stunning dessert in a matter of minutes, look no further.


Bananas and Cream Pudding

Ingredients:
250 ml sweetened whipping cream
1 tin Nestle cream- banana flavour (175gms)
1 banana
10 Digestive biscuits

Directions:
Whipping cream must be chilled to 2-4 degrees for best results. Using the wire whip, whip the cream on medium speed until 2/3 done. Then whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Slice banana into thin rounds. Crush seven of the Digestive biscuits finely using a rolling pin and chop the rest coarsely. In a bowl, fold the whipped cream into Nestle cream.

To assemble, start by adding the cream mixture to you serving glass followed by a few rounds of bananas. Then add a layer of crushed biscuit. Repeat once again. Garnish with whipped cream and a few biscuit crumbs.

Chill for half an hour and serve. This recipes will make 6 servings.


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Moist Chocolate Cake- One Bowl Cake



Ok stop drooling over the keyboard!!!! Let me start by saying that this cake is super easy to make, requires no effort (ok, you may have to mix the batter just a little with a whisk) and is absolutely decadent.

I baked this cake for my nanny Imelda who was celebrating her birthday this past week. What can I say about Imelda. She has truly been a godsend espcially in times of need like when I was going through chemotherapy. She is an absolute star and will miss her so much when she returns to her home to get married. 


So on to this cake. What can I say except this the moistest, yummiest chocolate cake I have ever eaten. I’ve baked this cake well over a hundred times (i’m not exaggerating) and it has been my go to chocolate cake recipe for nearly 10 years. It has never failed me. I stumbled upon this recipe by chance on Allrecipes.com and with so many 5 star reviews, I knew I couldn’t go wrong. In my opinion, the secret as to why this cake is so moist and delicious is the addition of boiling hot coffee to the batter. It somehow really helps in lifting out the flavour of the chocolate.
 
The cake is so very easy to put together- just mix all the ingredients into a single bowl and you’re good to go. But be aware that the batter will be very runny. So don’t got thinking you’ve done something wrong! The hardest part to making this cake is….wait for it….washing that single lone bowl when you’re done. Oh and the whisk as well! Wait, I take that back. The hardest part is waiting for the cake to finish baking so you can dig in!

Now let’s talk about the frosting. I don’t ususally frost this cake because Akber is not a fan of frosting but because it was for a birthday, it HAD to have frosting. For this, I slightly adapted the sugary birthday buttercream frosting from Sweetapolita. Although it is sweet, the whipping cream helps to balance this somewhat and make it extra creamy and airy.

I could really go on and on and on about how good this is but the proof is in the pudding and I can guarantee you’ll be singing its praises as much as me when you’ve baked this.



Moist Chocolate Cake- One Bowl Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot brewed coffee
2 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Centigrade and grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Create a well in the centre and add all the rest of the ingredients except coffee. Mix well until combined and then add coffee. Mix once again. Pour into greased pan and bake in the middle rack in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out just clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Sugary Birthday Frosting

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 cups icing sugar
120ml whipping cream
2 tbs pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions:
Uisng the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Add the whipping cream, vanilla and salt and whip on high speed until fluffy and smooth- approx. 4 minutes. If you find the consistency too thick, you can add 1 tablespoon of milk. I tinted mine with a few drops of rose colored gel.

This will make enough frosting to ice 1 9 inch layer cake.


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Savoury Cumin Crackers



Everywhere I look, I see images of cookies, cakes and desserts in preparation for Christmas. So to balance out the overload of sugar, I decided to make this North Indian dish, also known as Nimki. These savoury crackers make me reminiscent of my childhood where a jar of this would always be waiting for us as an afternoon snack. This is one of my favorite snacks and when Akber requested this, I turned to my mom for her trusted recipe.


These flaky crackers definitely have that ”crunch” to them and the thinner you make them, the crunchier they are. The addition of black pepper gives them an extra zing. These crackers are usually served as a snack with tea but I seem to pick a few every time I pass the jar. And if you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, then they are simply divine crushed over a salad. These can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks but I’m sure that won’t be necessary as you probably won’t have any left!


As a side note, Lick My Spoon is now on twitter. We’re still learning the basics so if you fancy giving us a helping hand in the world of tweeting, you can follow lickmyspoon247 and give us a few tips!


Savoury Cumin Crackers

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbs oil
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
water- as needed to bind the dough
4 cups oil

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together flour, cumin seeds, black pepper and salt. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and rub the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Add water to make a firm but pliable dough. Roll into a ball and leave it covered for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a thin disc (the thinner you roll it, the crunchier the cracker will be). Using a small circular cookie cutter or glass, cut small rounds (about 1 1/2 inches). You can the re-roll the scraps and repeat. Using a knife or fork, make 3-4 pricks all over each circle. Deep fry in medium hot oil, turning every now and then until golden. Drain on a paper towel. Store in an air tight container when cool.


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White Chocolate and Almond Cookies


Now I’m not much of a cookie maker or eater (except if it has chocolate in it) but with the holiday season upon us, cookie fever has well and truly hit. All my favourite blogs are coming up with tempting cookie recipes and so the bug hit me too. Unlike me, my husband Akber can’t stop getting his hand out of the cookie jar. He starts his day with a cup of tea which HAS to be accompanied by some form of cookies or biscuits. So when he heard I’d be trying my hand at cookie making, he was one happy man.


These cookies were baked as a present for a pregnant firiend of mine. She is due soon and since there was no time to hold her a baby shower, a few friends got together and surprised her with food and presents. She made a comment that these cookies reminded her of Millie’s Cookies in London so I guess they must be good.



The aroma of these cookies baking had me salivating. The creaminess of the white chocolate paired with the crunchiness of the almonds make these irresistible. And I guess you can class these as healthy due to the oatmeal and nuts! The oatmeal adds a great chewy texture to this.


I’ll definately be making these very soon but there are a couple of changes I’ll be making which I feel will enhance their flavour even more- reducing the sugar to three quarter cup and toasting the almonds for extra crunch. This recipe was adapted from Shutterbean.


 

White Choclate and Almond Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups ground quick oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup whole almonds roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade with the rack two thirds of the way up. Using the paddle atatchment of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Keep mixing until smooth. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until just mixed. Stir in the white chocolate chips and chopped almonds.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto a cookie sheet, leaving a 1 inch space between them (I used a a normal ice cream scoop and got large cookies). Flatten them with the palm of your hand very slightly (it should look like a dome). Bake until done, roatating halfway through. Since I used a large ice cream scoop, my cookies took longer then the 10 minute recommended cooking time. Mine baked in 20-22 minutes. You will know when they are done when the edges JUST begin to brown. The centre will still be soft but not gooey.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container

I made half the recipe and this yielded 16 large cookies.


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Chicken Roganjosh



When I saw this recipe on Indian Simmer, I knew I had to try it out. I’ve been wanting to try several recipes from her site but I settled on this one as I knew my family would love it. When I hear Roganjosh, I automatically think of the curries served at British restaurants, full of thousands of spices and a layer of oil. But this curry truly tastes homemade. Surprisingly for a curry, its actually made without any tomatoes. But since I’m a creature of comfort, I added a small amount of tomato paste to mine. I also made a few other adaptations to the original recipe such as reducing the amount of onion paste as I felt that the amount stated in the original would overpower the curry. A true Roganjosh actually doesn’t contain ANY onion but since the original one had it and it helps to thicken the sauce, I saw no reason to omit it.



What makes a Roganjosh curry is the addition of Kashmiri mirch to the list of ingredients, a type of red pepper. But rest assured it lends more flavour than heat. Oh, and a bit of color too! The yoghurt makes this curry nice and creamy. Since this is a slightly thicker and drier curry, ie. less gravy, it is best served with nan. Feel free to subsitute the chicken for lamb or beef.

So go on then, bite the bullet and make the curry instead of ordering it from the local take out!

Chicken Roganjosh

Ingredients:
500 grams boneless chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tbs Kashmiri red pepper powder
4 tbs oil
1 onion, blended
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbs tomato paste
sallt, to taste
1 tsp Madras curry powder
water as needed

Directions:
Marinte the chicken in yoghurt, ginger and garlic pastes and Kashmiri red pepper powder. Set aside for 1/2 an hour. Add oil to a saucepan and to it, add the onion paste. Keep stirring until it turns a golden brown color. With the heat on medium, add all the rest of the ingredients. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken. At this stage, you can add water to achieve the desired consistency of your curry (I added 3/4 cup). Stir and let the chicken cook on low to medium heat, half covered. The chicken should cook in about 30 minutes or less (don’t overcook the chicken as it will become rubbery). Garnish with coriander.


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Creme Caramel With Saffron and Cardamom



This luscious creme caramel is a creation of my mom. She was here on a holiday a few weeks ago and told me she had created her own recipe for creme caramel that was smooth, creamy and dreamy. That’s the thing about my mom. She has a knack of just ”creating” recipes whereas I will browse the net for hours before settling on one. Her description had me begging her to make these for me.



I wish I could say that this recipe is easy but it includes steps which I had never attempted before like making caramel and using a pressure cooker to make a dessert. This dessert sounded like it was going to make me work hard. But my mom made it look like a total breeze. If you are apprehensive about using a pressure cooker, you can easily cook these in a water bath in the oven but the difference is that they will probably take at least half an hour or more to cook whereas we were done in 8 minutes…That’s right. It took all of 8 minutes for this flan to cook.


Once unmoulded, they are as smooth and creamy to taste as they look in the photos, pure silk on the tongue. This creme caramel has a twist with the addition of saffron and cardamom, such a unique and luxurious blend of flavours which give it a real kick. The best thing about these flans is that it is a great make ahead of time dessert that looks rich but is really as light as a feather.

Creme Caramel With Saffron and Cardamom

Ingredients:
1000ml milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup plus 3 tbs condensed milk
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom powder
2 pinches saffron, crushed
4 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tbs custard powder

For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Water for the pressure cooker

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients except the eggs and custard powder and gently bring to the boil, stirring all the time so that the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When it just starts to boil, take the pan off the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture has cooled down completely (if you stop stirring then a film of milk will build on the top which will spoil the smooth texture of the creme caramel). Once the mixture has cooled, add 1 tbs of the milk mixture to the custard powder to form a thin paste. Whilst continuously whisking the milk, add the custard paste followed by the whisked eggs. Whisk the mixture for about a minute and let it rest.

To make the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a pan until it reaches an amber color, stirring every now and then. Carefully divide the syrup amongst your ramekins, tilting the ramekins to make sugar the sugar coats the whole inside of the ramekin. You need to work fast as the syrup will harden quickly (if this happens just heat it in the microwave for a few seconds). Once the ramekins are coated, add the milk mixture to the ramekins, filling till nearly full. Cover each ramekin with foil. Place as many foil covered ramekins into a pressure cooker of boiling water (water should reach halfway up the ramekins). Close the pressure cooker and steam for 8 minutes. After 8 miniutes, open the pressure cooker and the tops of the creme caramels should be springy and slightly jiggly. Be careful not to overcook but if you feel that the creme caramel is too jiggly, then cook for a further minute or two only. Remove ramekins and cool on the counter completely before turning out. You can run a cold knife around each ramekin to aid in removal.

Creme caramels are best served cold and will keep in the fridge for a few days. This recipe yielded 7 individual creme caramels.

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Pan Fried Fish in a Mild Coconut Curry


Let’s take a break from desserts with this post and talk real food (now now, I’m not saying dessert isn’t real food!). Making a curry often intimidates people and most people reserve eating this only at restaurants but this one comes together very easily. Well, you can’t beat making a curry with only 6 ingredients excluding the fish. Fish is my favorite ”meat” (can it be called a meat?) and I love almost any kind of fish but my favourites currently include red snapper, kingfish or hammour. It make me feel ever so healthy whenever I have fish.

The rule with cooking fish is to buy it as fresh as possible. I still vividly remember those dreaded trips to the fish market in Dar es Salaam with my mom as a teenager, huffing and puffing behind her with my nose clipped and wrinkled to avoid the strong whiff, all the while complaining as she went form vendor to vendor, looking for the freshest possible produce. How I miss that now! Well, the one thing embedded in my mind from those trips is how to choose a fresh fish and it’s pretty simple. You want to look out for pink gills, eyeballs that are clear as opposed to a hazy grey and lastly, believe it or not, but it shouldn’t smell ”fishy”. It needs to have a fresh from the sea scent.

This recipe pays homage to the country where I spent a wonderful 18 years, Tanzania. Coconut is commonly used in Tanzanian cuisine from curries, to rice, to pancake and fritters. So you will probably see this ingredient featured quite a bit in this blog.  This curry has a very mild taste and is traditionally served with sticky Jasmin rice cooked in coconut milk.

Pan Fried Fish in a Mild Coconut Curry

Ingredients:
6 fish fillets (I used kingfish but any firm fish will do)
juice of 2 small lemons
salt to taste
1 tsp red chili powder (you can vary the amount depending on you taste)
6 tbs oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1 small grated tomato
3/4 tsp turmeric
2 cups coconut milk

Directions:
Marinate the fish with lemon juice, salt and red chili powder. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish on medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set aside. In a pot, heat the remaining oil and fry the garlic for a few seconds. Add the grated tomato, turmeric and salt to taste and fry till the tomato has cooked (about 4 minutes). Stir in the coconut milk and keep stirring till the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer half covered for 15 minutes. Add the fried fish and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve with piping hot sticky Jasmin rice cooked in coconut.

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Oreo Cupcakes With A Whipped Cream Frosting


I LOVE CUPCAKES!! But if you’ve been reading this blog, that’s probably old news to you. So when my niece visiting from Australia requested cupcakes, I was more than pleased to oblige. She’s always had a thing for Oreos and that’s the only flavour she ever requests. Usually, I bake a basic vanilla cupcake with the addition of crushed Oreos in the batter. But I dared to be a little different and used an Oreo in the base of the cupcake with some on the frosting too. The whole Oreo surprise at the end of the cupcake was a real delight! I baked only a third of the recipe and was so sorry I did because 8 cupcakes was not nearly enough to go around. The airy whipped cream frosting was the perfect accompaniment to this cupcake as its lightness perfectly balanced the overload of Oreo in the batter.


The only hard part to this recipe is trying to slice the Oreo in half and getting equal amounts of frosting on each slice. The other thing to note about this recipe is to garnish with the half Oreo just before serving or else it will become soggy. This recipe hails from one of my favourite food blogs Annie’s Eats and I followed the cupcake recipe to a tee but used my own frosting.


Oreo Cupcakes With A Whipped Cream Frosting

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves with cream filling attached
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

For the frosting:
250 ml sweetened whipping cream
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 half Oreo cookies

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners and place a half Oreo at the bottom of each case, cream side up. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer speed on low, add half the dry ingredients followed by milk. Beat minimally until just combined and add the rest of the dry ingredients until just mixed. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos. Fill the liners with batter using an ice cream scoop. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, rotating the tray halfway through (mine took about 23 minutes). Cool in the tray for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack. Frost when completely cool.

Whipping cream must be chilled to 2-4 degrees for best results. Using the wire whip, whip the cream on medium speed until 2/3 done. Then whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. Frost using your favourite tip and garnish with a sprinkling of Oreo crumbs and Oreo halves.

This recipe yields 24 cupcakes.


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Pecan Pie



Pecan pies and anything pecan is currently making rounds on the blogosphere in preparation for Thanksgiving. Now my only brush with pecans have been in the form of pecan and caramel ice cream at Baskin Robbins and the caramelised pecans sold on Oxford Street in London. Since I’m a huge fan of both, I had a gut feeling I’d be a fan of pecan pie as well. Having never tasted a pecan pie before, I wasn’t quite sure what I should be looking for in the recipe. So rather than trawling online and using a recipe out of the blue, I turned to Brown Eyed Baker. I have tried some of her cupcake recipes in the past and have never been disappointed so I knew I could trust her with this, especially since she has wonderful step by step instructions on how to make the perfect pie crust.

Let’s start with the crust. It was flaky and buttery and reminded me of shortbread biscuits, so that was definitely a winner. The pie filling itself was a tad on the sweet side but had a great crunch from the nuts (I toasted mine which I thought brought out their flavour even more) and had a firm yet moist texture. We served this with whipped cream. I will definitely be using the crust recipe again for my future pie endeavours.


Pecan Pie

Ingredients:
Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbs ice water, plus more if required

Pie Filling:
6 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped into small pieces (leave some whole to decorate the top of the pie)

Directions:
To prepare the pie crust, cut the butter into small cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add butter to this mixture and pulse approximately 10 times (1 second pulses). The mixture should resemble coarse bread crumbs. Don’t worry if some bits are larger than others. Sprinkle ice water over this mixture and continue pulsing for a further 20-30 seconds. If the dough appears dry, keep adding ice water a teaspoon at a time until the dough sticks when pinched together. Make sure the dough isn’t too dry as it will otherwise crack when you try to roll it out. Shape the dough into 6 small discs on your worktop, wrap is cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Roll out the 6 dough balls onto a lightly floured surface (you need to work fast so that the dough remains cold). Roll into small circles to fit your tartlet pan including the sides. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll loosely into the tartlet pan. Gently press the dough into the pan including the sides and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and prick the dough at the bottom and the sides using a fork. Line crust with parchment paper or foil and fill this with pie weights or dried beans all the way to the top. Bake for 15 minutes and remove foil and weights. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 to 15 minutes unitl golden brown and crispy. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees Centigrade.

To make the filling, melt butter in a pan over a skillet of water maintained at just below simmer point. Remove pan and add to it sugar and salt, mixing with a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs, corn syrup and vanilla. Once again, return the pan over hot water and stir until the mixture is shiny and hot to touch. Stir in the toasted pecans. Pour the mixture into the hot pie shell and bake for 50-60 minutes in the middle rack. The pie should look set, yet soft to the touch when pressed with the back of a spoon. Cool completely on a wire rack.

I made half the recipe which yielded 3 small pies.


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