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Katerinas Pecan Pie Cake

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  • Katerinas Pecan Pie Cake

    Katerina Posted October 23, 2004 02:50 PM
    Pecan Pie Cake

    (from The Ultimate Southern LivingŪ Christmas Book)

    3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted and divided
    1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1⁄2 cup shortening
    2 cups sugar
    5 large eggs, separated
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup buttermilk
    3⁄4 cup dark corn syrup
    1 recipe Pecan Pie Filling *see below**
    1 recipe Pastry Garnish (optional) **see below**

    Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly into 3 generously buttered 9-inch round cakepans; shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.

    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 pecans.

    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 desired.

    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. Arrange Pastry 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
    1 1⁄2 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 cups.

    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).

    **pastry garnish:
    1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
    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 leaves. 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.