Butter Pecan Ice Cream and a Pie in a Cake

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Have you ever heard of a "cherpumple"?  It's the official name for a pie, baked inside a cake.  Cherpumple is short for cherry, pumpkin and apple pies, baked inside various flavors of cake, which was the original pie in a cake, inspired by the holiday "turducken" (a turkey, with a duck and chicken inside).

So when Jamie and I first saw the idea for a pie in a cake on Food Network, he turned to me and said, "You HAVE to make one of those sometime!"



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I knew just how much work a cake like this would be, so it would have to be for a really special occasion.  And what better occasion to make a totally outrageous cake than to celebrate the last year of his 30s for his 39th birthday?

There are a lot of steps and planning involved, especially if you want to make the pies yourself, which I did, so you'll have to start several days in advance.  Two days ahead of time, bake the pies and let them cool overnight.  Then one day ahead of time, bake the cake with the cooled pies inside, and let those cool overnight.  The next morning, the cake can be assembled, frosted and served.

The only thing I hadn't counted on was just how long it would take the cake batter to bake with a pie inside it, and although I started with the oven temperature at 350, I ended up lowering it to 325 as I realized it wasn't going to bake as quickly as I thought, and I didn't want the edges and top to over brown.  So I would recommend baking it at 325 for the whole time to give the middle a chance to catch up to the edges, as well as soaking the cake in some caramel sauce or syrup for extra moisture.

I frosted the cake with a rich, brown sugar cream cheese buttercream, and garnished it with salted candied pecans and caramel, letting the caramel drip down the sides for a dramatic effect.



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This cake was the whole premise for a dinner party that evening, since we needed more people to help us eat it, so we invited some friends over for a relaxed evening of food, wine and 80s music.  We roasted a leg of lamb with red potatoes and carrots, and while that was in the oven, we ate bruschetta topped with tomatoes, basil, olives and mozzarella, pesto and creamy goat cheese, and feta with herbs marinated in olive oil and lemon.  I also made lamb and pork meatballs, with two sauces for dipping - a creamy yogurt and dill sauce, and another sweet and spicy sauce.

And after our dinner of lamb and roasted vegetables, there was the cake.  I also made homemade butter pecan ice cream for the cake, which has always been one of my favorite ice creams.  I started the ice cream base with browned butter, then added dark brown sugar, cream, milk and egg yolks for a rich custard base.  Vanilla bean paste, freshly grated nutmeg, a good pinch of coarse salt, and a little bourbon gave it such amazing flavor.  And of course, salted candied pecans.

The ice cream was so smooth and creamy, perfect with the pie in a cake, and fortunately, most of the cake was gone by the end of the evening.

Happy 39th Birthday, Jamie!  It's going to be a wonderful year!



One Year Ago:   Blueberry Streusel Coffeecake Muffins with Jam Filling
Two Years AgoBaking Powder Biscuits


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Butter Pecan Ice Cream

·         6 tablespoons unsalted butter
·         ¾ cup dark brown sugar
·         2 cups heavy cream
·         2 cups whole milk
·         ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
·         6 egg yolks
·         1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
·         1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
·         1 tablespoon bourbon
·         1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled (or use my recipe for salted candied pecans)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Continue to cook the butter, swirling around every so often, until nutty brown solids form on the bottom of the pan and the butter smells very fragrant.

Stir in the brown sugar, cream, milk and nutmeg.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, just until the cream starts to bubble around the edges.  Some of the butter may be floating at the top, but it will disappear as you cook the custard.

Meanwhile, break up the egg yolks in a bowl.  Slowly stream about a cup of the hot cream into the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly to temper them.  Scrape the eggs back into the saucepan.  Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 5-8 minutes, until custard is thick enough to coat a spoon.  Pour through a mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg.

Whisk in the vanilla bean paste, salt and bourbon.  Cover and chill until very cold, preferably overnight.

Churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions; add the pecans during the last minute of churning.  Transfer to a container and freeze until firm, about 4-6 hours.

Yields about 1 ½ quarts.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen
 






Pie in a Cake

An Apple Cream Cheese Pie and a Rhubarb Crumble Pie baked inside two layers of Spice Cake, covered in Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Buttercream, and garnished with Salted Candied Pecans…

Step 1: Make the Pie Dough (or skip this step if you’re using store bought dough…)

All-Butter Pie Crust (yields 2 crusts):
·         2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
·         1 tablespoon granulated sugar
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
·         4-6 tablespoons ice water

Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt, and place in your food processor.  Scatter the cold butter over the flour, and pulse the food processor a few times until mixture is crumbly, with some pieces of butter the size of peas (or instead of using a food processor, you can cut the butter in with a pastry cutter).  Don't over process the mixture.  When the dough bakes, the water will evaporate from the butter, creating little steam pockets in the crust, which is what gives it a nice flaky texture.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture and pulse a few times.  Add more water, a little at a time, until the dough starts to pull together.  Stop, turn the mixture out onto a work surface, and gather it all together.  It should be pretty thick and a little sticky.

Divide into 2 equal balls and flatten the balls into a round disk with your hands, then wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.


Step 2: Make the Pies

Apple Cream Cheese Pie:
·         All-butter pie crust (1 crust)
·         4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
·         2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
·         1 egg, yolk and white separated
·         3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         ½ teaspoon ginger
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
·         ¼ teaspoon cloves
·         ¼ cup brown sugar
·         1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss the apple slices with the other tablespoon cornstarch, spices, brown sugar and lemon juice.  Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle measuring about 10 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick.  Place the dough on the baking sheet.  Spread the cream cheese mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a two-inch border all around.  Arrange the apple slices on top of the cream cheese.

Fold the edges of the dough up, overlapping every two inches, and pressing the edges together.  Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white all around the edges of the galette, making sure to get it under the folds of dough to help them seal.  The pie should be 8 inches in diameter

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 for and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crisp.  Cool completely.


Rhubarb Crumble Pie:
·         All-butter pie crust (1 crust)
·         3 cups rhubarb, chopped
·         ½ cup granulated sugar
·         3 tablespoons cornstarch
·         1 tablespoon lemon juice
·         1 egg white
·         2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
·         4 tablespoons brown sugar
·         4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with the granulated sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle measuring about 10 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick.  Place the dough on the baking sheet.  Pile the rhubarb onto the dough, leaving a three-inch border all around.

Fold the edges of the dough up, overlapping every two inches, and pressing the edges together.  Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white all around the edges of the galette, making sure to get it under the folds of dough to help them seal.

In a bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and flour with a fork or pastry cutter until moist and crumbly.  Sprinkle over the rhubarb.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 for and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crisp.  Cool completely.



Step 3: Prepare the Cake Batter and Bake the Pies inside the Cake

Spice Cake:
  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix, along with the ingredients called for (I like to add vanilla extract, and substitute milk, buttermilk or sour cream for the water for more flavor.)
  • Apple Cream Cheese Pie, cooled
  • Rhubarb Crumble Pie, cooled
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce, for soaking into the cake

Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans (with 3-inch high sides) with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, then spray the paper also.  Set aside.

Mix the cake mix according to instructions on the box.  Place the apple pie (face up) in one cake pan and the rhubarb pie (face up) in the other cake pan, on top of the parchment paper.  Pour the batter over the pies, spreading it out so it covers the pies evenly.

Bake until cake is cooked through in the center, which may take anywhere from 35-50 minutes.  After 30 minutes, begin checking the center with a toothpick every five minutes.  Set cake pans on a wire rack.  Poke several holes (8-10) in the tops of the cakes, and drizzle the caramel sauce over, letting it soak into the cake.  Cover the cakes loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely.


Step 4: Make the Salted Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans:
·         1 pound (about 3 cups) unsalted pecans
·         Heaping ½ cup granulated sugar
·         1 egg white
·         ½ tablespoon vanilla
·         1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
·         ½ teaspoon cinnamon
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 300.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg white, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the pecans (inspecting them to be sure they’re free of shells) and stir with a spatula to thoroughly coat the nuts.  Spread in a single layer onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Lift the foil off the pan and place on the counter to cool completely before breaking into smaller pieces.

You may not use all of the pecans to garnish the cake, so store any leftovers in an airtight container.


Step 5: Make the Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Brown Sugar Buttercream

Cream Cheese Vanilla Bean Brown Sugar Buttercream:
·         8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
·         1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
·         1 cup brown sugar
·         4 cups powdered sugar
·         2 tablespoons meringue powder

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean paste and brown sugar together until well combined, 2-3 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar and meringue powder until combined, then increase to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.


Step 6: Assemble and Frost the Cake:

Remove one of the cooled cakes from the pan, peel off the parchment paper and place on a cake pedestal or serving plate.  Frost the top of the cake with a ¼ inch thick layer of the frosting.  Sprinkle with a handful of candied pecans (chopped as big or small as you like).

Place the second layer of cake on top and frost all over with a thin crumb coat of frosting.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then frost with the final layer of frosting.

Garnish with the candied pecans, and if desired, drizzle with caramel sauce.

Serve and enjoy!


Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen