Classic Coconut Custard Pie


Coconut-Custard-PieI grew up eating, and loving, coconut custard pie at diners, or the frozen Sara Lee type. In fact, I liked them so much it never occurred to me to try baking one from scratch. But that is what I did yesterday, and I’ll never go back! This is comfort food at its best! Creamy homemade egg custard, and a satisfying stash of coconut. And it’s almost as easy as taking a frozen pie out of the box and putting it in the oven. Almost. If coconut custard pie is on your list of favorite things, try this one! You won’t be disappointed. 

1 9-inch deep-dish pie shell, unbaked
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and vanilla. Whisk in milk, evaporated milk and whipping cream until well combined. Stir in coconut, and pour into pie shell.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until just set in center (look for a VERY slight wiggle in the center 1″ of the pie). Cool on rack, and be sure to refrigerate promptly. Serve chilled.

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Easy and Amazing Christmas Stollen


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This recipe is adapted by me from one found in Bon Appetit nearly 30 years ago. I’ve been making it ever since. Absolutely mouthwatering, and very easy, because you use the food processor to mix the dough. Enjoy!

1/2 cup sugar
2 envelopes dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/3 cups mixed candied fruit (about 1/2 pound)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I use Eden Organic apple-sweetened cranberries … wonderful!)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

3 cups bread flour
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature
2 egg yolks
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. rum

2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast over the water in a small bowl (make sure the bowl is large enough to allow for a LOT of foaming!). Stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine the candied fruits, cranberries, and toasted almonds in a large bowl.

In food processor, combine the flour, remaining sugar, 6 Tbsp. butter, egg yolks, egg, salt, nutmeg and yeast mixture. Blend for five seconds. Combine cream and rum. With machine running, pour cream mixture through feed tube and process for about 20 seconds, until a smooth, resilient dough forms. Add to fruit in bowl, and knead to combine. Cover with a warm, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled, about 2 hours.

Oil a large baking sheet. Punch the dough down and divide it in half. On a well-floured surface, roll each half out to a 10×7 inch oval, with edges slightly thicker than the center. Fold one long side over to 1/2 inch from the opposite side. Transfer to prepared sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. Gently shape each into a crescent. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush stollens with melted butter. Bake until well browned, about 25 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool. Before serving, dust generously with powdered sugar.

* To toast almonds, spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 300 degrees, until just lightly golden. 

Pumpkin Bread


Makes three 9×5 inch loaves, or four 8×4 inch loaves. Make at least one day before serving – it gets better as it sits. While the unadorned bread is classically delicious, you could also add a handful of raisins, dried cranberries, nuts or chocolate chips (or all of them!) to this recipe – it couldn’t hurt! 

1 29-oz. can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp.cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9×5 inch loaf pans (or four 8×4 inch loaf pans).

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir into pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until top springs back lightly when pressed. Let cool completely in pans, then wrap well.

Easy Herbed Chicken


Delicious and easy! My favorite combination! Put this in your CrockPot in the morning and come home to a yummy, comforting meal. The chicken is so tender it falls off the bone and melts in your mouth! 

3 lbs. chicken parts
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine melted butter, whipped cream cheese spread, soy sauce, parsley, basil, sage, thyme, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl until smooth. Spread evenly over chicken parts and cover. Cook until tender, 4 to 6 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low. Serve the juices alongside!

Wonderful with mashed potatoes! 

Serves 4

Honey Cinnamon Cheesecake Pie Squares


Deceptively easy, and incredibly delicious! 

For filling: 

2  (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla (do use the Mexican vanilla if you can get it — it adds a nice nuance to the flavor)

2 (8 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent rolls

For topping:

3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
Honey for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

Unroll one can of the crescent rolls, and lay the dough across the bottom of the dish, pressing seams together and patting out slightly, if necessary, to fill the dish.  Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and lay them over the cream cheese, covering as completely as possible. (Don’t worry if all seams aren’t together … they will come together in the baking.) Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cheesecake.

Bake until the puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle lightly with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

Summer Berry Cake


Here’s a wonderful cake for a summer party. Bake the cake after the sun goes down the night before, let it cool overnight and frost it and add the berries in the morning. This is a substantial cake … almost pound cake-like in texture, and the combination of the vanilla-buttermilk cake, cream cheese icing and tart berries is luscious! 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

1 pt. blueberries, rinsed if needed and throughly dried
1 pt. raspberries, rinsed if needed and thoroughly dried

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper, then butter the parchment. (If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use a non-stick baking spray, but I recommend the parchment!) 

Beat 1 cup unsalted butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Add vanilla extract. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Pour batter in prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter together until light and very fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Beat in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Spread evenly over top of cooled cake in pan.

Arrange the berries over the frosted cake in whatever manner pleases you! Dust with powdered sugar and chill until serving.
Adapted from SmittenKitchen.com … a great site! 

Swedish Apple Pie


What an easy and delicious dessert! The crust is like a big chewy-crunchy cinnamon sugar cookie! 

4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apples with 1 tablespoon of sugar, and pour them into a 9″ pie plate. Thoroughly mix together 1 cup of sugar with the flour, cinnamon, butter, and egg. Spread evenly over the apples, covering completely. Bake 45 – 55 minutes, until apples are cooked topping is golden brown.
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