Raisin Pudding (self-saucing)

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This is a very old-fashioned recipe, but with the cooler fall days upon us it seems a perfect time for this sweet treat with its spicy flavor and plump raisins. When I was a young and inexperienced cook, this was a simple dessert that I could prepare with a minimum of pantry ingredients and time investment–a life-saver when unexpected visitors stopped in.  These days, we  generally don’t have unexpected visitors (except the Fed-Ex driver, who never expects coffee and dessert, haha), but I like having this family favorite in my recipe repertoire.

The recipe is in two steps, so it is always a good idea to read through before starting.  Boil the water for the sauce when you turn the oven on to preheat, and it will be ready for you when you have the batter all mixed.  It’s pretty freaky to pour boiling water over the batter; do it slowly and carefully, pouring over the whole surface, not just in one spot. Resist the urge to stir it all together! You’ll look at it and wonder how on earth it will turn into dessert, but I promise, it does. The sauce will be very ‘liquidy’ when it comes out of the oven. Let the pudding rest for about 20 minutes and as it cools, the sauce will begin to thicken up.

Old-Fashioned Raisin Pudding
Batter:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice OR nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins, rinsed and drained

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. In separate small bowl, mix together oil, milk and vanilla. Stir raisins into flour mixture. Make a well in the flour and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir just until all ingredients are combined, being careful not to overmix. Spoon batter into greased 8-cup casserole or baking dish. To make sauce, melt butter in the boiling water and whisk in the brown sugar. Pour slowly over the surface of the batter. Do not stir! Carefully place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes until crust is set and golden brown. Remove pudding from oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Makes about 4 servings.

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Sour Cherry Cobbler

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The sour cherry season is upon us, quite early this year because of the warmer than usual weather we’ve had.

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This is a delicious way to use up some of the bounty, Sour Cherry Cobbler.  Please read the recipe through before starting, there are three little steps–the butter, the batter, and the cherries.  It’ll be much quicker if you know the procedure before you begin.  Depending on the sweetness (or sourness) of your cherries, you can probably quite safely reduce the first quantity of sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, without sacrificing any quality of taste or texture.  Although it’s best served warm on the day of baking, it is still very good the next day.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp almond flavoring

2 cups pitted sour cherries (fresh not frozen)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly spray the sides of a 9″x13″ cake pan with cooking spray.  Add butter to the pan and put in the preheated oven to melt completely.  Meanwhile,  in a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder.  Add milk and almond flavoring and stir to combine all ingredients.  Remove pan from oven.  Carefully pour batter evenly over the melted butter.  Do not stir!  Toss pitted cherries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp flour.  Carefully dot the cherries over the batter.  Return pan to oven and bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

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Pumpkin Season

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Pumpkin patch, Davison Orchard, Vernon BC

Dear  Sister  the Younger made a truly wonderful Thanksgiving feast for us last weekend–turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings.  Dessert was this delightful Pumpkin Crunch cake.  It’s lighter than pumpkin pie, but with the same yummy spices and taste.  The original recipe called for cinnamon, but Dear Sister subbed pumpkin pie spice instead, and I really liked the depth of flavors from the additional spices.  And you know it’s good when even the non-dessert eaters enjoy a slice!  Sadly, I forgot to snap a picture, but click here for a peek.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch

1 can (14-15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice OR cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1  yellow cake mix
1  cup pecan halves
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, spice and salt. Pour into greased 13×9 glass baking dish. Layer DRY cake mix evenly on top of pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans on top of cake mix. Drizzle melted butter evenly over the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool to room temperature; serve with whipped cream.  Makes 12-15 pieces.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Note  To make a small batch of pumpkin pie spice, combine  3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves, and if desired a pinch of cardamon.  Store the mixture in a clean small jar or spice container.

 

Thanksgiving Sunrise

Thanksgiving Sunrise

 

Fresh Sour Cherry Cobbler

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We are coming to the end of sour cherry season now.  There are still a few cherries  hanging on the branches, but everybody seems to have had their fill–even the birds aren’t interested anymore.  I made a small batch of sour cherry jam, and tried two new cherry recipes this summer; this cobbler,  and a sour cream cherry pie.   The pie was, ahem, less than stellar, which is why you won’t see a post about it here 🙂  This is the keeper.  We gobbled most of it down instead of lunch.

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Please read the recipe through before starting, there are three little steps–the butter, the batter, and the cherries.  It’ll be much quicker if you know the procedure before you begin.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp almond flavoring

2 cups pitted sour cherries (fresh not frozen)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly spray the sides of a 9″x13″ cake pan with cooking spray.  Add butter to the pan and put in the preheated oven to melt completely.  Meanwhile,  in a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder.  Add milk and almond flavoring and stir to combine all ingredients.  Remove pan from oven.  Carefully pour batter evenly over the melted butter.  Do not stir!  Toss pitted cherries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp flour.  Carefully dot the cherries over the batter.  Return pan to oven and bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

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We were invited to celebrate my niece’s 17th birthday last weekend.  I made cupcakes.  I like the recipe, it’s got good flavor, but next time, I’m skipping the icing and calling them muffins.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with large/jumbo cupcake liners.

4-5 large strawberries

1 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pulse strawberries in food processor until finely chopped (not pureed). Pulsed strawberries should measure about 1/3 cup. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When butter mixture has cooled slightly, stir in yogurt, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the butter/milk mixture into the flour. Gently stir to combine all ingredients. Fold in the strawberry puree. Batter will be quite thick. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes (375 degrees F) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

 

Saskatoon Berry Tarts

IMG_1739It’s saskatoon time here on the prairies.  That means tarts, pies and jam, although this year I’m not feeling the jam and pies, gonna stick with the tarts.

The “recipe” is pretty fluid:  for 4 cups of berries, start with a scant cup of white sugar, 3 tablespoons of corn starch, and a 1/4 cup of water.  Stir the sugar and cornstarch together, then add the water.  Add just enough water to be able to melt the sugar and cornstarch together.  Pour over the berries in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until berries release their juice, and mixture is hot and bubbly and has thickened.  Taste at this point and add a bit of extra sugar if necessary.  A teaspoon or two of lemon juice helps cut a too-sweet flavor.  Let the berries cool about 40 minutes, stirring gently from time to time, then fill tart shells.   For 3″ tarts, use about 1/8 cup of filling per tart.  A batch of filling this size should fill about 12-15 tarts.  Bake tarts at 375°F for about 14 minutes until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly.  Remove from oven and cool before serving.

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Chocolate Swirl Banana Loaf

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Chocolate Swirl Banana Cake

2 cups of flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 bananas, mashed

½ cup canola oil

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp cocoa

2-3 tbsp hot water

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in wet mixture and add mashed bananas.  Combine all ingredients just until moistened.   In small bowl, mix cocoa and just enough of the hot water to make a smooth mixture.  Add in about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and gently mix to form the chocolate batter.   In a 9″x 5″ loaf pan that has been greased and floured, alternate dollops of of white and chocolate batter.   Use a knife to swirl the batters together.   Bake about 55 minutes total, 15 minutes at 375°F, then reducing temperature to 350°F and baking for an additional 35-40 minutes.  Bake until inserted tester comes clean.  Let loaf cool 5 minutes in the pan,  then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, drizzle with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp very hot water

In a medium size microwave-safe bowl, melt butter.  Stir in cocoa and icing sugar.  Add hot water and mix thoroughly.  If glaze seems too thick to flow, add more hot water a little at a time until desired constituency is reached.  Glaze will set quickly, so once the hot water is added, work quickly.  Drizzle over loaf as desired.

Apple Custard Cake

The apples are falling off the tree, so it’s time to do some apple baking.  This is an old  tried and true recipe from the days when heavy cream was not something to be frowned upon.  2 % evaporated milk can be substituted for the cream with good results.  It’s delicious warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Apple Custard Cake

Crust

2 cups flour

½ cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup butter

1 egg, beaten

6 cups peeled and sliced apples

Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Rub butter in until crumbly, then mix in beaten egg.  Press into greased 9”x13”.  Layer on sliced apples.

Custard

1 cup sugar

½ cup flour

½ -3/4 tsp cinnamon

½ cup melted butter

½ cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

Stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Add melted butter, cream and vanilla, mixing till smooth.  Pour over apples.

Topping

¾ cup flour

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

Stir together flour and sugar.  Rub in butter till crumbly.   Sprinkle over custard.  Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 50 minutes, till golden brown.

Cherry Jubilee

We were invited to visit with some family and new friends on the weekend.  I made this dessert to take along.  It  goes together fairly quickly and always seems to be a hit.

Cherries n’ Cream

Cookie Crumble Crust:

1 cup butter plus 2 tbsp

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

Filling:

1 250 g pkg cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp almond extract

500 ml whipping cream

4 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1 can cherry pie filling

For crust, melt butter, then add flour, sugar, nuts and mix well.  Mixture will resemble a soft cookie dough.  Spread on a large, ungreased baking pan.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Stir mixture often as it bakes, breaking it apart into fine pieces.  After baking, let crumbs cool slightly.  Reserve one cup for topping, press remaining crumbs into a 9″x13″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to overbrown.  Remove from oven and cool.  A few minutes in the freezer will speed the process nicely.

Meanwhile, beat together whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until needed.  Beat together cream cheese,  sugar and almond extract until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese.  Spread  mixture onto cool crust.  Carefully layer cherry pie filling over cream cheese.  Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Chocolate Cherry Tunnel Cake

I had a near disaster this morning, but thankfully, all is not lost.  My written recipe sadly lacking in detail  (I thought I remembered from last time!), I used the whole can of pie filling instead of the 1 1/4 cup the recipe actually calls for.  So unfortunately, my presentation is off.   I have a messy layer of cherries instead of the graceful tunnel that should have been.   The yumminess factor, however, was not compromised (for which we are grateful).  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for additional  calories flavor.

Chocolate Cherry Tunnel Cake

1 3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup natural bran

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

4 tbsp canola oil

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup cherry pie filling

In large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.  In another smaller bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing gently just until combined.  In a greased and floured bundt pan, layer a scant half of the dough, then gently add the cherry pie filling in a ring on top of the dough, trying not to touch the sides of the pan with the cherry filling.  Then add the rest of the dough over the cherries, smoothing carefully.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.  When cake is done, let cool in the pan for about 7 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.  Let cool about an hour, then glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

4 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cocoa

1 cup icing sugar

2-3 tbsp very hot water

Melt butter, whisk in cocoa and icing sugar.   Add hot water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Glaze will set quite quickly, so no dawdling!

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