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Pecan Pie – a recipe from Oma’s kitchen.


While I am in America I intend to try out a few Southern recipes. This week it’s going to be Pecan Pie, which is a favourite around here in Tennessee.  A couple of the ingredients are unfamiliar to me, namely Pecan nuts and Corn Syrup.  Here are the ingredients:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pastry case apx. 9 inch.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or soft margarine for my English friends.
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar, 4 ozs for my English friends.
  • 1 cup of Corn Syrup, 4 ozs for my English friends.
  • 3 medium sized eggs, beaten. Interesting Fact: In America white eggs are deemed to be superior whereas in England it’s the brown ones. I’ve tasted both and I can’t tell the difference. However, I prefer the look of the brown ones.  How about you?
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla essence. Use the real stuff not the flavouring.
  • 1 cup of Pecan nuts, 4 ozs for my English friends. Crush some of the nuts, leaving a few for decoration on the top of the pie.

METHOD

Precook the pastry shell for 5 minutes at 425 degs electric or Gas 7. Then turn down the oven to 350 degs (Gas 5).

Cream the butter and sugar, add the Corn Syrup, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well, then add the pecans.

Pour into the prepared crust and bake in the centre of the oven until the filling is firm, which in the oven over here took 45 minutes.

Cool before cutting.

I prefer to eat the pie warm, but I’m told it is equally delicious.

My husband Larry, who is an expert at eating pies, said it turned out just right!

I encourage you to have a go because it really isn’t difficult and it’s something a little bit different.

This is a recipe from Oma’s kitchen. The original comes from Diana Rattray.

Cheese Flan (Quiche)


Once or twice a week we have a cheese meal at the cottage. Today’s recipe is for cheese flan, as it used to be called or the more modern form – cheese quiche. There are lots of variations of this dish. This is the basic one.

Ingredients:

1lb of short pastry, made up. I make my own pastry using self-raising flour, Flora margarine and Trex shortening.

(American readers: I find that Crisco is very similar to Trex.)

80zs mature Cheddar cheese (American people can buy this in the foreign section of Food City. Kerrygold do an aged cheddar, which is very nice).

Small tin of evaporated milk (or half a large tin).

(American readers: If find that your evaporated milk is thinner than the one we buy in England. Therefore, don’t put too much in or your flan will be too loose.)

2 eggs. I use medium size.

1 tomatoe for garnish

 Have you noticed how thin the tins are getting these days? It’s hard to find one that is easy to open now. 

Method:

Make a lb of pastry and leave in the fridge to cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile light the oven and set to hot. By the time you’ve made the filling, the oven will be just the right temperature and the pastry will be just right, ready and waiting for you in the fridge. (ice-box).

Next make the filling.

Grate the cheddar cheese, keeping back 2 ozs to sprinkle on the top of the flan.

Put the grated cheese in a medium sized bowl, add the two eggs and all of the evaporated milk.

Stir together with a fork.

Slice a tomatoe fairly thinly and set aside until later with the 2 ozs of cheese.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out a third of it. That should be enough to line the base of a medium sized flan case.

Line the flan case and trim the top edge with a sharp knife.

Pour the filling into the flan case and lay the tomatoe slices on top.

Sprinkle the remaining 2 ozs of grated cheddar cheese on top of the tomatoe.

There will be enough pastry left over to make a meat pie (recipe coming another day) and a batch of jam tarts.

Cook the flan at the top of a hot oven for 30 minutes. Test after 25 minutes. Take the flan carefully out of the oven and give the flan case a slight shake (note: slight). If the flan filling is under-done in the middle, it will wobble a bit. If it does, put it back in the oven for the last 5 minutes. If the filling is firm in the middle, the flan is done.

30 minutes does it for me. I use Gas 6.Your oven might be different. I usually turn off the oven after the flan is done, but leave the flan in the oven. That sets the filling for sure. Make sure most of the heat has escaped from the oven before you do this, otherwise the flan will keep on cooking and may even burn.

Let’s take a closer look, Yumm!

Serve with a salad.

The jam tarts will be perfect for tea tomorrow.

This is another recipe from Oma’s kitchen.

How to make the perfect Yorkshire Pudding


There are lots of ways to make a Yorkshire Pudding. This is my take on it.

My family prefer their Yorkshire Pudding done in the oven in one piece, cooked in the juices from the roast beef and served in ‘settee shaped’ pieces.

These are the ingredients you will need to make a Yorkshire Pudding like the one above:

Ingredients

5 tablespoons of plain flour (all purpose flour)

2 medium sized eggs

pinch of salt

approximately half a pint of whole milk. This is added bit by bit and you can never be quite sure how much to use until you do it!

splash of cold water

half an Oxo Cube. You could substitute another gravy cube here.

To make the batter:

Method

Put the measured flour in a large pyrex bowl and add the eggs. Add a splash of cold water. Using a large metal spoon (I use a tablespoon size), mix the water into the flour and egg for one minute. Next add the milk, a little at a time, and start beating. You need to beat the mixture to aerate it. The better you do the beating, the lighter the pudding will be.

While you are beating the mixture, press the spoon against the side of the bowl. This will squash the lumps and keep the mixture smooth. Don’t cheat and use an electric appliance. You won’t be so pleased with the result and you will have extra things to wash up afterwards.

The mixture should look like this afterwards. It will be quite thin at this stage.

Now cover the bowl with cling film and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. This allows the gluten in the flour to expand.  When you take the mixture out of the refrigerator, you will notice that it is thicker.  Beat it again before you use it.

You will need a nice piece of beef to roast. I bought this one:

You can tell if you have a nice piece of beef if it is bright red in colour and has its own fat surrounding it. This piece of meat was purchased from an Irish butcher and is absolutely perfect for the purpose.  So many joints of beef these days have had the fat removed or worse, substituted with prefabricated fat of some sort. You just lose flavour if you buy this sort. You need to have the real fat for the sake of the meat and the Yorkshire Pudding you are going to cook in it.

I had some nice fresh peas to go with it and some new potatoes.

Timing is important when cooking a roast. This is how I do it:

I put the meat in the oven at 8.45 am on Gas 3, which is the moderate setting.

At 11.30 a.m I start the vegetables cooking and take the meat out of the tin and wrap it in foil to set aside on a meat dish. Then I turn up the oven to Gas 6, hot setting. Then I rebeat the Yorkshire Pudding mixture. Next, take the meat tin out of the oven and put it on the hob. Light the gas underneath on a medium setting to really get that fat hot. Add the mixture.

Sprinkle the mixture with half of the Oxo cube. You need to crush it first.

Take the tin off the gas and put it into the pre-heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR ANY REASON. If you do, the Yorkshire Pudding will flop.

At 11.55 am take the pudding out of the oven, turn down the oven to low and return the meat to heat a little. You can also add your dinner plates at this stage. The warmth in the oven will heat them nicely. While this is happening you can make the gravy.

When the gravy is thick, leave on a very low heat setting and cut the meat. Of course you can do this at the table, but I prefer to do it in the kitchen because I like my food piping hot.

When served, the dinner should look like this and taste likes this…YUM YUM YUM

Date and Banana Cake


This cake has always been very popular in my cottage and because it’s got bananas and dates in it, it’s one of the more healthy cakes on the list.  It is very moist so it keeps for a week, if you don’t eat it up first. I just keep it on its plate with some cling film over it.

Ingredients as follows:

8 ozs of self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 ozs of soft margarine or softened butter

4 ozs of caster sugar

4ozs of dried dates, chopped

1 large banana, sliced thinly

1 egg

4 tablespoons of milk

Method:

Weigh out the ingredients ready to start.

Oops, forgot the banana!

I start with the flour and the margarine, rubbing the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Then add the sugar, dates, banana, pinch of salt, egg and milk and amalgamate together. Don’t overdo it or the banana will turn to mush.

Put the mixture into a lined cake tin. I use a loaf tin. Sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds or walnuts on top. If you want, you can also sprinkle some demerara over but I think this makes the cake too sweet. Remember you have banana and dates in there already.

Cook in the centre of your oven for one hour 15 minutes at Gas Mark 4 or equivalent. After that time, test the cake to see if it’s done. It should be brown on the top and a skewer should come out clean if you prick the middle of the cake.

Take the cake out of the tin and put it on a pretty plate. You can remove the paper if you have guests coming or leave it on to keep the cake fresh if there is just the two of you.

Serve with a nice cup of tea and a couple of hot buttered crumpets.

Let’s have a closer look at those.  Delicious!

Cheese and Onion Casserole


This dish is one of my favourites and will serve four hungry people.

For the ingredients you will need:

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, washed and sliced (not too thickly sliced).

2 medium sized onions

8 ozs of mature Cheddar Cheese

salt and pepper (you won’t need much salt because there is plenty in the cheese). Just sprinkle a little over the potato layer.

1 pint of full fat milk (I never use anything that says ‘light’ on it)

2 dessert spoons full of Bird’s Custard Powder (available from English stores in America. I go to World Market when I am there).

Method:

Butter an oval shaped dish generously.

Layer the potatoes in an oval shaped dish with the sliced onions and cheese.  It is better to slice the onions and the cheese thinly. I start with potatoes, then onions, then cheese, then potatoes again, onions and cheese.  That does it.

Keep back some of the cheese, e.g. 2 ozs, for grating and putting on the top.

Make up the custard powder as explained on the side of the box. If you can’t get Birds Custard Powder, you could use cornflour but then it will be white, not yellow.  I like yellow. It looks more authentic. It also tastes delicious. Whatever you do, DON’T add any sugar.  This is a savoury dish. Most of the time custard is used for pouring over cherry pies or such like. This is different.


See, it’s a nice yellow colour.

Pour the custard mixture slowly over the potatoes, onions and cheese and sprinkle the remainder of the grated cheese over the top.

Bake in a medium oven on the middle shelf for 2 hours. Eat with salad.  Delicious.

I can guarantee you will come back for more.

Afterwards, wash up the dishes whilst gazing out of the window…

Victoria Sandwich Cake


Here’s what we’re going to make:

So let’s begin with an empty bowl.

Yesterday I made an English Victoria Sandwich Cake. I thought you might like to see how I made it. First take a clean bowl. The bowl is important.  It has to be large enough to get some serious whisking done. The secret of making a light Victoria Sandwich Cake is to whisk the mixture till it’s just right. Too little or too much whisking and you’ll spoil it.

I made a 6oz cake, which takes the following ingredients:

6 ozs self-raising flour

6 ozs caster sugar (in America this is more refined sugar with a smaller grain. I can’t remember what you call it, sorry).

6 ozs butter or margarine. Tip – use soft margarine. It makes the whisking easier.

I use a hand-held electric whisk.

There are several ways of making the cake. You could make it by creaming the butter and sugar together first and then adding the eggs slowly, one by one or as in this case, I combined the margarine, eggs and sugar together in the bowl and used an electric whisk.

When whisking, here’s the secret: You need to whisk until the mixture goes white, from yellow. Stop immediately it changes colour. If you see signs of curdling (egg separating) add a spoonful of flour and continue whisking. Add the flour when the egg mixture is whisked, combining it using the folding in method with a metal spoon.

This is what it should look like: it should be at a dropping consistency, i.e. if you hold the spoon a foot above the bowl, loaded with mixture, the mixture should drop off the spoon fairly slowly. If too fast, add another spoon of flour, if too slow, add a dessert spoonful of milk.

Once you’ve made the mixture, you need to grease your cake pans. I use margarine and spread a walnut sized piece with some kitchen towel. The pans are sized: 8 inches.

Measure the mixture evenly into the two pans:

and put the pans on the same shelf in your oven, set to Gas Mark 4 or equivalent. I use the middle shelf. NB ovens vary. My gas oven is hottest at the top and coolest at the bottom so I put the cake pans in the middle. If you have a fan oven, the heat is evenly distributed in all parts of the oven so it doesn’t matter which shelf you use. You know your own oven.

Set the time to 25 mins. This is just right for my oven, but yours could vary by 5 minutes either way so check it five minutes before or after. This is dangerous because if you open the door too soon, the cake will sink, too late and it will be burnt so you do really need to get to know your own oven. Be guided by instinct to start with and improve the next time you make the cake.

When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and cool on the side for a few minutes.  Don’t try to take it out of the pans too soon or it might stick to the bottom. Same if you’re too long about it.  You need to get this bit just right.  Sometimes it will just fall out and other times you might need to work at it a bit.

Nb if your oven is not level, then you might find that you have a patch on the cake which is a little more done than the rest.  If you do, then stabilise the oven.  If that is not possible, then put that half of the cake upside down on the plate and it won’t show!

While the cake is cooling down, make up the cream. I use Elmlea double cream and whip it till it leaves a trail.  I don’t add any sugar to it. If you’re in America, use Heavy Cream to get the same result. When it looks like the following picture, stop whisking otherwise it will turn into butter!

Spread one side of the cake with your favourite jam (preserves if you’re American).

Then spread some cream on top of the jam, carefully.

Next put the other half of the sandwich on top and decorate.  You may have some whipped cream left over. If so, you could use that. Personally I think there is enough cream and jam in the middle and you don’t really need to add much more. Traditionally, some caster sugar would be sprinkled over the top. It’s up to you really, but don’t overdo it.

You will need a nice plate to display it on:

and you’re almost done.

Maybe a strawberry on the top?

Now I just have to wait until the grandchildren come round.

For those of you who haven’t made one of these before, why not have a go and do a post on your results, with a link back here to help me make some new friends and gain some new followers? I’m a newbie in the WordPress world.

Enjoy your cooking.

Oma