SugarCane Glory

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When I first saw my brother cutting this in the kitchen, I wondered… What the heck is this boy doing with a bamboo stick? Haha turns out it was actually a sugarcane!! This is basically the processed sugar we eat on a daily basis in it’s unrefined form. Seems kind of weird right? It’s quite deceiving knowing that this comes from the grass family which we all assume is “healthy” although it produces that sweet product that we all try to stay away from lol. I was really curious about how sugar is made and allll these different types that we find at the grocery store.

Here’s a quick run down:

White Sugar: Made from the sugarcane; multiple washings to remove all traces of molasses and give the white color

Molasses: Byproduct syrup after sugar is extracted from the sugarcane; the type of molasses depends on which pressing of the sugar it was collected at (first-light molasses, second-dark, third-blackstrap)-with each pressing the molasses get less sugar than the previous one and become darker and less sweeter

Brown Sugar: Plain white sugar mixed with molasses

Turbinado Sugar: Made from the first pressing of sugarcane- syrup is boiled to produce the crystals and then is spun in a centrifuge to remove the moisture (gets its name from turbinelike centrifuge); retains more of the original flavor

Preparing sugarcane is a relatively easy task. Take a sharp knife and remove the green skin from all around the cane. You will expose the creamy fibrous inside that we see below in the picture. Then you chew and chew until you draw out all the juices/sugar (don’t swallow it!).

For choosing a sugarcane, Walter Nicholls gives us an in depth description in his article on the plant

“In stores, sugar cane may be sold in one-foot sections or six-foot sections. Willie Robson Jr., produce manager for Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown, suggests the following: Choose light-green-fading -to- yellow- colored batons mottled with reddish-brown patches. Avoid white canes and those with cracks or blackened areas. Thin, heavy canes tend to be sweeter than thicker ones. Those with joints that are three to five inches in length are best for skewers and swizzle sticks and easier to eat out of hand. Ask the produce clerk to make a fresh cut on each end of the cane. The best cane has opaque, off-white, moist flesh. Canes are past their prime when the flesh is dry and brown or red.”

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Enjoy!

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Classic Pecan Pie

pecan pie

Sooo usually when I come back from school, I’ll take a break, study during the evening, and go to the gym to finish it off. Well, the other day I was just so tired! I had too long of a day at school & on top of that had to wait out on that rush hour traffic -____- Now, especially during the semester, any free time I can stumble upon is like gold so I really have to spend it productively. This instance it came down to the decision, did I want to go to the gym or bake a pie??? Now, keep in mind, I have been CRAVING pecan pie for a week or two. DONE DEAL, Pecan Pie it was! Haha now that didn’t take too long. Oh and something else. After searching if I had all the ingredients I came to the conclusion that we did not have any pecans…. I had already made up my mind though on making this, so I had to do with walnuts instead (which by the way tasted just as good). Anyways after making this, I don’t think I could ever eat a pecan pie from the grocery store given all the unknowns that are in those. This is definitely a decision I won’t regret, & you’ll find out too why when you make this pie according to the directions below :)

pecan pie

Classic Pecan Pie

Ingredients

  • 9 inch pie crust, frozen or homemade 
  • 3 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp milk
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat: 400 F

  1. Beat the eggs until slightly foamy in a large bowl
  2. Stir in the butter, brown sugar, & white sugar
  3. Whisk in the flour, milk, & vanilla
  4. Add the pecans until they are fully coated
  5. Pour the mix in the pie shell
  6. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes then lower to 325 F for 40-50 minutes

Homemade Pie Crust

*(Double Crust Recipe- half it for the pecan pie or save the other half in the freezer)*

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • enough water, ice cold

Directions

  1. Stir together all the dry ingredients
  2. Cut the butter in small chunks into the mix
  3. Fill a separate bowl with ice cold water
  4. Add the ice water to the mixture a couple tablespoons at a time using a fork to mix it
  5. After getting a lump of dough, take it out of the dry ingredients and continue until all the flour mixture is gone

***The reason we use ice cold water is because flour needs water to develop gluten. Gluten is what makes the pie dough so tough to roll. The ice water will inhibit the gluten production and makes the pie dough much easier to handle.

***Recipes adapted from http://www.bakerita.com/pecan-pie/ and http://tikkido.com/node/673