Roast pork loin with Bourbon-steeped prunes and apricots
- 10 prunes, rinsed
- 10 dried apricots, rinsed
- 2 cups Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey (one cup = 8 fl oz)
- 12-18 small new potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 boneless pork loins (about 4lb/2kg in total)
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 6 celery sticks, cut into 1½ - inch lengths
- 6 thin carrots, scraped and cut into 1½ inch lengths
- 3-4 cups apple cider or apple juice
1. Combine prunes, apricots and whiskey in a large jug, taking care that the fruit is covered with the liquor. Set aside for at least 24 hours or up to one month - the longer the better.
2. Part boil potatoes until they are half cooked (10-12 minutes). Drain well. Preheat oven to 350˚F (190˚C, gas mark 4) and place two roasting dishes inside. Slice pork loin (fat side up) lengthways on a cutting board, through the thicker of the two long sides, cutting 3/4 of the way through to the other side to semi-butterfly it. Remove some of the plumped prunes and apricots from the whiskey. Starting at least ½ inch from the end of one loin, line up fruit end to end in a single row. Close the meat over the fruit and tie at one-inch intervals with string. Use the same method to stuff the remaining loin and tie. Set whiskey aside.
3. Sprinkle both pork loins with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Place one loin, fat side up, on one of the roasting dishes. Divide celery, carrots and potatoes between the roasting pans; pour 1½ to 2 cups of the cider or apple juice into each pan. Roast the pork for about an hour or until meat thermometer reaches 170˚F (70˚C). Meanwhile strain 1½ cups of the remaining whiskey into a gravy boat. Remove pork loins and place on a plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Place vegetables onto a serving dish. Slice the pork and transfer slices with each of the fruit stuffings to warmed dinner plates. Serve at once, ladling the fruit-flavoured whiskey over the pork. Delicious.
Southern-style spiked Chocolate-Pecan Pie
- 1 cup unbleached/plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp chilled solid vegetable shortening (lard or butter will do)
- 2-3 tbsp iced water
- 6oz semisweet/dark chocolate, melted and cooled
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup dark corn syrup (golden syrup will do but may need thinning)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- ⅓ cup Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey
- 2 cups pecan halves
To make the piecrust: combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl or food processor. Pulse or stir to blend. Add shortening and pulse or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the water and process or stir until the pastry gathers together into a ball. Press the dough into a large flat disc and place between two sheets of plastic wrap/cling film. Fold the wrap over to seal. Refrigerate for one hour. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Roll out the pastry to an even 12-inch round then peel away the top sheet of plastic. Invert the pie plate over the dough and flip the two at once; remove the remaining plastic wrap. Ease pastry into a 9-inch deep dish; fold under the edges along the rim and crimp decoratively.
To make the pie: pour the melted chocolate into the bottom of the pie shell and spread evenly so that it covers the bottom but not the sides. Refrigerate. Whisk eggs until thick and smooth, then add syrup, sugar and melted butter. Add the whiskey and stir in the pecan halves until coated. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell; place dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling has risen and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack and serve with whipped cream.