Posted by Scott Gonzalez / Cynthia Rush on 9/30/2012
SOUTHERN HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE
Posted by Scott Gonzalez / Cynthia Rush
I never got to meet Aunt Lela. I heard she was the best fruitcake maker way back when. She had her own particular way and her own particular order of how a fruitcake should be made. It was passed on from Aunt Lela to the Thames family and, when we bought the Thames Nut House, we followed the recipe they had written down.
On my first day as owner of the Nut House, Robert, the plant manager, showed me around. He informed me that we had to fulfill an order for 57,000 fruitcakes and our deadline was two weeks away. We were ill prepared. But, with the help of our new trusted employees, we were able to get all the fruitcakes done on time. I also learned a lot about making fruitcake.
I knew my father hated fruitcake. He compared it to a brick doorstop. We loaded our white fruitcake with freshly made candied cherries, pineapples and pecans. No citron or raisins of any kind. I was surprised at how delicious it was. I gave my Dad a piece and now fruitcake is what he wants me to bring him for Christmas.
We ought to call ours Aunt Lela's pecan cake because we put so many fresh pecans in it. Her recipe was so good it was recognized as the best in the 1989 World's Fair in New Orleans. You can make it even better by pouring bourbon over the top.
For the holidays, Aunt Lela's fruitcake stands alone. Get yours soon from the Nuthouse or Three Georges Candy Store at 26 Dauphin Street in Mobile (251.433.6725). Like us on Facebook to receive special coupons.
Posted by Scott Gonzalez/ Cynthia Rush on 9/3/2012
REAL SOUTHERN CHEESE STRAWS
by Scott Gonzalez. Editor Cynthia Rush.
Now that it's approaching fall, it's time to pull out all the old, traditional recipes. One of our favorite recipes is for our popular original, homemade southern cheese straws. A party is not a party in the south without a plate of crispy cheese straws. We bake our cheese straws fresh every day during the holiday season. They'll last for sixty days and they freeze great. If you stick them in the oven at 250 degrees for a few minutes right before you serve them, it makes them even better.
We had already bought Three Georges in 1992. After spending five years learning the business and keeping alive the traditions of Three Georges, we had an opportunity to keep alive another great Mobile tradition -- H.M. Thames Nut House.
This was like David taking over Goliath. We went from a staff of eleven employees to a staff of 100 overnight. That's when I got grey hair, but, what an opportunity to preserve two great Mobile culinary traditions. We went from Three Georges in a 3,000 sq. ft. building to 40,000 sq. ft. and four stores at the Nut House, plus a mail order business and a bakery. The Nut House specializes in southern pecans, candied pecans and all sorts of bakery items that include pecans, such as southern pecan pie and white chocolate butter pecan pound cake.
When I first walked into the Nut House, there were all these ladies lined up working with commercial cookie presses. A room full of hairnets and cookie presses and they were going to town. I was thinking, this cannot be. So we bought Emma, the big hopper with sixteen start tips and a computerized conveyor to fill up a sheet pan. Emma replaced fifteen ladies and she uses the exact same great old Gulf Coast cheese straw recipe. Go Emma go!
Our cheese straws are made with real aged cheddar cheese and just enough cayenne pepper to heighten the flavor. I am always disappointed when I get cheese straws from other companies. They look like skimpy little sticks and taste like flour. Ours are less refined and we stick to the original flavor of the south.
Before your next party, or for an exceptional hostess gift, or just because they're good, try our real southern cheese straws. Get them for someone you love. Real southern cheese straws from the Nut House and Three Georges. And don't forget to Like Three Georges on Facebook to get special discounts.
Posted by Scott Gonzalez on 8/13/2012
I acquired Three Georges Candy Shop in 1992. I also got married. It was a big year. Three Georges was a treasured Mobile southern confection tradition, so I wanted to soak up all I could from the Pappas (Pappolamporous) surviving family members about the company they had owned since it began in 1917. Euple, George's widow, Myro, George's sister, and Earl, George's little brother, were well into their seventies and they filled me with seventy-five years worth of candy stories.
The whole family was training me to make candy. The time had come for my first batch of divinity. I was nervous. We checked the weather. It had to be a dry day. Out came the big copper kettle. We opened George's small, fragile, hand-written notebook and read his instructions. The sugar, corn syrup, water and egg whites had to be measured to the tape mark on George's glass jar. I imagined that precious glass jar falling off the shelf and George's recipes lost forever.
We mixed the divinity ingredients in the copper kettle and then it was time for Suzie Q, the big, old mixer. We added egg whites, filled them to the tape mark and whipped them until they peaked. Next we waited for the syrup to reach molten lava stage.
The little book said, "Take it off the fire and put it on the barrel." What? George had an old wooden barrel he would set the kettle on while the syrup cooled enough to add the whipped egg whites.
We changed the whip attachment to a paddle, put Suzie Q on low, slowly drizzled the syrup, then added vanilla and a dash of salt. The trick is in the beating. There will come a point when the mixture sets like fudge. If you miss it, you will beat all the fluffiness out of the divinity. We looked really close to see that moment and then added a fresh crop of pecans from The Nuthouse.
I was so lucky to have those times with the Three Georges family. I felt like I really became a part of them. Visit our store today at 226 Dauphin in Mobile, Alabama (251.433.6725). Like us on Facebook to receive discount coupons. We're celebrating our 95th Anniversary! Taste our divinity, made the same way George did, way back when.
Posted by Scott Gonzalez on 7/30/2012
Hello Three Georges Candy Fans,
It's hot, hot, hot outside and that reminds me of making Brittle. Brittle candy depends on heat to come out right. It must get very hot before it's ready.
I never actually saw my Grandma in the kitchen -- my Grandpa was the cook in the family and boy could he cook. But, my mother does remember that Grandma could make a mean brittle in her day and she remembers that Grandma's favorite was southern pecan brittle. Mom had a taste for that brittle and she kept hounding me until I learned how to do it. If you've never watched brittle being made, it's a sight to see. There's lots of action.
When you're making confections, everyone helping thinks you're yelling at them. You have to get all your ingredients ready, load up your candy kettle and, then, it's a waiting game. As you watch the temperature rise, everyone else has gotten caught up in some story and they're not paying a bit of attention to the pot of boiling lava about to reach temperature. Hot recipes go up to 300 degrees. It's serious business. With candy, when it's time, IT'S TIME. No waiting. Get the stuff on the marble table. Don't forget to oil the marble table top and get your oiled gloves ready, too.
At the last minute, right as you turn off the fire, add your flavor and then the baking soda. The mixture looks calm and creamy until the baking soda hits and, all of a sudden, it gets really foamy and fluffs up. Quick, time to pour it on the marble table top. Then, you have to spread it before it hardens. Let me tell you, it hardens fast. You flip it once, wearing your oiled gloves, and stretch it perfectly so it isn't heavy. Switch on the big cooling fan and before you know it, it's BRITTLE!
Call Three Georges Candy Shop at 226 Dauphin Street in Mobile (251.433.6725) to find out when our next batch is being made and come watch. It's one of the more interesting productions of candy. Remember to Like us on Facebook and get special discount coupons. It's our 95th Anniversary. We're celebrating all year and we're sweeter than ever.
Posted by Scott Gonzalez on 7/2/2012
Hello Three Georges Fans, I love cream pies in the summer with cool, creamy filling in graham cracker crust. A few years back at Three Georges we started thinking about our favorite pies. My first thought was chocolate - a pie that actually tasted like chocolate - not like so many I'd bought before. Those pies looked good on the outside and I expected to bite into a mound of chocolate flavor, but they just tasted blah. How disappointing is that? We set out an array of chocolates to test. What a chore it was to taste them all! Somebody had to do it and it took a lot of chocolate tasting to discover the best one. The result is our Triple Chocolate Mousse Pie. We whip up our fluffy mousse, fill the crust to the top and pipe in creamy whipped topping. Then we sprinkle on curled chocolate shavings. Over the next 2 weeks we'll be making our fresh chocolate mousse pie in the store and, if you'd like to be a part of the experience, call Three Georges (251.433.6725) and sign up for a free Mousse Making Class, starting on Thursday, July 5, 1 p.m. All this talk about chocolate mousse makes me remember the first time I made it myself at Easter. It was 1991 and I was dating Siobhan, who's now my wife. I knew she loved chocolate and I knew she was giving it up for Lent. I had no idea how to make chocolate mousse but I asked a friend who was a good cook and followed his directions. I waited until Lent ended on Easter Sunday and then I surprised Siobhan by serving it to her in a wine glass topped with fresh whipped cream. She loved it! Shortly afterward, we became engaged. I'm not sure if my first chocolate mousse creation had anything to do with it, but, maybe. Who knew that would lead to Three Georges and the summer of 2012 when we're making the best chocolate mousse for you to enjoy. Our store celebrates it's own special 95th Anniversary this year. All the more reason to see you there. Scott.
Remember, you can LIKE us on FACEBOOK and get special discount coupons.
Posted by Scott Gonzalez on 6/15/2012
Wow, summer is here again. Along with fresh, ripe peaches, plums and nectarines our family enjoys some delicious confections. I keep thinking of all the summer treats that made it feel like summer to me and my family growing up.
My Dad always made fudge in the summer. He'd take out the big old white ceramic platter that we used for the Thanksgiving turkey. He would gather the ingredients for our favorite Hershey's Fudge recipe. All five kids would come out of the woodwork as soon as the first smell of chocolate hit the air. We would gang around the stove, way too close, until he told us to back away because it would start bubbling like moon craters and splatter on us.
Dad would put us right to work. One would be in charge of chopping pecans and having that ready. Another had to take a stick of butter and rub the platter down to keep the fudge from sticking. When it was time, Dad would pour in the pecans, give it a quick stir with a big wooden spoon until it was all mixed. He'd pour it on that big platter. It would slowly creep over the whole thing. We could hardly wait for it to set. The anticipation of waiting for that fudge to get hard seemed like forever. When Dad said it was ready, we would cut the fudge into squares right on the platter and it was gone!
Nothing better than fresh made chocolate fudge on a lazy summer day.
Come in and get that summertime fudge feeling yourself at Three Georges Candy Shop. We're making fudge fresh nearly every day. If you would like to be part of the experience, call the store (251.433.6725) to see when they're making the next batch. We'll let you butter the pan and chop pecans and stand next to stove (as long as you're not too close). Like us on Facebook and get special discount coupons.
See You There,
Three Georges Sweet for 95 Years. It's our Anniversary!
SOUTHERN HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE
REAL SOUTHERN CHEESE STRAWS
Making Divinity Candy The First Time
Summer Southern Brittle Loves the Heat
Southern Summer Chocolate Mousse
Summer Southern Candy