3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted and
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I like high ratio but vegetable is fine too)
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (don't skimp here, use REAL, full-fat buttermilk!)
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 recipe Pecan Pie Filling
1 recipe Pastry Garnish (optional)
Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly into 3
generously buttered 9-inch round
cakepans; shake to coat bottoms and sides
Beat 1/2 cup butter and shortening at
medium speed with an electric mixer until
fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating
mixture well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time,
beating until blended after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
Add flour and baking soda to butter
mixture alternately with buttermilk,
beginning and ending with flour.
Beat at low speed until blended after
each addition. Stir in remaining 1 cup
Beat egg whites at medium speed until
stiff peaks form; fold one-third of beaten
egg white into batter. Fold in remaining
beaten egg white. (Do not overmix.)
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until
done. Cool in pans on wire racks 10
minutes. Invert layers onto wax
paper-lined wire racks. Brush tops and
sides of cake layers with corn syrup, and
cool completely. Wrap layers in plastic
wrap, and freeze up to 1 month, if
Spread half of Pecan Pie Filling on 1
layer, pecan side up. Place second layer,
pecan side up, on filling; spread with
remaining filling. Top with remaining
cake layer, pecan side up.
Garnish on and around cake, if desired.
Yield: 1 (3-layer) cake.
pecan pie filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
11/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a
heavy 3-quart saucepan until smooth.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat,
whisking constantly; boil 1 minute or
until thickened. Remove from heat.
Whisk in butter and vanilla. Place a
sheet of wax paper directly on surface of
mixture to prevent a film from forming;
chill 4 hours or overnight. Yield: about 3
Note: To chill filling quickly, pour
filling into a bowl. Place bowl in a larger
bowl filled with ice. Whisk constantly
until cool (about 15 minutes).
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
24 pecan halves
Unfold piecrusts, and press out fold
lines. Cut 8 to 10 leaves from each
piecrust with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter.
Mark leaf veins, using tip of a knife.
Reserve pastry trimmings. Whisk together
egg and water, and brush on pastry
Crumple 10 to 12 small
aluminum foil pieces into 1/2-inch balls.
Coat with vegetable cooking spray, and
place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Drape a pastry leaf over each ball; place
remaining pastry leaves on baking sheet.
Bake at 425° for 6 to 8 minutes or
until golden. Cool on a wire rack 10
minutes. Gently remove leaves from foil.
Pinch 12 pea-size pieces from pastry
trimmings. Place between pecan halves,
forming sandwiches. Cut remaining pastry
into 2-inch pieces; wrap around pecan
sandwiches, leaving jagged edges to
resemble half-shelled pecans. Brush with
egg mixture. Place on baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until
golden. Cool on wire rack. Yield: 16 to
20 pastry leaves; 12 pecan pastries.
make-ahead game plan:
Up to 1 month aheadbake and freeze
1 day aheadprepare and chill Pecan
Prepare pastry garnishes; store in
airtight container at room temperature.
Day to serveassemble and decorate
After cutting leaves from piecrusts, follow
these simple tips to create pastry
decorations for your cake.
To ensure an even golden finish, apply a
mixture of beaten egg and water to
pastry cutouts, using a small artists
Gently drape the pastry leaves over
crumpled balls of aluminum foil to give
them a natural-looking shape. Flatten
the bases of the balls so theyll rest in
place during baking.
Wrap pecan halves with trimmings of
pastry to form nutty garnishes for
scattering on top and around sides of