Friday, November 26, 2010

Spiced Molassess Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

After three years of various people trying this spiced molasses pie, it was time for a post update. As it turns out, this pie is a delicious hit with everyone we know. However, it seems there should be two options for different palates. Below, you'll find a recipe for a strong, rich, not-so-sweet pie and a slightly modified recipe for those who prefer a very sweet holiday treat. 

A and I spent Wednesday afternoon making pies and Christmas wreaths. We made the same maple cream custard tart as last year, with no adjustments and no problems. Knowing that others were bringing more traditional pies, we also decided to have fun and make a strong, sugary molasses pie with gingerbread spices. I had a frozen Whole Foods gluten-free pie crust I wanted to use, although this could also be tasty with the almond meal crust we use for the maple cream tart.

After doing some googling, and coming up with a few recipes on forums, we came up with the following.

Option One: Spiced Molasses Pie with Maple Whipped Cream: Strong and Rich
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup white sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
3 eggs (4 if your eggs are small)
1 T vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, ground cloves to taste

Melt 1/2 cup butter, then simmer with 1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses, 1 cup of white sugar, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and slowly beat in 3 eggs, 1 T vanilla, 1/4 tsp. salt, and nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and ground cloves to taste.

Pour filling into an unbaked pie shell and cook at 400 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 25 more minutes.

The molasses taste here will be rich and strong. To soften this a bit, and to make a prettier pie, pipe a thin layer of homemade maple whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream, 3 T maple syrup) over the top. The molasses lovers at your table will really enjoy slivers of the pie, especially with strong coffee or tea. The texture-soft and gooey-is beautiful, as is the color.

Option Two Modification: Spiced Molasses Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream: Sugary Sweet
For those who are entertaining a crowd that loves very sweet desserts, we recommend adding another 1/4 or 1/2 cup of sugar or reducing the molasses by 1/4 cup and replacing with a 1/4 cup of honey. With the sweeter version, we recommend topping with homemade cinnamon whipped cream rather than the maple! (Just add cinnamon to heavy cream prior to whipping.)








Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Easy Angelfood Cake

Again: Used to make all the time. Have terrible memory. Etc etc. Nothing revolutionary here, but if you need a go-to angelfood, this is it.

12 egg whites
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1.5 c sugar, divided
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 c sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp salt

Beat the egg whites & C of T at high speed till foamy. Add 3/4 c of sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating constantly, till sugar is dissolved and egg whites are glossy and hold a peak. Beat in flavorings.

Sift together flour, 3/4 c sugar, and salt. Sift half of this over the beaten egg whites and fold in gently until JUST combined, then do the same with the other half. Bake at 375 in a bundt pan or brownie pan until springy.

(Hmm, looks like my forgotten recipes were 2 cookies, 2 soups, and 3 cakes. Cookies, soup, and cake!? Yes please!!!)

Ridiculous Rum Cake

My friend Jess made me this recipe from her Italian grandmother* who, it turns out, uses yellow cake mix in her baking. Fine by me. I am drooling just remembering it.

1 package yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c water
1/2 c oil
4 eggs
1/2 c white rum

Beat ingredients together for 3 min., pour into lightly greased & floured bundt pan, and bake 50-60 mins at 350.

Sauce:
1 c sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 c water

Cook for 2 mins and add 1/4 c white rum. Loosen center of cake w/knife when cooled, and pour sauce over it while still in the pan.

Good lord. Rummy.

*Or maybe it was her American mother. Either way, bless the woman.

Adzuki Chili

(Note: I make this in my pressure cooker, 'cause I have never once been organized enough to soak any beans overnight.) Adzuki beans are tiny and brick-red and kind of nutty! I love them!

1 cup adzuki beans, soaked overnight then simmered till tender (35 minutes or more) & drained.

4 TB butter
1 large chopped onion or equivalent amount of leeks
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 diced carrot

1 c broth
2 TB whole wheat flour
1 TB paprika
pinch cayenne
Salt & peppah
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB tomato paste + 1 can diced tomatoes

Fresh parsley to garnish

Heat the butter in the bottom of your soup pot and soften the onion in it. Add garlic and carrot and soften these, then stir in the flour and spices. Add the remaining ingredients (broth, soy sauce, tomato stuff), bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, adjust flavors, simmer gently for 20-25 mins, eat.

Rich Cream of Broccoli Soup

I am so glad I found this recipe again; it is getting dang cold and I need a big pot of it in my life. Also, I found it on a printout of an email I sent from my very first email address, which was - get this - s-j-p@excite.com. Seriously! I'm an oldster!

1-2 heads broccoli (or a large bunch of asparagus, or some artichoke hearts...)
4 red potatoes
1 onion
6 cloves garlic

4 TB butter
1/4 c flour
1 egg yolk
2 c milk

Salt & white pepper
Ground coriander
Any variety of mustard
(other possibilities: cardamom, chives, etc etc)

2 c (ish) broth
1 - 2 c grated cheese - 1/2 parmesan, 1/2 gruyere or cheddar

Chop and steam the veggies (you can steam the garlic cloves whole to avoid chopping, or chop finely and add at next step). Once soft, melt 1 TB butter in a deep frying pan and move 'em over there to get truly soft. They can stay on medium-low heat while you make a roux:

Melt 3 TB butter in bottom of soup pot, add flour. Beat the egg yolk in a bowl till foamy, add milk, then pour this into the soup pot once flour is golden and starting to bubble. Add spices and mustard. Cook, stirring frequently, till it thickens.

When veggies are quite soft, mash with potato masher, removing un-masheable bits (especially of onion.) Or toss them in the food processor, but don't over-process - you want some small chunks. Add these and the right amount of broth, then melt in the cheese, adjust spices, and simmer together.

Lentil Cookies (emphasis on "COOKIES")

Never has virtue tasted so good. This was an Alton Brown recipe, I think. (His measurements are in ounces with approximations of volume, of course. I just use the volumes.)

2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp allspice

1 c sugar
3/4 c butter (@ room temp)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 c lentil puree (= 2/3 cup dry lentils simmer for 30-40 minutes in 2 c water, pureed, and cooled)

1 c rolled oats
1 c each unsweetened coconut and dried fruit (I left these out but finely chopped dried cherries would probably be amazing)

Cream sugar and butter. Add (1) egg, then (2) vanilla and lentil puree until just combined. Mix the dry stuff (flour, bp, salt, spices) in a separate bowl, then add gradually. Stir in oats, fruit, and coconut. Drop 2-tsp sized balls onto parchment paper and bake for 15-17 mins at 375.

Lemon Cookies

When I went digging back through my dog-eared pile of paper recipes to find the Apricot Spice Cake, I dug out quite a few more that I'd completely forgotten about thanks to the internet. They need to be on this blog or I'll never remember to make them again. So brace yourselves.

For starters, these sweet, cake-like, sunny little guys are my favorite thing on the tray of Christmas cookies my (our!) mom's best friend brings over every year. Last year I finally wrote down the recipe:

1/2 c butter, softened
1 c sour cream
1.5 c sugar
2 eggs
.5 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp vanilla (or 1/2 of vanilla and 1/2 of lemon extract)

Cream the sugar & butter. Mix in sour cream, then eggs & extract. Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the wet.

Chill for one hour, then drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper, and bake for 8 minutes at 400.

Frosting:
3 TB melted butter
3 TB milk
2 tsp lemon extract
Yellow food coloring
3 c powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients but the sugar, then add it gradually. Frost while warm.

(PS - if you can't has teh gluten, perhaps these little guys will suit your fancy?)

Apricot Spice Cake

This used to be my go-to dessert in college and law school, but I'd completely forgotten about it until I tried making Deb's Spiced Applesauce Cake. The cake was good, but rather dense and not as moist and spicy as I wanted. Clearly, somewhere in my mind, there was already a "Spice Cake" archetype lurking... and suddenly I remembered scouring the shelves of a Brooklyn bodega for apricot baby food:

Dry:
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (make the teaspoons of spices generous)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
.5 tsp baking powder

Wet:
1 c veg oil
1 jar (1/2 cup) apricot baby food
1/2 cup mashed canned apricots & juice (leave some chunks)
3 eggs

Mix together dry, add wet, and bake at 350 in a brownie pan. (Can't remember how long.) Top with cream cheese frosting.

I originally begged this recipe out of the mother of a childhood friend who would make it specifically for me... it may very well be the first thing I baked. I guess I can thank the applesauce cake for bringing me back to it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Persimmon Rice, Pile Of

(Whenever they served Rice Pilaf in our college cafeteria, that's what Kay - the same person who sent me this recipe, actually - would call it. Giggle, giggle, snort!!)

The best thing about this dish was how it made my apartment smell - the fragrance of shallots, ginger, and cinnamon together in the rice cooker had me walking around taking big sniffs of air like a weirdo. It was plenty tasty as well, though it couldn't quite unseat this in the annals of delicious sweet-savory Piles Of.

Basic recipe here, though I strongly recommend adding something for crunch as I do below.

Ingredients:
1. 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot (+ olive oil)
2. 1 TB fresh grated ginger

3. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
4. 1 cup white long-grain rice + broth to cook it in

5. 3 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled & chopped
6. 1/2 cup well-chopped cilantro
7. 1/2 cup pepitas
8. Lemon juice to taste (go generous!)
9. S&P to taste

Sautee 1&2 in the bottom of your saucepan (or better, rice cooker). Add 3-4, and cook the rice. Toss in 5-9 at the end. The NYT is right: Fuyu persimmons are like extra-cheery tomatoes .

And finally, A Brief And Rapid Overview Of Other Things I Have Recently Cooked:

Soup,

then more soup,

then a stirfry flavored kind of like this with the leftover ingredients from the second soup,

then a Spiced Applesauce cake,

then 3 kinds of cookies in a single Sunday, all from Smitten Kitchen:
Key Lime Meltaways (my favorite and SUPER easy)
Hazelnut Thumbprints (crowd favorite)
Green Tea Shortbread (cute and green but not tea-flavored enough - maybe my matcha was inferior?)

oh and at some point, in a fit of using up farmer's market proceeds, roasted beets & carrots one night and risotto the next.

It's been a nice repeat-recipe rut, but thanks Kay and persimmons for getting me out of it!