Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pumpkin Pasties

I made these for my twins Harry Potter birthday party and they were a big hit! My kids and I liked them so much I could see myself making these over and over again. They freeze really well, just freeze the individual pasties on the baking sheet uncooked and once frozen place in a freezer safe zip bag. Increase the baking time to 30 minutes.

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pie crust
Whipped cream (optional)

In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, honey and spices. Set aside.
Roll our\t pie crust to 1/8" thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Place 1 Tbsp pumpkin
mixture in middle of the round and pinch the edges together to make a half moon. Use a fork to crimp the edges down. Cut slits in the pasties to allow it to vent while baking. Put on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400º for 20 min. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Top with whip cream if desired. Yield 2 dozen.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Potica, Povitica, Makowiec, or Nokul

Potica (Po-tee-tsa) is a traditional Eastern European nut bread that is served at Easter, Christmas, weddings and other special occasions. This particular recipe came from the hills of Poland. Warning: this is not a project to be undertaken lightly. Potica making is an all day process and like most Polish cuisine is best if done with family or friends. When I make this I must at least have my husband's help but like 2 other people. For a detailed demonstration please refer to the video.

3 pkg yeast dissolved in ½ cup warm water and 2 tsp sugar

1.    1 ½ cups scalded mild
Add into hot milk: 2 cubes butter, 2 T shortening, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp salt. Cool with 1 ½ cups water

2.   In a medium bowl
      Beat:    6 eggs (with electric beater)
      Add:     3 cups sugar
                     2 tsp vanilla

3.   In a large bowl
      Mix:     4 cups flour
                 Yeast mixture
                 Milk mixture (1)

4, Add Egg mixture (2) to Flour mixture (3)

5. Add to above mixture
         8 cups flour, stirring (12 total) (About 5 min)
         (Add more until dough is right: about 2 cups)
(14 total) (2 minutes)

Let dough set 15 minutes
Knead 15 minutes by hand or ½ hour in mixer.
Grease large Tupperware- put in dough.
Let rise 1 hr (until double)
Punch down and let rise 1 ½ - 2 hrs.

Filling: 4 lbs. walnuts – ground
          2 squares butter
          6 beaten eggs
          3 tsp vanilla
          2 cans evaporated milk

Divide dough
Roll dough out as thin as possible
Put filling on – spread with knife
         1 cup on 1 lb.
         4 cups on large
Roll up and place into greased pans
         1 lb dough into 7 ½” pan – snake 3 times
         2 ½ lbs into angel food cake pan, twist around twice
Grease top of loaves
Let rise ½ - 1 hour
Prick with fork
Bake at 325°
         Small – 1 hour
         Large – 1 ½ hour
         Rolls –  10-15 min
9 ½ lbs dough.
1 – 2 ½ lb.  8 - ¾ lb.  6-7 - 1 lbs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cheap, Easy, and Delicious Cheesecake Pie

My mom developed this recipe years ago because she loves cheesecake but couldn't afford the ingredients. Cheesecake can be an expensive treat, but this hits the spot without sweetened condensed milk and only one package of cream cheese (if you want). I didn't even know there was such a thing as baked cheesecake until I was about 12 or 13! I have tried other no bake cheesecakes but they are always too light and fluffy for my taste. My feeling is that cheesecake should be dense and creamy. This recipe holds a special place in my heart.

1 package graham crackers-crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix crumbs and butter together to make the crust. Press into a pie tin.

Mix the following ingredients in order in blender mixing between additions:
1/3 cup hot tap water (scant)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened or melted
1 2/3 cup instant milk powder
(The above equals 1 can sweetened condensed milk)
then add 12 or 8 oz cream cheese, softened (12 is better, but 8 is cheaper)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour mixture into crust and refrigerate at least one hour or until set. Top with fruit if desired. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" Mini Houses

When doing gingerbread houses it can often be maddening to spend lots of time and effort for small children only to see your creation end in ruin. I combat this I whipped up some of these little houses for my 3 year old twins to go to town on. They are small yet sturdy and the perfect size for little kids to feel they have their own creation.

   4 whole graham crackers per mini house
   Commercial Frosting for decorating
   Cement icing
This frosting is not edible since it uses raw egg whites. I use commercial frosting to decorate so I don’t worry if my kids pull off candy to eat later.

2 egg whites
3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, taking care not to get even a speck of egg yolk in the mixture. Beat the mixture on high speed for approximately 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Keep the bowl covered with plastic wrap until you're ready to use the icing.

   Break 2 crackers into squares to make 4 squares. Cut the 2 remaining crackers carefully with a serrated knife as shown in the picture.
   Apply the frosting around the edges of the crackers and arrange the crackers to make the mini house.
   Use the commercial frosting to apply the candy as desired to create your amazing creation. Below are the examples of my 3 year olds.

Gingerbread House

Making gingerbread houses has been a tradition in my family for many years. Here is my basic recipe/instructions for a delicious and sturdy gingerbread house. This dough can also be used for gingerbread cookies, just reduce the cooking time to 6-8 minutes. This is a laborious process but well worth the effort.

Gingerbread Dough
This is not my creation but it sure is awesome
Whisk together thoroughly:
     6 cupls all-purpose flour
     ½ tsp baking powder
     4 tsp ground ginger
     4 tsp ground cinnamon
     ½ tsp ground cloves or allspice
     ½ tsp salt
Beat on medium speed until very fluffy and well blended:
     12 TBSP (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
     1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
Beat in until well combined:
     2 large eggs
     1 cup dark molasses
     1 TBSP water
Beat half of the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in the remaining flour, then knead the mixture until well blended. If the dough is soft, stir in more flour until it is firmer and more manageable but not at all dry.
Place the dough in a sealable plastic bag or airtight plastic container. Set aside in a cool place, but not he refrigerator, for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Or refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days; bring to room temp before using.

Meanwhile, cut out pattern pieces to your desired layout using either graph paper or smooth, manila-folder-weight paper. Save the pattern for use immediately after pulling the pieces from the oven.

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350º. Have ready several cookie sheets. Divide the dough in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (leave the other covered to prevent drying), roll out the dough to a scant ¼ inch thick directly on a large sheet of wax or parchment paper; keep the layer as uniform as possible. If necessary, dust the rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking.

Before placing pattern pieces on the dough, lightly rub the surface of the dough with a small amount of flour. Gently lay as many pattern pieces as will fit on the dough. Using a sharp knife, wiping blade clean as you work, cut out the pieces of your pattern. Cut the parchment paper around the pattern pieces and transfer pieces one at a time gently to the baking sheets taking care to keep the shape of the pattern.

Bake the pieces until they are tinged with brown and beginning to darken at the edges, 11-15 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and let stand about 15 minutes to set. At this point I like to take the pattern pieces out and put them on top of the cooked pieces to ensure they are still the right size. It is very easy to cut a little cookie off when they are still hot to maintain the correct size and shape. You won’t be able to cut the cookies after they are cooled without breaking them so I highly recommend this step.

Frosting for Construction:
This frosting is not edible since it uses raw egg whites. I use commercial frosting to decorate so I don’t worry if my kids pull off candy to eat later.

2 egg whites
3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, taking care not to get even a speck of egg yolk in the mixture. Beat the mixture on high speed for approximately 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Keep the bowl covered with plastic wrap until you're ready to use the icing.

Construct the Basic House

This is where it really helps to have more than two hands working on a house, and why making a gingerbread house is so much more fun with company than alone. If you are working on this alone, it may help to grab some canned goods from the pantry and use the cans to help prop up the pieces while the icing mortar is drying.
1 Pick a solid base for your gingerbread house - either a flat cookie sheet, or a thick, sturdy piece of cardboard. If you want, line the base with aluminum foil or wax paper.
2 Pipe a thick line of icing along a short end of one of the side pieces. Press the iced side piece against the edge of either the front or back pieces. Hold in place for a few minutes until the icing is partially set. Repeat with the other side piece. Prop up with cans if necessary. Repeat with the other short edges of the side pieces and the remaining front/back piece. Pipe icing along the seams, inside and outside of the house, to fill in any gaps and to add extra stability. Pipe icing along the edges of the house where it meets the base. Let set for at least an hour before attempting to add the roof pieces.
If any of the gingerbread house pattern pieces breaks, as can happen easily when working with what are essentially cookies, most likely you can repair them. On my house I forgot to cut out the door and window until the front piece had almost completely cooled. When I went to make the cuts, the piece broke. Fortunately, it was easy to mortar back together with royal icing. We even created a "splint" out of cardboard and used royal icing to hold the splint to the piece. Let harden completely before using the piece for the house construction. When it comes time to decorate, you can pipe icing right over the broken seam and no one will be the wiser.
3 Once the royal icing has dried enough so that the base structure is solid, you can go to work on the roof. Pipe icing all along the top edges of the structure, front and back and two sides. The roof pieces are a rectangular shaped. Place the roof pieces so that the long ends of the rectangle are running along the top of the house. It helps if you have two people working together to place the roof pieces on the house at the same time so that they meet easily at the top center, and extend out a little bit, forming an overhang at each end. Gently hold the roof pieces in place for a few minutes until they are set enough so they don't slide off when you remove your hands. Pipe the top seam of the house with extra icing. Let the house stand for at least an hour, and preferably 8 hours before decorating.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding (cake)

I was totally clueless about the amazing dessert sticky toffee pudding until Hagaan Daz introduced an ice cream flavor of the same name a few years ago (sorry it was limited edition and no longer in stores) and I am obsessed. These are an English pudding which means they are an ooy gooy cake. If you love caramel like I do these are a dream come true. Be sure to use dark sugars to get the tawny toffee flavor to come through, otherwise it is more caramel.

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Heat all sauce ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat 2 to 4 minutes or until sugar and butter are melted and mixture comes to a boil. Spoon 1 tablespoon sauce into each muffin cup; reserve remaining sauce. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Warm sauce in small saucepan over medium-low heat before using.)
2 Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Whisk 2/3 cup brown sugar, eggs and egg yolk in large bowl until blended; whisk in melted butter. Whisk in flour mixture until almost smooth. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup.
3 Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cakes spring back when gently touched. Immediately run small knife around edge of each muffin cup to loosen; invert onto large rimmed baking sheet. Cool 5 minutes. 
4 Meanwhile, beat 1 cup cream and sugar in medium bowl at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Serve warm cakes topped with warm reserved sauce and whipped cream. (Cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. To serve, heat in 350ºF. oven 3 to 5 minutes or until warm.)
12 servings

Thursday, November 10, 2011

French Banana Pancakes

I make breakfast every morning, so I'm always looking for something more interesting than oatmeal and scrambled eggs. I would call these crepes.

1 C flour
2 T sugar
1 C milk
2 eggs
3T melted butter
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

1/4 C butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 C milk
4-5 firm bananas, cut in half, the split in thirds.
whipped cream (optional for topping)

Sift flour and sugar into mixing bowl. Add milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. Heat a lightly greased 6" skillet; add about 3 T batter, spreading to almost cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook until lightly browned; turn over. Makes 10-12 pancakes. Grease skillet as needed.

FOR FILLING: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stiry in cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add bananas a few at a time and spoon sauce over them. Place one banana in each pancake and roll up. Top with whipped cream if desired. 5-6 servings.