Clementine Hunter and Pecan Gifts

Natchitoches pecans is proud to announce that The Clementine Hunter Collection will be available to order on our website in early October.  This unique collection will make great gifts for the upcoming holiday season along with our signature gourmet pecan gifts, pecan candies, and other pecan products for everyone on your gift list.

Mugs and Dinnerware

Mugs and Dinnerware

Doug Gitter created Gitter Gallery and The Clementine Hunter Collection because he wanted to share his love of contemporary American self-taught art with others and wanted to take artwork which was once affordable and make it affordable again so that others could enjoy a piece of American history. The hand-painted ceramic platters and bowls and dinnerware are 100% handmade and no two pieces are exactly alike. Each piece has its own distinctive shape whose textured surface allows you to feel the passion in Clementine’s work. These pieces can be hung on the wall, displayed on a bookshelf, or used as favorite serving pieces for any occasion. All ceramics are food, microwave and dishwasher safe. Each of the Hand-Embroidered Pillows and Linen Hand Towels are works of art also.

Pillows and Linen Hand Towels

Pillows and Linen Hand Towels

The pillows are embroidered on 100% organic cotton. It takes 2 artisans two weeks to create one beautiful pillow and each pillow is unique because each artisan has their own stitching style. Each hand towel is silk screened then embroidered by hand on 100% linen and is beautifully presented in a gorgeous organdy reusable gift pouch.

With every purchase from The Clementine Hunter Collection, a portion of the proceeds goes toward preservation and interpretation of the Clementine Hunter House at Melrose Plantation, a National Historic Landmark.

Clementine Hunter is Louisiana’s most famous artist and considered one of the most important self-taught American artists of the 20th century. Her work can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Oprah Winfrey Collection in Chicago, and countless other museums and private collections across the country. Clementine, called Tebe by her family, was born at Hidden Hill Plantation in 1886. Hidden Hill was renamed Little Eva Plantation in the 1950’s. She moved to Melrose Plantation in 1902 where she lived the rest of her days until she died on January 1, 1988 around the age of 101.

A self-taught artist without formal training, Clementine produced colorful paintings that depicted her memories of life on a southern plantation. She worked in the cotton fields and pecan orchards, and was later a domestic servant in the Big House at Melrose Plantation. Clementine began painting “about 1940”. She would paint scenes of baptisms, weddings, zinnas, fishing, playing cards, cotton picking and pecan picking. She would remember things and then sketch them out and paint them.

We are especially fond of Clementine’s Pecan Picking pieces since Natchitoches Pecans grows and offers for sale top quality Louisiana pecans grown on Little Eva Plantation. According to Clementine, “I always liked to pick pecans. It was hard work. You had to stoop over a lot. You had to gather at least three hundred pounds or better a day to make it worthwhile. Extra money was made by pecan picking. Life was hard, but if you toughed it out you could get by. During the times when money was scarce and they wasn’t too much to eat, a pinch of snuff helped kill the appetite.”

As Christmas and Thanksgiving season is just around the corner, it is not too early to start considering gifts for those on your gift list. Go to www.natchitochespecans.com secure website to view our selection of fresh Louisiana pecan halves, cracked pecans, pecan gift tins, Clementine for the Holidays wooden pecan gift box, and many other pecan items.  Corporate orders are welcome.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Chantilly Cream

This pecan pie recipe was recommended by Charlotte Lancaster. She says, “Baking the pie in a cake pan instead of a pie pan means it holds its shape, as well as its delicious contents and the buttery crust is awesome!” The decision to use fresh Louisiana pecans will be an excellent choice.

Dough Ingredients
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, salted
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ of a whole egg (Vigorously beaten until frothy – reserve the other half for the sweet potato    filling)
2 Tablespoons cold milk
1 cup all-purpose flour

Sweet Potato Filling Ingredients
2 to 3 sweet potatoes (or enough to yield 1 cup cooked pulp), baked
¼ cup packed, light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sugar
½ egg, vigorously beaten until frothy (reserved   above)
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pecan Pie Syrup Ingredients
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup dark corn syrup
2 small eggs
1 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
¾ cup pecan pieces or halves

Directions for Dough
1. Place the softened butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on high speed until the mixture is creamy. Add the ½ egg and beat 30 seconds. Add the milk and beat on high speed 2 minutes. Add the flour and beat on medium speed 5 seconds, then on high speed just until blended, about 5 seconds more (over mixing will produce a tough dough).

2. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a 5 inch patty about ½ inch thick. Lightly dust the patty with flour and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. (The dough will last up to one week refrigerated.)

3. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8 to ¼ inch. Very lightly flour the top of the dough and fold it into quarters. Carefully place dough in a greased and floured 8 inch round cake pan (1 ½ inches deep) so that the corner of the folded dough is centered in the pan. Unfold the dough and arrange it to fit the sides and bottom of pan; press firmly in place. Trim edges. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Directions for the Sweet Potato Filling
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer until the batter is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not over beat. Set aside.

Directions for the Pecan Pie Syrup
Combine all the ingredients except the pecans in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly on slow speed of electric mixer until the syrup is opaque, about 1 minute; stir in pecans and set aside.

To assemble:
1. Spoon the sweet potato filling evenly into the dough-lined cake pan.

2. Pour the pecan syrup on top.

3. Bake in a 325 degree F oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 ¾ hours. (Note: The pecans will rise to the top of the pie during baking.)

Cool and serve with Chantilly Cream. Store the pie at room temperature for the first 24 hours, then (in the unlikely event there is any left) refrigerate.

Chantilly Cream Ingredients
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon Gran Marnier
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons dairy sour cream

Directions for Chantilly Cream
Refrigerate a medium-size bowl and beaters until very cold. Combine cream, vanilla, brandy and Gran Marnier in the bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute. Add the sugar and sour cream and beat on medium just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. DO NOT OVER BEAT. (Over beating will make the cream grainy, which is the first step leading to butter. Once grainy you can’t return it to its former consistency, but if this ever happens, enjoy it on toast!)

Makes about 2 cups

From Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen

Roasted Pecan Butter Pecan Pie (Louisiana Cajun)

 

Charlotte Lancaster shared this recipe with  us. The thing that separates this pecan pie recipe from most others is the use of GROUND roasted pecans in the filling, in addition to the usual pecan halves. Besides enhancing the pecan flavor, the ground pecans also give the filling a slightly less “goopy” texture.

Dough Ingredients                                        

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut up
¼ cup ice water

Pecan Filling Ingredients                         

½ cup pecan pieces or halves, dry roasted until dark
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves

Directions for Dough
1. Sift 1 cup of the flour and the salt into a large bowl. Add butter, and working quickly with a light touch, cut butter into the flour with a spoon and fingertips until mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal. Add ice water and stir until well blended.

2. Form the dough into a ball and place on a flat surface floured with the remaining 3 tablespoons flour. With a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/8 inch. Place an ungreased 8 ½ inch round pie pan face down on top of the dough and cut around the pan, leaving a ¾ inch border. Lightly flour the top of the dough and fold it in quarters.

3. Carefully place dough in the pie pan, with the points of the folded dough centered. Unfold dough and line the pan bottom and sides, gently pressing dough into place and draping a little over the rim. Flute the edges. Refrigerate prepared pie shell until ready to use.

Directions for Pecan Filling
1. Process roasted pecans in a food processor until they become a relatively smooth butter, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping sides down as needed with a rubber spatula.

2. Place eggs in a medium-size bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed a few seconds until frothy. Add sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla extract, salt and pecan butter. Beat on medium speed a few seconds until well mixed, pushing sides down as needed.

3. Stir in the unroasted pecan halves. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.

4. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake until filling is browned on top and crust on edges is lightly browned, about 40 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

** Helpful Hint: To save time use a frozen pie crust.