Sunday, September 29, 2013

Southern pies and libations

Seriously Black Bottom Pie has a rockin’ rum sauce and for those who can’t decide, a crust of both ginger snap and graham crackers.
Peanutbutter Candy Pie is preferred in Jan Moo’s family over birthday cake. Grilled Plum with Port Crostata is something I’d never heard of. I love the way she calls big pans of gooey stuff “slab pie.”
Moon’s “The Southern Pie Book,” from our trusted friends at Southern Living, won’t steer you wrong. Her beauteous concoctions of braided crusts and fillings don’t seem very difficult to attempt, especially with photos indicating what your guests will be in for. And yeah, there was something in there with bacon. I said bacon.
This writer shares anecdotes and has fresh ideas for flavor combos. Little things, like the way she chop nuts for pecan pie, make her creations look extra special. One section is called “Baked Unitil Bubbly.” How about a sweet potato cobbler or blackberry with lemon cornmeal crust? Let’s all pitch in so Moon can live down the street from us and borrow a cup of sugar.
I showed this book to my mother and she had memories of everything from the vintage pie servers in the lovely illustrations and berry picking to how her Louisiana relatives would bake.

Here’s a little taste from her toppers section:

Apple Cider Drizzle
The author reports it takes a little time to reduce the cider to a syrup, so she generally makes extra. If feeling generous, she will share a jar or two.
4 cups apple cider
1 half cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Bring apple cider to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil 35 minutes or until reduced to two thirds of a cup. Stir in brown sugar and butter, cook, stirring constanly, 2 mnutes or until sugard dissolves and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool 1 hour.

Invite the Godfather for Halloween
While I have long lived with my husband and his buddy quoting The Godfather on any appropriate and otherwise occasion, I did not realize there was a drink named for this character. Now there is a twist on this drink that I am happy to experience and share. It involves the iconic glass brick of a bottle that is Disaronno amaretto, billed as the world’s favorite Italian liqueur. It was certainly my grandma’s favorite, and she would receive a bottle each Christmas. That’s how I grew to relish a few drops of Disaronno at the end of an evening. Nectar it is.
Now, if you are considering a grown-up Halloween party, may I suggest something around the theme of one of Disaronno’s slew of  “twisted classic” cocktails. Acclaimed mixologist Paul Sevigny has revamped the daiquiri, the sidecar and the sour.
Here’s one for “the family.”
Twist on the Godfather: Godfather Revised aka The MICHAEL CORLEONE
1 ounce  Disaronno
1 ounce Dewers 12
2 dashes cherry bitters,
2 dashes walnut bitters
Garnish: Lemon/cherry
Method: Add all ingredients into mixing glass. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain into rocks with ice. Garnish with lemon and cherry.

Celebrate rum
A hand woven “petate” straw band is a Mayan symbol for the unity of time and space and the signal you’re investing in Ron Zacapa rum. National Punch Day was Sept. 20, but with Port Arthur’s Cayman ties, a sip of rum seems a fitting way to raise a glass this holiday season. Sistema Solera 23, a product of Guatemala, is “aged above the clouds” with young and old blends that produce a “rich color” and “profound flavor.” Rum equals romance with this offering. Just a bit in a clear glass should last the evening, but consider playing with New York-based cocktail consultant and founder of LUPEC NYC Lynnette Marrero’s twist on the classic rum punch.

Zacapa Rum Hibiscus Punch

1 and one fourth ounce Zacapa Rum 23
1 ounce Brewed and Chilled Hibiscus Tea
1 ounce Fresh Pineapple Juice
Fresh Nutmeg and Cinnamon for Top
Lemon Slices and Edible Flowers for Garnish

1. Combine Zacapa Rum 23, hibiscus tea and fresh pineapple juice in a highball glass filled with ice and stir well.
2. Grate fresh nutmeg and cinnamon into the glass.
3. Garnish with lemon slices and edible flowers.

Ideal Serving Glass:
Highball Glass

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