Monday, March 20, 2006

Cardamom Rolls

This recipe uses the same basic dough in the coffecake ring, with the addition of two teaspoons cardamom.

You will need:

3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
about 5 cups sifted all purpose flour

Proof the yeast with water in a small bowl and set aside. Combine milk, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the proofed yeast. Add the eggs and shortening. In two additions, add the flour and knead until smooth adding more if too sticky. Place in a greased bowl and cover for 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and let rise another 30-45 minutes until almost doubled. Divide into 2 dozen rolls. Let rest for 15 minutes covered on a board. Grease a pan and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Let rise another 15 minutes. When light, brush the tops of rolls with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden (about 12-15 minutes depending on size).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Poppyseed Strudel

I used poppyseed filling from a tin to which I added the grated rind of two lemons. I think that is a pretty good balance. At the end of the recipe I will also include a recipe for apple raisin filling.

You will need:

1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup warm water
1 stick melted butter(unsalted)

Sift the flour with the salt and set aside. Mix the egg with the water and slowly add to the dough. You may need another 1/4 cup water depending on conditions. Work the dough on a floured board until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Cover with bowl and let rest for 25minutes.

Cover a table with a sheet and lightly flour it.

Roll out the dough as thin as possible and then begin stretching the dough until it is 1 yard all round. Cut away the thick edges and save for repairing tears if needed. Brush lightly with butter to keep from drying out. For the poppyseed filling, place in a line at one edge of the dough and then lift and fold the entire sheet over it. Continue rolling. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with more butter, and sprinkle very lightly with water.Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, then brush again with butter. Lower heat to 350 degrees F. and bake another ten minutes or until brown. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Apple Variation:
8 cups chopped apples
1 1/2 cup raisins that have been plumped in hot water and well drained
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter

sprinkle apples over the entire surface. Sprinkle on the raisins. Mix lemon rind with sugar and bread crumbs and melted butter. Spread over apples. Roll up by folding the dough once over on itself and then continuing to roll as above.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This is the only shortbread recipe I've even been successful with, and it is the simplest.

You will need:
(makes about 32 wedges)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 egg yolk

Mix the first three ingredients together using your hands. Add the egg yolk and really work and knead the dough. Divide it in fourths and continue to work each until smooth (this takes some wrist strength). Form into 4 rounds and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into wedges and prick with a fork. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet in a pre-heated 300 degree oven. It will take at least 30 minutes, and likely more depending on your oven. The tops will not brown, but the bottoms and edges will. I'd check in three minute increments after thirty minutes. It may take as much as an additional fifteen minutes, but best to stand nearby in the event they suddenly begin to burn. They will be quite soft and should carefully be removed to a rack to cool.

White Bread

This is a very good, solid white bread that freezes well, and will hold up for a few days after thawing. Stale, it makes excellent bread crumbs, croutons, or bread pudding. This is the standard bread I bake at the beginning of the week, and usually by the weekend, they are both used.

To do this right, you really need good loaf pans. By good, I mean heavy-of the sort one finds in commercial baking stores. It is worth investing the money in two good metal pans (I do not care for the way crust develops in glass) rather than cheap ones that won't withstand a few years of use. Mine are going on twelve years old and still perform like new.

Conversely, for scalding milk, I prefer a cheap, aluminum pan which does the job quickly and efficiently.

You will need: (makes two loaves)

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups milk, scalded
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-6 cups bread flour (more if using all purpose flour)
*variation-for a wheaten loaf, replace two cups of flour with whole wheat

Sprinkle the yeast into warm water. Let stand for a minute, then stir to dissolve and set aside. Scald the milk(Stand right next to the stove because the moment you turn your back for a second, it will boil over) and pour over the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Let cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast, and three cups of the flour to begin with. Depending on conditions and type of flour used, the amount of flour the mixture will take varies. Knead until smooth and no longer sticky, but take care not to add too much flour as you work or the dough will become tough.

Place bread in a buttered bowl, turn once and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Grease two 9x5x3 pans very well with butter (don't use spray). Shape into two loaves and cover again with a towel, letting them rise for another 45 minutes or until doubled. Set in a pre-heated 400 degree oven on the centre shelf and bake 35-40 minutes until they sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with knuckles. Cool out of pans on a rack.

To freeze: wrap cooled loaf in wax paper and then wrap tightly with plastic. I find this does a better job than freezer bags.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cinnamon Raisin Coffee Ring

To do this cake correctly, a good pair of kitchen shears is a must.

For the Dough:
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs
1/2 cup soft shortening
4 1/2-5 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup of plumped, drained raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar

Milk for brushing

1 cup confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons water or milk.

In a small bowl, proof the yeast in the water and let stand. Combine in a large mixing bowl, milk, sugar and salt. When yeast has proofed, add to bowl. Stir in the eggs and shortening. In two additions, mix in the flour, until the dough is wet, but not too sticky to work with. You may need more or less depending upon conditions. Place the worked dough in a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic and a towel and let rise 1 1/2-2 hours until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and let rise a second time until ALMOST doubled in bulk (about 35-40 minutes).

Roll out the dough into a 9x18 oblong. Spread with softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. Arrange raisins evenly. Roll up from the wide side as tightly as possible. Pinch the edges together and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Form into a ring. Using good scissors, make cuts in the ring at 1 inch intervals. Cut about 2/3 of the way through the ring, taking care not to cut too far. Turn each section on it's side carefully and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes depending on oven. About a minute before it finishes, brush with milk and return to the oven.

Glaze while still warm.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Apple Fritters

I made these for breakfast this morning. From start to finish it was about half an hour. Recipe makes about five or six large fritters or a dozen small.

1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups diced and peeled apples

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat egg and add milk. Add the chopped apples to batter and mix. Drop by spoonfuls into hot fat in a heavy pan. Fry until brown on both sides. Drain on a rack over a pan (I find that paper towels just make things soggy).

To Glaze:
Mix 1/3 cup boiling water with 1 cup confectioners sugar. Glaze the fritters while still on cooling rack.

This basic recipe came from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens, Good and Pellman-though I made a few changes such as the addition of spice and glaze.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pizza-Crust & Sauce Recipe

Unless you're from Boston, where we call sauce "gravy."

Making spaghetti sauce is not an exact science, and there is quite a bit of room for improvisation. This is how I make mine, but a few additions or omissions to taste will personalise it to your liking. Think of this as a sort of template. I tend to make it in large quantities to freeze so I have it on hand when needed. I also don't add sugar, as I think the carrots add a good deal of sweetness. I don't use green pepper because my husband hates it and it does not freeze well, but if you like it, add about halfway through the cooking.

For Sauce:

2 large tins(28 oz) of crushed Italian seasoned tomatoes (I buy the store brand).
2 small tins of tomato sauce (low sodium is best if you can find it).
2 small tins of tomato paste
2 tablespoons crushed, dried oregano
2 tablespoons crushed, dried basil
5 large cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
3 large onions, thinly sliced
olive oil for sauteing
5-6 carrots (depending on size) peeled and cut into matchsticks
3-4 tablespoons of caperberries
1/2 cup chopped oil cured olives
2 small jars marinated artichoke hearts(drained and chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic and carrots in a good quantity of olive oil over low heat until soft but not browned. Add everything EXCEPT the capers, olives and artichoke hearts, and simmer for at LEAST two hours. The idea is to let it cook down slowly. In the last half hour of cooking, add the withheld items.

For the Dough:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of both dried oregano and basil
3 cups all purpose flour (use about two cups if using bread flour)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, salt sugar and water. Let proof 15 minutes. Add flour gradually. Depending on the humidity in the air, it may take more or less flour. It is easier to add, so go slow. Work dough until smooth. Place in oiled bowl and let rise one hour. Punch down and let rise again for fifteen minutes. Roll out, and place on a heavy baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Top as desired and bake in a hot oven (about 425 degrees F.) for fifteen minutes or until cheese is browned.
This dough recipe also rolls out well to make four good sized calzones.


For the pizza pictured, I used carmelised onions and kalamata olives along with a 50/50 mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. If using the sauce for a base, it already has carrots, artichoke hearts, capers etc. in it-so there isn't a need to over-do toppings. I also like to bury the toppings between layers of cheese so the onions don't burn.

Maple Sugar Pie

This pie is simple to make. I recommend using a heavy pan for mixing, and a good, professional quality whisk-it makes the job much easier.

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soft butter

Mix well and press into 9 inch pie plate. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree F. oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool before filling.

For the Pie:

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup maple syrup
3 egg yolks, beaten(keep in a large bowl)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large, heavy pot. Gradually add the milk and syrup. Whisking briskly and constantly, keep mixture moving until it thickens and boils. Gradually add the mixture to the eggs. Replace it in the original pot and return to heat cooking over low heat and whisking until the mixture becomes very thick. Stir in the butter and extract. Cool slightly before pouring into prepared crust. Chill. When cool, top with whipped cream.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


So you've made a pie, but still have a bit of dough left over-what to do?

Try rolling it out, spreading a mixture of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on it. Roll it up, and cut into slices. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes until browned.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Apple Pie With Dried Cherries and Crystalised Ginger

Here's a simple apple pie that gets an extra kick from dried cherries and crystalised ginger.

You'll Need:

6 Cups of peeled, sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dried cherries
4-5 hunks of crystalised ginger-chopped small
3 Tablespoons water
Two Crust Pie Shell (unbaked)
Milk and sugar for brushing top of pie
Egg white for brushing inside of pie

For the Crust:

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Crisco
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar

Cut shortening into flour and salt. Combine the rest, and add to flour. Let rest a few minutes before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place bottom pie crust in a 9 inch pan. Brush the bottom lightly with egg white (this will help ensure it cuts neatly). Place the apples, cherries and ginger in the crust. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and water. Stir until smooth and pour over apples. Cover with top crust. Brush top with milk or cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake at 375 for one hour, covering with foil if edges begin to burn.


This Poundcake is uncharacteristically light and moist. I had very good luck with it, but I used a stand mixer. I would not try beating this batter by hand.

You'll Need:

1 Cup Soft Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 large Eggs
2 Cups sifted Cake Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Pre-heat oven to 300 Degrees F.

Grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Beat for a good five-ten minutes until fluffy. Add the juice and zest. Beat the eggs in one at a time, giving about a minute between eggs for beating. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the mixture all at once. Beat until smooth. Pour into pan and place in the centre rack of the oven for about an hour and a half. Keep checking after an hour by inserting a toothpick into the centre of cake. Cool well before slicing.

Cream Puffs

As you can see, my son Danny is intrigued by the giant cream puff before him. It was simple enough to make. This recipe is for approximately eight good sized puffs.

You'll Need:

1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sifted All Purpose Flour
4 Eggs
Whipped Cream

For the Whipped Cream:
3 Cups Whipping Cream
3 Tablespoons Powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
(optional) 2 Tablespoons Cocoa powder (I like Droste).
Whip together until stiff.

Mix together in a saucepan the water and butter. Bring to a boil. Stir in the cup of flour. Working quickly, keep stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool in a bowl (porcelain cools quickest).

When cool, beat in eggs one as a time (a mixer works well for this) and beat until very smooth. Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven about 45-60 minutes depending on size, until dry. Don't rush them.

Cool slowly in a draft-free place for a couple hours. Cut them apart carefully with a sharp knife and remove any of the gummy filaments that are inside. This is normal, and does not mean they are underbaked. Fill with whipped cream and chill well before serving.

Banana Cream Pie

Plan ahead to make this pie, as it requires a good deal of cooling time between steps.

You'll Need:

Baked 9 inch Pie Crust

2/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon flour
3 cups milk
3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
3 Bananas
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

3 Cups whipped Cream

In a heavy saucepan that distributes heat well (or use a trivet if you have one) mix the sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour-gradually adding milk. Cook over moderate heat until mixture thickens and boils. Allow to boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Slowly stir half of the mixture into the egg yolks. Then blend it back into the hot mixture in the pan. Boil for another minute-stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Blend in the butter and vanilla.

In a cooled, baked pie crust, cut bananas into a layer about 1/2 inch deep. Pour mixture over and let cool. Then chill thoroughly for at least two hours, before topping with whipped cream and coconut flakes.

To Whip Cream:
Beat 3 cups whipping cream with 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Shoo Fly Pie

This is a simple and fun pie to make. I would use the mildest molasses available, but that is my particular taste as I find some to be a bit challenging.

1 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Crisco
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar

-Work together with pastry cutter until crumbly. Remove half and set aside.

Bottom of Pie:
-1 Egg slightly beaten
-1 Cup Molasses
-1 Cup boiling water
-1 Teaspoon baking soda
-1 Nine inch pie shell

-3 Cups Flour
-1 Teaspoon Salt
-1 1/4 cup Crisco
-1 Egg, beaten
-1/3 cup cold water
-1 Tablespoon vinegar

Mix flour and salt. Cut in crisco. Combine egg, water and vinegar-stir into flour mixture and let stand before rolling out.

To half of crumb mixture add egg and molasses. Add 3/4 cup of the boiling water. Dissolve the soda in remaining 1/4 cup water and add last. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 40-45 minutes.

Recipe from:
Amish and Mennonite Kitchens by,
Phyllis Pellman Good and Rachel Thomas Pellman 1984

Lamb Pot Pie

This is a recipe for a day when you have time to devote to cooking.


-8 good sized, meaty neck bones (rib bones will work as well, but you'll need about 24)
-Flour for dredging
-Oil for browning
-3 Large onions-quartered
-5 Garlic cloves-crushed
-4-5 Bay leaves
-2-3 tablespoons Cumin (depending on taste)
-2 Tablespoons dried mint
-5 Large Carrots, hunked
-Small Turnip hunked
-Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Cups water

Reserve the following for later;
2-3 small red potatoes-boiled and quartered
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/2 cup lima beans

For The Pie Crust:

-3 Cups Flour
-1 Teaspoon Salt
-1 1/4 Cups Vegetable Shortening (I use Crisco)
1 Egg Beaten
1/3 Cup Cold Water
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Egg yolk to brush top before baking

Mix flour and salt.Cut in shortening. Combine the rest and stir into flour/shortening mixture. Let stand a few minutes before rolling out.

Dredge the neck bones in flour.
In a large, heavy bottomed pan (enameled dutch ovens work well for this) brown over medium heat in a bit of oil. Remove to plate as they finish. Into the fat, drop the onions, garlic, turnips and carrots to saute for a few minutes. Turn heat to low, and return lamb to pt along with spices and water. Bring rapidly to a boil, and then bring down to a very low simmer (just breaking bubbles on the surface). Cover, and cook for a total of four hours, checking hourly and stirring. You may need to replenish water as it cooks down into gravy, but don't use too much.

When meat is tender (about four hours), remove to a cutting board and let cool slightly before removing meat(or you'll burn your fingers). Do this carefully as there are small bones in the neck pieces. Set the meat aside. Drain the gravy through a strainer and remove pieces of onion, garlic, carrots and turnip-set aside. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Combine vegetables and meat in a bowl and set in the ice-box. Reserve gravy (a measuring cup works well) and keep cool as well.

Assemble pie crust. Mix gravy into filling mixture and reserved potatoes, peas and lima beans. Use only enough to moisten (not drown) the filling. Cover with top crust, brush with egg yolk. Make cuts to vent pie and bake on the centre rack of a 350 degree F. oven for approximately an hour, checking every few minutes after the first half hour. Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Daily Cooking Diary

I'm re-vamping the format of this blog. Each post will now feature a recipe and photograph of what I prepare on a particular day.