Pecan Puffs

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When we arrived back from Hong Kong in the New Year we headed out to the countryside to stay with my parents in order to celebrate Christmas (part 2) with them, my siblings and their partners. The tree was down by this stage, twelfth night had long gone, but that aside my parents sweetly replicated the Christmas that they had had on December 25th again for us as we were back in the UK. Anyone passing by the house would have thought we had all gone completely mad as carols were playing and mulled wine was wafting through the house. We ate turkey, wore silly cracker hats and played parlour games. My mother went to town, as usual, on the food which we all greatly devoured.

It was whilst we were lazing away the hours that I stumbled across a little pot filled with the most delicious, crumbly biscuits I had ever eaten. They were completely heavenly as well as being very addictive and perfect to nibble away at whilst having a cup of tea (we English love our tea) by the fire in the late afternoon.

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It transpired that they had been sent from the US, lovingly made by a friend of my sister and her beau. Needless to say they did not last long as the whole family took a liking to them.

I urged my sister to track down the recipe so that I could try and make them myself. I had to do all the US conversions from cups to grams and somewhere along the line with my conversions they went wrong. They still tasted delicious but they were not as puff like as the originals as they were coming out of the oven a lot flatter.

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Finally after a few false starts I found the right balance of the ingredients and the delicious puffs returned. They are meant to be crumbly when you bite into them and certainly not the same texture as a biscuit. In as far as they are quick to devour they are also quick to make. Big A and Little Z love to get involved and prepare them with me as they are very straightforward to make.

I rather like the idea of putting them in little packets tied with a bow and given to friends and loved ones. How impressed will the receivers of such fancies be when they taste your pecan puffs. Trust me they will be begging you for the recipe. Send them this way of course. x

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Pecan Puffs

Inspired by Lainy in the US

Makes around 30 (depending on size)

240g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

120g pecan nuts, finely ground

240g plain flour, sieved

50g icing sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Finely grind the pecan nuts in a blender and place to one side.

2. Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment and again place to one side.

3. In a large bowl add the sieved flour, icing sugar and salt.

4. Add the cubed butter to the flour bowl and using your hands begin to mix the ingredients together, softening the butter into the flour as you do so. Once it all begins to come together, add the vanilla essence and the ground pecan nuts.

5. Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together form a large ball and break off small pieces, a little smaller than a hens egg, but bigger than a quails, and roll in the palm of your hands into a ball and then slightly flatten, but not so much that it is completely flat.

6. Place each pecan puff on to a baking tray so that they are well spread out. I tend to leave a couple of inches around each puff . Whilst you are preparing the puffs preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.

7. Place in the oven for 16 minutes and then leave to firm up before placing them on the cooling rack. When they are completely cool sift icing sugar over the top. Voila your pecan puff is ready to be devoured.


My mother’s memorable strawberry ice-cream courtesy of the ‘Cooking Cannon’

Does anyone remember the legendary ‘Cooking Canon’? A rather charming, bearded, portly member of the English clergy who, in many respects, was one of the first ‘celeberity chefs’, along with eccentric Fanny Craddock, to grace our screens in the early eighties. Long before Delia was on the scene this was my mother’s go-to cooking bible! He published three cookery books: The Cooking Canon, The Cooking Canon Entertains and Simply Divine.

I only discovered the other day that the strawberry ice cream, which my mother always makes and continues to do so, originally came from ‘The Cooking Canon’. It’s delicious creamy and easy to make and as a real bonus, you don’t need to go out and buy an expensive ice cream maker. Strawberries epitomize the joys of summer and what better way to celebrate the sun’s rays than a bowl of home-made strawberry ice cream. It may not be exotic or original but it certainly hits the spot. I hope you agree.


Now it may shock some of you to hear that the ice cream is not in fact made with fresh strawberries – my mother has tried using them but the results are not as good she assures me. Instead she has gone down the route of using tinned strawberries. Shock horror.

You still with me?

Please don’t be alarmed. I assure you, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Homemade Strawberry Ice-Cream

290g/8oz tin of strawberries (or anything around that amount)

150g/6oz icing sugar

1 pint of double cream

1 plastic/metal tray or container

1. Take the tin of strawberries and pour out about one quarter of the liquid, reserving to make a fruit salad at a later date

2. Blend the strawberries with the other ingredients and freeze for 40 minutes in your container. I have always used a plastic container and it works out well.

3. Stir and freeze again for a minimum of a couple of hours.

4. Scatter some fresh strawberries over the ice cream and serve to what will be happy family and friends.