October 31, 2008

Pear Dumplings

Although the name sounds a bit odd, this is a delicious dessert. It is sweet, but not overwhelmingly. Excellent way to incorporate fruit into your dessert menu.

Pear Dumplings
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg white, beaten
3 medium pears

In food processor with knife blade attached, process flour, butter and cream cheese until mixture forms ball. Remove pastry dough from processor, and flatten into small disk. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Line cookie sheet with foil. Peel pears, leaving stem intact; cut each pear lengthwise in half and remove core. Set pear halves aside.

On floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll half of pastry dough 1/8-inch thick. Using 7-inch round plate as a guide, cut 3 rounds from pastry. Remove trimmings.

In cup, combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle pastry rounds with half of sugar mixture. Place 1 pear half, core side up, on each pastry. Fold pastry over pears, and pinch edges to seal. Place pastry-wrapped pears, seam side down, on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry, sugar mixture and pear halves to make six dumplings.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Re-roll pastry trimmings, and cut to make leaves. Brush pastry-wrapped pears with egg white, and decorate pastry leaves and brush with egg white. Sprinkle dumplings with granulated sugar. In oven, place 2 sheets of foil under cookie sheet, and crimp edges to form rim to catch any overflow during baking. (There will be some leakage.) Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until pastry is golden. With spatula, immediately transfer dumplings to wire rack. Cool slightly, but serve warm.

Sweet Corn

This is my family's recipe to freeze sweet corn. This recipe provides delicious corn all year.

Sweet Corn
16 cups raw corn
3 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 cups water
1 stick butter

Bring all ingredients to a boil, and boil 5 minutes. Cool corn enough to transfer to freezer bags and freeze.

October 11, 2008

Cinnamon-Walnut Twists

These are delicious but were a disaster to make. The filling didn't stay inside the twists, which made a smokey mess in the kitchen and plenty of stickiness to clean. I plan to use this recipe again because the flavors are wonderful, but I will bake either as a bread or something along those lines.Cinnamon-Walnut Twists
2 tsp. rapid-rising or active dry yeast
3 eggs plus milk (scalded and cooled) equal to 1 1/3 cups
9 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour

Filling and Topping
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup ground walnuts
8 Tbsp. butter, softened

Warm eggs under hot tap water, and crack into measuring cup. Heat the cooled milk until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF, and add to the eggs. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, sugar, barley flour and wheat flour. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour, and beat until a smooth dough forms. Knead on medium until smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Remove dough hook, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease baking sheets. To create filling and topping, mix cinnamon and sugar. Remove half this mixture and stir in walnuts. Set the other half aside for later use. Melt half the butter in shallow dish. Punch down dough on lightly greased surface. Roll into a 20-inch square. Spread with softened (not melted) butter and sprinkle evenly with the walnut mixture. Carefully fold dough in half, pressing to seal the edges. With a pizza wheel, cut dough from fold to seal into 18 equal strips. Dip each strip in melted butter and then reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture. Twist each strip into a corkscrew and place on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake twists for 25 minutes, until golden. Cool on wire racks.

October 9, 2008


It sounds a lot like Mufasa from the Lion King when I try to pronounce this dish, but I guess that's just what happens when I try Middle Eastern dishes. This was a creation to use remaining eggplant, and it turned out fairly well. It doesn't have quite as much flavor as I anticipated, but I enjoyed the topping.

2 medium eggplants
3 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound lamb or beef
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup olive oil or as needed
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup unflavored yogurt
1/3 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese

Remove stems and hulls from eggplants. Peel if desired. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Meanwhile, heat butter, and saute onions and garlic until soft but not browned, stirring frequently. Add the meat and cook until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, oregano, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.

Coat eggplant lightly with flour. In large, heavy skillet heat oil over moderate heat. Add eggplant slices adn fry until lightly browned on both sides, adding more oil as necessary.

Arrange half eggplant slices in bottom of shallow baking dish. Spread meat mixture on top of them. Top with remaining eggplant slices. Mix together beaten eggs and yogurt and pour on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375ºF 35 to 40 minutes until topping is set and golden. Serves 6.