Tag Archives: baking

Purim Pie or HamenTARTshen

purim pieI love the holiday of Purim with its exciting stories of heroic princesses, colorful costumes, and jam-filled cookies called Hamentashen.  A few months ago we were invited to an event called Beyond Bubbies Kitchen and asked to make a dish that was a twist on traditional Jewish food. I glanced at the calendar and saw that the event was being held days before Purim and I am a jam maker, so naturally I decided to make Hamentashen (you just knew there had to be jam involved somewhere).  However, we still needed a twist!

We decided to make a savory Hamentashen with our Evil Apple, spicy apple chipotle jam and a mustard, olive oil crust.  (recipe posted here) and also a cheddar cheese crust Hamentashen with our Falling Leaves jam (apple, fig, cranberry). (recipe posted here)

Our little jam team baked about 1000 cookies for the event but we also had one jam ladies purim (250x217)more idea up our flour-covered sleeves. With a nod to my current favorite television program The Great British Baking Show, we made a showstopper which we called Purim Pie (my hubby renamed it The HamenTARTshen).

Taking my favorite simple pie crust recipe for a double crust 9″ pie (a mix of butter and shortening), I filled a 10″ loose bottom tart pan with the crust. I then made a rope of dough into about a 6″ circle and placed in the pan. I made more ropes of dough and cut them into 5″ pieces, bending and pinching them into a triangle shape. I fit the triangles into the space between the edges of the tart and the circle. when all the spaces were filled, I made another smaller circle and fit more dough triangles in between the two circles.

20150301_185722 (300x262)When all the triangles were placed I started to fill them with jams. I only filled the spaces about 2/3 full so the jam would not overflow. Being a jam company, we had lots of flavors to choose from in our pantry but I think the tart would also be lovely with only three or four flavors alternating in the spaces. Finally, we added a Jewish star cut from pie dough to the middle of the tart and baked the tart for about 30 minutes until lightly browned with bubbly jams.

Happy Purim! Boo Hamen! Horray Brave Esther! Vashti-rock your girl power!

 

 

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Carrots All Day

Munching carrots all day longcarrots
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Sunny colored, tasty sweet
That veggie is a winner

The hazard of selling your wares at a farmers market is that you are often too busy serving customers to shop and when you are not selling, a visit to a market is not always the first choice of activity. I miss the days of strolling through the market and laying carefully selected fresh produce into my big red shopping basket.  Now my shopping trips are more of a grab and run affair. At a market recently, I saw my friend from Winter Moon Farm and his rainbow array of root vegetables.  With only a few minutes to spare, I said a quick hello and filled a bag about to the bursting point with yellow, pale orange, bright orange, and red carrots and one ridiculously large daikon radish and rushed back to my booth.  My hubby saw the bag and reminded me that I had just bought several pounds of carrots at the supermarket. Not to worry I assured him; I had a plan that would use a lot of carrots. Now all I had to do was figure out what that plan was…
With a bit of creative thinking, I made a new recipe for low-fat carrot bread, a carrot and daikon salad, and I used the carrots for a “nest” under a roasted chicken. We also ate carrots with homemade white bean dip, carrots in chicken salad, and a few carrots found their way into meatloaf. Suddenly, the worry about what to do with all those carrots was replaced with counting the days until the next market when I can get more!

Low-Fat Carrot and Cranberry Bread carrot bread
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 cup orange juice
zest of one medium orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries
(Loaf pan and cooking spray for pan)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites, orange juice and zest and mix until combined. Add carrots and cranberries and stir until blended together. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes until well browned and cooked in the center.

Carrot and Daikon Salad with Dried Cranberriescarrot salad
3 1/2 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded daikon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine carrots, daikon, and cranberries in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the carrot mixture. Chill in refrigerator in a covered bowl or jar for at least two hours (overnight is better).

 

Lonely Banana Walnut Muffins

Lonely Banana MuffinsPoor brown-spotted banana sitting all alone in the big produce bowl in my kitchen. What can I do with such a sad little fellow? We always seem to leave a banana behind as everyone grabs for one a the peak of their favorite ripeness and then my family grows sick of that fruit and moves on to oranges, apples, or whatever graces the fruit bowl. For a time, I skinned and wrapped the leftovers and tossed them in the freezer in hopes of collecting them later and making a recipe. The only thing I ended up doing later on was throwing out freezer-burnt bags of mush of unknown vintage. So I had this one banana and I was hungry for breakfast so I made Lonely Banana Walnut Muffins.

Here is the recipe and it should be mixed by hand with a fork (no need for the heavy machinery here!). If you like whole wheat flour that will work fine. If you would rather use brown sugar-go ahead. No buttermilk-no problem use whole milk. Keep this recipe handy and honor the lonely banana!

Lonely Banana Muffins
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 very ripe banana
1/2 Stick butter
1 egg
1/4 cup butter milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
pinch of ground cinnamon

6 cup muffin tin and no-stick spray or a bit of butter to grease the pan

Melt butter in a two-cup measuring cup or a small bowl (measuring cup is great because you can use it to gather all the wet ingredients and pour into the dry later). In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir with a fork. To the melted butter add buttermilk, egg, banana and mash the mixture together with a fork. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir with (you guessed it) a fork. If there are little lumps and no flour showing when you finish mixing, you have done it right. Stir in the walnuts gently. Pour into muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until risen and nicely brown.

Hamentashen or Popentashen

HamentashenMy family loves Purim with the telling of an exciting story and the wearing of wild costumes.  How could anyone dislike a holiday that features theater, drinking wine, and eating delicious cookies called Hamentashen. Purim celebrates the ancient Jews of Persia’s victory over their enemies. The tale held in the book of Esther includes King Ahasuerus, Esther the brave woman who becomes queen but never forsakes her people, Esther’s cousin Mordecai,and a wicked man named Hamen (for whom the cookies are named).  Why, you might ask, would we name these tasty holiday treats for the bad guy?  Well, I’ll tell you-I don’t know.  Various stories I grew up with included that the cookies were named for Hamen’s three-cornered hat, they were named for his pockets that were filled with bribes, they were named to remember his evil deeds. So nu, they couldn’t have named them Esther’s Goodies or something a little more enticing?  Anyway who cares!  Our costumes are put together and the cookies are baked.  Instead of normal hamentashen, we made tiny little cookies (filled with our homemade jams) that you could pop in your mouth in one bite so we are calling them popentashen.  It is after all a holiday that is celebrated with pride and joy and a healthy dose of silliness. Happy Purim!

Tiny Hamentashen (Popentashen)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
several flavors of jam

In a stand mixer bowl or food processor, place the slightly softened butter cut into chunks and the powdered sugar
Mix until sugar is just blended in (it is OK if there are some lumps of butter)
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until the egg is incorporated into the butter
Add the flour and cinnamon to the bowl and mix until the large pieces of dough begin to come together (do not over mix!) the dough will be a bit ragged.
Scoop the dough onto a floured board and press the pieces together to form a smooth dough.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4″.  If the dough is too sticky use a bit of flour or if it is too soft to roll you can wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
Using a small round cookie cutter or a cordial glass measuring about 1 1/2″ inches across, cut circles of dough.
Place a drop of jam in the middle of each circle
Press two edges of the circle together and then pull the remaining piece up and press together to form a triangle shape and a nice little pocket to hold the jam.
Cook at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the edges brown slightly
Cool (jam gets very hot in the over) and pop in your mouth!


 

 

Summer Corn Butter Biscuits

corn biscuitMuch (OK all) of my kitchen time this summer has been spent happily making jam. Last week I developed a longing to bake again.  Perhaps it was the first cool breeze heralding the end of summer that was to blame for this desire but the oven went on and then I surveyed the pantry and fridge.  Pies and tarts came to mind but all the fruit I had was destined for jars.  My eyes fell on a stack of corn from the farmers market.  I snatched two small ears leaving plenty for dinner and shaved the kernels into a bowl.  I added the corn to one of my favorite drop biscuit recipes and reveled in the smell of warm butter pouring from the oven.  I broke one open as soon as they were baked and ate it hot at the kitchen counter.  Hmmm…maybe I should bake some plain biscuits too.  I do need something to go with all this jam.

Summer Corn Biscuits

1 stick butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup fresh corn kernels
1 Tbs snipped chives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Cut in cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs using hand pastry blender, food processor or stand mixer. Do not over mix.  Stir in buttermilk until just combined. Stir in corn and chives gently.  Scoop out 12 lumps of dough onto an ungreased baking tray leaving an each between.  Bake until light brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Cakes

peanut butter snack cakesI love the references to snack cakes or “busy day” cakes in my 1940s and 1950s vintage cookbooks.  Even the busiest mistress of the house still needed to whip up a little something for her brood. Some fast food packaged muffin will never meet the daunting task of chasing away the horrible after-school hungries in this house.  In the spirit of the busy day cake, I  have made up my own favorite speedy snack recipes and the current favorite is Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Cakes.  I bake them in a bar shaped muffin tin but standard muffin tin works fine too.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Cakes
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
strawberry jam (home-made or store bought)

Melt butter and peanut butter together in microwave or small pan and then cool slightly
Stir in milk and eggs
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder
Add butter mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine but do not over mix
Fill each muffin cup part way, add a teaspoon of jam, and then add remaining batter covering the jam.
Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden brown
Serve warm or cool, plain or topped with berry frosting (below)

Berry Frosting
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 teaspoons milk

Vanilla Mint Biscuits

vanilla mint biscuitsMany times over the years I have seen the question posted on garden mailing lists or asked at horticulture lectures; “Is mint easy to grow?”  Veteran gardeners laugh at this and answer with some version of “easy to grow yes; easy to stop growing NO”.  There is a corner of my garden that I have named “the land of ill-behaving plants”.  This is where I sequester the mints, lemon balm, oregano,  and others that hatch evil plans for garden world domination.   Here in their little corner of the world they can stretch out runners and roots and spread all they wish.  In the third year of this garden bed, I have sufficient mint to make Mojitos to sip on the patio for the entire summer and still have plenty for cooking , baking, and drying for winter.
This weekend I picked a bit of the tender mint tops, chopped them and tossed them into the vanilla biscuits recipe I use for strawberry shortcake.  I was a luscious combination and I can’t wait for the strawberry season to begin!
Here is the recipe and I would love to hear any other ideas you have for using my abundance of mint.

Vanilla Mint Drop Biscuits
1 cup flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
finely chopped fresh mint

Heat oven to 425 degrees
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder in a bowl
Mix melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl
Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and stir to combine (do not over mix)
Gently stir in mint
Make six equal mounts of biscuit dough in a round ungreased cakepan and bake for 12-15 minutes until light golden on top and bottom of buscuits