Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flakey Scones

This recipe was bought by my daughter Corey (who says is was bought by my daughter Annie) from the owner of a British Tea Room in the Washington countryside. The place is not as classy as I think it should be, but the recipe is from England and it is very yummy. It's really like a biscuit if you're American.  The original recipe didn't call for salt, which I think must have been an oversight.

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, more if desired
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tbl butter, cut into bits
3/4 cup milk

Mix the dry ingredients.
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with pasty blender.
Stir in the milk all at once using a fork.
Knead the mixture about 10 times.
Preheat oven to 440 degrees.
Pat out dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and cut into squares.  Of course you can cut it anyway you like.  I don't like to fuss with cutting things into circles and then having dough scraps to deal with.
Place close together on baking sheet.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. This is what the tea room owner said is the key to the scones. This step is nice to do, but not necessary.
Bake about 12 to 18 minutes.   I cook on the less amount of time.

variation: whole wheat flaky scones - use 1 part whole wheat flour and 3 parts white flour

If you are making a special dinner and you realize at the last minute that you forgot the bread, this is a wonderful substitute. In about 20 minutes the scones are made and done and ready to put on the table.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

This dish is a huge hit with my family. It's a British recipe, not what you'd typically expect from them, as it is very spicy. One daughter likes it so much she wants me to use it as the sauce and meat in my Christmas lasagne.

1 Tbl olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (4 oz, 115gr)
3 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 tps dried oregano

14 oz. Italian sausage
1.5 pounds ground veal (or beef)
1 egg, beaten
50 gr  white bread crumbs

1 tablespoons olive oil (for frying meatballs)

tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big onion, chopped
4 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder, or red chili flakes
½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3.5 pounds of canned crushed tomatoes with basil
2 Tbls dried sweet basil
1 cup red wine
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and dried oregano and cook for a minute. Scoop out of the pan into a large bowl and cool.

When cool, mix in the remaining meatball ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper. (Fry a tiny bit to check the taste.)

Form into walnut sized meat balls. Chill in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes to help them keep their shape while cooking.

Make the sauce while waiting on the meatballs.

Fry the meatball in olive oil in batches. Add more oil as necessary. Remove done meatballs to the sauce.
Cook for a further 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a big frying pan and cook the onions until soft but not colored. Add the garlic, the chili and cumin and cook for a further minute. Add the tomato puree and tinned tomatoes, sugar and wine and simmer for about 30 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Serve with noodles and Parmesan.

I went to an international deli and got noodles that seem to have come from Central Europe.

BIGGER VERSION  my family really eats a lot of this


1 Tbl olive oil
6 oz onion, chopped
3 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2  tps dried oregano

10 oz. spicy Italian sausage
12 oz mild Italian sausage
2.25 pounds ground  beef
2 egg, beaten
75 gr fresh white bread crumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying meatballs)

tomato sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big onion, chopped
5 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
5 pounds of canned tomatoes, crushed
11/2  cups red wine
5 tablespoons brown sugar

Monday, January 14, 2008

Boiled Fruit Cake

This cake was developed from an otherwise failed pie. I was having Corey make fruitcocktail pie, a pie she had never maid before. There's more about this on my other blog, Molly loves Paris.

16 oz. can fruit cocktail, drained
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. nuts, chopped
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. flour
1 tsp. soda

Combine the fruit cocktail, sugar, salt, nuts and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes. Remove from heat, let cool some in a bowl, then stir in the egg, flour and soda, mixing well. Put into a buttered souffle dish and bake at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Well I need to test this recipe some more. So don't try it yet.

Cranberries and Apple Sauce


It's based on a French recipe I read - 

sauce à la canneberge maison

2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced.

12 oz. cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

Put it all in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
Stir occasionally, and turn down to a low simmer.
Cook until most of the berries are burst, and most of the apples are mushy.

Tarte Tatin


• 250 g de pâte brisée 
• 1 kg de pommes  
• 100 g de beurre 
• 100 g de sucre blanc  

Eplucher et couper chaque pomme en quatre morceaux bien réguliers. Dans un moule à bord haut, faire fondre le beurre, puis verser le sucre et laisser caraméliser.

Posez les morceaux de pomme côté bombé tourné vers le fond du moule, puis faire cuire environ 25 min en faisant sauter légèrement de temps en temps.

Préchauffer le four à 375°F. Recouvrir les pommes avec la pâte en repliant bien les bords et enfourner jusqu’à ce que la tarte soit bien dorée, 30-35 min environ.

Laisser reposer 10 min avant de retourner et de retirer le moule. Servir tiède avec de la crème fraîche.

Almond Tea Ring

This is a very freeform sort of recipe really. You can put anything you like into the middle, and you can shape it any way you like. I first got the idea for this from the very old Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I don't follow that recipe. It most certainly is a Swedish pastry.

1/2 batch of sweet dough
soft butter, about 1/2 stick
1 can of almond filling (maybe called Solo or something)


homemade almond filling:
2/3 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Mix the almonds and sugar in the food processor, then mix in the egg.

Roll out the dough to a big rectangle, maybe 24 by 18
Spread on the butter and then the almond filling.
Roll up along the long edge.
Get a baking sheet and put a piece of baking parchment on it.
Place the roll of dough on the paper in a circle.
Cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap and then a tea towel.
Leave overnight to rise. Or if for some reason you want it soon, let rise for at least 2 hours.
You can brush on an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbl water), and you can sprinkle on coarse sugar.
Make some cuts in the right just before baking, I think Betty Crocker used scissors. I just slice gashes.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Check on it because everyones oven is different.

Note: if you make your own almond spread it can be fabulous.  I use the canned filling because my children like it.  I personally have no big attachment to it.  I once made my own filling and I thought it was awesome.

Second note: use the other half of the sweet dough and make bolotchki or cinnamon rolls.  I only make the tea ring for special occasions, and for that the more the merrier.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a nice medium sized bowl cream:

1 stick of butter, softened a bit
1/2 cup sugar


1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Combine the dry ingredients:

10 ounces of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Add to the creamed mixture using a fork so that you don't over mix it. It wants to be just mixed, no smushing.

In a bowl combine:

1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, scoop out muffin dough an put it into the cinnamon and sugar mixture, maybe 6 at a time. Gently roll the blobs of dough in the mixture, and then into nice balls. Place in a muffin tin. Bake for about 10 minutes.

I also made tiny muffins using the 1 tablespoon scoop. These cook for a slightly shorter period of time.

When I make this recipe again I think that I will add 2/3 cup buttermilk instead of 1/2 cup. I think it just needs to be a bit moister and that's how I would try this change.

To be completely decadent you can roll the balls in butter before rolling in the sugar.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jan Hagel

1 cup butter, cold and diced up
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts or pecans or almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 10 x 15 baking pan with parchment that sticks up a bit.
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor.
Add the egg yolk and mix well.
Add the chilled diced butter and mix until like cornmeal.
Dump the mixture into the pan, spread around evenly, and pat down.
Combine the egg white and the water and mix until frothy.
Spread over the dough and sprinkle on the nuts.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove promptly from the pan, lifting by the excess parchment that is sticking up, and place onto a cutting board. Cut into strips, or any shape you like. A pizza cutter can be handy here. The reason for lifting out of the pan is because cutting the cookies in the pan ruins the pan.

Rice Krispies Treats

1/4 cup butter
10 ounce package marshmallows
6 cups rice krispies

In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. Remove from heat.
Stir in the rice krispies cereal coating them well with the melted marshmallow mixture.
Using a buttered spoon, or a buttered hand, press the mixture evenly into a 13 x 9 inch pan which has been buttered or lined with wax paper.
Cut into squares when cool.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bickies


I was in a hurry the other day, needing to make some cookies. I couldn’t find the recipe I was looking for, so I made these up out of my head. In other words, I invented them on the spot. In the original batch I put in 1 tablespoon of brandy instead of the teaspoon of vanilla. I’m thinking to try them some time with two eggs, and I’m not sure that the baking soda is absolutely necessary.

2 sticks of butter, a bit soft

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/4 cup extra dark cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 big pinch of salt

two big handfuls of pecans, chopped

2 or 3 big handfuls of chocolate chips

Cream the butter and the sugar. 
Add the egg and vanilla and mix until fluffy.

Combine the dry ingredients, and add to the creamed mixture.
Add the nuts and chips and mix well.

I use a scoop to form the cookies. The small one is exactly 1 tablespoon and the large one is 2 tablespoons. I usually like to make the small cookies, beause it makes people feel like they are getting more cookies, or if you want more it's still not too much.

375 degrees
9 minutes, for cookies that are 1 tablespoon
11 minutes for cookies that are 2 tablespoons
makes 8 dozen small cookies or 4 dozen larger cookies

Ginger Creams

These are my family’s all time favorite Christmas cookie. It’s not really Christmas until we have made a batch of these. And then they eat them right away. Riley’s mother made them for him as a child. Annie thinks that this is the best cookie in the entire universe.

These cookies are very cake like, taste a lot like gingerbread.

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cup icing sugar
2-4 Tbls of softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 + tablespoons cream

Cream butter, white sugar.
Add egg, molasses, and water, mixing well.
Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking soda, and spices and add in.
Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Drop dough by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
Bake about 8 minutes, or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly.
While slightly warm, frost with icing.

To Make Frosting: Beat together vigorously with an electric mixer the icing sugar and butter, until the sugar looks all yellow. Add the vanilla, and cream to make icing easy to spread. Spread on cookies when they have cooled. If the cookies are hot the frosting will slip off.
For Christmas, sprinkle with sprinkles, lot of them.


I started making these cookies when I was in high school. They are very Christmassy and taste great. It’s not a make after school kind of cookie, but one does need the little bit fancy Christmas cookies. These are of course a German cookie, but this is Berry Crocker’s recipe, not a traditional German recipe.

3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 egg, separated
1 tsp lemon juice
2 1/3 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 tps baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter, sugar, and 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk until fluffy
Combine the dry ingredients and add to mixture.
Stir in the chopped nuts.
Roll out batches of the dough (1/3 at a time) to 1/16 inch thick
on lightly floured board. But into stars. Place on cookie sheet
and brush with the egg white beaten frothy.
Bake for 5-8 minutes.

Lemon Squares

For some unknown reason I have a great deal of trouble getting these done right. But despite that fact they are simple enough to make. I've forgotten the eggs, and I've forgotten the lemon juice or the lemon zest. But when I get them right they are a big hit.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, diced
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp lemon zest


1 scant cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons unbleached flour


Icing sugar (I think Americans say confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar)

Preheat to 350 degrees.

Grease with butter a 8 x 8 inch pan. I use a loose-bottom pan, which makes it much easier to get the final product out of the pan for cutting. If you don't have a loose-bottom pan I would recommend putting parchment paper in the pan with the sides sticking up on two ends. That way you can just lift the whole thing out of the pan. I do this with brownies. But there again, if you don't have parchment paper you can't do that.

CRUST: In a food processor mix the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the butter, cut into small pieces and pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Pour this cornmeal-like mixture into the pan and press into the bottom of the pan. Don't press too hard. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

While the crust is baking, mix up the filling

FILLING: In a bowl beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour using a whisk. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

To serve: Cut into squares or triangles and dust with icing sugar. I like to use a large pizza cutter to cut the cookies.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are made by making chocolate chip cookies and adding oatmeal. My children are very fond of these and they are so thankful that there are no raisins in the cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, and soda and add to the mixture. Stir in the nuts, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Spoon out even balls of dough on to a cookie sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wrack.

Chocolate Crinkles

1/2 cup oil (a light oil)
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar

Mix oil, chocolate, sugar and vanilla in large bowl.
Add in eggs. Combine dry ingredients and add.
Cover and refrigerate a few hours.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Using a small scoop, drop dough into powdered sugar, maybe six at a time.
Roll around to coat, and shape into balls.
Place about 2 inches to center on cookie sheet.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center.
Place on a wrack to cool.

Sweet Dough

This is used for sweet rolls and tea rings and bolotchki and what ever else I might come up with that wants a sweet dough. I prefer to make the dough, form the bread product desired and then leave it all night to raise. No raising prior to forming the pastry. It really works. You can leave it for at least ten hours if you like.

1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 pound of flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick of butter
1 egg
3/4 cup warm milk

Proof the yeast with the tablespoon of sugar and lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. In the meantime put the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and give them a bit of a stir and lest rest a bit. When the yeast has bubbled up add to the rest of the ingredients and mix with the kitchenaid mixer for about five minutes. If the dough is too soupy gradually add some more flour. If the dough is too stiff, gradually add some more milk. If mixing this by hand I hope you know what you are doing because it's going to be very sticky. That's the nature of sweet dough. The dough should even be somewhat sticky when you are done kneading, but not to worry. Put a big handful of flour onto a board, spread it around and dump the dough onto the flour. Knead for just long enough to have a dough you can handle. If you like, you can leave this to raise for about two hours before forming the pastries. But if you have till the next day don't bother.

You can put whatever you want into this dough. The exact proportions are not that important. It just needs to look like bread dough when you're done. But the one pound of flour is fairly important if you are wanting to use this for a recipe that calls for a batch of sweet dough.

Molasses Crinkles

This recipe could be found on the Brer’ Rabbit molasses bottle. It can also be found in the I Hate to Cook Book as The Elevator Lady’s Cookies. Except I use butter. I LOVE these cookies.

¾ cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

¼ cup molasses

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ tsp powdered cloves

¾ tsp powdered ginger

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add the egg and then the molasses. It will look a bit curdles, but it's okay.
Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.
Put about 1/3 cup sugar into a flat dish and using a small scoop, drop into the sugar dish, about six at a time. Toss the dough balls in sugar and roll.
Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 9 to 11 minutes. Place on wrack to cool.

This recipe is also found, with a bit of variance in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. They used 1/4 cup more flour and brown sugar and a slightly different configuration of spices.

note: Martha Stewart has a cookie a lot like this. The difference is that she uses 1/2 tsp less baking soda, adds 1/2 tsp nutmeg instead of the ginger and clove, and 1/4 tsp more salt. She also bakes them for 10 to 15 minutes at 350, instead of 9 to 11 minutes at 375. All together that's not much difference. Her name for the cookie is "chewy molasses-spice cookies".

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am of the belief that whether or not you put nuts into your chocolate chip cookies makes a big difference. It’s not just about having nuts in the cookie. It affects the whole cookie. My nut of preference is the walnut, but so many people think that they are allergic to walnuts that I generally use pecans. And as usual I use butter. The cookies with margarine or shortening are too mounded. I use the recipe on the back of the Nestlé’s chocolate chip package, but I don’t always use those chocolate chips.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour (11 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I like dark chocolate)
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, and soda and add to the mixture. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon out even balls of dough on to a cookie sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wrack.

You can add all kinds of things to these cookies and they still come out tasting good. For example: oatmeal, dried fruit, granola, wheat germ, brandy, sesame seeds, you name it.


This is one of my all-time favourite cookies. I've come to realize that I like simple cookies. There are a great many versions of snicker-doodles. But my favorite are made with butter and cream of tartar. If you make them with shortening then they aren’t flat enough, and certainly don’t taste as good. If you make them with margarine they taste terrible and you have to throw them out. If you don’t use cream of tartar the taste is flat. So what you want is a flat cookie that does not have a flat taste. I basically use the Betty Crocker recipe using butter.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
 (about 13 ounces)
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Pre-hear oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggs.
Combine the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.
In a flat dish combine 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Using a small scoop, scoop up the dough and drop perhaps six at a time into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Toss dough balls about in the mixture and roll into nice smooth balls and place on cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Place on wrack to cool.

Marlborough Pie

"A highlight of the hearthwarming was Marlborough pudding hot from the pan where it had been cooked in the coals of the lean-to kitchen fireplace.  It was one of the most popular dishes served during the holidays in 18th and 19th century New England.  Marlborough pudding is actually an apple custard pie (the term "pudding " often referred to a one crust pie such as our pumpkin pie.)  Recipes for Marlborough pudding appear in several early American cookbooks."

2 large apples, pureed
or 3/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sherry

6 tablespoons melted butter 

1 teaspoons nutmeg
or just grate some nutmeg, I never measure

4 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

juice of 1 lemon

1 pie crust, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350F.
Stew apples until very tender -- push through fine sieve (or food mill) to make puree, or just mash thoroughly.
Mix together 3/4 cup apple puree, sugar, sherry, butter, eggs, heavy cream, lemon juice, & nutmeg.
Pour apple mixture into the pie plate with the unbaked pastry.
Bake about one hour or until set -- knife inserted in center comes out fairly clean. Cool before serving.
Whipped cream is a nice touch for serving.

Pate Brisee - Pie Crust

When making a pie, the most important thing you have to get right is the crust. Now I'm not saying that that's the only thing you need to get right, but it's really crucial.  But in my world, if you have a good crust and then you put something like a boxed pudding mix into it, then you are still a bit behind.  This recipe makes either two or three crusts, depending on what you are doing.

2 cups flour
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces, cold
3 tbls shortening
1/4 cup iced water

Put the flour and salt into a medium sized sturdy bowl and stir up.  Add the butter and shortening and using a party blender, or your fingers and a fork mix until it looks like cornmeal. You can also use a food processor using short bursts.  It should look like coarse cornmeal when you are done.

Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and stir together with a fork or a few short bursts with the processor. Don’t over mix at this point. If you were using the processor, dump out the crumbly looking mixture into a mixing bowl. Then, using the palms of your hands and fingers, compress the mixture into a nice smooth consistency. Resist the urge to add more water. It will mix right up.

Divide in half, and wrap each half in a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten into nice compact discs, about six inches across. Chill for about 15 to 30 minutes before rolling out. If it’s too cold when you finally get to it, let it warm up a bit so you can roll it. Sometimes I divide the mixture into three discs, which produces thinner crusts.

To roll out the crusts, get the chilled disc completely well dusted in flour. Then place onto a piece of waxed paper for rolling. I use a french rolling pin. Roll the dough starting at the center and then rotating around. Then roll gently at the edges to smooth it all out. Turn the crust using the waxed paper. If a hole develops gently coax it closed, even maybe use your fingers.

To transfer the rolled out crust to the pie plate place your hand under the waxed paper with the crust on it, lift up and turn it over onto the plate and gently coax the dough into the pie plate. Then with quick gentle tugs, pull the paper loose. At this point, if there is going to be a top crust, as in an apple pie, I add the filling, then roll out the top crust and place it on top, and then I crimp it and trim it.
I always roll out the crusts as thin as is reasonable. I don’t like a thick crust. Also, I never use a metal pie plate because it really lacks class at the table and I am not convinced it cooks as nicely.

The reason I use the shortening in the crust is to ensure that it doesn’t shrink oddly on me, but it is also just fine to use all butter, either omitting the shortening and adding more butter or not.

Banana Rum Cake

This was originally a banana bread recipe. But I wasn’t paying proper attention, and so it turned out more like a cake than a bread. I added more banana than the bread called for (40 grams more), and I think my eggs were bigger. I always use a scale when baking, so that made following the British directions easy.

100g sultanas (golden raisins)

75ml dark rum
 (5 tablespoons or a scant 1/3 cup)
175g flour
 (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

125g unsalted butter, melted
 (4 1/2 ounces - that's a bit more than a stick of butter)
150g sugar

2 large eggs

4 small, very ripe bananas (about 340g weighed without skin), smashed

chopped pecans

2 small bundt pans, buttered and floured

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and get started on the rest, getting the pans ready first. 
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. 

Beat in the smashed bananas, then the eggs one at a time. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the pecans, sultanas and rum. Add the flour mixture and stir well, but not furiously. 

Spoon into the bundt pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes. When they're ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish.

I think a good addition to this cake would be a syrup poured over it. Perhaps in the microwave heat up 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons rum. Poke little holes in the cake, then slowly spoon the syrup all over the cake.

Now if you just want to make one small bundt cake, here's the ingredients

50g sultanas (golden raisins)

2-3 tablespoons dark rum

88g flour
 (about 2/3 cup)
1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

63g unsalted butter, melted
 (a bit more than a half stick of butter)
75g sugar

1 large eggs

2 small, very ripe bananas (about 170g weighed without skin), smashed

30g chopped pecans

I know that for some people my giving the measurements by weight is a pain, but my suggestion is that you might really like having a scale. The electronic ones all give imperial and metric weights, and it makes being accurate so much easier.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lemon Raspberry Gateau

This cake came from a book of desserts by Pierre Hermes, a famous Paris pastry chef. It is called Ligurian because Hermes used Ligurian olive oil. I did not have that, nor was it available, so I used light extra-virgin olive oil.
For the cake

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk, room temp
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint of fresh raspberries

for the meringue icing

1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 10 inch spring-form pan, and dust with flour.
Combine the flour and baking soda and set aside.
In large mixing bowl or electric mixer place sugar and lemon zest and rub together until sugar is moist. Then, using the whisk attachment beat in the eggs on medium high until the mixture is pale and thick, about 3 minutes.
With the mixer on lowest speed, add the milk, then the flour, beating just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, melted butter, and olive oil, beating until blended.
Pour about one third of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out to cover.
Carefully place the berries on the batter, then carefully spoon on the remaining batter, and gently smooth out.
Bake until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 30 to 33 minutes.
When the cake is cooled it is ready to serve. This point is a good time to add the meringue if desired.
Preheat oven to about 400 degrees.
Put the egg white and sugar into a small electric mixing bowl and beat on high until nice and white and fluffy.
Spoon the meringue onto the cake and bake for about five minutes.
garnish the cake with raspberries if desired.

Variation: I think I'm going to try this cake with blueberries.

Russian Apple Cake - Sharlotka

This is a delicious yet wonderfully simple recipe. It always succeeds. I got the basics of the recipe in a Russian cookbook. But the title was Moscow apple cake. I know I’ve tweeked the recipe, but I’m not sure how. I saw a recipe from Volgograd that was very close to mine. The difference was no salt, cinnamon, or lemon. The lemon is my addition, for just incase your apples aren't tart.

3 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1/2 of small lemon, optional
2 to 3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced/sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a flat bundt pan, with spring-form edge.
Put the eggs, sugar, flour, salt, soda and cinnamon into an electric mixing bowl and beat until light in color.
Peel and cored and quarter the apples.
Take each quarter, cut in half the long way, and slice the short way.
Toss apple slices in lemon juice if desired for tartness.
Fold apples into the batter and spoon mixture into the pan.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. This depends on how much apples you have used and how wide your pan is. The cake should spring back when touched if it is done.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Here is a link to a Russian cooking sight for almost the same recipe.
Russian Apple Cake on Foodista

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I’ve noticed that most good cake recipes come from friends. They will have made it for an occasion, and of course they are going to make a good one, and then you like it and ask for the recipe. This one is no exception.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour bundt pan.
Combine the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs.
Add the dry ingredients.
Stir in the zucchini, and then the nuts.
Spoon into the bundt pan, and bake for about 1 hour.
Cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.
When cool, place and serving plate and dust with icing sugar if desired.

Carrot Cake

My mother loves carrot cake. So for occasions which call for a cake for my mother in some way, then I make one. I don’t tend to make the same one over and over, and this one might be the latest one I made. The irony here is that I don’t particularly care for carrot cake, and in particular I don’t like cream cheese frosting.

10 oz all purpose flour (about 2 1/3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup vegetable oil

11 oz peeled and finely grated carrots
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained

1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins, plumped in brandy

Grease, paper, flour and grease two nine inch cake pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the eggs and sugar until light.
Add the oil.
Combine the dry ingredients and add.
Fold in the carrots, pineapple, nuts and raisins.
Spoon into the pans, even out and bake about 45 minutes.
Cake should spring back when poked if done.
Let cool ten minutes and then turn out on to cooling rack.
If desired you may spoon the brandy from the raisins over the cakes.
When completely cooled, ice the cake.

Cream Cheese Icing:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened - do not use low fat or no fat cream cheese, it won't work

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

Beat on high in small bowl of electric mixer.
can be doubled if you want lots of icing

I think this cake would be better covered with whipped cream or a good butter cream. But I know that lots and lots of people like cream cheese icing. Also, I like to spoon a cake syrup over the layers. The syrup I usually do is 1 part water, 1 part sugar, and 1 part rum or brandy or whiskey. Just put it into the microwave a bit to melt the sugar.

Tranche Delicieuse

I don’t know what inspired this cake, but I made it for Riley’s birthday one year.

Chocolate Cake Layer:

3/4 cup cocoa, best quality (60 gr)
1 1/2 cups boiling water

2 cups flour (8 oz)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup butter
scant 2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cocoa and boiling water, mix well and leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10x15 inche baking pan with at least a one inch side with parchment paper. Combine the dry ingredients.

Cream the butter and sugar in electric mixer until nicely combined. Add the eggs and beat until a lovely fluffy pale yellow mixture. With mixer running on a low setting add the dry ingredients alternately with the cocoa mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then carefully lift from the pan and place on a cooling rack.

Orange Almond Layer:

1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg whites

3/4 cup almond meal
1 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
juice of one orange (I used navel)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tsp orange flower water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare the 10x15 inch pan as above.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar and peat until good and firm. Set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients. Beat the egg yolks until fluffy, and then slowly add the oil. Add the almond extract and orange flower water. Then add the dry ingredients alternately with the orange juice. The mixture will seem a bit stiff. Fold in the egg whites.
Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes, and then lift out to a cooling rack.
Simple Syrup for the Orange Almond Cake

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2-4 Tbl brandy (or whatever liquor you like)

Put the water and sugar into a dish
and microwave about a minute.
Stir to dissolve, and then add the brandy.
Poke little holes in the orange almond cake
and spoon the hot syrup all over the cake.
Chocolate Butter Cream:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate

2 1/2 cups icing sugar (10 oz)

In a microwavable bowl, put the semi-sweet chocolate, butter and cream, and place in microwave for about 2 minutes. After taking out of microwave stir until everything looks melted and well mixed. If not so, put back in microwave for a little bit. When well mixed, add to the icing sugar in an electric mixing bowl and continue to whip until very smooth. It will be runny looking. Just leave the beaters in the mixture, cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator or freezer until very solid, but not frozen.

When the mixture is ready, put the bowl back on the mixer and with a good grip on the bowl, whip until very smooth and spreadable. The mixture will turn from dark brown, to a very pale brown.

Cut the two cakes in half the long way. Find some sort of serving plate to put it on. I put the butter cream mixture between the layers of the cake, alternating chocolate cake and the orange cake. Then put a very light coating all over the cake and put the cake into the refrigerator until ready to be served.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar

Put the whipping cream into an electric mixing bowl, add the beaters and put into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and beat, adding the vanilla and sugar. Make the cream stiff, but not butter. If you like reserve about a cup of whipped cream for piping. With the remainder cover the cake. Then pipe if desired.

This is a huge cake and should easily serve 24 people.

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

I came across this cake at a friend’s house. She did not make it exactly the way I do, but I knew at the time that it was a great cake. It’s an often requested birthday cake, and I made for my oldest daughter’s wedding, as the second cake. Actually I asked a friend to make the layers for me. She is from Denmark. The other friend that I asked to help with the baking is French. My third friend who I consider to be a fabulous baker is German. And my very dear friend from England can make excellent pies. I do not have so may American friends who I consider to be good cooks. But there are two, Lynn Goodwin and Sue (who got remarried and I don’t know her last name). One of them gave me this recipe. I honestly don’t know which one. (I've since learned that it was Lynn who gave me the recipe)

It’s a classic american recipe and has been around a long time. Except all the other recipes put the whipped cream inside, and the butter cream on the outside. I’ve never wanted to do that. I think that the whipped cream would squish out.


1 cup cocoa, best quality (80 gr)
2 cups boiling water

2 1/2 cups flour (11 oz)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup of butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
Chocolate Butter Cream:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate

2 1/2 cups icing sugar (10 oz)

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease, paper, grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans. Stir together the cocoa and boiling water. Set aside to cool. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the cooled cocoa mixture. Mix only until combined. Divide evenly between the three prepared pans, and spread the batter out flat.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool cakes on a wire rack.

Chocolate Butter Cream: In a microwavable bowl, put the semi-sweet chocolate, butter and cream, and place in microwave for about 2 minutes. After taking out of microwave stir until everything looks melted and well mixed. If not so, put back in microwave for a little bit. When well mixed, add to the icing sugar in an electric mixing bowl and continue to whip until very smooth. It will be runny looking. Just leave the beaters in the mixture, cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator or freezer until very solid, but not frozen.

When ready to assemble the cake, put the filling back in the mixer and with a good grip on the bowl, whip until very smooth and spreadable. The mixture will turn from dark brown, to a very pale brown.

I put the butter cream mixture between the layers of the cake and the put a very light coating all over the cake and put the cake into the refrigerator until ready to be served. There will probably be left-over butter cream. It is very good between graham crackers.

Whipped Cream Frosting: Put the whipping cream into an electric mixing bowl, add the beaters and put into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and beat, adding the vanilla and sugar. Make the cream stiff, but not butter.

Get the cake out of the refrigerator and put most of the cream all over the cake, reserving some for piping however you please. Et Voila!

An attempt at order in the midst of chaos

This blog is where I will try and keep my recipes in some semblance of order.  I see other bloggers do such a thing, so maybe I can too. My recipes come mostly from friends, experimentation, the internet, and Betty Crocker. Now I own a great many cook books, so you'd think they would be a terrific inspiration for me. Well I'm still working on the that. Too often they call for things I don't have. But I began cooking from Betty Crock when I was young, and it has always been a very reliable source for good basic food.