Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake Redux

I decided to try again. This time I used the recipe from the Cooking for American Homemakers circa 1947. Once again, the cake rose beautifully and looked amazing...until it was inverted. It flattened out. But, I had seen individual pineapple upside down cakes at a bakery that were just as flat. So, at this point, I am assuming that it is supposed to be that way.

If you look very closely, you can see that the one in the photo from the cookbook is a bit flat.

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Yes, I know that it is hard to tell. But it's the best that I could do.

I do consider this cookbook a treasure.

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I cannot testify the taste of this one, however, because it is going to church tomorrow. I'll find out then.

ETA: It just occurred to me that I had not posted the recipe. Here it is:

1/2 cup butter
1 c brown sugar
1 No. 2 can sliced pineapple
2 tbs large whole pecans
1 c sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs separated
1 c granulated sugar
5 tbs pineapple juice

Melt butter in large baking pan. Spread brown sugar evenly over pan and arrange pineapple slices on sugar, filling in spaces with pecans. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Beat egg yolks until light and fluffy; gradually add sugar. Add pineapple juice and flour mixture; fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour batter over pineapple. Bake in moderate (375 degree) oven 30 to 35 minutes. Turn upside down on cake plate. Serve with whipped cream if desired. (9" x 9") cake serves 8.

My notes: I used my 10" iron skillet and instead of pecans, I used maraschino cherries cut in half, about 9.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Liquid Gold

The local Piggly Wiggly had chicken leg quarters on sale for thirty-nine cents per pound. I don't eat chicken legs, but I will eat thighs, so I bought ten pounds. I put half in the freezer and put the other half in the crockpot with my onion scraps, celery, carrots, water, salt and pepper for ten hours on low heat. I took it out of the crockpot and put it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I skimmed off the schmaltz, scooped the broth through a strainer, and shredded the meat.

I'll use the meat for chicken casserole later, but right now I have one beautiful quart of the richest, most delicious chicken stock in the freezer. The possibilities are endless! My cyber buddy Linda's Jewish Pennicillin? Seasoned rice? Seasoned veggies?

Until then....

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ETA: Onion scraps. Whenever I have bits of onions left, too little to save for use another time, I put them in a container in the freezer. The same with celery tops and carrot ends. Then, when I'm ready to make broth, I empty out my scraps. I have a very interesting freezer full of veggie scraps and butter wrappers. I use the wrappers to grease pans for baking.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Blueberry Clafoutis and Dainty Sugar Cookies

Well, I've been very busy lately. I've done bit of cooking but haven't really had time to post anything, so I'm doubling up.

I went to a shrimp boil last week and our hosts asked that we bring sides and desserts. I made some wonderful marinated tomatoes but decided that I had time to make a dessert. I may or may not have mentioned my stockpile of blueberries in the past, but I am slowly working my way through them. I decided that I had everything I needed to make a clafoutis and went in search of a good recipe. I settled on this basic recipe from Epicurious.

Basic Clafoutis
1 cup whole milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet or pie pan.
2. Now add your favorite fruit or flavoring (see below). Bake until the clafoutis is beautifully puffed and golden, 35–40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Clafoutis Variations:
Concord Grape Clafoutis: Once the batter is in the skillet, scatter 2 cups slightly crushed Concord or other black or red grapes on top.
Cherry Clafoutis: Scatter 2 cups pitted cherries onto the batter once it's poured into pie plates.
Pear Clafoutis with Pear Eau de Vie: Core 1 ripe pear and cut into pieces. Pour the batter into the skillet and top with the pear pieces. Bake. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons eau de vie and serve immediately.

This is the finished product.

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This is a very easy dessert that looks elegant. Serve it with a little whipped cream and yummy!

This week I have a meeting at church on Saturday, Knit, Crochet, Pray!, where we will make scarves for the homeless.Since it was my idea, I am hostessing so I decided to make some cookies. I found this recipe on the Proboard I belong to, Contessa's Kitchen, which was submitted by one of the members with the handle "Soushi".

Dainty Sugar Cookies

1 C. butter

1 C. shortening

1 C. powdered sugar

1 C. white sugar

2 t. vanilla

4 1/2 C. flour

1 t. cream of tartar

1 t. baking soda

Mix well. Roll into small balls. Place on cookie sheet (I used parchment paper). Flatten with a glass (bottom side) that has been dipped in white sugar (one dip for each cookie) Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned.

I used the 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon and they are about the size of vanilla wafers. They are very sweet and will be great with tea or coffee, I think. This size made about 7 dozen.

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I give both recipes two thumbs up! And it is so nice to have a success.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Martha, Martha, Martha

I am so disappointed!

I love to watch cooking shows and Martha Bakes is one of my favorites. I want to be a baker. I want to make beautiful cakes. I want to create pastry that will make your eyes roll back in your head. So, to that end, I decided that I wanted to try to make an Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting. I made a chocolate cake. A perfectly wonderful, delicious chocolate cake using a Natalie Dupree recipe. I found several recipes for the frosting, but decided to use Martha Stewart's recipe because Martha has never let me down.

Until now.

This frosting ruined my cake. It was awful. It tasted like pure butter.

Martha Stewart's Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth.

So I checked Buddy Valastro's recipe.

Cake Boss Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting


8 extra-large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups (8 sticks) usalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Put the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
Put 1-1/2 cups of the sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-hight heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, and bring to the soft ball stage (240 degrees Fahrenheit).
Meanwhile, whip the whites at high speed until soft peaks form, approximately 5 minutes. With the motor running, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar gradually, continuing to whip until medium peaks form.
When the sugar reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, with the motor running, pour it into the egg whites, very slowly, in a thin stream, to avoid cooking the eggs. Raise the speed to high, and continue to whip until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stopping the motor between additions, add the butter in five increments, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding each addition of butter. With the motor running, add the vanilla, and whip just until it is blended in. (The buttercream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. Let it come to room temperature and paddle briefly before using.)

See the difference? I cannot help but think that the additional egg whites, sugar, and vanilla only improve the taste.

I will try Buddy's recipe in the future, specifically when I feel like using up a pound of butter. But I can highly recommend the cake recipe:

Everybody's Favorite Chocolate Cake
Natalie Dupree's Matters of Taste

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease three 8 in. or two 9 inch pans or a 13 x 9 inch pan. Line the bottom of the pans with wax paper cut to fit. Grease and flour the paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir in the boiling water until blended. The batter will be thin.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and finish cooling them on wire racks.

I refuse to even show a picture of this one.

Oh, Martha! Why?