Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cheryl’s Pound Cake

Pound Cake should be in every cooks repertoire. You can eat it without any frosting or sauce; it is a nice clean, slightly lemon flavor. Or, you can sauce it up in any of many ways; we will look at some of those after getting the recipe under control.
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Cheryl is Marlys’s cousin; I remember when she was visiting, and on the spur of the moment decided to make this cake for us. It is so simple that she had it memorized.

Cheryl’s Pound Cake

(Cheryl Rike)

Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. butter
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lb. cake flour– powdered sugar box full
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together 3/4 lb. butter and powdered sugar. Add eggs, alternating with cake flour. Beat very well with electric mixer. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and lemon extract. Beat very well.

Pour into angel food cake pan which has been greased and floured.Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour. Last 5 minutes, make the glaze.

Glaze Mix together granulated sugar and water. Boil for 5 minutes, not stirring. Remove from heat and add 1/4 lb. butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

As soon as cake is removed from oven, poke with a knife all over top and then pour the glaze mixture carefully over cake so it can be absorbed. Leave cake in pan to cool.

The first time I made the cake, I really made a mess around the kitchen. When you add dry ingredients to the stand mixer, it tends to throw some of the dry ingredient out; so I had powdered sugar and cake flour all over the mixer, the counter, the floor, and myself. I tried to do like most recipes say, and add less than 1/2 cup at a time. So, I had to identify how to avoid the mess.

I found the 10 inch tube pan needs to have one of the shelves in the oven removed in order to fit. So start, before you heat up the oven, by removing one shelf and making certain the remaining shelf is low enough that the tube pan will fit. It makes you crazy to have a hot oven shelf in your hands and no place to put it.

Since we are not adding all the dry ingredients at once, I dump the sugar into a medium bowl, and then fill the sugar box with the cake flour to measure it. It can stay in the box until we finish getting the powdered sugar incorporated with the butter. Then, I dump the box again into the now empty bowl.

So the trick to adding dry ingredients to the stand mixer is to get them onto the bottom of the mixer under the moist ingredients that are in the mixer. First, I creamed the butter until it was soft enough that it was coating the sides of the mixer bowl. Then I started adding the sugar; I stop the mixer and lift the beater out, then I put somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of sugar in the bottom of the mixer bowl and cover it by scraping down the sides of the bowl and cleaning off the beater. Now that it is covered, it doesn’t fly out of the bowl when the mixer is started. I continue to use this technique until the sugar is all added to the butter. Then, I use the same technique when adding the eggs and flour. Voila, no big mess.

The first attempt at this recipe came out much drier than I had hoped. The glaze is the moisture in the finished cake, and you need to get it all through the cake. I think one mistake I made was interpreting the word ‘pour’ too literally. I poured the glaze on the cake after punching the holes in it; that was too fast, and much of the glaze ran off the top of the cake and down the side between the pan and the cake. So the second attempt, I used a gravy ladle to put the glaze on the cake slowly enough that more got into the cake. Then, I learned from my daughters that Marlys never used a single recipe of glaze, but alway doubled the recipe; I tried that, and I think the cake is fairly moist; it still needs to get more glaze down to the very bottom. So, double the glaze recipe, and take the glazing of the cake very slow. Make certain the knife cuts go all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Finally, the recipe says to make the glaze in the last 5 minutes of cooking time; I found that it was more like 10 minutes to get it boiled and the butter melted ready to spoon onto the cake.
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Now, about the possibilities for saucing the cake. As I said, it really doesn’t need any sauce; it is good as it comes. But, there are opportunities here. One sauce I could recommend is the Rum Sauce. But for this time of year, as strawberries are just coming into season, I think the Strawberry Sauce is the way to go. And to make it extra special, you might want to add Creme Chantilly on the side.
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Creme Chantilly

Creme Chantilly is your basic whipped cream, with flavoring added. It is a staple for many desserts. I originally got the recipe from the Julia Chile/Simone Beck cook books; I learned a lot of interesting cooking from those books because they lead you step by step. One of my first baking was to make Napoleans, and they were successful; they took me from making the puff pastry all the way to the chocolate dribble across the top.

One interesting aspect of the Creme Chantilly recipe is that after you have finished, and taste the results, you can add more sugar or flavoring to suit your own taste.

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Creme Chantilly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • A chilled 3 quart mixing bowl
  • A chilled wire whip, or chilled blades of an electric mixer
  • 2 Tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or other flavorings*

Directions

Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and start beating it at a low speed until it begins to foam. Make certain the beaters are going all around the bowl and lifting the cream as it is whipped. Gradually increase the speed to moderate and continue until the beaters leave a light trace on the surface of the cream.

Continue beating a few seconds more until the cream is a bit stiff and forms peaks. Do NOT beat beyond this stage as the cream will become granular, and begin to turn to butter.

Before serving, fold in the confectioners’ sugar and flavoring. Taste, and if the cream is not sweet enough fold in more sifted confectioners’ sugar.

*Flavorings: if desired, the creme can be flavored with a Tablespoon or two of brandy, rum, or other sweet liquor instead of the vanilla extract.

I can not emphasize enough the need to chill the bowl and beater; I actually put mine in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill it.

Strawberry Sauce

Ever since I tried to make Strawberry flavored sauce using the Favorite Sauce recipe, I have been unhappy with the results, and have tried several other recipes, including one for Strawberry Hard Sauce, which turned out to be a flavored butter. None of these recipes left us with the fresh strawberry showing through. Now I can give you a recipe that does. This Strawberry Sauce could also be called Macerated Strawberries. I think if you are into strawberries and want to use them as a sauce, this is your way to go.
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Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

Mix the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Taste the resulting sauce, and if not sweet enough, add more sugar. Some recipes go to 1/2 cup of sugar, while others start with only 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Some recipes use heat- bringing the mix to a boil and simmering a couple minutes to start the process and then only take a couple hours to bring the sauce to its finished state.

This process is known as maceration; it is similar to marination but with a sweet liquid. It tends to draw the liquid out of the fresh fruit, and add the flavor of the macerate to the fruit – in this case, sweetness of sugar. It works with other fruits, too.

Hot Crab Dip

I found this to be a simple recipe for a very different tasting dip. I tested it with crackers, but it would go good with anything that can carry the dip to your mouth. Again, a simple recipe with very good taste.
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Hot Crab Dip

  • 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 oz. can crab meat, drained
    (or fresh crab or imitation krab)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add rest of ingredients.
Put into a small oven-proof dish and bake at 350 degrees
for 30 minutes.

The only suggestion I can make on the recipe is with the ingredients. They imply that you can buy a 3 oz package of cream cheese. I found only 8 ounce packages, and had to cut one at the 3 ounce mark. I used the canned crab meat, and I didn’t think there was enough hot sauce to give the dip any bite, and would probably use more the next time.
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Enjoy, Errol

Dill Dip

This is one of the simplest recipes you will find, and yet it is a very good dip, especially for raw vegetables. We were standing around testing it before going out to lunch, and someone said we had to stop or we wouldn’t have room for lunch. With this dip, it is easy to just stand by it and keep dunking your raw vegetables.

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Dill Dip

(Joan Cusack 1971)

Mix together thoroughly and let stand in refrigerator to
blend flavors before serving.

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dry onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Beau Monde
  • 1 Tablespoon dill weed
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded parsley


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I have no hints or suggestions to help you make this recipe. As I mentioned to the subscribers of WidowerRecipes.com, if you are having more than just a few people over to enjoy the dip, better put it in two bowls and spread apart so that there isn’t a bottleneck trying to get at the dip.

Steamed Bread Pudding

Sometimes the simplest old recipe is one of the hardest to bring forward to the current era. This is certainly one of those. Why? Because it is cooked in a metal can, and those are not as readily available now days as they were a few years ago.
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Otherwise, the recipe is very simple and easy to make. It uses a lot of spices, but it doesn’t require a mechanical mixer- just a wooden spoon. Before you start making it, be sure to read my discussion below.

Steamed Bread Pudding

(Catherine P. Crary (Errol’s Mother) to Marlys 1963

Lucy Crary (Errol’s grandmother) to Catherine 1932)

  • 2 cups bread crumbs, dried
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour (heaped)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Mix together bread crumbs, sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and raisins. Add milk, eggs and butter.

Mix together with a wooden spoon until well blended. Pour into a well-buttered can which has a tight fitting lid. If there is no lid, cover with a double layer of foil (or 1 layer of heavy-duty foil) and tie foil in place with string around the can.

Place the can on a dishrag in a larger pot with a cover. Pour hot water half-way up the side of the pudding can. Cover baking pot and cook for 3 hours at 200 degrees. It will expand about 2 times. If you use two small cans instead of one large, cook 2 hours.

The name itself is interesting; I think I would classify this recipe as sweet bread, and not as bread pudding. The result product is more of a cake than what I think of when I hear bread pudding.
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You want to definitely make this recipe in a metal can! At first, I couldn’t find Marlys’s can for making bread pudding, so I improvised. I went into her stash of cans that she saves for storing Christmas cookies and took one that was starting to show wear- it was a 3 pound coffee can with a plastic lid. I used it, and the recipe came out exactly as I remembered it.

But, what could I recommend to you to use? Coffee is seldom found in the stores in 3 pound cans anymore; more often it is in either bags, or plastic containers. I searched kitchen stores, and even the general food-plus-household goods stores. First, I found Asparagus Steamers and ceramic crocks- they were all too expensive to even consider. Then I found the plastic canisters- the price was right, but would they hold up to the heat of cooking? The temperature of cooking is very low, so they might work. I decided to test the possibility- and met with failure. The plastic canister I used split at some point in the cooking. I can only think that there is a pressure buildup- why else would we be tying double layers of foil on the top of the can?
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Daughter Mindy suggested trying a spring-form pan, so I did that, and again had a failure. What I learned then was that a spring-form pan is far from water tight. So I am left with this word of advice: if you think you have an answer to the metal can, see if it will hold water. It appears to me that you need a can that can hold eight cups of water without leaking.

You need a metal can; you might need to wait until the holidays when you might find one filled with cookies, or Almond Roca. You might look in some of the stores like World Market. Just know that you are going to want to make this recipe, and it requires a metal can that will fit inside your larger pot with a lid.

After thinking I had solved the issue, I finally found Marlys’s steamed bread pudding can. It was a can that came with a fruit cake inside.
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The recipe calls for bread crumbs. Now days, you can buy bread crumbs at the grocery store. I remember how Mom would let the old bread get dry and stale, and then grind it into crumbs. Originally, it was man-power (me) that turned the crank on the grinder, but later she had a grinder that mounted on the stand mixer. For kicks, I decided to try drying the bread and grinding it. I found that eight slices of bread would make the two cups of bread crumbs needed for the recipe.
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So that is the story of how to make Steamed Bread Pudding, and why such a simple recipe became so difficult that I had to make it several times to understand the mysterious process that takes place inside the sealed can. Somehow, the steam pressure and baking soda work to make the pudding expand and be lighter. When water leaked in, and the pressure leaked out, the product was very dense, and not the enjoyable cake-like product I wanted.

Steamed Bread Pudding can be eaten just as it is, as a sweet bread, but we were spoiled and always put a sweet sauce on it. My favorite was a Chocolate Sauce, but Mom also made what she called her Favorite Sauce– I remember it as having a lemon flavor. In some previous posts, I have included two other sauce recipes –Rum Sauce and Lemon Sauce; you might want to investigate them as accompaniments for your Steamed Bread Pudding.

Chocolate Sauce

This is an interesting sauce; it is an old fashion way for making chocolate sauce. Now days, you just buy chocolate sauce in a can or a squeeze bottle.
The recipe is simple. The sauce is quite grainy. I remember that at times we had a pan of this sauce on the back of the stove ready to reheat and use. We used this sauce mostly on the Steamed Bread Pudding, but it was also good on ice cream.
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Chocolate Sauce

(Catharine P. Crary, 1963)

  • 8 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in saucepan and heat until well blended.

Favorite Sauce

This is a very simple sauce that can take on fruit flavors by changing the first ingredient. I think Mother use to make this as a lemon sauce, but she did not show the exact values when Marlys got the recipe.

However, there is a issue that the amateur cook like myself might not catch; it can cause problems. I talk about it below.
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Favorite Sauce

  • 1 cup hot water (or fruit juice + 1 Tablespoon butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cook hot water, sugar, salt and cornstarch until clear and add vanilla.
    **Can stir in 1/2 cup whipped cream just before serving.

    Again, it is a cornstarch based sauce, which means it will set hard in the refrigerator, and need both whipping and heating to make it smooth again.

    I tried making it into a lemon sauce like I remembered Mother making, but I am not certain I got it right. With the wide variety of fruit juices on the market now, it could be fun to develop your own favorite flavor.

    I decided to make a strawberry flavored version of this sauce. I started with a pound of strawberries, and like the first steps of the Strawberry Devonshire Tart glaze, I used the food processor and then sieved the pulp to get a cup of strawberry juice. I then made the mistake of dumping everything into my sauce pan and turning the heat on. The mistake is that you need to dissolve the cornstarch in cold liquid- always! So my sauce had some lumps of undissolved cornstarch.

    The sauce was good except for that. But learn from my mistake; ALWAYS DISSOLVE CORNSTARCH IN COLD LIQUID.

    This makes me wonder about the first line of the recipe where it wants to use a cup of hot water; that just doesn’t sound right.

    Lemon Sauce

    I am not certain where Marlys got this recipe; it is simple and easy. Since it is based on cornstarch, it sets up if you refrigerate it, and so you need to beat and heat it after that to get it smooth again. Enjoy.

    Lemon Sauce

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon rind
    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice

    Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon rind. Stir in gradually water. Cook about 5 minutes or until clear and thick. Add butter and lemon juice. Makes about 2 cups.

    I strongly suspect that my experience making this sauce was somewhat as a good accident. This recipe calls for boiling water and cornstarch. What we amateur cooks don’t know is that you need to dissolve the cornstarch in cold liquid. I learned this the hard way making the Favorite Sauce.

    Rum Sauce

    Marlys got this recipe in 1970 from Glenna Morris- I think she was a Bridge Playing friend. It is an excellent sauce for desserts, like dense cakes and ice cream and is very simple.
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    Rum Sauce

    (Glenna Morris, 1970)

    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon rum flavoring or rum to taste (real rum gets stronger as it sits).

    Combine and boil one or two minutes the sugars, butter and cream. Add rum.


    I used real rum when I made my sample. This sauce is nice in that it is not a cornstarch based sauce, but instead is based on the butter and heavy cream.