Tag Archives: Sugar

Life is Just a Bowl of Berries

This sweet cream cheese fruit tart is a berry simple dessert; I found this recipe among my mother’s clippings and was surprised how easy it is.  Of course, she made her pastry from scratch, but I took a short cut with the pre-made dough.

Sweet Cream Cheese Berry Tart

  • 8 oz package Philly cream cheese (my mother only used Philly – staying true to her roots)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pie crust dough (or 1 refrigerated pre-made pie crust)
  • 2 cups fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat together: cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, egg yolk, and almond extract.  In a separate bowl, mix fruit with 2 tablespoons of sugar and remaining tablespoon of cream of tartar.

If using refrigerated pie crust, roll it out a little and then cut into four or five pieces that will fit into large muffin slots.  My tin holds six, but I only had enough dough for 5, so I tried a little experiment. I added a little water to the empty spot before baking, and then filled a custard cup with the cream cheese mixture and fruit – it fit nicely into the slot – turned out tasty.

Fill bottom of each tart with cream cheese mixture and then top with fruit.  Fold the edges over slightly to look like a small pie.  Brush the edges with the egg white.  Bake about 30 minutes (until edges of the pie crust are lightly browned).  Cool and enjoy.

Fried Dough – The Italian Version of a Donut

Both my mother and grandmother made this version of donuts, usually on a cold day.  I made them whenever it snowed  – for the neighborhood kids who came in to warm themselves after sledding down our hill – or falling into our almost frozen pond at the bottom of the hill.   No snow where I live now – but the dusting of confectioner’s sugar still reminds me of those snowy days.

Italian Fried Dough 

  • 1 cup warm milk (warm briefly in microwave)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • flour

Proof the yeast in the warm water.  Add to milk, olive oil, sugar, and egg in a large bowl.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough (1 to 2 cups or more).  Form into a soft ball.  Sprinkle olive oil on bottom of the bowl.  Flip dough ball so that both sides are slightly coated with oil.  Cover with moist towel and let rise about an hour.

When dough is doubled, punch down and pinch off walnut sized pieces, flatten, and place in pan with hot vegetable oil.  Dough will rise quickly; flip over and brown on both sides; remove from pan, and roll in confectioner’s sugar while hot.

Tip:  Be sure all ingredients are warm – but not boiling.   Doughnuts taste best when hot.

Not a Pioneer Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My mother made this in her electric fry pan; I remember  drinking the maraschino cherry juice after she used all the cherries.

  • 6 tbsp shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups sifted flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 can sliced pineapple and maraschino cherries – drained

Blend shortening with sugar and egg until creamy.  Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk or fruit juice and mix well.

Preheat electric fry pan at 250 until light blacks out.  Melt 4 tablespoons butter in the pan.  Add ¾ cup brown sugar and blend, spreading evenly at the bottom of pan. Arrange pineapple slices with cherries in center of each on bottom of the pan. Pour batter carefully over the fruit.  Cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool and invert onto a plate.

Chocolate Chips

Nothing as good as toll house cookies – no matter what kind of chocolate chips you use.  I’m still into Nestle – mainly because the recipe is on the bag.

But did you know they changed the recipe?  What happened to the water?

The original recipe has all the same ingredients, plus 1/2 tsp. water

Does it make a difference?  Depends on the size of your eggs…smaller eggs need the water; extra large – maybe not. With more liquid, the cookies are flatter and crisper.  But, these cookies are great either way.  And, you’ll feel better eating one – even if your team lost.

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp.  baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package semi-sweet real chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Cream butter with sugars, vanilla and water. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.. Drop by well-rounded half-teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees  for 10-12 minutes.

It’s Just Not Christmas Without the Rum

In the eggnog, soaked in the fruitcake, between the layers of an Italian sponge cake – rum is the defining ingredient for me at Christmas.  A home ec major – they don’t have those anymore – introduced me to rumballs, and they became the family project every year.

Gingerbread houses could fall, sugar cookies might not make it out of the cutters, but rumballs always were a success.

And, if they were a little dry – just add more rum…

Ta Rum Pa Pum Pum –  Recipe for Rumballs

  • 1 box vanilla wafers crumbs – crushed in blender or whacked in plastic bag
  • 1 bag chopped pecans (at least 8 oz – could go to 16 oz if you like nuts)
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • about 3/4 cup white corn syrup (I know it’s bad for you, but you’re only going to use it this once)
  • about 1/2 cup or more of good quality rum

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the corn syrup and rum.  Mix well.  If too sticky, add more powdered sugar.  If too dry, add more rum.  Roll into small balls; dip into powdered sugar or chocolate sprinkles.

Store in a tin and refrigerate for up to a month.

Best part – licking your hands and fingers when done.