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Updated: 6:27 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 | Posted: 6:27 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
Sausage Pecan Stuffing
When it comes to Thanksgiving stuffing, it’s hard to get a more classic flavor combination than sausage and pecans. The result is a salty, nutty, sweet, crunchy and tender combination of flavors and textures. For simplicity, we bake our stuffing in a side dish, but you could use it to stuff the bird, too. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time and make sure the interior temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees.
12 oz. loose Italian sausage meat (hot or sweet)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 (12-oz.) bag seasoned stuffing cubes
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large casserole dish or 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the sausage meat, breaking it up as it cooks and browns, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and black pepper. Cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture with the pecans and stuffing cubes. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then whisk in the broth. Pour the egg and broth mixture over the stuffing mixture and gently stir to thoroughly mix. Spoon into the prepared casserole dish or baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Serves 8.
— Alison Ladman, Associated Press
Pecan Meringue Bites
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄8 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tsp. cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp. white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat in the salt and vanilla.
Sprinkle the pecans, cornstarch, and vinegar over the beaten egg-white mixture. Fold in gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula.
Using a teaspoon, spoon the batter onto the lined baking sheets. (Don’t worry about getting the cookies too close together.)
Place the baking sheets in the oven. Turn off the oven and leave them in the oven with the door closed for 8–12 hours or overnight. Peel the cookies off the parchment or foil and store in an airtight container. Makes about 30 small cookies.
— “Pecans: A Savor the South Cookbook” by Kathleen Purvis (North Carolina Press, $18)
Drizzled with icing and laden with pecans, cinnamon and raisins, this Apple-Pecan Coffee Cake has the flavor of cinnamon rolls and the structure of a coffeecake. The apples add a layer of elegance, and pecan halves give crunch. And a drizzle of sweet sugary icing makes this cinnamon-scented fall coffeecake truly transcendent.
For the coffeecake:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sour cream
1 large apple
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
For the topping:
2 Tbsp. flour
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups pecan halves
½ cup raisins
For the icing:
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
4 tsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- or 10-inch spring-form cake pan with butter. (You may also use a 9-inch square or 13-by-9-inch pan.) To make the cake: Cream sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the 2 cups of flour alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour and mixing well after each addition. Spread batter in greased pan.
Core the apple (no need to peel) and slice into ¼ inch slices. Place in medium bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Toss well to coat, and place apple slices in a circle around the top of the batter.
To make the topping: Pulse flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in a food-processor bowl until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Dump into a bowl, and stir in the pecan halves and raisins so that they are coated with the brown-sugar mixture. Sprinkle topping evenly on cake.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
To make the icing: Mix confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
When cake is cool, remove the side of the spring-form pan, and place cake on a plate or stand. Drizzle with icing. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Serves 12.
— Wendell Brock, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One of the most famous pecan trees in Texas is no longer standing.
Last year’s drought killed thousands of pecan trees throughout the state, but few have such a history as the one that stood on the foot of the grave of former Texas Gov. James Hogg in Oakwood Cemetery in East Austin.
On his deathbed in 1906, Hogg requested that a pecan tree be planted at his head and a walnut tree planted at his feet so that “when these trees shall bear, let the pecans and walnuts be given out among the plain people of Texas so they may plant them and make Texas a land of trees.”
Those original trees died sometime in the first half of the 20th century, but in 1969, the Texas Forest Service and the Texas Forestry Association hosted a planting ceremony attended by Ima Hogg, the governor’s daughter who was there when her father made the original request.
The pecan tree, a Choctaw donated by the Texas Pecan Growers Association, which Hogg had established in 1906, was still standing near the family grave up until a few weeks ago, when workers had to cut down the tree because it hadn’t recovered from the 2011 drought.
Pete Smith, the partnership coordinator with the Texas A&M Forest Service-Urban Forestry Program, says though he hopes to see another pecan tree planted to help keep the Hogg story alive, you can’t just stick another sapling in the ground and assume it will thrive, especially in a cemetery like Oakwood that is still cleaning up after last summer’s epic dry spell with no assurance that we won’t have another one in the next few years.
The Lone Star chapter of Questers, a local historical preservation group that has been caring for the site since 2004, is working with the city’s parks and recreation department and urban forestry board to replant the tree.