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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cheddar Cheese Puffs



Years and years ago, my sweet Mom invited my girls and I to a Mother/Daughter program.  I have no other memory of what went on there, other than these little gems that were part of a Soup & Salad Buffet.  I asked for the recipe, and made them often as my kids were growing up.  Tonight I decided it's time to brush up on this old favorite.



If you've made cream puffs or eclairs - this is exactly the same method (and ingredients), other than the addition of cheddar cheese.  They are delicious served warm from the oven - but are surprisingly good cold.  



You really can't ruin this - so go in feeling confident.  

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 cup water
Salt (if desired - I added 1/2 tsp)
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup (+ or -) grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°.  In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil.  Quickly add flour and stir until mixture forms a thick ball.  Remove from heat, and add eggs - one at a time.  Stir hard until smooth between each addition.  At this point, add about 1/2 - 3/4 of the cheese.  

Using a small cookie scoop, drop 1-2 Tbs dough onto an greased cookie sheet.  Make sure they are at least 1-2" apart.  Top with a pinch of the remaining cheese.  Place in preheated oven and bake for at least 20 minutes before checking.  Puffs won't be completely golden at this point, but remove from oven and pierce sides of each puff with a fork.  Return to oven (that has been turned off) for up to 30 minutes until desired color and doneness has been achieved.  (The longer they remain in the cooling oven, the less moist they are in the center).  Remove and serve warm or cold as desired.





Saturday, June 27, 2015

Razzleberry Slab Pie



This piece of pie was the only one left that I could take a picture of.  I took two of these pies to the Church & Family History Headquarters Mission I serve at in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (That's the reason I'm posting MUCH less lately... I'm loving my Church Service Mission)  They didn't last long.  I have to admit, this is one of the best pies I've made - and that surprised me.


I make a LOT of pies, yet I have never been able to master berry pies. Cornstarch, flour, tapioca - they all thicken a berry pie - but they don't showcase how pretty the berries are. Another disadvantage of a using these thickeners is what they do to the flavor. Heavy starches mask the fresh taste of berries.

So... enter "PIE TONE". What is it? There are two kinds - Red and Plain. Here is the difference:

Berry Red Pie Tone has been used for years in berry pies and wonderful glazes that can be used as a topping for cakes or other desserts where the red color and berry flavor is already in the mix. For use with red or darker fruits. (Think "Danish Dessert" on steroids)

Plain Pie Tone has been used for years for the same purpose. However, Plain Pie Tone is used for all other pies that require a clearer glaze. It allows for making consistent pie filling.

Where do you get it? I have only found one source. Google it, and you'll find it on the Kitchen Kneads website (kitchenkneads.com) This is the location in Ogden, Utah. I buy mine at a store by the same name, but it's located in West Jordan, Utah - unfortunately, they do not have a website.

It's a little tricky to use, but once you get the hang of it - you'll never have gloppy or soupy berry pies. Just a beautiful, perfectly textured pie filling that showcases those beautiful berries that are too expensive to waste with the wrong thickener.





Razzleberry Pie

*This recipe makes enough for two large, deep dish 9-10" double crust pies.


One 4-lb bag of frozen tri-berry mix (a mixture of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cup sugar (more or less to suit your taste)
3/4 cup pie tone (red or plain - as desired)
1 cup water
3 cups water
Pie Crust - enough for two 9-10" double crust pies

Directions:

If using frozen berries, you'll need to allow them to thaw in a strainer over a large bowl and collect the juice.  This juice can then be used as part of the 3 cups water above.  If using the berry juice, you can get away with using the Plain Pie Tone (as it will provide extra color and flavor)

However, if you are like me - and totally forget to thaw your berries - go ahead and microwave them.  Place bag in microwave for a few minutes on high - then shake the bag and repeat until the berries are no longer frozen solid (but not hot and mushy either).  Place in strainer over a large bowl and allow juice to drain.  You may use this juice (as above) as part of the 3 cups water.

In a large measuring cup, measure 1 cup water.  Add 3/4 cup pie tone and stir until combined.  It will act somewhat like cornstarch added to water, and the pie tone will settle to the bottom if allowed to stand very long.  When it does, just stir it again before adding to the syrup in the next step.

Place the 3 cups water (use juice as part of this measurement if you wish - it makes the flavor/color better) in a saucepan.  Add sugar and stir as you bring it to a boil over high heat.  

Now add the mixture of water/pie tone, stirring well as you continue to heat.  The mixture will quickly thicken.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool slightly before adding reserved berries.  

Use immediately in pies, or use as a sauce over cakes or other desserts.  

For this amount of filling, I made two batches of Never Fail Pie Crust and made two slab pies.  Each "slab" was baked in a half-size aluminum baking sheet.  I wish I had better pictures - these didn't last long enough to take any good ones.

Bake at 400° for about 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown.  I always add a milk, vanilla & powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the cooled pie.  This makes it even better - ask my kids.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Breakfast Burritos



My LDS Ward is hosting a Christmas Breakfast in a week.  We've been trying to come up with something warm, filling, and SIMPLE to serve.  Oh... and also delicious.  

My daughter Aryn made these Breakfast Burritos for her family reunion last fall.  She made them ahead of time and froze them.  The day they left for their reunion, they threw them in the cooler and they doubled as ice to keep everything else cool.  Genius, wouldn't you agree?

She didn't really have a recipe, so we talked it through over the phone and I did a trial run a week ago.  With a few adjustments, they will be perfect.  We only have to make 200!

There are 3-4 of us making these this coming Friday.  That's only 50-70/each.  The dozen I made were a cinch.

Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients:

1 dozen Burrito-size flour tortillas
14 large or extra-large eggs, beaten
12-oz breakfast sausage - cooked, crumbled, and drained
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups grated cheese, any variety (converts to about 12 oz)
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook & drain sausage.  Set aside.  Do not reserve drippings.  Beat eggs well.  Melt about 2-3 Tbs butter in skillet, and heat until sizzling.  Pour in eggs and scramble by stirring gently with a non-stick spatula.  

When most of the egg is formed and lumpy, but NOT dry - remove from heat quickly.  The eggs should still be very moist and almost runny.  At this point, add the sour cream and gently combine.  (You may think the eggs will be this way when you serve the burritos, but the baking time in the oven finishes them perfectly.  The sour cream helps the eggs retain their moisture, and also adds flavor.)  Now add the crumbled sausage, and gently mix in.  Season with salt & pepper if desired.

Spread mixture evenly in the bottom of the same skillet and divide with your spatula into fourths, as you would cut a pie into quarters.  Each 1/4 of this egg/sausage mixture should make three burritos.  This will help you portion correctly.  

Place a square of foil on counter, then position a tortilla on top.  Top with egg/sausage mixture right down the middle as shown, leaving room to fold in the sides.  Now sprinkle with 1/4 cup of grated cheese.


Fold in the sides, and begin rolling at one end, as shown.  Tuck the egg mixture in as you go.  When you finish rolling, position the burrito diagonally.  Wrap as shown.  Place each burrito seam-side down, with foil end tucked under.  You should be able to fit about 24 on a baking sheet.







Refrigerate until needed, or freeze.  They can also be baked immediately.  

Bake unrefrigerated burritos at 325° for about 25-35 minutes, checking 10 minutes before finish to make sure they are not burning on the bottom.  Cheese should be completely melted and egg mixture steaming.

Cooking time will vary for frozen burritos.  These may also be microwaved for a quick morning meal on the run.

Serve immediately with salsa, sour cream, even ketchup.  Any condiment you prefer makes a good side - even sautéed onions and green peppers.