Sunday 9 September 2012

Sweet nutty treats

Another week of holiday for the nut-allergic staff member means the chance to make more nutty treats for work.

When I did the bacon masterclass a month or so ago, I declared that I wouldn't make bacon jam fudge again, but I would use the technique for making other flavours. I've been contemplating other flavours, and settled on peanut butter for my first solo fudge experiment. I followed this recipe (which, as far as I remember, is the same proportions as Niamh's recipe, but on the way home from the bacon class one of my containers oozed all over the recipe sheet and I had to throw it away).  At the "remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract" point, I added about 1/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter (I buy an organic no-added-sugar one, because I think it has a better flavour).

It was, unfortunately, the hottest day of the summer so far. Making fudge - while I had the oven on as well - was one of my less happy ideas. I was dripping sweat and drinking pints of water while I beat it.

Still. It did work very well. Smooth, creamy, with a slight salt tang and the occasional crunch of a chunky bit of peanut. If I were to make it again I think I would add some more coarsely chopped peanuts as well, for a bit more textural contrast.

peanut butter fudge
I've also been wanting to make Nigella Lawson's Pecan Plus Pie ever since Heather blogged about it 18 months ago (I have an exceptional memory for recipes, but I do keep a spreadsheet for things I want to blog about). It certainly seemed to fit the bill as a portable sweet treat that packed the maximum quantity of nuts into the smallest possible space. To make it more shareable, I baked it in a rectangular tin. I also added 1tbs cocoa powder to the pastry, to add a subtle chocolatey  flavour to the base. I also used slightly more nuts than the recipe called for - a 400g packet of roasted, salted mixed nuts. When it was cool, I cut it into 18 bars.

It was delicious. I will never order pecan pie in a restaurant or cafe again; this was so much better than any I have ever had before. Short, crumbly pastry, sweet, smooth golden-syrupy custard and crisp, crunchy nuts. I particularly liked the interplay of the different tastes and textures of the nuts (as you can see, the mixed nuts I used contained pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and peanuts). It made a very good slice to have with a cup of tea, but I can see that it would make a fantastic dessert, maybe with some creme fraiche icecream.

A good day's work.


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Those are some very nutty treats, especially the pecan pie! That will really fill you up with protein and energy.

Barbara said...

The fudge turned out well...even if you chose the wrong weather to make it in!
As for that pecan pie....Oh My. To die for.

Heather S-G said...

I love peanut butter fudge...and it's been far too long since I've had some. I'm sure I'll be craving it until I do. And I love that you added a bit of cocoa to the crust...and that you made this in bar form - YUM! Still one of my favorite pies! =)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leafy - if I didn't like Ecclefechan tart so much, I'd do Pecan Plus for Christmas!

Barbara - it really is perfect! I just have to remember to make it in cool weather.

Heather - the cocoa in the crust (and maybe a little in the custard too) will definitely feature next time I make this!

Caroline said...

Great looking fudge. I must try making fudge the proper way rather than my (Nigella's) cheaty way. I bet it would be great with peanut butter and chocolate too. You're very thoughtful about your nut-allergic colleague - I'm sure that it is really appreciated (coming from a nut-allergy sufferer!).

Anne said...

Weirdly I love most nutty things except for peanut butter! Though the pecan nut pie looks amazing and jam packed full of lovelyness! Don't think I could trust myself alone with it!

mscrankypants said...

Fudge is one of the sweet things I have stuffed so comprehensively that I haven't dared try again.

I ended up with lumpy, brown, molten gunge that smelled manky. Maybe I misread the oh so easy instructions.


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