Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Fuuuddge...

It's rich, thick, creamy, and perfect for sending in Christmas packages. (Make it just a few pieces, or your family will be left drooling futilely at the rich chocolatey odor.)

Basic Chocolate Fudge

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus butter, or cooking spray, for pan
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bitter chocolate
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Lightly butter or spray with cooking spray, a 9-inch square pan and set aside.
In a saucepan combine the sugar, salt, corn syrup, bitter and semisweet chocolates, and milk. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, do not stir. Any crystals that form on the sides of the pan may be removed with a pastry brush dipped in cool water. Cook the fudge at a boil until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 238 to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of butter. Cool to warm.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy. Pour into the prepared pan and cool completely before cutting into squares. Store fudge in an airtight container.

(Editor's notes: I'll skip the almond extract, but vanilla is essential in this recipe. Cut the sugar down to 2 1/2 cups -- you won't miss it. And chopped nuts, plus a handful of dried cranberries add a delicious grace notes.)

Then there's Paula Deen's
             Dummy Fudge
(You're smart to try it!)

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans (any type of nut will work)


Butter a 9 by 9-inch baking dish

Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and condensed milk in double boiler on medium heat. Once smooth remove from heat. Add vanilla and nuts. Scoop into baking dish and chill in refrigerator until set for approximately 10 minutes.

(See here for the whole shebang. Or just abandon yourself and try all 30-plus fudge recipes from the Food's for a good cause!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pie Week: Nope, You're Not A Turkey

...because you frugally used up the last dribs and drabs of that roast turkey in a crunchy, delicious


  • 1 recipe pastry for a (10 inch) double crust pie
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10 inch pie pan, and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the bouillon and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Add the milk, and heat through. Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of filling. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. 

(Thanks to for sharing this recipe and photo -- go to the link for more versions.)

Another meat pie possibility: The tourtiere, or pork pie --Quebec's favorite answer to "what to eat on Christmas Eve." A great recipe and step-by-step diagram is here. If you've got any Canuck, or French Canadian blood running around in your family tree, this is a perfect choice for a holiday brunch!

The classic tourtiere. (Yes, it can be done as 'hand pies,' too.) Go to the link above for specifics.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pie Week - The Nuttiest of Them All (Pecan)

The Brick would never think a Thanksgiving dinner complete without a slice of pecan pie. It brings back memories of his North Carolina home, with rhododendron bushes and warm breezes. (Plus a big scar in the closet, where brother Jim decided to start a fire. Inside the house. No matter - it matches the hole punched in the wall by the brothers wrestling. My poor mother-in-law.)

Making your own "pay-kan" pie is surprisingly easy -- just a few ingredients, stashed in piecrust. Shelling your own pecans will ensure the nuts are fresh. I also rely on butter, rather than margarine - you really can taste the difference, and the extra calories are negligible.
    This version is courtesy of the Pecan Pie Recipe website, which has a whole boatload of variations. I still tend to stick with the traditional one, though -- the Brick insists on it. 


Ingredients -
4 Eggs
1 cup Dark Corn Syrup
pinch of Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice or Vinegar    (or a shot of bourbon, whiskey or Southern Comfort)
4 tablespoons melted Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2/3 cup Pecan Halves
1 (9-inch) Unbaked Pie Shell
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Carefully crack eggs In a medium bowl, slightly beat eggs with fork.
3. Add corn syrup, salt, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, butter, vanilla and mix well.
4. Stir in pecan halves.
5. Pour pecan pie mixture into an unbaked pie shell.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, November 21, 2011


You've found my newest blog, on the best holiday-themed recipes around the globe! For now, I'll be double-posting on both this and the Christmas Goodies blog. We're smack-dab in the middle of Pie Week over at Christmas Goodies, and this is the latest offering: Chocolate Cream Pie. Visit the Christmas Goodies blog for more, including apple pie and Kitchen Sink cookies.

At our church's Thanksgiving supper last night, the gorgeous chocolate pie on the dessert table lasted for about 5 min. Fortunately I'd seen it earlier -- because there were nothing but delectable-looking crumbs left.
    No matter. I can bake my own Chocolate Cream pie, thanks to King Arthur Flour. For more, including tips on baking this pie even better, visit the King Arthur website.
 They know what they're doing!




  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups milk


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and salt.
2) Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas
3) Dice the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.
4) Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough
5) When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's ok if there are dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without adding too much or creating a wet spot
6) Fold it over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then pat it into a disk 3/4-inch thick
7) Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling
8) To blind bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan that's at least 2 inches deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's finished.
9) Roll out the pastry for the pie to a 13-inch circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the edge by an inch all the way around. Tuck the edges up and under, and flute them. Put the lined pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
10) Line the crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently remove foil or parchment with the weights or beans. Return the crust to the oven for 10 more minutes, until it's golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
1) Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks
3) Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.
4) Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute
5) Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.
6) Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
7) Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.
8. Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.
1) Place the heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
2) Whip until the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl.
3) Add the sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream holds a medium peak.
1) Transfer the cooled filling to the cooled, baked pie crust. Level the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
2) Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top.
3) Chill the pie until ready to serve.
Variation: Meringue topping
3 large egg whites (reserved from filling)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) water

1) Place the egg whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters. Add the pinch of salt.
2) In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
3) Whip the egg whites until they turn white and the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl. Slowly add the hot sugar syrup, and continue beating until the whites make stiff peaks.
4) Preheat the oven to 400°F.
5) Pipe or spoon the meringue over the top of the filled, chilled pie, making sure you cover the filling completely.
6) Place the pie in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the top of the meringue is golden brown. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until ready to serve