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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tart

We’re combining two of the most sacred national holidays Pecan Torte Day and Chocolate Pecan Pie Day into one, with a little booze. And in preparation for the upcoming 5th Annual San Francisco Craft Spirits Carnival, where we’ll be serving up these spirited treats, we’re returning to Jason’s springtime adventure in mass-produced “Bulleit Bites” (bourbon pecan mini-pies) with these boozy beauties. Bulleit Bourbon inspires this chocolate and whiskey-spiked variation of a Southern favorite, pecan pie.

In keeping with the whiskey mash, the pastry includes a mix of corn, rye, and barley flours, as well as a little all-purpose flour. A little adjustment was needed to create the larger pictured here instead of the small bite-sized ones we’ll be making for the carnival crowd.

The crust gets pre-baked with pie weights to insure it is flakey and fully baked. The raw pecans and chocolate are then added with just a little coating of the bourbon caramel. More caramel is added every five minutes of baking to assure that not only are these the most alcoholic pecan pies you’ll ever taste, but that the nuts and chocolate mix together to create a chewy and crunchy concoction.

The squeeze bottle in the pictures was unnecessary for the two tarts. The bourbon, brown sugar, and salt can easily be mixed in a small bowl. The resulting flavors are more complex and nutty. And adding the caramel base in drizzles throughout the baking process ensures the final tart isn’t a parched, dried out mess.

If you think the recipe is intimidating or if you just prefer to eat these tarts instead of baking them yourselves, you’re in luck. In the next couple of months we’ll be fine tuning our next culinary venture, Cheeky Bakery (website is currently under construction) right out of our small one-assed kitchen. We’ll be taking orders for these bites and a few other baked items, so stay tuned!

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Chocolate Pecan Bulleit Tarts
Makes two small tarts with a little extra dough

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn flour
1/2 tablespoon rye flour
1/2 tablespoon barley flour
3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, grated and frozen
1/2 teaspoon bourbon whiskey
1/4 teaspooon vanilla
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed

Mix flours, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add grated frozen butter to the bowl along with the flours and sprinkle bourbon and vanilla over the top. Using one hand and a plastic scraper, mix flour, butter, and water until the dough comes together when squeezing it into a fist. The dough should not be wet.

Place the dough on a sheet of plastic and shape it into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before continuing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while chilling the disc. Cut the disc in half and roll out the disc until it’s 1/8-1/4″ thick. Place the rolled dough over the tart shell and press the dough into the shell, pressing it into the corners and trimming off the top of the dough to make it look uniformed. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and place some crumpled parchment paper over the top of the shell, then add pie weights (or beans) to the shell. Freeze for ten minutes before baking.

Take the shell out of the freezer and place it into the oven with the pie weights still covering the bottom. Bake for 7 minutes, then take off the pie weights and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove the crusts from the oven.

Chocolate Pecan Filling
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1.75 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Bulleit Bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
pinch of kosher salt

Combine pecan and chocolate in medium bowl, set aside. Combine the brown sugar, bourbon, heavy cream, and salt into a small bowl, whisk until there are no lumps.

Add two tablespoons of the caramel to the chocolate and pecans, and mix. Divide the chocolate and pecans into the prebaked shells. Place the shells back in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove the pies from the oven and drizzle one tablespoon of the caramel over each tart. Place back in the oven and bake another five minutes. Continue adding the caramel every five minutes during baking until all the caramel is in the tarts.

Once completely baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tart pan for at least 15 minutes before removing. Allow to cool completely, about an hour, before serving.

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Oven Fried Chicken & Waffles

Ah, fried chicken and waffles! Folks have been serving them together for ages, but the combo has enjoyed a lengthy renaissance of sorts in recent years. Mostly likely Southern soul food-inspired, interest in this decidedly decadent dish grew to a near frenzy back in the ’00s. Today it’s standard chow, found on menus just about everywhere.

With a chicken in the fridge, and too many jars of bacon fat, we felt tempted to fry it up with as much bacon fat as possible. Inspired by Ina Garten’s Oven-Fried Chicken and Julia Moskin’s Best Fried Chicken, we incorporated elements of the two recipes to come up with this version. We served the chicken with a batch of  Black Pepper and Parmesan Belgian waffles, a tweeked version of King Arthur’s Classic Buttermilk Waffles, and plenty of hot maple syrup, crunchy salt flakes and Tabasco. Stick-to-your-ribs dinner fare!

Our eyes were bigger than our bellies on this one. A whole frying chicken will easily feed four adults when combined with crispy Belgian waffles. So this one is for a family or party of four or more. Of course, if you’re like us, you’ll make it a little party anyway and serve it with Sazeracs. Next time we whip up a batch we’ll make sure to invite a few friends over.

If you happen to have leftover waffles, freeze them. They last for weeks and toast up quickly. Any leftover chicken can easily be turned into a quick fried chicken sandwich or salad.

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Best Oven Fried Chicken

1 chicken cut in eight pieces
1 cup kefir
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 – 1 cup bacon fat (strained of all pieces)
vegetable oil for frying

Place the cut up chicken in a gallon sized plastic bag, add the kefir and zip shut. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. In a gallon sized plastic bag, or bowl, add the flour, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Whisk together and set aside.

After marinating, remove the chicken from the kefir. Add a piece or two to the bag of flour, or bowl, and coat each piece. Set aside on a plate or tray. Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add a baking tray and rack to the oven.

In a large fry pan on medium heat add the vegetable oil and allow to reach 350 – 360 degree. Slowly add the bacon fat and bring back up to heat. When oil is hot enough, gently, but quickly, add one piece at a time, about three to four piece. The size of the pan will determine the number of pieces that can be cooked at one time.

Fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and place on the rack in the oven to continue to bake, another 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink at the bone.

Black Pepper and Parmesan Waffles

1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
2 teaspoons (or more) freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups kefir
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, Parmigiano Reggiano, black pepper, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl beat together the eggs, kefir, and melted butter.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until almost smooth. A few small clumps may be present.

Heat the waffle iron. Once ready gently spray with non-stick spray. Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the batter to the waffle maker, or however much your waffle iron can hold. Cook until golden brown. Place in the oven to keep warm.

Serve the waffles and fried chicken with warm maple syrup or gravy.

Sazerac

2 ounces Bulleit Rye
1/2 tsp sugar
Several dashes of angostura bitters
A dash of Absinthe or enough to coat the bottom and sides of the cocktail glass without dripping out
Lemon twist

Note: This is a labor intensive cocktail that requires a little planning. It’s worth every second it takes to prepare!

Set serving class in freezer to chill. In a rocks glass, add sugar and bitters and stir until sugar begins to dissolve. Add bourbon or rye and muddle them until the sugar is completely dissolved (this takes time).

Remove cocktail glass from freezer and add absinthe, turning glass on its side to coat the bottom and inside of the glass. To the bourbon sugar bitters mixture, add 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir until chilled. Strain into frozen cocktail glasses.

Garnish with a piece of lemon zest (use a veggie peeler). Be sure to twist the lemon peel over the surface of the cocktail so that the oils “spritz” over the surface. Cheers!