Oven-Baked Dutch Apple Pancakes (substitution: Cherry Pie filling for Apples)

First, let me apologize for the blurred image. It is the only one I have. I asked my grandson to take one, and only one, which he took with his cell phone! Hopefully my bounty of under a dozen followers will forgive this blunder. Actually, I’m surprised I have any followers, being that this is my ‘ranting’ and ‘personal’ blog. May I take this time to say: thank you for following me; it is much appreciated.

I don’t often post about food on this blog but this is my go to recipe for a people pleaser one skillet dish that will feed a bunch of hungry teenagers! And I want to share it with you. It is one that will not tie up the kitchen for an hour while frying one boys egg one way and another boys egg another way; this happens often at my house and can get rather comical. (hint: I will laugh at anything!)

Here is the recipe (I used cherry pie filling for the one in the picture because I had NO apple pie filling! I’ve even used fresh (and very ripe) peaches! Enjoy.

Oven-Baked Dutch Apple Pancakes

Ingredients:
2 Cans apple pie filling
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sour cream (don’t leave out)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (don’t leave out if doing apple pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, warm the apple pie filling, butter and cinnamon just until the butter is melted. Do not need to bring this to a boil but it does need to be quite hot.

In a large bowl beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, flour, sour cream, lemon zest and salt. Beat just until this batter is smooth. Pour entire batter over the hot apple mixture in the skillet and immediately place skittle into the 350 degree (F) oven.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly (see picture)

Take out of oven and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. I use a fine mesh strainer for this so it looks like a light snow on the top; which I did not do to the one pictured as I was out of powered sugar, so this could be optional, I guess.

Serve warm.

Hint: If you let the pancake cool slightly before serving the slices come out easier but please do serve warm. Left overs can be stored in the refrigerator for a day and are just a good warmed in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Hot Dogs?

This is a story that will bring tears to your eyes.  I am at my desk pondering a cooking blog post.  What shall I write about this week?  I click on the monthly calendar in the header for notable holidays – bestholidayrecipesever.wordpress.com – if you want to check out the other blog.

(Note: I’m the least pushy person you’ll ever meet but still, I like readers as much as the next person. For a writer it is both vindication & validation to have readers. I’d load up a music video of “You Light Up My Life” here – but you get the jest, right?)

June 12th is Magic Day and apparently on this date in 1838 Baseball was invented.  My mind swirls — (or was that the storm winds swirling outside, visible through the slit in the curtain?) — whatever, the mind becomes engaged, alive!  What is more magical than baseball?  Baseball & hot dogs!  Not just any hot dog – The All American Hot Dog!

I get side tracked and think of my mother’s love for Emeril Lagasse and wonder, “does he have some good hot dog tips?”  Google!  After all there must be more to a hot dog than plain red in a cold bun with red and yellow on top, right?  I mean, if left to my expertise this post will be rather bland and boring.

Reinstated thanks to Lagasse and America’s Test Kitchen my mind is back on track – sort of – and I think of a few post titles.  In the end pick Home Run Hot Dogs.  Than, again my mind wonders.  This time to the game of baseball and to the 30 Before 30 post about the Baltimore Orioles – I love the line “Damn you Jeffrey Maier!” –  and just for fun I read SportsJim81’s blog post again – URL: http://wp.me/p18O2V-8k.  Mentally and comically satisfied I continue on.  Hot Dogs!

Finding the right images is key to giving the hot dog a mouth-watering audience.  NO?  Exactly when was the last time your mouth watered over a hot dog?  I thought so.  Continuing. . . I Google for images.  I hit pay-dirt and come up with amazing images of hot dogs.  I did not know “the dog” could be dressed with so many options.  Some don’t have red or yellow on them.  What is up with that?

Again, my mind wonders.  This time to Summer Fun, baseball, hot dogs, the National Hollerin’ Contest happening next weekend (June 18) in Spivey’s Corner, NC.  Google!  I come up with this little tidbit from Reuters: “Travel Picks: Top 10 wacky U.S. summer events, one being the Hollerin’ in Spivey’s Corner. (NEW YORK | Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:13pm EDT) –Travelers should leave their indoor voices at home at this cacophonous celebration, which draws in over 10,000 attendees. The hollering contest is not the only pursuit for travelers to enjoy at this gathering; conch shell blowing, a greasy pole climb, and the classic game of corn hole are also integral to the hollerin’ hoopla. Those with a firm grip can even compete to hold on to a greased watermelon, while local firemen try to knock it from contestants’ hands using a fire hose. General admission is $5, and free for children 12 and under.”  

I think, maybe I should write something about “hollerin’ hoopla” but remind myself I need to finish what I start by staying focused and on track, for Pete’s Sake!  This according to Kristen Lamb who advises this with an iron fist.  Check out: Publishing, Writing | URL: http://wp.me/py7Aw-XY

Oh, distractions:  I put the ear phones on and plug into Pandora Internet Radio.  Set to a low volume for static noise I function better.  Honestly.

Still, the 43rd Annual National Hollerin’ Contest is a family oriented event and is the most fun a NC Gal could have and I feel it calling me to come on out and enjoy the fun!  Deep breath.  Hot Dogs! Plus, I moved to Ohio!

When we went white water rafting I remember that we took hot dogs along.  The buns got wet!  The hot dogs were good without the buns.  I should write something about White Water Rafting.  I feel a kick in the butt coming from Kristen Lamb’s direction, all the way from Texas.  She has a long reach!  Deep breath.  Hot Dogs!

At this point I am crying — Hot Dogs!

Thanksgiving Dessert Table

There are as many recipes for cheesecake as there are women to bake them!  Mine is an age old traditional recipe that a close family friend gave as a wedding present in 1963 and I have yet to find one better.  It did win every contest entered way back then!  When Mrs. Mitchell presented me with her family heirloom recipe(s) of Cheese Pie and Boston Baked Beans and Brown Bread I was elated and have never again felt as special as I did at that moment.   She vowed me to silence with the pie recipe.  I was never, ever, to give it out to another living soul.  I kept that promise until I passed the recipe down to my daughters.  This pie is expected at our Thanksgiving table.  Expected! 

 But, this year I wanted to cut down on the treats as only three will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table. My friends Kathy and Larry Zuckerman have been gracious enough to invite me to their Thanksgiving table and for a few days after to do some shopping and other fun things.  The Zuckerman’s are my family away from home and hearth while I am in California so totally far away from my children and grandchildren in North Carolina and Ohio. 

 I have agreed to do the dessert table for Thanksgiving dinner. None of the three of us want to load up on treats so I have decided to make Larry’s favorite, an apple pie and one pumpkin inspired pie and that’s it.  I began my search for the pumpkin inspired sweet treat for the dessert table and found just the right combination: A Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie which should be a wonderful blend of the two pies I can not live without for Thanksgiving. I could eat my weight in both!

 The three frontrunners are below. Trial run anyone?

 As to pies in general I find the simpler the pie recipe the better the pie.  I opted for cheesecake recipe #2 although #3 has my interest as well.  I think there is too much to do with #1 so maybe I’ll try this one for another holiday.  But I will try it! 

#1:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE WITH GINGERSNAP CRUST – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

1/2 c. pecans
2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. gingersnap crumbs (from about 20 cookies)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature
1 c. canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground ginger
Pecan halves, for garnish

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the 1/2 cup pecans and sugar in food processor and process until finely chopped, about 20 seconds. Pour into large bowl, add gingersnap crumbs and mix. Pour in the butter and stir well to combine. Turn mixture into 10 inch pie dish and press evenly against bottom and sides to form crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Leave oven on.)

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until soft and well blended. Stir in sour cream and pumpkin. Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time and the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Place pie dish on baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake in middle of oven for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool on rack. Arrange pecan halves around edge of pie. Makes 12 servings.

#2:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

9 double graham crackers, crumbled
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sugar

 FILLING:

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger

Prebake crust 10-15 minutes. Cream well the cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, beat until combined. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix until all blended and pour into prebaked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

 #3:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

PIE FILLING:

1 1/2 c. pumpkin
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

CHEESE TOPPING:

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients for pie filling and mix. Pour into pie shell. In a small bowl combine all ingredients for cheese topping, beat until smooth. Pour over pie filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Now — for the Apple Pie I’ll make!

  picture courtesy of the internet (I don’t take credit where none is due)

Granny Smith apples are good for baking, and they add a tart contrast to the sharp cheddar flavor in the crust.

Crust: (still looking for Mum’s pie crust recipe so I might use this one)

  • 2 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2  cup  ice water
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Filling:

  • 10  cup  very thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • Dash of salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 tablespoon flour and cheese in a small bowl; toss well. Place mixture in freezer for 10 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup ice water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry. Combine 1 3/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese mixture. Add slurry; toss with a fork. Sprinkle surface with up to 1 tablespoon ice water, tossing with a fork until moist and crumbly (do not form a ball). Mixture will seem slightly dry.

Divide dough in half. Gently press each half into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of overlapping heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll each dough half, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Chill 30 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

To prepare filling, combine apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 3 tablespoons flour, brown sugar, and next 5 ingredients (brown sugar through dash of salt) in a small bowl. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over apples; toss well to coat.

To assemble pie, remove top sheets of plastic wrap from 1 dough circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray, letting dough extend over edge of plate. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Spoon filling into crust. Brush edges of crust lightly with water. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap from remaining dough circle; place, plastic wrap side up, on apple mixture. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together; fold edges under, and flute. Cut 3 (1-inch) slits in top of pastry using a sharp knife.

Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush over top and edges of pie. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

 Note from the author:  If you want a great site to look up good recipes go to www.cooks.com.  I think this site is better than Food Networkhands down.  Not to slam Food Network you understand I just fine the recipes I like more often at cooks. Some of the contents of this post are taken (literally) from www.cooks.com and other sites which appears not to be copyrighted so I used the apple pie picture and recipe.  If I have ‘stepped on anyone’s toes” I do humbly apologise.

Pie Dough Recipe

I made a point of calling my 86-year-old mother to get her pie dough recipe which apparently I misplaced straight away for I can’t find it!  I have cleaned out both drawers – they needed to be cleaned out anyway – and found several PaulaDeen.com printed recipes, one for Savannah Strawberry Tall Cake (what ever that is, it must have looked good and I just had to have it??) and another of her mother’s recipe for Red Velvet Cake but where is my mothers pie dough recipe, I ask?  It might not be a big deal but it took my Mum huffing and puffing for several minutes to pull out the wooden recipe box, haul it to the table where she could sit down, pull out the hundred year old recipe and slowly, very slowly give it to me one ingredient at a time with instruction after each ingredient.  Call me what you like but I don’t want her (or me) to go through that again.  I have been known to ‘save things’ in the oddest of places so I will continue to look.  Surely it is right under my nose as most things I lose are. 

Well, the exercise of cleaning out my drawers was interesting.  I am amazed by how much ‘stuff’ I have collected from May 11, 2010 until now.  Perhaps it is more than should be there for someone in a temporary living arrangement.  But, I sware I needed all those books, CD’s, quilting material and supplies.  I’ll need to box these things up and send them home.  But, where to send them?  Not a clue.  I guess one could say I’ve lost more than a pie dough recipe.  I’ve lost a home to go home to.  Oh well.  That’s life!

Crashing!

Totally crashed and burned last night with salad & pasta.  No worries mate — I was good — no bread!  The pasta was enough to up my weight by one and one-half pounds from yesterday morning’s weight-in!  Please excuse me for the vulgar mention of the bodies examination processes but when this occurred the weight was thankfully reduced by one pound.  Later another dumping . . .  put me back on track, so to speak.  Amazing how this works.  So within twelve hours of my last post I had broken one of my diet taboos.  I ate white flour in the form of Barilla Penne Pasta which, as advertised, cooks in 11-12 minutes.  Calories 200; Total Fat 1g; Total Carbohydrates 42g per serving.  The box held 8 servings and I think we ate two each!  In other words: I had my fill.  Satisfied.  Can move on to being a good diet do-be.

The pasta was very good.  Steven fixed it ‘restaurant style’ which I think is actually more ‘cafeteria style’ and even though I like my way better his was very good.  My way, the Italian way, is less dry.  To each his own:) I say!  I have never been opposed to trying something different which can be something insane like hang gliding or deciding it was a good idea to try raw fish!  I have not learned my lessons however so if offered another chance at parachuting — I’ll do it!  It’s just the way it is.

Today, fruit for breakfast and steamed veggies with 3 ounces chicken breast for lunch. 

Halloween behind me the other two major holidays are fast approaching and I am considering which pies to bake this year for Thanksgiving.  My friends (whom I am to visit) favorite pies are pecan and apple.  I can see the pecan pie for Thanksgiving.  I can not see the apple pie for Thanksgiving. But, I can see pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  I could combine the pumpkin and pecan into one pie.  I’ve done this before and it is to die for!  And, I could make one apple and serve it with thinly sliced cheddar cheese for the top like Mama liked it.  I promised only two pies!  I think I’ll also make some breads, applesauce pumpkin with pecans is a favorite of mine for the holidays.  And with it some Apple Pumpkin Butter. If you are interested:  recipe included here >>>

Preparation: Wash and dry a two -to- three cup glass container. The recipe makes approximately 2 1/2 cups and will be stored in the refrigerator after cooking and cooling so I like to use a glass container for this but it’s your choice, any container will do.

Peal, core and purée apples to make 1 cup of purée (I use macintosh to grannie smith, whatever you have on hand will do for this recipe).  Tartness and sweetness of apples varry so I usually decide if I want the final product to be sweeter or more tart and choose accordingly. Size of apples varry as well so purée until you have the one cup of apple purée.  It’s not rocket science.  It’s just some Butter Jam.  Play with it.  Whatever you do I promise it will be yummy.

In a heavy saucepan place purred apples, 15 ounce can of pumpkin purée, 1 cup apple cider and 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (optional if you like spice: first use light brown sugar instead of the dark and add either #1: 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or #2:  3/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ginger) and slowly bring this mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently to avoid scorching for 1-1/2 hours.  The time is long but it is needed to reduce the apples, pumpkin and cider to a thick apple-butter like consistency.  Cool! Then place into your container and store in the refrigerator.  This will keep up to two weeks.

Another holiday food I like to make is pumpkin dump cake!  You can find lots of recipes on the web for this.  Some with yellow cake mix and some with spice cake mix.  The great thing about this is that it takes so little effort to make and keeps for days upon days on the counter top, covered of course. 

So now that I have thought about holiday cooking and I have eaten my steamed veggies and chicken breast I wonder if I could get away with a Twinkie for dinner???? It’s only 150 cals, guys!!

5 Diet Taboos

So here’s the thing about loosing weight: There are always diet taboos to be faithfully observed.  For starters the no white flours, no sugars, no fried foods and more green and orange foods than red meat.  I get it!  But the fifth diet taboo is hard for me to avoid.  The fifth taboo is ‘fast food‘ restaurants.  It is so difficult to pass by one and not stop in for a cheeseburger and/or a coke.  Making it more difficult is that they are so inexpensive to buy.  For under two dollars I can have a McDouble or a Jr. Whopper and a senior citizen coke.  Under $2.00!  Crying shame on me and on them! 

So here are my five taboos of dieting:

1.  Avoid white flour in any form.

2. Avoid white sugar, including the zero cal. sugars; your body actually processes them the same.  Which equals Weight Gain! Hello!

3.  Eat nothing fried! Nothing fried.  I repeat eat nothing fried.  Which means baked, broiled and steamed.  All can be more delicious and better for you anyway.  I know this.  But, because of my southern roots I like fried!  I am challenging myself on this one and enduring to the end.   I swear it.

4.  Skip the red meats and opt for more fish and less chicken as its replacement and build up that plate with green and orange/red veggies instead.

5.  No fried foods; no fast food; no-no no!

I am told that if I simply give up white flour, white sugar, fried foods and fast food I will drop my weight.  I am trying.