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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Cinnamon Buns

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The hot days of summer feel like a distant memory, there’s a bit of nip in the air, it must be fall.  Which makes it safe to turn on the oven again.  This is family recipe from my sister-in-law.  I haven’t baked a batch for yonks and yonks, but somehow the cool weather inspires the desire for the comforting, spicy tang of cinnamon.  The recipe calls for quick-rise yeast, which means it’s not gonna take the whole day to make a pan.  If you’re new to working with yeast dough, Fleischman’s has some technique videos that will help you get started with confidence.

Maureen’s Cinnamon Buns

Dough

3 ¼ cup flour

1 pkg instant/rapid-rise yeast

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp salt

¾ cup 2% milk

¼ cup water

¼ cup butter

1 egg slightly beaten

Filling

1/2 cup soft butter (more or less as needed)

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

½ cup pecans (optional)

For the pan

4-5 tbsp butter

4-5 tbsp brown sugar

Reserve 1 cup flour.  Mix remaining flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in yeast.  Heat milk, water and ¼ cup butter until hot to touch (about 54 degrees Celsius).  Stir hot liquid into dry mix.  Stir in egg.  Mix in enough reserved flour to make a soft dough that does not stick to bowl.  Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover, let rest 10 minutes.  Roll dough to a 14” square.  For filling, spread the dough with soft butter.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over butter.  Layer on raisins and pecans.  Roll dough jelly-roll fashion  and cut into about 15 buns.  Place in 9”x13” pan that has been prepared with butter and brown sugar. (Make a paste of butter and sugar and spread it into the pan.)  Arrange buns cut side down into pan.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise till doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn out buns onto a tray to cool completely.

Raisin Spice Cupcakes (Birthday Cupcakes #2)

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In addition to the strawberry cupcakes I made for my niece’s birthday celebration, hubby made a request for some raisin spice cupcakes.  So we had some of each type on the birthday plate.  This is a kind of family heirloom recipe.  I have a handwritten copy of my grandmother’s, who got it from her sister, Julie, and my mom made it often when we were kids.  We know it as Aunty Julie’s Cake.  My sister and I usually have a bit of a laugh every time we make this cake, as it reminds us of the childhood memory we have of the time her and I decided to surprise our mom with some baking.  The recipe is written without any flour mentioned.  The adults knew you had to add flour, but the young teens didn’t know that yet 🙂  Needless to say, the first round was a complete flop!  I think we feed it to the chickens, hoping nobody would have to know about the fiasco.  We phoned Grandma to find out where we went wrong;  she was very kind to explain, but I’m sure she had a bit of chuckle too.  Besides including an amount for flour, I’ve also made a couple of other  minor adjustments over the years.

Aunty Julie’s Raisin Spice Cupcakes

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar  (may be reduced to 1 cup)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 2/3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg OR allspice

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup raisins

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and soda and spices. Alternate additions of flour and milk to creamed butter until all flour is incorporated. Gently fold in raisins. Pour into greased and floured 9”x 9” cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Makes about 24 cupcakes using medium size paper liners.

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Broccoli Salad

IMG_2919aI love raw veggies!

Broccoli Salad

2 large florets broccoli

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup diced red onion

5-6strips bacon, fried and crumbled

1/3 raisins or dried cranberries

Dressing

1/2 -3/4 cup mayonnaise

1-2 tbsp vinegar

2-3 tsp sugar

Wash and cut broccoli into bite size pieces.  In a bowl, toss together broccoli, sunflower seeds, onion, raisins and bacon.  In a small bowl, stir together mayo, vinegar and sugar.  Pour dressing onto broccoli and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Raisin Tea Cakes

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We have bit of a gloomy day today, leaden skies and intermittent snow.  Here’s a delicious way to brighten the afternoon–raisin tea cakes.  Serve warm with butter and strawberry jam.  Too bad we don’t have any Devonshire cream to dollop on top!

Raisin Tea Cakes

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

½ cup cream cheese

1 cup milk

3/4 cup raisins, washed and drained

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the cream cheese and rub till mixture is crumbly.  Stir in raisins.  Add the milk and stir to make a soft dough.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently just until dough clings together.  Shape dough into a roll about 9″ long.  With a sharp serrated knife, cut dough into about 12 equal pieces (about 3/4″).   Place circles of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

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Refrigerator Bran Muffins (Tweaked)

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The last time I made this big-batch muffin, we really did enjoy the results, but I’ve tweaked the recipe and now we like them even more.  The texture is bit lighter with these changes.   I’ve reduced the all-bran cereal from 4 to 3 cups, increased the natural bran from 2 to 3 cups, and decreased the molasses from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.  Otherwise, everything else is the same.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

3 cups All Bran cereal

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup of molasses

5 cups of flour

3 cups natural bran

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

3 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

4 cups buttermilk

3 cups raisins, rinsed and drained

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the All Bran cereal. Let stand. When the mixture has softened and cooled but is still warm, stir in the molasses. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs together and stir in oil and buttermilk. Slowly add egg and milk mixture into the softened, cooled cereal and combine thoroughly. Meanwhile, in an extra-large bowl, stir together the flour, natural bran, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add raisins and pour in egg and milk mixture. Gently mix until all ingredients are combined. Use a folding method to avoiding over-mixing. The batter is ready to be stored in the refrigerator and baked as needed. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

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If you have room in your fridge for an extra container, this muffin batter is great to have on hand  so you can have freshly baked muffins with a minimum of fuss and time.   It should yield about 4 dozen muffins in total.  Big-batch cooking and baking produces lots of dishes, but fortunately for me, hubby is a dab hand at kitchen clean-up. 🙂

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

4 cups All Bran cereal

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup of molasses

5 cups of flour

2 cups natural bran

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

3 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

4 cups buttermilk

3 cups raisins, rinsed and drained

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the All Bran cereal.  Let stand.  When the mixture has softened and cooled but is still warm, stir in the molasses.   In a separate bowl,  lightly beat eggs together and stir in oil and buttermilk.  Slowly add egg and milk mixture into the softened, cooled cereal and combine thoroughly.  Meanwhile, in an extra-large bowl,  stir together the flour, natural bran, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.   Make a well  in the dry ingredients, add raisins and pour in egg and milk mixture.  Gently mix until all ingredients are combined.  Use a folding method to avoiding over-mixing.  The batter is ready to be stored in the refrigerator and baked as needed.  Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins


What can I tell you about these muffins except that they’re good;  spicy with cinnamon, moist with pumpkin, chockablock with plump raisins. Go ahead and try them, you’ll like them.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

2 cups of flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 can of  pumpkin pie filling ( from a 540 ml can)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

1 1/2 cup raisins, washed under cold water and drained

Stir together dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients, including pumpkin pie filling.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients and raisins.  Mix  just until moistened.   Using jumbo cupcake liners, divide batter into 12 portions.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

Morning Glory Muffins

More carroty goodness today,  in Morning Glory Muffins.  There are all sorts of additions you could make to these muffins, including pineapple and walnuts, but we like them like this:

 

Morning Glory Muffins

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 cups peeled, grated carrots

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 apple, peeled and grated

3 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Blend together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl.  Add to dry ingredients, gently mixing just until moistened.  Divide batter into muffin tins, bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes.  Makes 18 large muffins, using cupcake liners.

 

The Great Canadian Butter Tart

What could be easier to help invoke that holiday feeling than delicious butter tarts?  It seems a Christmas baking tray just wouldn’t be complete without these toothsome little treats.  Hubby says he’s never met a butter tart he didn’t like, but in his opinion, this recipe is particularly fine.   Recipes abound, of course, some old and handed down for generations and some new;  I’m always on the lookout for the “perfect” one.  Try this one and see how it measures up.

I’m including the filling recipe only, as pastry is a personal choice.  You can’t beat homemade, hand-formed shells, but good quality store-bought pastry won’t diminish the finished product in any way!

Butter Tarts

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla paste

3/4 cup maple syrup

raisins

Prepare shells.  Sprinkle 5-6 raisins in each shell.  Cream butter and brown sugar.  Stir in vanilla, and then eggs, adding one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in maple syrup and combine thoroughly.   Spoon some filling in each shell, taking care not to overfill.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 14 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is puffy and bubbling.

I doubled the recipe and made 40 preformed 3″ shells, using a scant 1/8 cup of filling in each.

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