Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recipes from The Help Book Club Meeting

I'm guessing that a large number of people out there have read The Help. And maybe you have also seen the movie. My sister bought me a copy of the book over a year ago and I read it from front to back in a little less than 6 hours. It was a great read and a very enjoyable book.

Our local Book Club recently discussed this book and I was hosting, so I was in charge of the refreshments. I am not a Southerner and I don't claim to know how to cook like one, but I chose recipes that were "traditional" Southern recipes and used them to help with our evening. I tried to choose food that had at least been mentioned in the book and most of these were also shown in the movie.

Chocolate Pie was an absolute must. I found a recipe from the author online and used that. It was one that her maid, Demetrie used to make for her. The recipe stated that you could use a graham cracker crust or a pie crust, so I made both. I used Dorie's recipe for the pie crust because it is the easiest and best one I have ever made. This filling reminded me of a mild chocolate pudding. I topped both of them with sweetened whipped cream.

These cheese crackers are originally from the Lee Brothers and I have made them before, but in a different shape.
A basic chicken salad that I served in little phyllo cups and also with crackers.
I made a caramel cake, but as you can see from the plate it is on, it was a messy experience, and I wasn't really sure if I was going to share these recipes or not, so I didn't get a great picture of it. Fun frosting. Very fun. (I have an alternate caramel frosting recipe linked up below if the original one scares you).

And of course, deviled eggs.

It was a great night!

Here is the recipe for Demetrie's Chocolate Pie

Here is the recipe for Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans
* I used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
* I used fat free mayo

Here is the recipe for Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs
*I used fat free mayo

Here is the recipe for Caramel Cake
and here is an optional quick Caramel Frosting

Here is the recipe for Cheese Crackers
* I used all white whole wheat flour

Dorie Greenspan's Good for Almost Anything pie crust

for a 9-inch single crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 T) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 T very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening care cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing — what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water — add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.)

To roll out the dough: Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand.
You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. (I usually roll this dough out on the floured counter.) If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to life the paper, plastic or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.

If you’ve got time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 mins to rest and firm up.

Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.

To partially or fully bake: Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Better the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, return the pie plate to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until the crust is very lightly colored. To fully bake the crust, bake until golden brown, about another 10 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.


Delectably Green said...

Beautiful pictures - especially the choc cream pie - I just posted one myself this morning!

Whitney B. said...

That is the PRETTIEST caramel cake I have EVER SEEN!!!!!!!!

Audrey and the Boys said...

What a fun book club! I wish that I could have been there!!! I would have loved a bit of that chocolate pie!