Irish Soda Bread Revisited


This is an heirloom recipe that my mom makes every year for St. Patrick’s Day. Now this recipe has been handed down to me by my mother and it is my job to make sure this tradition stays alive in my family. This recipe was given to my mother by a neighbor and friend Rosie Redmond over 30 years ago. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I am reposting this recipe in memory of my mom who passed away 9/11/2013, she would always have a few loaves of bread on the kitchen counter to give away to family members come St. Patrick’s Day. That is an “Heirloom Memory”.

4 cups un-sifted All Purpose Flour 

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1+1/2 cups Buttermilk

2 eggs

1 stick Butter-softened

1 cup Raisins 

1+1/2 Teaspoons Caraway seeds  (optional but I think it adds a great flavor to the bread)

2  – (8) inch round cast iron fry pans or cake pans, greased and floured

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, toss flour mixture with hands (this give bread a light and airy consistency).

Cut in softened butter to flour mixture, using hands or a pastry cutter.  Until evenly distributed.

Add raisins and caraway seeds. Toss with hands to mix thoroughly. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add buttermilk and blend well.

Pour egg/buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Blend well with a spoon. The dough should be heavy but not too wet. (If it seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk) If too tacky to handle, add a little bit of flour, so that you can mold it to shape.

Divide batter between 2 prepared pans.

Dust hands generously with flour and mold dough into a round loaves. Dust top generously with flour. Using the wrong end of a fork cut a deep cross “X” into the dough. This is the cross of St. Patrick. This will prevent the bread from cracking, and will give it a traditional look.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until well browned (knife comes clean). Cool on a rack.

Note** By chance, I found out, that when I baked this bread in a cast iron fry pan, the bread rose higher than the one baked in the cake pans.

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Creamy Custard Pie Recipe


custard pie

During a recent visit with my sister, she asked me to try a piece of custard pie that her friend had brought to her and it was amazing. However there was one problem with the pie. The aforementioned pie came from a bakery that is over 2 hours away. Thus began my quest for the perfect custard pie recipe. I began my search on Google. I typed in custard pie  and I found a myriad of recipes all claiming to be the best. Then I found  a pie recipe blog called http://www.everythingpies.com/. In this blog I found a few more recipes for custard pie that weren’t too different from the other recipes I had found elsewhere (eggs, milk and sugar). Then I found a section called “Vintage custard pie recipes”. This caught my  attention because I write about “Heirloom recipes” which are my family’s recipes that I have  tried to save from being lost  forever because as some of my older relatives have passed away so have their recipes. I continued to read and the author of one recipe made a point of saying  the reader needed to pay attention to a certain part of his process to achieve successful results. That’s when I realized that recipes are more than a list of ingredients. The most important part of the recipe is the  methodology used by the person teaching you. So pay close attention to them because when they are gone so is the heart  and soul of the recipe. Now that I am finished preaching, here is how I made my “Creamy Custard Pie” and remember to teach your children well.

9″  Single Crust Pie Shell:

1 cup flour

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp salt

4 tbsp. salted butter (diced and chilled)

1 tbsp. Crisco shortening

¼ cup ice water

1 egg white reserved from filling recipe

Filling:

2  cups whole milk

3/4 cup Half and Half

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white)

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 cup sugar

 

Pie Shell: (option – 1 frozen 9″pie crust then skip to filling)

 Place diced butter in freezer for 5 minutes.

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Put flour, sugar, butter and salt into food processor.

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Pulse 10 times.  Then pulse 10 additional times while slowly dripping ice water into tube of the food processor. Mixture should look wet yet still crumbly.

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Drop mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

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Cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling-pin tap down the dough then roll it out to an 11’” circle.

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Place dough while still wrapped in plastic in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour. After letting the dough rest in the fridge remove top sheet of plastic then flip the dough over and place in 9″ pie pan. Then remove final piece of plastic.  Fit dough to pan then cut excess dough leaving 1 inch overhanging pan. Fold this back into the pan under its self.  Pinch top edge to create fluting.

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Brush the interior and top edge of the un-baked pie crust with reserved egg white before filling with custard. (This prevents the crust from getting soggy.)

Filling:

In a medium-sized sauce pan heat milk and Half and Half until small bubbles appear along the top edge of the pan and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, nutmeg and salt and set aside.

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In a medium-sized bowl whisk the 3 eggs and 1 yolk until creamy. Save egg white for crust.

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In a small bowl combine flour and sugar. (This step prevents the flour from clumping when being added to the eggs.)

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Slowly whisk the sugar/flour mixture into the beaten eggs.

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Slowly add 1/3 of the scalded milk to the egg/flour/sugar mixture while whisking. Then continue to add the final 2/3 of the scalded milk. (Using this method prevents the eggs from scrambling.) Avoid adding too much air into the mixture when stirring as this will cause your custard to become grainy. Slowly pour the mixture into the un-baked pie shell. Cover edges of pie with foil to keep crust from burning.

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Place the pie in the lower 1/3 of a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil then turn the pie 180 degrees. Continue baking until the center is set, about another 20 minutes. (The pie should have a slight wiggle like Jell-O and not be too brown on top)

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Transfer the pie to a rack until cool. Then place finished pie in the refrigerator to chill. Have fun and share this recipe with your friends and family!

Budin – Puerto Rican Bread Pudding


Budin

I had a request for a recipe from an old friend of mine (Belinda Alfonso Sandstrom). Back in about 1991 we took a trip to visit her grand father and we brought him a some of my mom’s bread pudding. He took one bite and said it reminded him of the bread pudding he had as a child in Puerto Rico. This is one of my families “Heirloom Recipes”. Try this recipe and it will become a favorite for your family.

3 loaves of “3 day old” French or Italian bread / cut into small cubes
2 cans of Carnation Evaporated milk plus 2 cans of water
1 quart of milk (regular milk, not fat-free)
2 tbsp. Vanilla
3 cups Sugar
1 Tbs.Cinnamon
1/2 cup Raisins
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick) – diced into small pieces
extra cinnamon for dusting

Directions:
There should be enough bread cubes to make a mound in a 10″ x 15″ baking pan.

Pour the 2 cans of Evaporated Milk over bread, refill each can with water and add to bread. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, sugar and 3/4 of the diced butter.

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Mix all together real good, making sure the sugar is well dissolved into the bread mixture.

Let stand for 15 minutes to allow bread to soften and soak up most of the milk. The texture should be a slightly wet mush. Use the remaining butter to dot the top of the entire mixture.

Then lightly sprinkle the top with more cinnamon. DO NOT MIX. Place pan in oven and bake at 350 degrees, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. or until knife inserted comes out clean. Top will have crispy chunks that you can’t help but to sample! The bread pudding itself will become firm once it cools off.

Hope you enjoy…it’s delicious

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Flan – Puerto Rican Egg Custard Recipe


Finished Flan

This is a family “Heirloom Recipe” that my mother has been making for as long as I can remember. Flan is a Spanish caramel cream custard that is popular in Puerto Rico and many other Latin American countries. This is a simple yet elegant dessert you must try!

 

Special equipment;

Bundt pan

  • Bundt pan
  • Deep roasting pan
  • Round platter slightly larger than the Bundt pan with raised edges

Ingredients;

  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 12 oz. whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • enough hot water to fill roasting pan 2 inches high

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

ingredients

Assemble all of the ingredients.

eggs in blender

Place eggs in the blender and whip for 15 seconds.

milk in blender

Add sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk to the blender. Then use empty can of evaporated milk to measure whole milk. Add the whole milk to the blender and whip for 30 seconds. Set aside.

sugar in the pot

Place sugar in  a dry sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat.

sugar partially melted

After 5 minutes sugar will begin to clump up. Break up clumps with a wooden spoon.

caramel

Continue to cook sugar until it liquefies and turns a light caramel color. Don’t go too dark or it will get a burnt flavor.

pouring caramel

Pour caramel into Bundt pan.

spreading caramel

Using a wooden spoon, spread caramel half way upsides of pan including tube.

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Place coated Bundt pan into roasting pan.

cooked flan

Pour custard mixture into Bundt pan.

pouring water

Place roasting pan with Bundt pan into pre-heated oven. then pour hot water into roasting pan. About 2 inches high. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

un sticking flan

After removing from the oven allow to cool for 15 minutes then using a thin knife separate top edge of flan from the pan.

tilt pan

After flan has cooled tilt pan back and forth until you can see the caramel oozing up the sides of the pan. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or over night.

cover pan with platter

Place the inverted platter on top of the Bundt pan. Now comes the fun part. Holding the platter tight against the Bundt pan flip the pan over being careful not to lose the liquid caramel.

flipped flan

Note: After removing Flan from the pan there will be some hard caramel in the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry you can boil some water and pour it in the Bundt pan and it will melt away.

Date Nut Muffins


Date nut muffin

This article is the product of a long search for a Date Nut Bread recipe that tastes like the loaf made by Thomas’. They stopped making their loaf years ago and since then I have craved a slice of it smeared with cream cheese. In my quest I found a recipe that was originally printed in the food section of the Houston Chronicle. After trial and error and a few modifications to that recipe I think I am finally ready to sit down with a muffin and some cream cheese and go to heaven! Please don’t interrupt me until I’m done.

  • 8 oz. package pitted dates
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2  cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut dates into 4 pieces. Place chopped dates into hot water for 10 minutes(do not soak for longer than 10 minutes or they will get too mushy). Drain dates and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid. Set liquid and dates aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, molasses, vanilla and the 1 1/2 cups of reserved water. Stir to combine. (It will looked like mixture is curdled – that is ok. Don’t worry keep baking!)

In a separate bowl combine flour baking soda and salt.

Add flour mixture to wet mixture in stand mixer. Stir until just combined. Fold in reserved dates and pecan pieces. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spoon mixture into the top of lined muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Recipe makes 24 muffins.

Easy Honey Wheat and Oatmeal Bread


This is a hearty wheat bread with a slightly sweet taste. It is so good you will convert even those family members who don’t like whole wheat bread into believers! The best part about this bread is that the mixer does all the kneading. That is why I call this recipe Easy Honey Wheat and Oatmeal Bread.

  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 ¼  cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp salt

 

Put yeast, sugar and water into bowl of stand mixer. Allow yeast mixture to rest for 10 minutes to proof. If the yeast is good it will now have a foamy top. Add honey, molasses, olive oil and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk to combine. Add bread flour, whole wheat flour, oatmeal and salt to the bowl. Use a dough hook to combine at low-speed. Once dough balls up, increase the speed to number 2 and mix for an additional 8 minutes. This will knead the dough. Remove the bowl from stand and cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.

Remove dough from bowl and roll out to 9” x15”.

Starting from the small side, roll up the dough. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with vegetable shortening.

Place roll into pan seam side down.

Cover with a towel and allow the loaf to rise for 1 hour.

Using a sharp knife cut a slit 1/4’” deep on top of the loaf.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

After 15 minutes remove loaf from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Mounds Bites


This is a fun candy to make with the family if you can keep them from eating the candies as they go.

  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½  cups semi-sweet  or bitter-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

In bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add coconut, milk, and vanilla; stir until blended. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.

Use scoop to make 1” balls. Insert a toothpick in each ball. Place balls on baking sheet; freeze.

Use a double boiler to melt chocolate.

Then using toothpicks as handles dip frozen balls into melted chocolate. I also use a spoon to assist me in covering the balls then I place  them onto a cookie sheet with the tooth picks in the upright position.

Chill until firm (about 1 hour) in the refrigerator.

Remove picks from balls and then dip fork into melted chocolate then drizzle chocolate on top of the candy to cover the hole where you removed the toothpick.

Makes about 48 candies