This past weekend, we traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to experience the food scene in this thriving college town. One of the highlights of the weekend was our walking food tour of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Our tour was conducted by Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours and our guide, Will, definitely showed us the best in the area. One of the stops was the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. There were many wonderful purveyors at the market. We met Alfred de la Houssaye and his daughter, Brianna. They had a wonderful story of moving from the hustle of Manhattan to a farm in North Carolina. For those of you that travel the 95 corridor in Virginia, Alfred designed the logo for Potomac Mills Mall, when working in design in NYC. The farm is Sweetwater Pecan Orchard and they grow various crops including pecans, oriental persimmons, figs, grapes, peaches, herbs and Brianna is a skilled handler of their chickens and egg production. Needless to say, we were fascinated with their story and Alfred’s wonderful pralines and pecan pie were marvelous. I left with over one pound of fresh pecans; they were the inspiration for my recipe below. I will be posting additional highlights from Chapel Hill in future posts. If you ever go to Chapel Hill, I highly recommend the Taste of Carolina Tours, it was just great.
Here we are with Alfred and Brianna from Sweetwater Pecan Orchard at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Fleur de Sel, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 - grease mini-muffin pans
- In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Remove from heat, stir in brown sugar. Cool slightly. Quickly stir in eggs, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Fold in pecans.
- Fill muffins 3/4 full - Bake mini-muffins 15 - 18 minutes.
- Remove from pan, cool.
- If desired, sprinkle with Fleur de Sel prior to serving. Makes 30 mini-muffins