Carrot Pecan Pie

Aiming for a not-so-gooey-sweet version of pecan pie? Here’s your answer! The carrots bake into a rich base, much like pumpkin pie, only with a little more texture, and provide the perfect compliment (especially after chilled) to the candied pecan topping. Sorry, traditional pecan pie, but you’ve finally got some competition and this rookie pie is truly a delicious alternative.

Carrot Pecan Pie

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 recipe Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust
  • 1.5 cup pecans
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar

Preparation:

1. Boil carrots and vanilla extract in two cups of water until the carrots become tender. Drain and let them cool for at least five minutes.

2. Place carrots and half and half in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

3. Separately, in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, ground ginger, and carrot puree to the mixer. Blend until smooth.

4. Add 2 Tbs brown sugar and 3 Tbs butter to a saucepan. Stir and heat until bubbles begin to form and the syrup begins to thicken.

Add pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle or arrange pecans on the top of the filling.

5. Foil edges of the crust for the first fifteen minutes of baking to prevent burning. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the carrot puree has set and no longer appears gooey.

 

Chocolate Truffles

Until now, I have avoided chocolate confections. But seriously these are so easy it would be mean not to make them for your Valentine or your coworkers or yourself for next Monday’s episode of The Bachelor. All you need is a microwave (and if you don’t have one check your office break room or 7-11, there’s always a microwave to use somewhere).

Chocolate Truffles (Credit Alton Brown’s crazyface)

  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1/2  cup Hershey’s cocoa powder, or powdered sugar, or both
  • 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • Optional syrup to flavor chocolate (like raspberry or peppermint, or irish cream)
  • Optional toppings like nuts or white chocolate, sprinkles who cares

Preparation

1. Place 10 oz of chocolate chips and the butter into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat once more.

2. Heat the cream and corn syrup in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and pour it over just melted chocolate. Let this sit for 5 minutes without stirring, then, when you can’t take it any longer, stir until the cream and the chocolate combine.

3. Pour the chocolate onto a flat dish like a plate or baking pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4.Just before taking the chocolate out of the fridge, heat the remaining chocolate chips in the microwave in thirty second increments until it has melted. Stir in syrups, if you have any. Arrange the powdered sugar or cocoa powder on plates near the melted chocolate. Save a space to set the truffles once they have been coated and dusted.

I put some superfine espresso grounds in the cocoa powder on the left to make some mocha truffles. I highly recommend this.

5. Take the cooled chocolate out of the fridge and use a melon baller or circular teaspoon measure (really just whatever you’ve got lying around) to scoop the chocolate into bite-sized balls. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly round, its chocolate so it won’t matter.

6. Drop the chocolate ball into the melted chocolate, and push it around with a spoon to coat it completely. Toss the chocolate in the powdered topping of your choice and set it aside to cool.

Eat them all right away. Refrigerate them and eat them later. Put them in fancy-schmancy box. Share them with someone you love.