Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ms. Brown’s Kuchen

 

 

Kuchen. Kuchen (pronounced KOO-gehn), means “cake” in German. This is a special, special treat in our family. If you noticed, it’s on a Christmas plate.

Yup, that’s how behind I am. Dumb, big ol’, mean school, life, job. Life has been busy! I stick my tongue out at you.

BUT, the good news is – it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day! Mardi Gras, whatev.

(Which, by the way, I have some gorgeous Mardi Gras cookies to share with you soon….)

Every culture seems to have a sweet like this. Down here in Texas, we’ve got kolaches ’round these parts(that’s Czech). Next door, my neighbor makes a meeeeaan buchta (also Czech, pronounced BOOT-ka) which I’m hoping someday she’ll show me how, but so far, she only makes them for a special few!

So this is a pastry of the German variety; it’s a yeast bread dough, with a custard and fruit filling. Waaaaay back before I was even a glimmer in my mother’s eye, my parents and grandparents were treated to these Kuchens every Christmas Eve. Out west in Sacramento, California, on a little Sitton Way, Mrs. Brown would make a kuchen or 3 special for my Grandpa every Christmas. Being the good-hearted man he was, of course he shared with the family.

Now Mrs. Brown made plenty of flavors: poppyseed, cottage cheese, prune, peach…. and then there was apricot. That was Grandpa’s favorite. Finally after a few years, a little birdie made her way to Mrs. Brown’s ear; she got the word, and 3 apricot kuchens it was from then on, every Christmas Eve.

Grandpa is since gone, and Grandma has gotten older now, so it’s my mom that tells me the tradition of her in-laws. My parents were newlyweds, at the young (REALLY young) age of 18, … Mom tells me the tradition.

They would first spend the evening supper with my great grandparents, then they’d come home late to open a few family presents at home. Mrs. Brown would stop by with her warm kuchens, and they’d all have a piece before bed.

This was before Saran wrap, mind you, so Mrs. Brown would lay a piece of wax paper over the top of the pastry baked in those little foil pans, so nothing would fall in. That wax paper would stick to the warm custard, and they’d peel it back as they all took in the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg on those freshly baked apricots. The bread was soft, and warm. A little sweet, and just enough chew to carry that warm custard ….

 

I’ll be honest, this recipe does take a little time. But it’s all about the memories, and this one will be sure to become tradition. …..

 

Cooking the custard is the hardest part. You’ll want it to coat the back of a spoon, like so.

And yes, don’t be lazy (like I usually am). Take the time to pass the custard through a sieve to get out any last minute lumps.

Then be sure to cover it with Saran wrap to avoid a skin forming on top.

Look at that gorgeous yeast dough.

Blood, sweat, and tears y’all. Well, maybe minus the blood. And tears. That’s no bueno.

 

Prepare the dough into the pans.

Line with peaches, or fruit of your choice.

Layer with custard. Oh my GOODNESS.

Grate some fresh nutmeg! (jarred is fine too)

Thar she be.

Dad was looking excited for his Kuchen.

Totally worth it. Any time of the year.

~Peace, Love, and Custard Y’all.

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Ms. Brown's Kuchen

Yield: five 9" custard pies

Ingredients:

Dough:
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons yeast
3 eggs beaten room temperature
1 cup warm milk, divided

Custard:
6 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups whipping cream, unwrapped
2 teaspoons vanilla
cinnamon
nutmeg

Fruit
3 large jars of peaches

Directions:

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm milk (120 degrees). Liquid should get foamy, add pinch of sugar, sit ten minutes. Add eggs and remaining milk to yeast mixture after ten minutes. Mix flour, salt, sugar, shortening as you would pie crust. Looks like small peas. Make well in flour, pour in yeast mixture, using a mixer, mix only until dough forms shiny ball, dough hook. Cover and let rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes. warm oven. draft free. WHile this is rising, make custard.

Mix all ingredients in mixer. Cook in double boiler or carefully over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour through a strainer into a bowl. Lay saran wrap on surface of custard to avoid forming skin. Let sit until ready to assemble.

When dough has doubled, punch down, form into a ball, let rest for five minutes. Get 5 pie plates ready, spread Crisco on your hands, divide dough into 5 portions.

Pat dough into pie pans, spreading out along the bottom and up along the sides. Layer fruit in pie pan, sliced and arranged. Cover with custard, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes; sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Monster Cookies

monster cookie name

I’m home sick, y’all. I love my job, but a fever makes a girl cranky.

What better activity is there when you are whiny on the couch and don’t want to talk to anybody?

Blogging of course! Where you can talk and talk and talk and talk in your own little invisible world, and not have to carry on a real social conversation, you know, with real live people.

Anyways, I’ve been dying to share these with you.

These cookies were gone in 15 minutes flat, yo.

As usual, I made some cookies one weekend, and after eating three six myself, I’d decided I’d better take the rest to work.

When I went in to the lounge for a little mid-morning snack, they were GONE. GONE I TELL YOU!

NOT EVEN A CRUMB.

Oh, how I’d wished I had saved some back up for myself.

monster cookie1

My friend Lindsey gave me this recipe, and her son won Grand Champion with these cookies for 4H Economics.

Talk about some blue ribbon winners!!! Go Mason! Go Mason! #WootWoot

By the way, now my use of hashtags is purely sarcastic, which you’ll understand when you watch this.

These cookies are gluten-free, they have no flour! Just peanut butter, and 4 1/2 cups oats.

Lindsey passed on a good tip. When you take these out of the oven, let them set up for a good while on the pan before you transfer them to cool, 10 minutes at least. Otherwise they’ll crumble into delicious monster cookie pieces.

I think one would make me feel better now. Who’s going to come bake for me? *wink*

~Peace, Love, and Blue Ribbons y’all….

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Monster Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup mini M&Ms
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Begin by creaming together the brown sugar and white sugar in a bowl with the butter. Once combined, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in the peanut butter and vanilla and stir to combine. Next, add in the oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Finally, add in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up, then drop tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Once baked, let the cookies set up for at least 10 minutes before transferring them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Mexican Apple Pie

NM apple pie name

It’s PIE WEEK Y’ALL!!!!

I know I’ve been slow to getting back on this blogging bandwagon, but life is coming together.

I am grateful for the present, and I am grateful for all life has to offer.

The world is my oyster!

One of things I absolutely love about this blog is how I’ve been able to meet and become friends with women all over the US, and share a love of cooking, sharing recipes and stories, and grow friendships.

Nothing inspires me more than collaborating on theme weeks with these ladies, and PIE WEEK, HELLO!!!!

NM apple pie1

Being that my parents live in Arizona, many trips have been spent driving baaack and forth, and baaaaack and forth along this 16 hour route. Many times, my aunt and mother and I have all jumped in the car and made the trip together.

The great thing about leaving all the men at home, is that we are able to stop and explore whatever shop or fruit stand we desire.

Which is how we discovered Pie Town.

Pie Town y’all.

As in Pie Town, New Mexico, a real live town in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

Known for it’s PIE.

Three standing pie cafes, all competing for your love and hungry stomach.

NM apple pie2

Pie Town is known for their New Mexican Apple Pie, and each cafe makes it a little differently.

We fell in love with the Daily Pie Cafe.
An old adobe structure, with a rusty tow truck out front, friendliest staff I’ve ever met, and lots and lots… and lots of pie.

NM apple pie3

New Mexican Apple Pie is a sweet hot conundrum.

A confusion in your mouth.

A party on the tongue.

Pine nuts add nuttiness and a crunch, and Hatch green chiles add the perfect amount of back of the throat heat.

NM apple pie4

Y’all are going to love it, more so than Texas’ famous pepper jelly.

Take a look around the rest of Pie Week, and save these recipes!!!

Monday:

From My Sweet Heart Cranberry Cherry Ricotta Pie
The Girly Girl Cooks Coconut Cream Pie
Comfortably Domestic Mile High Apple Pie,

 

Tuesday:

Inside NanaBread’s Head Black & White Coconut Tart
La Petite Pancake Pineapple Pie
The Grommom Papaya PIE! 

Wednesday:

Tenaciously Yours Grandma’s Chocolate Pie
Bakeaholic Mama Chocolate Cream Pie
Comfortably Domestic Maple Sweet Potato w/Swiss Meringue,

 

Thursday:

Pineapple and Coconut Boozy Pumpkin Eggnog Pie 
Bakeaholic Mama Sweet Potato Tartlets

 

Friday:

Munching in the Mitten Sweet Potato Pie
Decadent Philistines Save the World Refrigerator Pumpkin Porter Chocolate Pie with Toasted Pumpkin Marshmallow “Meringue”
Climbing Grier Mountain Mini Butternut Squash Pie Stacks with Marshmallow Frosting 

Saturday:

Country Cleaver Biscoff Pie with Whiskey Mallow Fluff
Comfortably Domestic Very Berry Cherry Pie
Pineapple and Coconut Persimmon, Pear and Brandy Pie with Vanilla Bean Crumble

~Peace, Love, and Green Chiles Y’all….

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New Mexican Apple Pie

Adapted from The Daily Pie Cafe

Ingredients:

3 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 T flour
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup Hatch green chili, canned
3/4 cup pine nuts
2 pie crusts for 9 inch pie

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine apples and seasonings and let sit a few minutes to coat. Next, add green chiles and stir. Lay the bottom pie crust over a 9" pie plate and sprinkle the pine nuts over the bottom crust. Spoon in the apple filling, and cover with top pie crust. If you'd like, you may lightly brush with an egg wash, and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 400 for 45-60 minutes, until juices have set up, and crust is golden. If the crust begins to darken, cover the pie with foil for the remaining baking time. Let cool, and serve.