Three Canapés: Tuna Nicoise, Balsamic Steak and Mushroom Goat Cheese

Canapés are always easy to make and look super impressive. I wanted to have a main course that was easy to eat and still had great flavors. These three canapés really invoke the best flavors of France.

Tuna Nicoise Canapés:
2 7oz cans of tuna, drained
½ small onion, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
handful of black olives, chopped
handful of haricots verts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice and zest of ½ lemon
salt and pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
bread rounds
grape tomatoes, halved

Using a form, mix the tuna, onion, capers, olives, beans, olive oil, lemon, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Taste the tuna mixture and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Cover the bread rounds with a piece of lettuce. Put a hefty tablespoon of the tuna mixture over the lettuce. Top the tuna with a half of a cherry tomato and serve.

Balsamic Steak Canapés:
1 lb beef tenderloin
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
bread rounds
Parmigiano-Reggiano slices or chunks
Aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrease. Season the beef with the salt, pepper, garlic and Cajun seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with a metal handle on medium high heat. Sear the beef on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Insert an electric probe thermometer inter the center of the beef and set the alarm for medium rare. Place the skillet of beef into the oven and cook until the alarm sounds.

Let the cooked beef rest for at least 15 minutes so that the juices redistribute. Slice the beef, against the grain, into thin bite sized piece.

To assemble, cover a piece of bread with a piece of lettuce. Place a piece of beef and Parmigiano on top of the lettuce and drizzle with the balsamic.

Mushroom Goat Cheese Canapés:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ medium onion, chopped
1 4oz package of mixed “wild” mushrooms, chopped
1 8oz package of sliced baby bella mushrooms, chopped
½ tablespoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon bourbon or other brown liquor like cognac
melba toasts
1 8oz log of goat cheese
fresh thyme leaves

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium heat. Before the garlic browns add the minced onion and cook until it turns clear. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until browned and soft. Once all of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft and browned add the salt and pepper and liquor. Keep stirring the mushrooms until the liquor is almost evaporated. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a hefty tablespoon of mushroom onto the toasts. Add a slice of goat cheese and fresh thyme leaves to the top of the mushrooms and serve.


Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Rice

It has been really cold outside here in NYC. So that means comfort casserole time. I normally default to mac and cheese when I’m having these sorts of cravings, but I wanted to produce a healthier version. This has all of the warmth and comfort but with the addition of veggies and protein.

Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Rice

3 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 ½ pound chicken thighs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 pound bag of frozen broccoli, thawed
½ cup ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 12oz bag shredded cheddar
½ cup milk
½ cup parmesan
olive oil

Place the rice and the butter in a large pot. Melt the butter and toast the rice grains. Add the water, salt, garlic and bouillon. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium low and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 30 minutes.

Transfer the rice to the final casserole dish. In the same large pot, heat the oil, chicken, and seasoning on medium high, stirring occasionally. Keep cooking the chicken until it is done and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broccoli to the chicken and cover to steam and heat through. Remove the cover and allow the rest of the liquid to evaporate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return the rice to the pot and add the cheeses and milk, except for the final amount of parmesan. Mix the rice mixture to fully combine. The cheese will melt as you mix. Transfer the rice mixture back to the casserole dish. Smooth the top of the rice mixture and spread out the remaining parmesan cheese over the top. Spray or drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the parmesan cheese.

Bake the casserole in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cheese on the top forms a nice crusty brown. You can also switch the oven to boil to finish the browning process.

Bacon Truffles

I’ve always been a fan of salty sweet things. First it started with salty caramel then salt and chocolate. Last year something really interesting appeared at my local Vosges chocolate shop here in Soho: bacon and chocolate. It was good, but not amazing. I knew it could be better. So for this holiday season, instead of buying gifts, I decided to make a NYC delicacy and bring it back to DC for my family and friends, bacon truffles. It is important to get smoky bacon; it adds a much better depth of flavor. I choose a hickory smoked bacon but you could use apple wood smoked bacon as well. I also buy my chocolate in blocks from the specialty section of WholeFoods. High quality chocolate is what makes truffles so luxurious.

Bacon Truffles
2 12oz packages of hickory smoked bacon
2 ½ pounds great quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound semi sweet chocolate

The first step is to render the fat off of the bacon and make it into bacon bits for the final garnish. Chop the bacon into very fine pieces and cook it in a heavy pan on medium high heat. Stir the bacon intermittently to make sure that it browns and crisps easily. Once the bacon starts to get close to a dark red color and looks crispy, remove it to a dish lined with several paper towels. The bacon will continue to cook once it is removed, so make sure you remove it early enough so that it doesn’t burn as it cools. Set aside 1/3 cup of the bacon fat, without any bacon bits.

Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Place it into a large metal bowl. Add the cream, fat and salt. Place the chocolate bowl over a pot filled with water on medium heat. Let the chocolate steam over the water for at least 10 minutes. Using a whisk, once the chocolate is melted, start in the center of the bowl and slowly whisk to combine into a silky ganache. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let to cool to room temperature.

Using two teaspoons, spoon out balls of ganache onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. Roll the balls into globes with your hands. If your hands are super warm like mine are, or if your ganache is still too soft, place the trays in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the confections.

Chop the last block of chocolate and place it into a medium size metal bowl. Place it over a pot of water on medium high heat, stirring with a rubber spatula intermittently. Let the chocolate melt completely. Pick up some of the melted chocolate with the spatula; drop it back into the pool of chocolate. If the falling chocolate sinks into the rest of the melted chocolate the temper is broken. If it still piled up on top of the surface, continue to heat the chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted, move the medium size bowl into a larger metal bowl that is a quarter full of ice and cold water. Continue to mix the chocolate, paying special attention to mix in the hardening chocolate that is sticking to the sides of the bowl. Test the chocolate to see if the temper has returned, life some of the melted chocolate out of the bowl and drizzle it back into the pool of melted chocolate. Once the temper has returned, the chocolate will stack up on itself as opposed to sinking back into the bowl.

Drop the ganache balls into the melted chocolate. Roll them to coat and extract them using two small spoons. Place the coated truffles onto the parchment paper and sprinkle with a healthy amount of the bacon pits. If you really love bacon, roll the chocolates into the bacon to coat completely. Cool the finished truffles in the refrigerator. Store the truffles in an air tight container until ready to serve.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

A co-worker was so kind to give me cool new non-stick baking molds. I had to think of the stickiest cake to try them out. So I made these sticky toffee puddings for our holiday party. There was a tiny but of sticking on the very bottom, little piece of dates. But over all I was very impressed.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

10 oz dates
1 ¾ cup water, boiling
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

Chop the dates in a food processor until fine. Place the dates and the baking soda into a large bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to combine and break up all of the dates. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until well incorporated. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Ass the baking powder and flour and beat on a low speed to form a thick dough. Scrap down the bowl again with a rubber spatula. Slowly add the date mixture and beat on low speed till fully combined.

Spray small molds with cooking oil spray and align them on a cookie sheet. Fill each cup half way full. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cakes are a dark golden brown and a tooth pick some out mostly clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack before removing from the molds.

Toffee Sauce:
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup corn syrup
Pinch of salt

Place all items into a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat on medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted, stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and boil for 3-5 more minutes. Let the sauce cool somewhat before serving. It is best served warm. You can either heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds or on the stove top.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all items together with an electric mixer to form stiff peaks.

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cupcakes

This year since the market is so bad, we have a “self funded” holiday party at work. The theme was a dessert potluck. I knew I needed to come up with something really amazing to prove to my work that I rein supreme. My cupcakes were the first item to go on a table of 30 desserts. And apparently, people are still talking about them later throughout the week.

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter flavored shortening
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add all ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix with a spoon to combine. Whip the mixture on high for 5 minutes until the batter is lighter in color, fully incorporated and fluffy.

Place cupcake liners into muffin tins and fill each liner to just under halfway full. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.

Move to a wire rack to cool.

Peppermint Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Mix all of the ingredients in a sand mixer to form stiff peaks.

White Chocolate Butter Cream Icing:
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips

Place the egg whites and sugar in the metal bowl from a stand mixer. Place over a pan of water on medium heat. Beat the egg whites with a whisk over the water as it gets warmer. The egg whites will turn white and the sugar will dissolve. Keep beating over the heat until the mixture is warm and the sugar is fully dissolved.

Place the chocolate into a small metal bowl and place it over the warm pan of water. Mix with a rubber spatula until the chocolate if fully dissolved.

While the chocolate is melting, move the egg whites to the stand mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Add the soften butter and vanilla and beat for another 3-5 minutes.

Let the chocolate cool slightly. Add it to the icing base and beat on high for another minute or two, till its combined.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Peppermint Whipped Cream
White Chocolate Icing
Crushed Peppermint Candies

Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake using a small pairing knife. Trim the pointy part of the cone off to leave just a thin cap. Scoop out more of the interior of the cupcake to make a pocket for the cream filling.

Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake with the peppermint whipped cream and place the cap back on top to seal in the filling.

Using a star tip and a Ziploc bag, pipe a tall swirl of icing onto each cupcake.

Sprinkle each cupcake with the crushed candies and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Roast Sirloin of Beef with Cilantro Sauce

To celebrate the holidays, I got together with some friends from business school for a great dinner over at the Chubb’s apartment. Zach and Laura have the best kitchen and a great convection oven which I love using. This dish is super easy but really impressive.

Cilantro Sauce:
1 bunch cilantro, washed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pinches red chili flakes
½ teaspoon sugar

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Turn it on and chop until it creates a cohesive sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt, sugar, chili and vinegar till it tastes good.

1 5 lb sirloin roast, fat on
sea salt
olive oil

Place the roast into a large metal bowl. Sprinkle it generously with lots of sea salt on all sides and some pepper. Rub in olive oil and a few tablespoons of the sauce. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the over to 475 degrees. Place the roast onto a rack in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Insert a probe thermometer into the roast so that it reaches the middle. Roast the beef in the oven for 15 minutes at 475. You should hear the fat cooking and the top will start to brown. Reduce the temperature to 350 and cook the roast until the probe thermometer tells you that it has reach rare. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes, covered in foil, to lock in the juices. Heat the sauce in a small saucepan on medium low until it is warm and the sharp taste of raw onions is gone.

Slice the roast against the grain and serve with the sauce.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love all of the flavors of fall and the gluttony. I decided to stay in NYC this year so that I could spend it with some of my best friends and I got to make what I want. I cooked for 2 days straight but it was worth it for the great turducken and all of the delicious mini desserts. See the next three posts to see how to make everything. Brian was gracious enough to open his apartment and everyone contributed amazing slides. It was my best Thanksgiving to date!

Thanksgiving Turducken

I have been obsessed with turducken for quite some time. I have only had it once before. My old boss, Mary K had ordered one a few years back during the holidays. Though the butcher thought I was crazy for trying to sew this together myself, it actually was pretty easy. I made a 30 lb bird total and it took 6 hours to cook in my busted oven, but it was worth every second. It came out juicy, flavorful and was a breeze to carve. Needless to say, my friends were very impressed. I think I will attempt to make a smaller version next time that is just all breasts. At that point, you can have it on non-special occasions.

1 ¼ lb chorizo, casing removed
1 ¼ lb pork sage sausage, casing removed
1 ½ cup minced onions
1 cup minced celery
4 slices of wheat bread, shredded or copped in the food processor
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
½ cup chicken broth

Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Using your hands, mix to combine.

1 10-15 lb organic turkey, de-boned
1 6 lb organic duck, de-boned
1 4 lb organic chicken, de-boned
Garlic powder
Cajun seasoning
Olive oil
Butcher’s twine and needle

Have the butcher de-bone all of the birds and brine the meats over night. You could do both of these steps yourself but they are both very time and space consuming as well as REALLY messy.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a large cutting board, sprinkle both sides of the turkey with a generous amount of the seasonings. Place the turkey skin side down and put about a third of the stuffing on the turkey meat. Push the stuffing around to make an even layer.

Coat the duck on both sides with the seasonings and place it on top of the turkey, skin side down. Try to stagger the layers of dark and white meat. If the dark meat in the turkey is close to you, place the dark meat side of the duck far away from you. Cover the duck with a third of the stuffing and press it into an even layer.

Coat the chicken with the seasonings on both sides and place it on top of the duck. Fill it with the rest of the stuffing.

Thread the needle with the string. Fold the turkey together and starting as the tail end, and brign it closest to you, sew up the turkey. You can tighten the stitches, like tightening your shoe. Make sure that all open parts of the birds are completely sewn together.

Transfer the birds to a rack in a large roasting pan, sewn side down. Sprinkle the sin with olive oil, and the seasonings. Insert an ovenproof probe thermometer into the middle of the bird. Cover the bird with foil and roast in the oven for several hours.

Once the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, remove the foil and keep roasting until the bird reaches 160 degrees. Let the bird rest for 15 minutes, and carve and serve.

All of the bones from the turkey duck and chicken
1 package of fresh poultry herbs: sage, thyme and rosemary
olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
¼ – ½ cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Please all of the bones and herbs into a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for two hours.

Transfer all of the bones to a large stockpot. Cover with water and boil for one hour. Remove all of the bones and herbs and refrigerate over night.

Skim the fat off of the top of the gravy and discard. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Taste the broth and adjust by adding more salt and pepper. Depending on the amount of liquid in the pot, mix more or less flour with water to form a smooth slurry.

Turn the heat down to medium low and whisk the slurry into the broth. Keep whisking until the mixture returns to a low boil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Morrells and Haricot Vert

I hate green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. It is too mushy and the flavors are never bold enough. I took the same main ingredients and made this great gourmet alternative. Thanks to my dad for the never ending stash of morrells.

Morrells and Haricot Vert

1 cup dried morrells
½ rose wine
1 cup diced pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz sliced baby bella or button mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
haricort vert or green beans
salt and pepper
truffle oil

Cook the morrells and a pinch of salt in the wine and enough water to cover on medium heat until the liquid is basically evaporated.

In a large pan, cool the pancetta in the olive oil on medium high heat until the pancetta is golden brown. Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, garlic and salt and pepper. Sautee until the mushrooms caramelize and there is no liquid in the pan. Add the morrells and stir to combine.

Boil a large pot of salted water and blanch the beans for about 5 minutes until they turn a bright green but don’t get soft. Add the drained beans to the mushrooms, drizzle with the truffle oil and more salt and pepper. Sautee the vegetables for just a few minutes on medium heat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.

Thanksgiving Mini Desserts

By the time I get to dessert at Thanksgiving I’m always stuffed. I want to try everything but it seems impossible since there isn’t any room in my tummy. This year I got smart and made everything as miniature bite-size desserts. Each of these deserts uses the same mini muffin tin for a consistent size. We had a sea of mini pastries, simply delicious.

Mini Stout Gingerbread 

1 cup Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 large eggs

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Boil the beer and molasses in a large pot. Then remove it from the heat and add in the baking soda. Whip the mixture and let it sit to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the eggs, sugar and oil. Then add the flour, baking powder and the rest of the spices. Pour in the beer mixture and mix to combine.

Fill cupcake liners to half way and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks. Make these cupcakes one day in advance and let them sit overnight at room temperature before frosting. The cake gets better after a day.

Caramel Butter Cream Icing:
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 1/2 sticks butter
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla Extract

Heat the cup of sugar on medium high heat in a heavy bottom pan. When the edge starts to turn brown and bubble, swirl the pan and keep heating to make an even caramel. The sugar will met totally and caramelize, take the sugar off of the heat and swirl the pan to make sure that all crystals dissolve and that the sugar doesn’t get too dark or burn.

Pour the cup of cream into the sugar and let it continue to cook. After 10 minutes, stir to pull the sugar off of the bottom of the pan and continue to cook so that the mixture thickens. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool.

Beat the butter and margarine together on high, till fluffy, with an electric mixer, set aside.

In a heat proof metal bowl, over simmering water, like a double boiler, wisk the egg whites and remaining sugar. The sugar crystals will dissolve and the mixture will get thick and turn white. Be careful not to cook the eggs.

Wisk the vanilla into the egg whites using an electric mixer. The egg whites will thicken and form soft peaks. Add the egg whites and the caramel to the butter mixture. Beat on high until well combined and fluffy.

Using a star tip and a zip lock bag, pipe the icing onto the top of the cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cake:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots (4 carrots)
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs in a large metal bowl. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Fold in the carrots. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk to form a smooth batter. Fill cupcake liners to half way and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 package of powdered sugar (1 lb)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter on high in an electric mixer until fluffy and combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar, stirring on low speed after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat it on high again for about 3 minutes till fluffy. Using a plain tip and a zip lock bag, ice the cupcakes. Store the finished cakes in the refrigerator before serving.

Mini Poached Ginger Pear and Chocolate Tarts

1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell. Fill your pans and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Poached Pear:
½ cup rose wine
1 cup sugar
¼ piece of fresh ginger, pealed
½ cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 ripe pear, pealed, seeded and cut in half
caramelized ginger

In a medium heavy pot, mix the wine and sugar and a little water to dissolve. Add the spices and pear. Add enough water to cover the pear, place a small plate over the pear to keep it submerged. Cook the mixture on medium heat for 30 minutes to cook the pear until tender. Cool to room temperature. Drain the pear on a paper towel. Cut the pear and ginger into small chunks.

1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 heavy cream

Place a small metal bowl over a small pan of water on medium heat. Heat the chocolate and cream until the chocolate melts. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Whisk, starting in the center of the bowl till it forms a silky ganache.

Fill the tart shells with a spoon full of the chocolate ganache. Place one chunk of pear and ginger in each tart. Serve at room temperature.

Mini Pumpkin Pie

3 cups flour
2 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Pumpkin filling:
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 5 oz can evaporated milk
¼ cup sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Fill the mini pie shells 2/3 of the way full and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.

Mini Pecan Pie

1/2 cups flour
1 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Pecan Filling:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
8 oz chopped pecans

Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Add all of the ingredients, except the pecans to bowl and beat with a whisk until combined. Fill the tart shells with the chopped pecans. Cover with a spoonful of the sugar minter. Bake for 30 minutes until the pies are golden brown and crisp. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.