“I believe in sugar,” confesses Merri Tyndall, whose slender figure suggests otherwise. But the proof is in the pudding, and in the pies, cakes, and other goodies she and her husband, William, bake up at Mountain Pie Company in Hendersonville. Also a tearoom that serves breakfast and lunch bites on dainty old-fashioned china, the company offers around 50 made-to-order cakes and pies of the 1930s and ’40s, including rum cake, lemon meringue, coconut custard, and shoo-fly pies, and an award-winning apple pie. A baker since childhood, Tyndall also likes to experiment. Her Pecan Pudding Cake is an original take on the apple-stacked version prepared by early Appalachian homesteaders. Standing six inches tall, with layers of butterscotch chips, caramel, and vanilla pudding and decorative piecrust leaves and acorns, it’s a sweet fall treat.
Mountain Pie Co.
3400 Asheville Hwy., Hendersonville
INGREDIENTS:Leaves & Acorns 2 piecrusts 1/2 cup whole pecans Cake 2 boxes yellow cake mix (Pillsbury recommended) 6 eggs 2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
Mix and bake as directed on the box using nine-inch round greased pans. You will need six thin layers of cake. Allow cake to cool completely before turning out onto parchment paper. Tyndall recommends making the cake and decorative leaves a day in advance to save time.Filling 4 oz. box vanilla pudding mix (not instant) 3 cups evaporated milk 2 Tbsp. cornstarch 1½-2 cups butterscotch chips (11 oz. bag) 2½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup caramel saucePreheat oven to 350°F. Roll out crusts. Using leaf cookie cutters, cut out the leaves and use a small knife to carve the veins. Make acorns by placing flat sides of two pecans together and wrapping three-quarters with dough. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 35-40 minutes. Check often to ensure pecans don’t burn. Cake Mix and bake as directed on the box using nine-inch round greased pans. You will need six thin layers of cake. Allow cake to cool completely before turning out onto parchment paper. Tyndall recommends making the cake and decorative leaves a day in advance to save time. Filling Mix pudding, evaporated milk, and cornstarch in a microwaveable bowl until smooth. Heat in microwave for 10 minutes, stirring every two minutes, until pudding begins to curdle. Remove and add butterscotch chips and two cups of pecans. Mix and let cool for 15 minutes. Assembly Place a layer of cake on a cake plate or stand and top with filling. Continue with remaining layers. Top generously with caramel sauce (Tyndall recommends Smuckers’ caramel topping), allowing it to run over the edges. Place leaves and pecans around the bottom and on the top. Sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans.