Saturday, October 31, 2020

Big List of Holiday Foods-Fancy Desserts That Aren't Christmas Cake

 I'm including cakes, pies, and desserts that aren't Christmas cakes or steamed Christmas puddings as I'll do those as a separate list. Instead, these are some "Company" desserts you can enjoy making and devouring all by yourself this year. They're special, but not exclusively holiday fare, in the traditional sense. I will eventually get to main courses, cocktails, veg, etc. But you know me-I love to bake. 

Today's archive photo is from 2013. I was dressed-up to deliver Christmas cookies. 

1) Coffee and Orange Ice Cream
Recipe as it appeared in gourmet magazine, April 1973:

In a large bowl beat 4 egg yolks until they are light and lemon colored. Gradually beat in 2/3 cup sugar, beating until mixture is almost white. Fold in 3 tablespoons instant espresso, dissolved in 2 tablespoons heated orange flavored liquer, and 2 tablespoons orange rind. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3 cups heavy cream until it holds soft peaks. Fold the yolk mixture into the whipped cream. Cover the bowl with foil, and freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Wash the beaters and chill them in the freezer. Beat the partially frozen cream at high speed for 30 seconds, or until it is smooth. Pour into a 1 3/4 quart decorative metal mold rinsed in cold water. Cover with foil and freeze for at least 12 hours. Five minutes before serving, unmold it onto a platter.

OK, here's my take with less potential for food borne illness:

In a heat-proof bowl, combine 3 egg yolks with 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 teaspoons instant coffee, and the grated zest of 4 oranges. Heat until steaming. Whisk into egg/sugar mixture slowly in a stream. return mixture to pan, cook until it registers 175 degrees F. on a thermometer. Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, and chill in an ice water bath until cool. Transfer to a freezer tray for 1 hour. Meanwhile, whip 1 cup of heavy cream keep chilled.

When ice cream is frozen but not solid, beat with a mixer in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to mould, and freeze until firm (mine took about 4 hours). Unmould, decorate, and serve.

For the orange sauce:

1 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream

Combine orange juice and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook, until reduced by half. Remove from heat, stir in cream, and cool. Store in fridge. Makes about 1/2 pint.

2) Mille Feuilles/ Napoleons/ Vanilla Slice (or whatever they call them in your country)

For the puff paste: In a large bowl, sift together 2 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Rub in 2 tablespoons sweet butter until it resembles meal. Add a scant 1/2 cup ice water and incorporate it into the dough. Work the mixture for a few seconds to combine, then form into a ball. Dust the ball with flour. With a knife, cut a deep cross into the centre of the ball and push each quarter outward to form a 4 inch square. Pat the dough smooth, wrap it in plastic, and chill it. Let 3/4 cup sweet butter soften slightly. Knead the butter, squeezing it through the fingers and form it into a rough square. Put it between 2 pieces of wax paper and roll it lightly to form a 4 inch square. Remove the wax paper, dust again with flour and wrap in a clean piece of wax paper. Chill until it is firm, but not hard. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 7 inch square. Lay the chilled butter diagonally in the centre and roll out the visible 4 corners into 4 inch lengths. Fold each strip of dough over the butter completely enclosing it, and turn the dough over. Sprinkle the working surface with flour and turn the dough over. Roll to a rectangle about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. Brush off excess flour and fold the top third over the centre and the bottom third over the top. Turn the folded dough on the board so that an open side is facing you. With the rolling pin, flatten the dough with uniform impressions. Roll the dough away from you to within 1/2 inch of the end. Reverse the strip on the board, flouring as necessary, and again roll away from you to make a rectangle 10 inches long. Do not roll the pin over the ends or the butter will be expelled. Brush off excess flour and fold in three as before. This completes 2 "turns". Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, chill it 30 minutes. Make 2 more turns always starting with the open end toward you. Wrap the paste and chill for at least 30 minutes before using, or up to 2 days. The paste will be given an additional 2 turns before using in the recipe.

To Bake:

Roll puff paste to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into rectangles. Place on buttered baking sheets and bake at 450 degrees F. for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and with a thin knife, carefully split them. If they are still undone in the centre, return them to the oven for a few minutes. Cool on rack.

The filling is also pretty straightforward. I had some tinned apricots in syrup left from a few evenings ago, so I boiled them down to a jam, sieved them through fine mesh and used it for one layer of the dessert. The pastry cream recipe is as follows:

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour (I used Wondra for this because it mixes easier)
2/3 cup scalded whole milk
1/2 teaspoon gelatin softened in 4 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (yeah, that's a lot-adjust to your taste)
1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks until light. Beat in the flour. Meanwhile, have milk heating. Slowly beat the milk into the eggs in stream and return everything to the pan you used for heating the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat, whisk in the softened gelatin, and vanilla. Cover with waxed paper and chill. When cold, fold in the beaten whipped cream.

To assemble:

Make one layer jam, and one layer pastry cream. For the top, either dust with icing sugar, or make a glaze. I can't decorate for my life, but these look OK haphazard decorating aside. At the last, I used the remaining glaze with some cocoa powder beaten in for the contrast. I probably should have been neater, but I'm not that sort of blogger.

3) Empress Rice

You Will Need:

1/2 cup glaceed fruit and 1/4 cup Kirsch set in a bowl to macerate for at least an hour.

1/2 cup rice
Water to cover
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 vanilla bean scrapings

1/3 cup apricot jam, heated and strained
1 tablespoon Kirsch (I omitted this)

4 teaspoons powdered gelatin sprinkled over 1/4 cup water

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk, scalded
A bowl of ice cubes and cold water

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Oil for greasing mould

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In an oven-proof saucepan, blanch the rice in enough water to cover and boil 5 minutes. Drain rice well. Return rice to saucepan and add 1 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, and vanilla bean scrapings .Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Remove and transfer rice to a shallow dish and cool.

In a saucepan, melt the apricot jam and strain through a fine sieve. Mix with kirsch. Strain this into the rice. Add the soaked glace fruit along with the liquid and combine gently.

In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let soften. If you have a microwave, 20 seconds will do a good job of liquefying it right before you use it. It will soften in the custard if you don't, but I find this quick step cuts down on the stirring time and ensures it will dissolve completely (don't worry, the strainer will catch any bits that don't melt).

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and they form a ribbon when beaters are lifted. Slowly, in a thin stream, add the scalded milk, beating as you go. Transfer back to a saucepan and over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon (by "coats" it means, if you drag your finger through the film on the spoon, it will leave a line that does not blend immediately back into itself. You don't want to cook the eggs, but rather heat it enough to kill any bacteria and get it to set as a custard base. Again, don't freak out if a few small bits cook-that is why you strain it before pouring into a bowl. If you've ever made ice cream, this is pretty much the same technique.

Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl (the metal bowl from a stand mixer works great) and set it in a large ice water bath. Stir constantly until it is cool, but not completely cold. Pour the custard into the rice a small amount at a time, mixing gently. Let the mixture cool completely, but do not let it set (in other words, don't put it in the fridge for an hour and forget about it).

Combine the custard and rice with 1 cup of whipped heavy cream and fold carefully combining well.

Grease a large 2 quart mould with a flavourless oil (they suggested sweet almond oil, which I obviously skipped) and pour int the mixture. Cover with plastic and chill at least six hours, or overnight. I left mine a full day.

Run a knife around the mould to loosen, and set it quickly in a pan of hot water. Unmould onto a platter and decorate with sweetened whipped cream, fruit sauce and additional glace fruit. Serves 8

4) Ginger Tea Gelatin

I figured out a way to use fresh ginger with gelatin that doesn't kill the setting properties-soak the ginger in boiling water. I'm sure it wouldn't work if you left it in the actual mould, but this infused with enough flavour that it did the trick.

The squares are not terribly sweet as I am serving them with a five-spice pot de creme (I know, there's a special place in hell for people like me) but you could increase the sweetness by a few tablespoons of honey without much harm.

Photos of the complete dessert later.

You Will Need:

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 cups boiling water
2 tea bags (I used good old Red Rose, because that's what I drink)
5 tablespoons honey
2 packets Knox gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

Soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water by sprinkling it on top in a small bowl and setting aside.

Pour boiling water over ginger and tea and steep five minutes. Stir in the honey. Strain through a fine sieve. Stir the gelatin, and add to the strained tea. Mix well. Pour into a shallow pan (8x10 works well) and chill until solid-mine took about an hour. Cut into squares.

5) Parfaits With Ginger Tea Gelatin and 5 Spice Cream

For the Five Spice Cream:

You Will Need:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter

In a heavy saucepan, mix the five spice powder, cornstarch. egg yolks, salt and sugar. Add the eggs and slowly whisk in the cream and milk. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil one minute longer. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Cover with cling film, poke a few holes in it, and chill before assembling parfaits.

6) Jellied Nesselrode Pudding (nut free)

You Will Need:

2 envelopes unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar (divided)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
1/4 cup each:
currants, raisins, dates
2 tablespoons diced citron
1/2 cup candied green cherries
1/4 cup drained, chopped maraschino cherries

Soak gelatin in water for five minutes to soften. Place milk in top part of a double boiler and scald. Add gelatin, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and salt. Cook until gelatin dissolves (this might take time, so keep whisking). Beat egg yolks in a small bowl and add some of the hot milk mixture to it and mix well. Slowly (and I mean, sloooooowly) add to the milk in double boiler. Keep whisking and cook over boiling water until it thickens (this might take time, but for heaven's sake, watch it or you will be pushing curdled egg through a sieve as I was).

When thickened, place entire bowl into a heatproof larger bowl filled with ice and chill until thickened, stirring every once in a while. Meanwhile, beat your egg whites until they hold sift peaks-then slowly (about a tablespoon at a time) add the sugar and beat until quite stiff.

Into the cooled custard add the extracts and fruit. Fold into the egg whites carefully and pour into a rinsed 1 1/2 quart mould. Chill several hours or overnight. Dip in hot water to unmould. Garnish with fruit and additional whipped cream.

7) 17th Century Rosewater Cheese Tart
You Will Need:

1 shortcrust pastry, blind baked in an 8 inch springform pan

1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sherry
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons rose water
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

When shortcrust is cooled, make filling. In a small pan over low heat, scaled the whipping cream and sherry. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, rose water, spices and salt until blended. Beat in the cream cheese. Note-at this point the cheese may break up funny like it is curdling-that's ok and it will not harm the cake. Slowly add the whipping cream/sherry in a stream while still beating the mixture. Beat until reasonably smooth (you won't get it completely.

At this point the recipe suggests stirring in the currants, but they are only going to drop to the bottom anyway, so wait until you pour the batter and then sprinkle them on top evenly (they will sink in).

Bake on a sheet, for about 1 hour or until a tester off centre comes out clean. You should probably keep an eye on it after 40 minutes. Mine took exactly 55 minutes.

I decorated mine seasonally with pitted dates, candied cherries and sultanas. Cool in pan on a rack completely. Chill well before serving. I made this last night for today and once it was cooled I placed it on the plate and inverted a large bowl over it as a cover. This seemed to work better than waxed paper. I decorated it the next day.

8) Apricot Gateau
You Will Need:

(For the Genoise)
7 eggs at room temperature
1-cup caster sugar
1-¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ cup clarified butter in liquid state, but cooled

Break up the eggs in the sugar and heat in a double boiler over simmering water taking care that the bowl does not touch the water (you don't want to cook the eggs). Heat until warm to the touch, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and with an electric hand mixer, beat on high speed for 15 minutes until it triples in bulk. Add the flour alternating with the clarified butter in very small amounts (a couple tablespoons of flour at a time gently folded but making sure to get everything off the bottom of the bowl). Pour into 2 9 inch pans that have been buttered and lightly floured and bake at 350 degrees f. for 20-25 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Cool on racks.

For the Filling:

2 cups caster sugar
1-cup water
12 apricots, peeled and chopped
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cook the apricots in simmering syrup for about 20 minutes. The syrup should reduce and the apricots break down. You can gently mash them with a potato masher if they are still solid. At this point, remove from heat and add any liquor or flavorings. Remove about ½ cup of the liquid and cool slightly. Slowly in small amounts, dissolve the cornstarch in it and add to the syrup. Do this slowly as you don't want lumps. How much you add will depend on how thick a filling you like. I prefer mine slightly liquid as it thickens considerably as it cools. If you keep it thin it can be used to make ice cream, or as a topping. I'd even consider straining it as mixing it with seltzer water for a nice summertime drink. At any rate, it is always easier to add cornstarch than to thin it back down.

For the frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter
4 tablespoons honey
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar

Blend the butter and honey and add enough sugar to make a spreading consistency. If you mess-up, it can be thinned with milk or cream.

Assemble once layers are cool and decorate as desired. Bring to room temperature before serving (unless it is 100 degrees in the room).

9) Whoopie Pies
You Will Need:

4 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup lard (I used shortening) softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (I used large)
1 1/2 cups soured milk (add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar to milk half an hour before using)


1/3 plus 3 tablespoons AP flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with foil.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and cocoa. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, lard, sugar, and vanilla together until light. beat in eggs one at a time. Adams warns that the mixture may curdle but that it is OK. Mine did not curdle. Add the flour alternating with the soured milk starting and ending with the flour. Blend well, but don't overmix.

Use a 1/4 cup measure for each cookie. Place one in each corner of the sheet and one in the centre. This sounds crazy, but really, these cookies will spread. Try to make them as round as possible. Bake 6 minutes on the centre rack. Rotate pan, then bake an additional 10 minutes or until when pressed lightly on top the indentation springs back. Pull foil off baking sheet and let cool 2 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack lined with wax paper. As the cookies bake and cool, make the filling.

Place the flour in a medium saucepan and slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking until it thickens and boils. Reduce heat to low, cook 2 more minutes until thick. Remove from heat and let cool.

place the butter in a large bowl and beat until slightly softened. Add salt, vanilla, and sugar gradually and beet for 2 minutes. Add the cooked mixture a large spoonful at a time and beat well. When all is added, beat on high speed for 1 minute. It should be smooth, light and fluffy. If it is too loose, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up (mine stayed perfect).

Arrange the cookies in pairs and place a generous 1/4 cup filling on one. Top with second side and press until filling reaches the edge. Chill on plates. When firm, wrap in plastic and store in the fridge or freezer. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes before eating. Makes 15 very large whoopie pies.  

10) Banana Split Cake

You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (I used large)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used the full-fat kind)
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
A few drops of red food colouring
1/2 cup sweetened cocoa mix (I used regular unsweetened cocoa powder)

3/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well. In a small bowl, combine the banana, sour cream, milk and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture in two additions alternating with the banana mixture.

Remove 1 cup of cake batter and fold in the strawberry preserves, and food colouring.

Remove another cup and stir in the cocoa powder.

Pour half of the plain mixture in the bottom of the pan. Top with the strawberry batter making sure to spread it out to the edge. Top with remaining plain mixture, again spreading it to the edge evenly. Top with the chocolate mixture in a ring around the top, but do NOT spread to the edge.

Place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 70 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and tests done with a toothpick. Cool ten minutes in pan on a rack, then carefully unmould onto rack. Cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:

Combine powdered sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add enough milk (about 1 tablespoon) to make a frosting of drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.

11) Mexican Chocolate Cake

ou Will Need:


1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature


10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped fine (I used Baker's German Sweet chocolate)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in a few drops of warm water
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut up
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch x 2 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the water. Stir in the buttermilk.

In a large bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add the flour alternately in three parts with the liquid starting and ending with flour mixture.

Scrape into prepared pan and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove to a rack to cool five minutes in the pan before running a thin knife around the perimeter. Unmould carefully, then turn upright on rack and cool completely.

Make the filling:

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Add the espresso and cinnamon., When steaming, pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute before whisking smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Divide cake carefully into top and bottom. I used a very long knife and a steady hand.

When filling has cooled to room temperature, using an electric mixer on the high setting, beat until light in colour and thickened, but don't beat until dry. Pour a little more than half between the layers and then replace the top. Frost the remaining top and sides of the cake with the extra filling keeping the top as smooth as possible. Set into fridge ten minutes to chill.

Make the glaze:

Set a bowl inside a skillet of just simmering water (I know, strange but it worked). Combine chocolate, corn syrup and butter in bowl. Stir until just smooth. Remove from heat and whisk until completely smooth.

Place the cake atop an upturned large mixing bowl on a baking sheet to catch drips. Pour all the glaze on top of the cake and working quickly, smooth over the sides. Don't overwork the glaze. Transfer to a wire rack set over another baking sheet to cool completely.

I decorated mine with candy, but nits or chocolate covered espresso beans are what Medrich recommends. I had these cute little gingerbread men that looked so nice against the dark chocolate, so I used them.

The cake can be stored at room temperature for a day, or refrigerated for up to two days. Return to room temperature before serving (unless you live at my house where room temperature is around 58 degrees-it was actually warmer outside today than it was in the house).

12) Strawberry Bavarian
There's a story behind my making this that you can readHERE  if you want to. 

You Will Need:

6 egg yolks
¾ cup caster sugar
1-½ cups scalded whole milk
2 tablespoons gelatin softened in 1/3 cup cold water and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups ripe strawberries washed and hulled and put through a food mill.
1 ½ cups chopped strawberries to fold in
1-cup heavy cream
Oil to brush mould
Extra strawberries to garnish

Beat six egg yolks, slowly adding sugar until it is pale and ribbons when beaters are lifted. Slowly (in dribbles, really) pour the scalded milk into the mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer to a saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Do not let it simmer. Remove pan from heat and stir in the gelatin softened in the water and vanilla. Stir the custard until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour it through a sieve into a bowl (you'll be surprised at the tiny bits you get out). Let it cool until it thickens, but do not let it begin to set.

Put the two cups of strawberries through a food mill. Add the diced strawberries. When the custard has cooled, fold in the fruit mixture, combining well. Whip the cream until it holds very stiff peaks. Fold into the custard/fruit mixture.

With a pastry brush, lightly oil the mould and then pour the mixture into it. Cover with foil and let sit at least four hours before unmoulding. All I needed was a thin knife around the perimeter, but you may need to dip it in water for a few seconds to unmould. Garnish with fresh or glaced strawberries.

13)  Crown Jewels Cake
A "cake" made of gelatin.
You Will Need:

3 3 oz. packages of Jell-O in colours you like for the interior

1 3 oz. package of lemon Jell-O for the cream

3 cups boiling water

1 1/2 cups cold water

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup pineapple juice

2 cups whipped cream sweetened to taste

Vanilla (optional)

Day One:

Prepare the three interior flavours of jello using 1 cup hot water and 1/2 cup cold water for each package. Pour into 8 inch pans and chill well overnight.

Cut into cubes with a sharp knife. Remove to a bowl.

Prepare the lemon jello adding the sugar to the powder. In place of the cold water, add the pineapple juice. Chill until slightly thickened.

When jello is slightly thickened, make the whipped cream, sweetening as desired. Fold the gelatin into the whipped cream. Pour into a 9 inch spring form pan and let chill five hours or overnight.

14) Mock Mincemeat and Cranberry Pie

You Will Need:


2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
4-5 tablespoons ice water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in butter. Toss in water a tablespoon at a time until you can gather dough together lightly. Roll out. Unlike many pie crusts, this does not require pre-chilling, but I often do set the bottom in the fridge as I make the filling. It certainly won't hurt it any to do so.

For The Filling:

(about) six firm apples for baking (I used Golden Delicious and Granny Smith with the odd Cameo tossed in)
1 cup raisins (half sultanas if you have them)
1 heaping cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped candied peel (I had grapefruit, lemon and orange)
2 tablespoons chopped crystalised ginger
1/4 cup dried currants
1 tablespoon brandy (or rum if you prefer)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour (I used Wondra, but any finely sifted flour will do)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons butter cut in tiny pieces

Heavy cream
granulated sugar
coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9 inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Make the filling by tossing together the apples, dried fruit, cranberries and brandy. In another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and spices. Mix well. Toss with the fruit. Pour into pie crust and dot with the pieces of butter. Seal with the top crust and then brush it generously with the cream. Sprinkle it with a mixture of fine and coarse sugar for a sparkling, crunchy topping. Pierce the top to vent in several places, or make a hole in the centre. Bake about 40 minutes, or until it looks done. It will bubble over, so remember to place the dish atop a baking sheet-unless you enjoy cleaning the oven in which case, you should come over and clean mine.

15) Sweet Potato Pie
Make pate brisee substituting 1 teaspoon sugar for the salt, and roll it out to an 11 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough in a deep 9 1/2 inch pie plate, crimp the edges, and chill it for 1 hour.

Remove pulp from 5 or 6 baked sweet potatoes and mash it. There should be 2 cups. In a bowl, cream together 1 cup butter, softened and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, the mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup whiskey (I substituted 2 tablespoons brandy) the grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground mace. Pour mixture into the prepared shell. Bake pie in the bottom third of the oven at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and move to centre rack baking another 40-45 minutes, or until set, and the crust is browned. Let pie cool on a rack and dust with confectioner's sugar.

16) Cider (cloudy apple juice-not hard cider) Pie
Blind bake a pie shell. Cool on a rack (I like to slip mine out of the pan to cool-it keeps it from getting soggy, but if your crust is fragile, skip it). Make the filling.

For the filling:

10 tablespoons cornstarch (not a typo)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 cups apple cider

Combine all dry ingredients in a heavy pot and whisk in the cider in a stream. Over medium heat, whisk until dissolved. Increase heat, bring to a boil and switch to a wooden spoon. Cook until mixture is clear, and thick stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Pour filling into a bowl, cover with a piece of buttered wax paper and cool until lukewarm. Return crust to pie plate, fill with filling and chill until firm. Top with sweetened whipped cream.

17) Pumpkin Pie
To Roast Pumpkin (or squash)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pumpkin, cut side down in a large roasting pan with a generous amount of water (about halfway up the pan). Bake until a knife inserted in the flesh comes out cleanly. Cool, scrape out pulp and mash with a potato masher. Cool completely before freezing.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin or squash
1 egg
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 cup cream, heated
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon browned butter
Pinch of salt
1 9 inch unbaked pie shell

Combine all ingredients. Pour into pie crust and bake in a preheated 450 degree F. oven for fifteen minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 for another 45 or until set.

Serve with whipped cream and if you're feeling really decadent, mini-cinnamon chips

18) Cranberry (Mock Cherry) Pie
You Will Need:

Pastry for a double crust pie
1-2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups halved cranberries (this is tedious, so I recommend getting a child to do it. If you don't have one, get a neighbour's child, or I can send you mine)
1/2 cup water
Optional 1/2 tsp almond extract (I omitted this)
Optional-1/2 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large pot, combine the sugar, flour, salt, cranberries ,sultanas, and water. Mix well, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Once it boils, cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat, stir in extract if using. Cool slightly before filling crust.

Cut vents in top crust, brush with cream, and sprinkle with coarse sugar (or just leave it plain, your pie, your rules). Bake (on a sheet, because we don't want to be scraping burnt cranberry sugar off the oven, do we?) 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden, and filling is bubbling up through the vents.

19) Steamed Cranberry Pudding
You Will Need:

-A strong slug of brandy (for you, not the recipe)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 cups cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional-I omitted them)

Hard Sauce (recipe follows at bottom of post)

Begin boiling a kettle of water. Rig up a steamer where the pudding dish can be raised up from the bottom of the pot and a lid still fits over.

Grease a 6 cup ceramic mould.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add, alternating with the milk. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Pour into mould, cover top tightly with foil, and set in steamer. Add water slowly until halfway up the side. Replace lid. Steam for 1 1/2-2 hours (mine took two) until done. Remove from pot and let stand ten minutes before unmoulding carefully. The pudding can be made ahead and then re-heated, wrapped tightly in foil in a 325 degree oven for forty-five minutes. Serve with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce:

1 cup sweet butter

1 cup (you may need as much as two) confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup brandy

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the brandy and salt. Chill well before serving. Makes two cups.

20) Plum Duff

You Will Need:

2 large eggs, beaten well
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups soaked, drained, cut-up prunes
1 cup sifted AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb)

Beat eggs. Mix in brown sugar, butter, and prunes. Sift dry ingredients together, and mix well. Pour into a (very) well buttered pudding mould, and cover tightly. Place on a rack in a large pot or steamer, and surround with water leaving about 3 inches from the top). Cover pot with lid, and steam gently for at least 2 hours.

Carefully remove, and invert on a plate to serve with hard sauce, or whatever you like. Next day-fry leftover pudding slices in a pan full of butter. What? Am I the only person that does this, or am I the only one that admits it?
(it was homemade cranberry juice, not booze)
The old farmhouse! Looks like we were getting the tree set up.