Maria's Pecan Pie

We thought we'd share this mouthwatering pecan pie recipe with you (as there is very little of the actually pie left to share). Now for another slice - well it is wholemeal isn't it?

You can use a shop bought shortcrust pastry base but I preferred to make it myself with 
wholemeal flour. I also substituted golden syrup with maple syrup.

Shortcrust pastry ingredients
·       125g/4oz wholemeal flour
·       pinch of salt
·       55g/2oz butter, cubed
·       30-45ml/2-3 tbsp cold water
·       Flan / cake tin

Preparation method for shortcrust pastry

1.     Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the cubes of butter.
2.     Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining. Try to work quickly so that it does not become greasy.
3.     Using a knife, stir in just enough of the cold water to bind the dough together.
4.     Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.
5.     Alternatively using a food processor, put the flour, butter and salt in the food processor and pulse until the fat is rubbed into the flour.
6.     With the motor running, gradually add the water through the funnel until the dough comes together. Only add enough water to bind it and then stop.
7.     Wrap the dough in clingfilm as before and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.
8.     Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
9.     Roll out the dough until it is larger than the size of the flan tin and line the tin with the pastry, pressing gently into base, sides and rim. Prick the base several times with a fork.
10.   Place a sheet of baking parchment onto the pastry and weigh down with baking beans or dried lentils. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Pecan Pie Ingredients
·       110g/4oz unsalted butter
·       110g/4oz maple syrup
·       1 tsp vanilla extract
·       225g/8oz brown sugar
·       3 free-range eggs, beaten
·       shortcrust pastry (from recipe above)
·       285g/10oz pecan nuts, halved

Preparation method

1.     Turn the oven temperature down to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2.     Place the butter, golden syrup, vanilla extract and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat.
3.     When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes.
4.     Add the beaten eggs to the mixture and stir well.
5.     Set aside a small handful of the pecan nuts. Arrange the remaining pecan halves evenly in the pastry case and carefully pour over the syrup mixture.
6.     Place into the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes - the pie will be golden-brown, but the filling should still be slightly soft.
7.     Leave the pie to cool on a wire tray. As the pie begins to set, decorate the top with the reserved pecan halves. Serve in slices.

The main pecan pie recipe was adapted from

Royal Academy of Arts Collection

We were delighted to be asked by the Royal Academy of Arts to make a collection for their latest exhibition "Renaissance Impressions". The exhibition opened on 15th March and runs until the 8th June 2014. It brings together 150 of the rarest and most exquisite Chiaroscuro woodcuts in celebration of this forgotten art form. For further information about the exhibition please visit the Royal Academy website.

A visit to the exhibition comes highly recommended by Maria who was lucky enough to receive an invite to the opening night. Here are a few photos from the evening, including our exclusive RA collection created here at the Maria Allen Boutique studio and on display in the RA gift shop!

The collection is available to buy both in the RA gift shop and online and includes:

Chiaroscuro Cherub Necklace - £35 - Laser etched cherry wood necklace depicting a detail from Hans Wechtlin's chiaroscuro print of the Virgin and Child.

Chiaroscuro Coasters x 4 Procession - £40 - A set of four laser etched cherry wood coasters, taken from the chiaroscuro prints of Andrea Andreani, after Mantegna, the designs are from The Triumph of Julius Caesar and depict the Elephants and The Trophy Bearers.

Chiaroscuro Albrecht Durer Rhinoceros Brooch - £25 - Laser etched cherry wood brooch of a rhinoceros taken from an original image by Albrecht Durer.