Winter’s Coming: Sensual Fruit Crumble

Do I have your attention? I’m sure I do. Now, how is a crumble, that most humble and homey of fruit desserts sensual? Well, having fixed this many times during the past few years and observing the “behavior” of the fruit involved, all I can say is: the cranberries pop! and the sugar melts…Okay. Maybe not, but it is good.  Tangy and full of juice – perfect with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or with a cold glass of milk.

You can of course use different fruits according to season. This is a crumble using autumn/winter fruits. If you don’t use the cranberries and only use apple or apple/pear, then add about one fourth cup of apple juice and a teaspoon of lemon juice and adjust cooking times and sugar content. You can also add a nice splash of pear or apple brandy along with the vanilla as well. Not only a sensual, but an extremely adaptable fruit crumble.

I like best those desserts that are simple and full of fruit. My favorite birthday cake is apple pie and for my birthday this past weekend, I fixed apple pie. And it is all gone and very happily enjoyed!!! I hope you enjoy this crumble and I am sure you will agree with me on one thing – it’s good!!!

Autumn Fruit Crumble
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
2 firm-ripe pears such as Bartlett, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 apples such as Gala, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I use Macintosh)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped nuts – walnuts, or pecans or almonds (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Stir together fruits, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and place in a buttered shallow 2-quart baking dish. Stir together oats, flour, salt, nuts, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps. Scatter over fruit and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 30 – 40 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 6

public domain clip art

public domain clip art

Holiday Sweet Potato (no, not yam) Recipes

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

Okey dokey. Let’s clear this up before we go any further: What is called “yam” in the US is not a yam – it is a sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and yams are not even related or even part of the same family. Yes, both are tubers, yes, both are sweet, both are flowering vines. But…

YAM: grown in Africa, Asia and the Carbbean. It has a thicker skin and some of those pups can grow to be seven feet in length! Yams are starchier, drier, paler interior, darker exterior, must be cooked to be eaten safely, firmer textured, lower in beta carotene and Vitamin C. The yam is part of the lily family.

Sweet Potato: Grown in the Southern US, has tapered ends, flesh can range from white to deep orange, moister, thin skinned, and is a member of the morning glory family. There is a purple variety grown in Okinawa, however. What is called “yam” in the US is actually – Sweet Potato!!! So, no more candied yams, baked yams, fried yams. Unless of course you have been to a specialty grocery and specifically bought a yam imported from the Caribbean, Asia, or Africa.

The Recipes: Cornwallis Yams, er, Sweet Potatoes. I don’t think General Cornwallis ever had this dish or a yam and haven’t a clue as to why this ridiculous name was given to this recipe. But, it is one delicious and rich casserole. It could be considered dessert but it is a side dish typically served during the Holidays. Both of these are standard recipes and came from handwritten recipe cards from my Grandma Ninny’s recipe box and have been part of our family celebrations since Ninny was a baby.  Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern Classic. You folk can have all the pumpkin pie you want, most of us in the South will take Sweet Potato Pie, thank y’all very much.

I did a Christmas post a couple of seasons ago about sweet potato pie, family, and honoring those who have passed before. Here is the link:  kanzensakura.com/2012/12/24/the-smell-of-home a true Christmas-story   I am link challenged and it probably won’t work but the name of the post is The Smell of Home – a True Christmas Story.  You can also search under sweet potato.  I hope y’all enjoy.

Cornwallis Sweet Potato Casserole
6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut, plus some for garnish (I use the frozen, unsweetened grated rather than the sweetened coconut in a bag or can)
1 1/2 cups milk
½ c. chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
Boil sweet potatoes until softened. Peel and mash. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter.  Beat eggs and add to cooled potatoes. Combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch or 3-quart casserole. Bake in a 350 oven until light brown, about 1 hour. Top with a sprinkle of coconut.

Sweet Potato Pie
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves or mace
2 tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 – 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) package frozen deep-dish piecrusts, thawed
Garnishes: whipped cream, grated nutmeg

Directions
Cook sweet potato in boiling water to cover 30 minutes or until tender; drain .Beat sweet potato and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice, peel, and spices, beating well. Pour mixture evenly into each piecrust. Bake at 350° on lower oven rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Garnish, if desired.

 

Tempting Tuesday: Noodle Kugel

Warm, creamy, sweet noodle kugel is the stuff of dreams. With all the fuss about macaroni and cheese nowadays, noodles are becoming chic again. I’ll take kugel though, any day, any way, anyhow.  Cinnamon, butter, sugar – what’s not to love?

Usually kugel is baked either in a deep casserole baking dish or a standard 9×13 baking pan. The deeper dish makes the custard in which the noodles are put to bed, makes it creamier. This recipe is the result of a most happy accident. My grandma Ninny, of which I have previously written, was putting together baked dishes for a huge family get-together. She mixed up the kugel and realized…oops. The suitable baking dishes are taken. But, the bundt pan was free and clear. She decided to add the brown sugar and pecans just to give it a little extra bling and by golly, history was made in the kitchen that day.

Hanukah and other holidays need kugel. So does Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the third Sunday in January or February – whenever you want the kitchen to be warm and filled with the aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, and butter. I have sometimes not unmolded this and just served it for people to scoop into with the serving spoon, surprising them with the pecans and praline-y crust. However you decide to serve, enjoy and please, try not to eat too much.

Praline Noodle Kugel
3/4 C (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted and divided
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 C pecans coarsely chopped
1 pound egg noodles
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C white sugar
½ c. golden raisins or craisins
2 tsp salt

Start a large pot of water boiling. Preheat oven to 350.
Pour half the melted butter into a 12 cup mold, tube pan, or bundt pan, and swirl around the bottom and up the sides. Mix brown sugar and pecans and press into the sides of the pan into the butter.
Cook the noodles in boiling water, al dente. Drain. In a large bowl, mix hot noodles with a few pats of butter. Mix the noodles with the eggs, the remaining melted butter, raisons, cinnamon, vanilla, white sugar and salt.
Gently spoon noodles into the prepared mold, taking care not to dislodge brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 350 for 1-1/4 hours or until top is brown. Let stand 15 minutes before unmolding. Top will be slightly hard, like a praline.
Serve warm, cold or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.  NOTE: This can be baked in a regular baking dish or casserole. Butter dish and spoon in noodle mixture. Press brown sugar mixture on top of kugel and adjust baking times, until custard Is set, but still jiggely and creamy.  Makes 12 servings.

free clip art photo

free clip art photo

Easy Peasy Banana Pudding Cake

This is one of those cool, yummy, creamy cakes that are so good in the summer, especially after Sunday dinner, a backyard cookout, or to take to a potluck.  I love banana pudding but I don’t always feel like taking the time to make the pudding (I always use homemade rich pudding for my nanner pudd’n (see post  http://kanzensakura.com/2012/07/25/future-mother-…g-nanner-puddn).

This cake really is easy and it really is good.  You can use sugar free pudding and/or light whipped topping to help save on some calories and fat.

Y’all enjoy!!!!

Easy Banana Pudding Cake
1 box yellow or white cake mix
2 small boxes instant banana flavor pudding
1 8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
2 ½ small bananas
2 or more tbs. orange or lemon juice

Make cake as directed in a 9×13 baking dish and allow to cool. With handle of wooden spoon, poke holes all over cake to bottom of pan. Slice bananas and put into bowl and lightly toss with juice. Make pudding as directed on box. Before pudding sets up, pour all over cake making sure to fill up holes. Place drained bananas all over cake and cover with whipped topping. Cover and allow to chill for about an hour. Cake is best eaten within 24 hours. Bananas may brown overnight, but juice should help stop the browning.  Optional:  Garnish with crushed vanilla wafers and/or fresh banana slices.

banana pudding cake

 

Twofer Tuesday: Peach Extravaganza

 

It is peach season – Hooray!!!! Luscious globes in variegated shades of pink,red,coral..pass by a display of them and be seduced by the sweet and unique fragrance. First they catch your eye and then as you go closer, your fingers are teased by the velvet touch of them and then finally, that lifting to the nose and inhaling the sweet smell of summer.

Cobblers, pies, ice cream, sangria, parfaits, trifles, shortcakes, coffeecakes, bread, upside down cakes, grilled, salsa-ed or just eaten as they are, peaches are one of the most versatile of the summer fruits. The standard peach and its cousin, the white fleshed peach which tastes the way an exotic flower would taste, go all too quickly into our past, to be dreamed of during cold and grey winter days. Enjoy them while they are here – become a peach glutton.

Two recipes for you with peaches: Peaches and Cream Pie – a sweet silky southern belle of a dessert. Not quite crème brulee but dancing on the edge of it; the edges caramelize and add a different layer of flavor and texture. And – from Southern Living Magazine, Governor’s Mansion Sweet Summer Peach Tea. Cooling and refreshing. An excellent drink for brunches, prissy bridal or baby showers, afternoon tea, or just for serving to friends at a cookout as something totally different and delicious.

Try both of them and I think you will be on your way to being a true Peach Hedonist!

peaches-and-cream-pie

Peaches and Cream Pie
¾ c. granulated white sugar
½ c. all purpose flour
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
2 c. peeled and sliced fresh peaches or, frozen peaches, defrosted and room temperature
1 c. heavy cream
Good splash of vanilla added to the cream

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar and flour together in bowl. Sprinkle about one-third into the bottom of the pie shell. Add peaches and sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Slowly pour heavy cream over fillings. Gently stir peaches to cover them completely with cream. Bake until peaches are tender and crust is golden – about 45 minutes. Let cool on rack until a bit warmer than room temperature. It will slice better.

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Governor’s Mansion Summer Peach Tea Punch
3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup Simple Sugar Syrup***
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges

Preparation
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

** Simple Sugar Syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes) Syrup can be made in batches and when cooled, stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I keep a batch of it all through the summer for quick drink preparation.

 

Keep-the-Kitchen-Cool Peach Crisp

It isn’t that I am lazy when it comes to cooking during the summer, it is just that I get hot. Even with air conditioning, I get hot. And I can tell you this, when this old girl gets hot, even SamCat the Ripper hides. So during the summer, I prepare foods I can make ahead and serve chilled or room temperature, dishes that are a quick fix, and foods that can be prepared in the refrigerator, toaster oven, on the grill, or quickly cooked in my electric skillet.

But, I also refuse to sacrifice the yummy factor. I am a foodie, a food historian, I love to cook, and to be honest, I love to eat. I also try to be as healthy in my cooking as I can (sometimes that just doesn’t happen). One of my favorite quick fixes that doesn’t taste like a quick fix or healthy (don’t mention that word to your family. It’s our little secret.) is this peach crisp. It’s prepared in a skillet and takes about five minutes. Top with ice cream, whipped topping (I use the low fat version), canned whipped cream (a big ol’ tablespoon of that stuff is 30 measly calories and often times, low fat) or eat as is.

Sweet summer peaches – white or yellow flesh – or nectarines are used for this.  Yowzer y’all, this is good.

Keep-the-Kitchen-Cool-Peach-Crisp
1 tsp. butter
1 large peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
2 tsp. unpacked brown sugar
dash of vanilla
sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
1 tbsp. lowfat granola

Melt butter in skillet. Add peach slices; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar; stir until sugar melts and begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Scrape peach mixture into a small bowl; top with granola. One Serving. Make as many servings as you need by using the appropriate number of peaches and multiplying ingredients. Use a larger skillet.

peaches

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day and Peach Cobbler

peaches

Happy Father’s Day to all of you out there who are fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, teachers…any of you men who took the time to nurture, mentor, love, inspire, encourage, and be a role model for a child – whether that child was yours or not.

I know many people have issues with their fathers, for whatever reason. I was blessed with a wonderful father. My Papa was gentle, funny, compassionate, and one heck of a cook. I have posted several posts about him and those of you who have read about him, know the love there was between us. You know there wasn’t an animal or baby that could resist him. church ladies who thought he was the cat’s pajamas, men who called him brother, uncle, and friend with equal love and respect.  You also know he was one fine Southern Cook!

From the time I had to stand on a chair by his side, he taught me how to cook with love. One of his specialties was his peach cobbler. It was A-mazing. Because Father’s Day comes around about the same time the first peaches of the season come around, the two are forever linked in my heart and stomach. Papa would take three cobblers to church dinners and the dishes always came back, virtually licked clean. He was a resourceful cook as well, using whatever fruits were in season and when times and economy was rough, he would use canned peaches or pineapple. The Grand Duchess of his cobblers was his Peach Cobbler. It was to die for with or without vanilla ice cream (homemade or purchased), topped with fresh whipped cream, cool whip, plain, warm out of the oven or spoonfuls of it snuck out of the refrigerator on a midnight run for a snack. There was no way that cobbler wasn’t delicious. And if you wanted to make it the ultimate, serve it warm with full cream homemade peach ice cream.  That’s what I am doing this Sunday in his memory and in memory of all those times our family was together enjoying good food and each other.

So…to all you men out there (and to some of you women who had to hold down two jobs as mother and father), Thank you for your love and guidance. Happy Father’s Day to you all. And make it a super one by making this cobbler for someone you love or for yourself. Enjoy. Cook it with love and love will make it even better.

Papa’s Peach Cobbler
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
6 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp. ground ginger
Ground cinnamon

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).   Bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, peach slices, spices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; spoon over batter (do not stir).   Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

peach cobbler

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: