What to Make for the Holidays


Here's what I just made--a pecan pie shaped in a tart pan (recipe in the Pie and Pastry Bible). And here are a few tips: Keep in mind that if there are any holes in the crust the sticky filling will find its way there, leak below the crust, and stick to the pan's bottom. To avoid holes best not to pierce the bubbles that form during blind baking, after removing the rice or beans to weight it down, but just to gently press down the crust a few times as it bubbles and finally it will set and be flat. Should a hole develop, fill it with a little dab of egg white and return it to the oven for about 30 seconds. And if worse comes to worse and the crust sticks, just serve the pieces--no one will complain. This pie is the very definition of heavenly! Be sure to use the Lyle's golden refiner's syrup which is so much more flavorful than corn syrup in a butterscotchy/tangy way, and preferably light Muscovado sugar (I love the one from India Tree). And be sure to weigh or measure the yolks. For this pie/tart that calls for 4 yolks I needed to use 6 to equal the right amount as they were so small. Without enough egg yolks the filling will not set effectively.] One last word of caution: When heating the filling go by the thermometer rather than looking for signs of thickening. And when baking test at 15 minutes. I find it usually takes 20 but it should just shimmy slightly when moved and begin to puff.