The Musette: pecan crumbles

I found some pecans in the cupboard close to their suggested expiration date which prompted a spot of experimentation – my favourite type of cooking. The end result was these buttery, crumbly, heavenly bites. Yes, my beloved managed to snaffle a couple before the hordes descended. They take no time at all to whip up and just melt in the mouth. It’s just the sort of thing I might take along to Steve’s on one of his coffee mornings. I’m sure the gang would enjoy them. Of course, I’d have to make some gluten-free ones for Steve.

Just a few glorious ingredients and voila (image: Sheree)

Ingredients (makes 24 bite-sized biscuits)

  • 115g (1 stick) soft unsalted butter
  • 120g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 75g (½ cup) caster (super-fine) sugar
  • 100g (1 cup) toasted, chopped pecan nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 (350°F/325°F fan) and line two baking sheets (if necessary, you can bake these in batches) with greaseproof (parchment) paper.

2. Preferably with a mixer (hand or stand) cream together the sugar and butter until it’s light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).

3. Beat in the vanilla and salt, reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted flour until just combined. Fold in the cooled toasted and chopped pecans.

4. Place the dough in the fridge covered in cling film (plastic wrap) for at least 30 minutes.

5. Portion the dough into bite-sized morsels – I use a small ice cream scoop – and place on the baking sheets a couple of centimetres (¾ inch) apart. They don’t spread much at all. Flatten slightly with a damp finger.

Smallest size ice cream scoop

6. Bake, rotating the sheets if necessary half-way through, until the biscuits are golden brown for around 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow  to cool completely on a wire rack.

7. Should they last that long, the cookies can be stored in an airtight tin for up to five days. The dough can be portioned, frozen and kept in the freezer for up to a month.

A suitable "thank-you" gift (image: Sheree)

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. All ingredients should be at room temperature.

2. When I’m baking I always use a timer as it’s so easy to lose track of time. Once you’ve put the biscuits in the oven, put the timer on for 2-3 minutes less than they should take to cook and then check regularly.

3. The biscuits can be cooked from frozen and I find they only take a minute or so more to cook.

4. You can substitute the pecans with toasted chopped walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or almonds. They are all equally delicious.

Sculpture Saturday #25

Larger than life and created from highly polished steel, New Zealander Michael Parekowhai’s 2015 The English Channel is an arresting sculptural presence. The figure, with flowing topcoat and ponytail, is the British navigator Captain James Cook. But this is not Cook as he is seen in the many historical monuments that bear his name – or in the famous 1776 portrait painting by Nathaniel Dance which is one inspiration for this sculpture.

Resting on a sculptor’s working table with his feet suspended above ground, this Cook seems to be reflecting on his legacy in the contemporary world. At the same time, his dazzling surface collects the reflection of everything around it – including viewers looking at it. Despite the sculpture’s considerable height and weight, this mirror-like surface lends The English Channel a slippery and elusive presence, as if to suggest how perceptions shift depending on where one is standing.

This charged relationship with place was heightened, in the sculpture’s debut presentation in Sydney, by its physical location within the NSW Gallery, in front of windows overlooking the harbour that Cook sailed past in 1770. The result is a monument of a very contemporary kind – not a full stop marking the end of a story but a question mark inviting response and reflection.

This challenge is kindly hosted by Sally Kelly over at Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition.

Share a photo of a statue or sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!