Did you notice how I titled this post? Vanilla Whipped Cream first, Pecan Pie second. It really does steal the show. I'm not sure what it is about adding the Vanilla Beans to the whipped cream that makes it so magical, but somehow it transforms it into tasting like a cross between homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream. I used to teach a cooking workshop every season and my students always requested that I make this to top whatever dessert we were making - every single class. It is just dreamy.
The secret ingredient is one of my favorites and a staple in my pantry - Vanilla Bean Paste ($12). It is the best deal for an entire jar of Vanilla Bean seeds (I believe the Pioneer Woman calls them vanilla caviar?) that are in a thick Vanilla Syrup. I've just restocked it for the holidays - it makes such a great little gift... something they will actually use. I've even been known to put it in my coffee...
While I love classic pies, sometimes we need a little change of pace for Thanksgiving that can get a little redundant. These also make great little bitty pieces, if you want to serve it in quarters - everyone can have a tiny piece of each type of pie... isn't that what everyone asks for anyway?
I'll start with the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream "recipe" (really not a recipe...) - the Pecan Pie recipe is below.
2 cup of whipping cream
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste (or more to taste)
1/3 cup of sugar (or more)
In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add whipping cream and vanilla. Whip on high for about 30 seconds, then begin to add sugar. Continue whipping until soft peaks form. If you get it too "dry" just a a little bit more cream to loosen it up.
Petite Pecan Pies
makes 6 petite pies
2 pastry crusts (unbaked)
1 cup of dark corn syrup
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
4 cups of pecans
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Roll out half of the dough. Use tart pans as a template and cut about 1" wider than the bottom to make a circle. Press into the tart pans. Repeat with the rest of dough until all 6 are complete.
To make filling, mix together dark corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla with a whisk.
Place the tarts pans (with crusts) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange pecans in each about 2/3's full.
Pour the syrup filling mixture until it is about 3/4 up the sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and golden. Top with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream, of course.
Products featured :
Warm Grey Plaid Tea Towels, 2 for $24 (sale!)
Vanilla Bean Paste, $12
Petite Tart Pans, $6 for 10
Parchment Paper Sheets, 100 for $8