Friday, November 29, 2013

Blackberry Oyster Cakes

 These are just the loveliest little sweet treats.  They look beautiful on a dessert table.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2 mini muffin tin, sprayed with release
A rolling pin to roll the dough
3 inch round cookie cutter
paring knife

Basic Sweet Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water 

In  a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in slowly through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To sample, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal disc wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

Cake Batter:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 Tablespoon self rising flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. almond extract

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and continue to beat.  When fluffy and well incorporated add flour, ground almonds and extract.  Mix well.  Set aside.

Creamy Frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
few drops vanilla extract

Beat butter until creamy, add confectioner's sugar continue to beat until creamy.  Add extract beat until well incorporated.  Set aside.

6 Tablespoons Blackberry Jam

Assembly of Oyster Cakes:
Roll out pastry dough into 3 inch rounds a total of 16.  Place one round into prepared muffin tins.  Press down gently to form a nice pie crust in each tin. 

Spoon a heaping teaspoonful of prepared cake batter into each muffin cup.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool completely.

With a sharp paring knife, cut around the sponge cake and remove for later.    Spoon 1 teaspoon of blackberry jam on to the bottom of the pastry shell and then pipe out creamy frosting on top of jam. I used a star tip.   Place Sponge cake back on top of frosting.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.  Your done.  They are as cute as can be.  Great for afternoon tea with the girls.  Of course, you can use other jams or lemon curd.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Apple Turnovers

Apple Turnovers
Layers of flaky, buttery crust! Delish!

This recipe comes from my mother’s recipe tin. In my opinion, these are the best turnovers!. The recipes date back to the 1960’s and who knows how old this recipe is.   My mother had a beauty Salon in St. Louis, Missouri. These recipes were passed on to her from her customers. The recipes are representations of home cooking from many different countries. My mom’s customers were German, English, Dutch, Irish, Polish, African, Italian and Greek.
Every Friday night we had a feast in that Salon. These ladies had some of the most intricate hairdos. They really got decked out in those days. I was just a tween, but my love of food started in a Salon. I know that sounds crazy, but these ladies were proud about their dishes and loved to share them. Those Friday nights were the best times in my life. I am sure many of those wonderful ladies have passed away. I moved some 30 years ago and settled in New York. My heart and mind is filled with so much love for that simple time and that recipe tin means so much to me. It is all I have left from that amazing time in my life. I have a little bit of all those wonderful ladies in that tin. Well, this recipe is just as good as those memories and I will be making them all the time. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Apple Turnovers
Recipe: 8 Turnovers
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter (unsalted very cold)
1/2 cup ice water
3 large apples peeled or 4-5 small apples peeled (cut into small dice)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg plus 1 T. water
2T. Coarse raw sugar
Water and 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
Mix with enough water to form a medium consistency glaze.

1. In a medium bowl with pastry blender, combine flour and salt. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with ice water. With fork, mix well. Shape dough into a ball; with lightly floured rolling pin on lightly floured surface, roll into an 18 inch by 8 inch rectangle. Cut 1/4 cup butter into thin slices. Starting at one of the 8 inch sides place butter slices over 2/3 of rectangle to within 1/2 inch of edges. Fold into envelope.
Roll back into 18 inch by 8 inch rectangle and place in fridge

2. Fold unbuttered 1/3 of pastry over middle 1/3; fold opposite end over to make an 8 inch by 6 inch rectangle. Roll dough into an l8inch by 8 inch rectangle (I slide my dough onto a plastic cutting board) and place in fridge for 20 minutes.

3. Take out from fridge, place onto floured board and slice remaining 1/4 cup butter; place slices on dough and fold as in steps 1 and 2; Chill another 20 minutes. Take out from fridge after 20 minutes and fold lengthwise and crosswise and chill for 1 hour.

4. Prepare filling: In a saucepan with spoon, mix diced apples, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently until apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Chill.

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut dough crosswise in half roll into a 12 inch square. Chill the other half of dough. Cut into four 6 inch squares. In cup, beat egg with 1 T. water. Spoon 1/8 of apples into center of square and fold over to make a triangle. Take a fork and press the sides all around each turnover to seal edges. Brush with egg mixture. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Continue the same procedure with remaining dough. Bake for about 20-22 minutes until golden. Cool slightly on rack and drizzle with glaze. Can serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Extra Corny Corn Muffins

I have baked a lot of muffins in my day, but this is my favorite one.  It is just perfect and we love them.  This is why I love baking.  I love trying different ratios of ingredients, and then finally one day comes and you have it just right.  The honey in my opinion makes this muffin. 

Corny Corn Muffins
Recipe by Mama
Preheat oven to 400 degrees than reduce to 350 degrees after 5 minutes than bake for another 15-20 minutes until lightly golden and firm when pressed
Large muffin tins (Texas Size)
Large cupcake liner Makes about 8 to 9 large muffins
* special note if using smaller muffin pan adjust time above
I recommend liners, they do stick to pan

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup corn flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 room temperature eggs
1 stick melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk(can use buttermilk adds a nice flavor)
1 can whole kernel corn (Save 1/4 for topping muffins)

In a large bowl add flour, pinch salt,  sugar, baking powder and whisk.  Add honey, eggs, melted butter, 3/4 of the can of corn and milk and mix well with wooden spoon.  Don't over do it, you do not want a tough batter.  Very important, let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  The thicker the batter, the higher the muffin.  I hate flat muffins!

I use a spring loaded ice cream scooper.  Fill the muffin liner all the way up to the top. Sprinkle a little of the can corn on each muffin.   Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes than reduce temperature to 350 degrees bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and firm when pressed. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Greek Pastitsio

One of my favorite comfort foods is Pas
titsio.  It is Greek comfort food like mac & cheese and mash potatoes & gravy for Americans.  I absolutely love it.  It is definitely stick to your ribs comfort food, but it is so well worth it.  My Greek Mama made this for me as a kid  and now I make it for my munchkin.  This is our family recipe.  Yes, it is a lot of work but that is why it taste so good.  The leftovers or even better the next day.  Enjoy.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 - 50 minutes

10 x 12 pan with at least 2 1/2 inch sides(the higher the better)
Place your baking pan on top of a Cookie Sheet the juices sometimes
leak out.  This little extra precaution keeps your oven clean and happy.

Meat Sauce
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large spanish onion
1 carrot diced
3 large cloves of garlic
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1 (6oz) small can tomato paste
1 (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of white wine
1 tsp. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, add butter and olive oil, saute onion, carrots and garlic until translucent.  Add Italian seasoning, ground meats and saute until meat is all broken up and evenly browned.  Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and white wine.  Add sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir the pot thoroughly.  Cook on medium simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.  Check to make sure you do not burn your sauce.  You should be stirring the pot occasionally through out the cooking time. 

1 pound package of Misko #2 Macaroni found in Greek Grocery Stores
*You can substitute  with ziti pasta
1 Tablespoon of salt for pasta water

4 Tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese or Kefalotyri Cheese (A Greek sharp aged hard cheese)
5 egg whites (save yolks for Creme Bechamel sauce)
Pinch salt and pepper
(Also you will add 1/3 of Bechamel to pasta before layering in baking pan)

In large stock pot filled with boiling water add one Tablespoon of salt to water, boil pasta until tender. Rinse pasta in cold water and drain.  Add pasta back to pot, pour melted butter, grated cheese, pinch salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add egg whites and mix well again.  When bechamel sauce is finished add 1/3 cup or a ladle size to pasta.  I actually use very clean hands and toss pasta gently not to break.

Crema Bechamel Sauce
4 cups room temperature whole milk
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup flour + 1 Tablespoon flour
5 egg yolks beaten
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese or Kefalotyri cheese.
1/4 teaspoon of Grated nutmeg

In a large saute pot, add butter until melted, add flour and using whisk beat until a smooth paste is formed. This is actually called a roux.  Whisk for about a minute.  Slowly add room temperature milk and whisk vigorously.  Continue whisking until Crema is thick and you see the first bubbling on top.  Remove from stove top.  Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a bowl with whisk.  Add a few spoons of hot crema to eggs and beat with whisk immediately.  Your are now tempering your eggs.  Add the beaten eggs into the rest of the crema in pot and whisk vigorously.  Add cheese, nutmeg and whisk again until all of the mixture is incorporated.  Set to the side. 

Extra Nutmeg and Grated Cheese for Topping right before baking

Oil your baking pan with olive oil.  Be generous this is not a low calorie dish.  You will be doing 2 layers of pasta.  Start with your first layer of prepared pasta and flatten down.  Add a generous amount of meat sauce.  You will have a few cups left over of sauce but you can freeze for another day.  I use it for pasta Bolognese just a touch of heavy cream to the sauce.  Then add your second layer of pasta flatten with palm of hand nicely.  Add your crema and using a spatula spread out evenly.  I then grate some extra nutmeg on top and I use about another 1/4 cup of grated cheese on top, as well.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.  Enjoy with a Greek Salad and a glass of red wine. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pecan Sandies

 I don't know about you, but one of my favorite cookies is Keebler's Pecan Sandies.  I found this wonderful recipe on and they are fantastic!  I am thrilled about it and these will be going in my Christmas cookie gift baskets.

Recipe by: All Recipes

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup white sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, vegetable oil, 1 cup white sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in remaining white sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Amish Pumpkin Bread

Amish Pumpkin Bread (Best Ever!!!!!!)

Look no further!  This is the best pumpkin bread I ever had!  It is soul satisfying and absolutely comforting.  I am so excited about this bread.  I will make it forever.  It is so delicious I have made it several times in the past week to give to friends.  I highly recommend this one to all. 

I would serve it for breakfast, brunch or even your Thanksgiving Feast, right next to the corn muffins and milk rolls.  This recipe comes from Amish Country, need I say more.  Try it and I know you will love it as much as I do.  You must be patient and watch that you do not over cook or undercook.  After an hour keep a close eye.  I bake my bread in my oven up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs beaten
1 lb. canned pumpkin
3 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup water
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground clove
1 tsp. each cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg

Mix sugar, oil and eggs together.  Add pumpkin.  Then add dry ingredients and finally water, stirring just until mixed.  Pour batter into two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans or I use a deep dish 10 x 12 disposable aluminum pan (double pan it).  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes.  Do the toothpick test.  The tooth pick will have a little gooeyness on it.  I am not sure if gooeyness is a real word, but I think you get the idea.  Especially good, spread with cream cheese.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mama's Apple Cobbler

I have been making this simple apple cobbler for years.  When apple picking season is here this usually  is served on Sundays after dinner.  Wonderful with homemade vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  Lovely with peaches, pears or berries.  This is one of those family favorites that everyone ask for all the time.  Simple and delicious!

Mama's Apple Cobber
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
9x13 baking ban with 2 inch sides

Part 1
5 to 6 apples peeled, cored and sliced( I use Gala Apples) use a firm apple that holds up to baking
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. butter or margarine (melted and drizzled on top of apples)

Part 2
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 T. clear oil (I use coconut oil melted)

Grease your pan.  In a large bowl place all of part 1 into bowl and toss to mix well.  Place in pan.  Place all of Part 2 in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon and pour on top of apples bake for 30 minutes or until the dough part is cooked through and firm to the touch.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  

VEGAN VERSION:  I do make a vegan version from time to time.  Use margarine or coconut oil instead of butter and substitute rice milk for regular dairy milk 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie
I happen to love Boston Cream Cake. I must admit I never made one before, and was excited to do so. I don't know what took me so long this cake is delicious!!!! I got the recipe from Country Living. I did have to modify the Chocolate Glaze it was too runny. I highly recommend this cake if you are a Boston Cream Lover!

Recipe from Country Living
Ingredients for Cake:
All ingredients should be at room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
.1/2 cup milk

Directions for Cake:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pan. Beat the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, and add the vanilla extract.

2. Stir the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together using a whisk. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat the flour mixture into the butter-egg mixture, adding it in thirds and alternating with the milk. Beat until the batter is smooth.

3. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake on the center shelf of the oven until the the cake tests clean when a skewer is inserted into the center, 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

4. To assemble, split the unmolded cake using a long serrated knife. Spread Vanilla Bean Pudding over the bottom half of the cake and place the top layer over the pudding.  I ran a spatula around the cake to smooth out the oozing vanilla pudding. Pour Chocolate Glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake if desired. I personally like it the way I did it in the pic above.

 Vanilla Bean Pudding for Filling

Ingredients for Pudding
3/4 cup milk
1cup cream
1vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 teaspoon butter

Directions for Pudding
1. Heat the milk, cream, and vanilla bean (with the seeds scraped into the milk) until just
simmering in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Whisk the yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt together and stream the hot milk mixture, while whisking continuously, into the eggs. Return to the pan and cook, while whisking over medium heat, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil.  Immediately transfer to a clean bowl. Pick out and discard vanilla bean. Stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Press plastic wrap against the surface to cover. Chill very well.

Chocolate Glaze for Boston Cream Pie
I recommend some modifications of the glaze: The Country Living recipe was too runny even after cool down. There is about a 1/2 cup left over, which I did not mind, I could use it on top of ice cream.

Ingredients for chocolate glaze
1/2 cup heavy cream (I would use 1/3 cup)
4 ounces chopped dark chocolate (You might have to add a little more to get a slightly thicker consistency)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoon corn syrup (I would use 1 T.)
Directions for Chocolate Glaze
1.  Heat cream to a boil and pour into a medium-size heatproof bowl filled with the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Let sit for 1minute and stir until smooth. Let cool to thicken slightly before glazing cake.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mama's Best Marble Pound Cake

I have to confess this  pound cake recipe has been one of my favorites for a long time (45+ years). My mother has been baking this since I was a child and my Momma is now 78 years young. I know there are many recipes out there for pound cake, but I think this is the best, so why bother searching. I have made several variations like lemon poppy-seed, key lime, red velvet, orange, banana nut, pumpkin, mini chocolate chip, etc. You can use your imagination but this base recipe produces a moist, fine tight crumb.  If you are a fan of Sara Lee's Pound Cake then this one is for you. This pound cake never disappoints.

10-inch non-removable bottom tube pan: generously buttered and flour
Put into a cold oven and then turn your oven on to recommended temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups sifted cake flour (must only use cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs, room temperature
1 T. vanilla extract or  seeds from one vanilla bean
1/2 cup heavy cream (room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
3 oz. dark chocolate melted
3 oz. semi sweet chocolate melted

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and lighter in color. Add each egg one at a time and beat. Continue to cream until well incorporated. Add the sour cream and heavy cream. Continue beating until mixed well. Slowly add cake flour and salt. Add vanilla.

Take 2 1/2 cups of batter and mix in melted chocolate until well incorporated. Add 2/3 of vanilla batter into tube pan. Add chocolate batter and then remaining vanilla batter on top.

Put into a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes and then reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake for another 35+ minutes. Do the toothpick test. Sometimes you might have to add another 10 to 15 minutes of baking time. Cool completely and remove from pan. Sprinkle with powder sugar or drizzle a confectioner's glaze or even chocolate ganache is nice. Enjoy!
Wrap cooled cake with plastic wrap.  Gets better with age.  Stores up to 5 days.  Freezes well.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sour Cream Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

When the leaves are falling and a winter wind comes rolling in, I have pumpkin on my mind.  I can't help it.  I love the smell of pumpkin and spices baking in the oven.  Today is a dark, cozy day perfect for baking.  I am looking forward to eating one of these with a hot cup of coffee.

I got this base recipe when I was in culinary school and I pretty much use this as my go to muffin recipe and change it up with different variations of ingredients.  Enjoy.

Large cupcake tins
Large paper liners
2 large bowls
Wooden spoon
Measuring cups and spoons
Preheat oven to 400 degrees then reduce after 5 minutes

Dry Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 and  1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. clove
pinch salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 stick melted butter, cooled
2 eggs room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk

1 cup chocolate chips, and extra for the top

Directions for Assembly:
In one large bowl add all dry ingredients and whisk to mix everything really well.  In another bowl add all wet ingredients and mix very well.

Add wet ingredients into dry and mix with a wooden spoon.  Bring the batter together but do not over mix.  This makes a tough muffin.

Add chocolate chips.  Let batter rest for 10 minutes.  It will thicken.  This is what you want.  When the muffin batter is thick you will have a high top muffin.

Line your large muffin tins with paper liners.  Fill the batter up to the top of the muffin liner.  Top with extra chips.

Bake in a 400 degree for exactly 5 minutes, reduce oven to 375 degrees, bake for another 15 minutes.  Do the toothpick test.  May need an additional 5 minutes. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Hill Zeppoles

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri by the Hill.  It is an Italian Community that probably has some of the best Italian food around.  I have been living in New York for some 30 + years and we have some mighty fine restaurants in Manhattan, but The Hill will always be my fave!

However, my Momma has been making these Zeppoles since I was a kid and she got this recipe from a Italian customer of hers.  My Momma had a beauty salon for some 20 plus years and many of her amazing recipes were past down from those lovely ladies from the shop. 

3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water, plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
3 eggs(beaten at room temperature)
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
powdered sugar, for dusting

Raspberry Jelly for Filling

In a large bowl Mix the flour and salt with a whisk.

In a bowl add warm water plus 1 Tablespoon sugar and yeast and mix well with a spoon.  Set aside on top of a warm oven to rest for about 5 minutes.  When bubbles form yeast has been activated and ready to use.

Pour yeast mixture, beaten eggs to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon.

When the batter is mixed well, then set the bowl on top of your stove and cover with clear wrap.

After 20 minutes, check the dough for rising, mix again and let rise for another 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, heat the oil to medium heat.

I use a medium size spring loaded ice cream scoop.   Experiment with the first batch to make sure the oil is not too hot.

Remove when golden brown and place on paper bags to absorb the oil.

Place warm Zeppoles in a paper bag with powdered sugar and shake.

You want them full covered with the powdered sugar.  Fill with jelly if desired.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Honey Pear Almond Galette

 Now, I had to do a little research on the subject of Galette. What I found is that a Galette is to the French, as Crostata is to the Italians, but to us Americans it is a Lazy Pie. Somehow, I find that term appealing to me. A Lazy Pie suits me fine. On my quest to find the perfect Lazy Pie, a.k.a. "Galette, " I notice that the Pate' Sucree, a fancy word for pie dough in the French lanuguage is similar to my favorite pie crust. So, I just figured why not use my favorite pie dough recipe from King Arthur Flour. I have never made a pie using this free form technique before. I must confess I am hooked.

Well, a few of my favorite things is frangipane, pastry cream, honey and pears.

I know I will be making Galettes, Lazy Pies, Crostatas or what ever you want to call it for my holiday table, or just because I feel like pie. Anyways, they are unpretentious and a lot of fun to make! It's casual and I think a glass of sweet wine would go quite nicely with my GALETTE. There I said it!

Pie crust: (Pate'  Sucree) recipe from King Arthur Flour
2 cups flour
2 cups unsalted cold butter
Pinch salt
1 T. sugar
1 cold egg

In a food processor; process flour, salt, sugar and butter until you get a fine meal. Add egg continue to process until dough comes together. If you need to add a little bit of cold water for it to form a ball, go ahead but very little at a time. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Enough for two Galettes or several mini Galettes.

5 oz. almond paste
1 T. Honey
2 eggs
4 tsp. corn starch

Blend in food processor until smooth (enough for one Galette)

Microwave Pastry Cream: from Beatrice Ojakangas
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. sugar I used 4 T. sugar
1 1/2 T. corn starch
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
I added a pat of unsalted butter

In a microwave bowl. Add one cup heavy cream, sugar, corn starch and beat with a whisk. Microwave a minute at a time and stir with spoon until mixture looks like thick pudding. Add your egg yolk, vanilla and butter and mix with a fork until well incorporated. Love this method for a quick pastry cream. It is fabulous!
(Enough for 2 Galettes)

2 pears
Peeled and sliced, add one tsp. lemon juice and  one tsp. sugar

Divide dough in half and roll out one round pie crust on parchment paper with a generous dusting of flour, put a round layer of frangipane in middle, put a round layer of pastry cream on top of the frangipane, layer with pears. Bring sides of dough up to form an edge. I used an egg yolk wash and coarse sugar to sprinkle. Transfer Galette with parchment paper on to a cookie sheet.

Will have extra pie dough left (save for another Galette)

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

When cooled. I brushed with a honey glaze. Add toasted almonds and drizzle confectioner's icing.

Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup honey with 2 tsp. almond extract

Confectioner's Icing
1/4 cup of powder sugar, add enough almond extract and a touch of water to make a thin icing and pour on top of Gallette

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chocolate Stout Cake

I actually found this recipe on a blog called, Closet Cooking that I love and had copied it down in the hopes of trying it out one day. The stout beer sounded so intriguing!  Well, here it is and I must say that the beer does add a little something different. I really think the Irish Cream Frosting really compliments this cake very well. I would definitely recommend this cake with a traditional Irish meal.

Chocolate Stout Cake (as posted on Closet Cooking)
(makes 1 cake, 6+ servings)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and let cool a bit.
2. Mix in the stout and cocoa powder.
3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
4. Mix the eggs and sour cream in another large bowl.
5. Mix the stout mixture into the egg mixture.
6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
7. Pour the batter into one or two greased and parchment lined circular cake pan(s).
8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean. If you bake it in a single pan then it should take about 40-50 minutes. If you bake it in two cake pans then it should take about 20-30 minutes. I baked my cake in a 8" pan and it took 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish cream

1. Cream the cream cheese.
2. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar.
3. Slowly mix in the Irish cream.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

Cranberry Scones are perfect for the Holiday table.  You can shape them in triangles, rounds or squares.  I love them for dinner, breakfast or afternoon tea, either way these are fabulous!  Do not over work the dough, this is the secret to a tender scone or biscuit.  Serve these scones with sweet butter and a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce.  Holiday Yummy! 

Cranberry Scones:
by Momma
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cooking sheet lined with parchment and sprayed with release
Large Knife or round cutter
Food Processor

Dry Ingredients:
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
 1 cup dried cranberries
optional 1/2 pecans
Extra Flour for rolling out dough

Wet Ingredients:
2 sticks very cold butter, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups butter milk

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees.
2. In a large capacity Food Processor with metal blade, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar. Process for a few pulses to blend  thoroughly.  Add cranberries and if you have nuts pulse a few times to the size you want them.
3. Place the chunks of  butter in food processor.  Pulse to a meal and butter is well incorporated throughout the dough. 
4. Pour in the buttermilk, and process until dough comes together.  Do not over pulse you do not want a tough dough.
5. On a lightly floured counter, divide the dough in half. Roll or pat each half into a 7-inch round. Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut into triangles or roll out into a rectangle and use biscuit cutter.   Place the scones to the baking sheet on parchment or silpat, setting them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
6. Bake the scones for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Place on cooling racks.  I like to sift powder sugar on top.  These can be served with savory dishes.  They are not overly sweet and I really like them for dinner.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yiayia's Pickled Green Tomatoes

My mother, aka Yiayia is a wonderful gardener and she had a bunch of green tomatoes.  What to do with them?  Searched on the web and found a delightful site called Food in Jars.  This is where I got the recipe and it worked out great.  I had like 10 pounds of green tomatoes, I multiplied Food In Jars recipe by 10.  The recipe below is for a small batch and is the original recipe posted at that site.  
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Yield: Makes 2 12-ounce jars, or 1 pint and one half pint
  • 1 pound green tomatoes, stemmed and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Place the following into the bottom of each hot, ready-for-canning jar:
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed (I also added some celery seed)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Combine vinegar, water and salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Pack green tomato wedges into the jars. Pour brine slowly into the jars. Use a wooden chopstick to remove the air bubbles and add a bit of additional brine if necessary. Wipe rims, apply simmered lids and screw on bands.
  3. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop. When jars are completely cool, remove rings and test seals by grasping the edges of the lid and lifting the jar. If the lids hold fast, the seal is good.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Pickles are good to eat after one week of curing. They are particularly good with sandwiches and stews.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin Harvest Tiramisu

Updated name:

Do you love Tiramisu?  Well, I do.  This is a version that I created through a lot of experimentation and  I love making it in the Fall months.  It is very delicious and will impress at a dinner party.  Can be made 2 days in advance, which is great when entertaining.  This actually gets better with age and my family request this every Thanksgiving.

Creamy Mixture:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 container, mascarpone cheese, do not substitute
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 package Italian Lady Fingers
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. all spice

With a stand mixer, beat egg yolks with sugar until lighter in color, add mascarpone cheese and pumpkin continue to beat.  Add all spices until well incorporated.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Clean your mixing bowl and add egg whites, whip to soft/medium peaks form.  Add half of the egg whites to Cheese/Pumpkin mixture and fold in with a spatula.  Then add remaining amount of egg whites to Cheese/Pumpkin mixture and continue to fold gently as to not deflate this mixture.  

Soaking Liquid:
2 cups water
1 bag cinnamon or spice tea
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (real)
1 tsp. cinnamon
one 1/2 piece of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice or all spice
1/4 cup rum
2 T. bourbon whiskey

Bring water to a boil and add all soaking ingredients except rum and whiskey.  Boil until reduced by 1/3 and slightly thicker.  Then add rum and whiskey.  You do not want to burn of alcohol.  You want that little kick in your tiramisu.

I use a 10x12 aluminium disposable pan but you can use a 9x13 with at least 2 inch sides.  You want to line the bottom of your dish with lady fingers, dipped in Soaking liquid.  Dunk lady fingers one by one, very quickly and let remaining liquid leach out of cookie.  Place on bottom of dish and line one level row.  Spoon half of the cheese/pumpkin mixture over soaked ladyfingers,  smooth out.  Grate some nutmeg on top of this layer with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.  Repeat by soaking more ladyfingers in soaking liquid, place on top of first layer of cheese/pumpkin mixture.  Add remaining cheese mixture on top of last row of lady fingers.  Smooth out and grate again nutmeg and sprinkle pumpkin spice.

I usually whip up some heavy cream with powder sugar, and pipe rosettes on top of my tiramisu for a festive look. Also,  if I am having a special dinner at home,  I will plate this dessert on a dessert plate that has sifted cinnamon on it and a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cinnamon Ginger Glazed Pecans

    Candied Pecans are great chopped up and tossed in a salad with spring-mix greens.  I love them accompanied with cranberries, apples and a champagne vinaigrette.  You can serve them as an appetizer or after dinner with a wonderful cordial. 

The varieties are endless and up to your imagination.  I made mine with cinnamon and ginger, but you can use chili powder, cumin, rosemary, all spice, clove, pumpkin spice, poultry seasoning, etc.  Have fun and experiment.

*Great for the Holidays and gift giving.  They look great in cellophane bag with a festive ribbon. 

1 egg white
1 Tablespoon port wine or water
1 pound shelled pecans

1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger powder

In a bowl whisk egg white with wine or water, until frothy.  Toss in pecans and coat well.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spray with spray release.  In another bowl, toss sugar, salt and spices until combined.  Toss in pecans coated with egg white mixture.  Coat all the pecans evenly with sugar/spice blend.  Place on top of parchment paper on cookie sheet.  Place in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour.  Take out of oven and let cool.  They will harden up.  Break them apart and store in glass container until ready to use.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

Names been changed to

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)
For all of you out there that love phyllo desserts and Greek food, this is King! My heritage is Greek and I love making Greek pastries. These recipes and postings are ones that I want to share with my family and my friends. Galaktouboureko in translation means Milk Pie.
It is a custard based confection, soaked in a simple light, lemon syrup and layers of crisp buttery phyllo.

This is one of the most popular and delicious desserts of Greece. In Astoria, Queens in New York, which has a large Greek community filled with delightful Greek bakeries,restaurants and pastry shops, this dessert is probably number one requested sweet treat. It is a little work,but I promise, if you love custard and sweet phyllo then this one is meant for you. I never really met anyone that
did not love this dessert. It is elegant and really makes a wonderful dessert for a dinner party.

preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 quarts whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup fine semolina flour plus 1Tablespoon
1/4 cup cornstarch
10 large eggs room temperature
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 lb. package phyllo ':;
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter melted

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 slice of a peel of lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place the milk in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, add the corn starch, and the fine semolina to the pot and stir. Increase the heat to medium and whisk constantly for 10 to 12 minutes until thick. Be very careful not to scorch the milk mixture. You must whisk constantly and watch very closely. When thick, add stick melted butter and stir well.

3. In a bowl beat the eggs until fluffy and add the lemon peel. Gradually mix some of the hot mixture in with the eggs to temper, whisking constantly. Then add the egg mixture to the milk/semolina mixture and stir very well.

 4. Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and butter up a 15 by 11 inch baking dish with 2 inch sides using a pastry brush.

5. Next it is time for the phyllo dough. Be sure to have thawed it in the fridge. Directions should be in the package. This step is very important.

6. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom and butter it.

7. Now place a sheet so that it overlaps and hangs over (about 1.5 inches) the bottom edge of the dish, butter profusely. Place sheets so that they overlap the left side, then the right, the top, you get the idea all the while
buttering them so that they don't dry up and rip. Butter the edges of the dish and the corners. If a sheet rips just carefully put another on top.


8. You should use a little less then half of the phyllo on the bottom of the Galaktoboureko, pour the custard. Then carefully flip over the phyllo that hangs over each edge so that it wraps over the custard. Then add the remaining sheets of phyllo on top, buttering each one after you place it just as before. Using your little brush be sure to tuck in the corners. .

9. Cover with a little more butter using your brush and then score with a sharp knife, only cut the top layers of phyllo into squares then diagonally like picture above into triangles. Do not make these incisions too deep, and perforated lines are ok too. Do not cut into the custard. Be-careful!  You must do the scoring it is crucial, do not overlook this step.

10. Sprinkle with a little water and bake for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes until the top turns light, golden brown.
It will be poofy when it comes out of oven and slightly deflate.  Place pan on cooling rack to cool completely.

11. For the Syrup: In a heavy sauce pot, add water, sugar and lemon peel. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes until its a little thick. Add the lemon juice at the end.

12. Remove lemon peel with a fork and pour hot syrup on cold Galaktoboureko. This is important. The Galaktboureko must be completely cooled when hot syrup is poured. Let cool to room temperature, then you can cut all the way through with a sharp knife.

Never cover your Galatoboureko with plastic wrap, just loosely cover with wax paper, otherwise the phyllo will become soggy. Layering the pan with phyllo sheets and butter, pour the custard and fold the overhang of phyllo ontop of the custard. Add more layers of phyllo sheets and butter.  Score with a sharp knife but do not cut to deep. You do not want to go into custard layer.  Sprinkle with a little water and bake for about one hour.

Pour hot syrup on cooled Galaktoboureko.  (this is important syrup must be hot and custard pie must be cool).

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