Archives for : Sweets

Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

For our last card party before Christmas, Gail was the hostess and she wanted to have a pie party. We each needed to make a different kind of pie. I pride myself on being a great pie maker. My mom had taught me years ago how to make and handle dough; the secret was to use lard, touch it as little as possible and throw it back into the icebox when distracted during the process. I quickly signed up to make my specialty of the season, pumpkin pie. I called Gail and I was grateful that no one had signed up already to make one. I knew that Judy Anne would make her traditional pecan pie and I really wanted to learn how to make one that didn’t run as soon as you sliced into it. The ones I had attempted seemed too gooey and I wasn’t fond of that texture. To develop a smooth custardy texture in a pumpkin pie took time and I knew how to select small sweet pumpkins.

Chloe was going to make a quiche. I was thinking sweet and she was thinking savory. I had listened to Chloe talk about the beauty of the quiche many times. Virtually anything could be put into it and made into a small meal. I knew its origins came from the abundance of eggs Chloe had on her farm in France and the scarcity of other food to eat during the war. Surprisingly, it did not remind her of the hardships of the war and knowing that she did not like leftovers, provided a good way to use up food that she wanted to camouflage as something else for the next meal. Chloe had taught me a few life lessons and I counted this one as an important one.

The day before the party, I prepared the pumpkins and mixed my secret concoction of spices meant to add warmth to the pie. My crust took some time because I had to stop to answer the phone a couple of times, but I tossed the crust into the icebox while I talked to Mags and Gail. Mags was in the middle of making a French Silk Pie. I knew it would be spectacular. Gail was suffering through making an Apple Pie because two of her children had colds and needed attention. Gail told me that she couldn’t remember if she put all of the ingredients into the pie before she placed it into the oven. I have had that feeling in the past.

I finally finished the pie and wanted to do something special with the scraps to make a cool crust. I took a small cookie cutter and made little leaves and eggwash glued them onto the pie. I knew once I took the pie out of the oven, I would need to make special crusts moving forward. So much pressure.

The next day, we all showed up with our pies in hand. The spread was beautiful. There was plenty to eat and we didn’t play cards very long because we had our secret Santa gifts to pass out also. It was a lovely way to end the year of parties. My pie was pretty and there were lots of compliments on the special crust. But I was focused on that Pecan Pie. I took my time enjoying my sliver and sat down with Judy Anne to ask her about making it. She shared a couple of hints about getting the right consistency. But the real secret was the shot of rum she added. The rum explained why I really liked it. I asked her about adding chocolate chips to it and she got a funny look on her face. I realized that what I suggested was offensive to her thoughts on the purity of her Pecan Pie. I stammered a little about not wanting to copy her but I could tell that I had broken some kind of southern rule. I apologized and returned to discussing her pie.

The next day, I made another pie and served it to my family. The children loved it and Steve pronounced my crust crispy and delicate. So sweet of him; he’s a man who usually likes a good Apple Pie. I had added some chocolate chips to a pecan pie recipe, but left out the rum and it turned out better than any one I made previously. I was proud of myself but decided not to tell Judy Anne about it. Sometimes, pies have to remain secret.

Banana and Strawberry Pudding Icebox Cake

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 tsp salt

4 large eggs

2 cups half and half

3 tblsp butter

1 tblsp lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

graham crackers

4 large bananas

16 oz. cleaned and sliced strawberries

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup 10x sugar


Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy pan. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and half and half. Add the egg mixture to the heavy pan and blend until smooth. Bring the mixture just to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute and take off heat. Add the butter and the lemon zest. Add the lemon juice. Place the mixture into a bowl set into ice. A small sink filled with ice will work well. Let the bowl sit in the ice for ten minutes to thicken; stir occasionally.

Line the bottom and sides of a 8 in square pan with saran wrap and overlap so wrap extends over sides enough to cover the top. Place graham crackers in bottom. Place a layer of banana slices on top of crackers and place a layer of strawberry slices on top of bananas. Top with custard and repeat layers of graham crackers, bananas, strawberries and custard, topping with crackers. Pull wrap over top and chill overnight.

Uncover top wrapping and place serving plate on top of dessert upside down. Turn plate and dessert over and remove wrap.

Beat heavy cream and 10x sugar at high speed until peaks appear. Spread on dessert. Place slices of strawberries on top. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Cake


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups peeled and grated apples
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a specialty cake pan.
  2. Sift cinnamon, flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl, beat eggs, butter, oil, vanilla and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Stir in flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Stir in apples gently until combined.
  6. In a separate small bowl, stir 4 teaspoons cinnamon and 4 tablespoons brown sugar together and set aside.
  7. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared specialty pan. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the cake batter and swirl through with a knife. Repeat with the remaining cake batter and brown sugar mixture.
  8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Top will be golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely before turning out.

Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake

Dump Cake Ingredients

  • 1 can (21 Oz.) Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 can (15 Oz.) Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 box (about 18 Oz.) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Whipped Cream topping


Dump cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into baking dish. Stir together.

Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the fruit. Slice margarine and butter and distribute over the surface of the cake mix.

Bake this concoction at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Top with whipped cream.


Cherry Clafoutis


  • 2 cups of fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9X9 baking dish. Scatter the cherries and slivered almonds over the bottom of the dish.

2 Whisk the eggs and sugars together until smooth. Whisk in the salt and flour until smooth.

3 Add the milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the baking dish over the cherries and slivered almonds.

4 Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned. Check about halfway through the baking and if the top is getting well browned tent it loosely with aluminum foil.

Place on a wire rack to cool. It will deflate while cooling. When cool, dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar. Serve.

Mixed Berry Tea Cakes


2 cups of mixed berries coated in 10x sugar

3 cups all purpose flour

1 2/2 sticks of butter, sliced into pats

1/3 cup sugar

1 tblsp baking powder

1 tsp sale

3/4 cup milk

2 medium eggs

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare a large baking sheet.  Mix berries in 10x sugar and refrigerate until ready to use.  In mixer, gently blend flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until crumbly.  Stir in cold berries with spatula.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs, then pour into the center of the bowl with berries and dough.  Gently stir, just until mixed and scrape out onto a floured board.  Gently knead dough and shape into a long rectangle.  Cut rectangle into diagonally shaped pie shapes.  Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 17 minutes.  While baking, melt three tablespoons of butter and add some honey.  After 17 minutes of baking time, brush tea cakes with butter and honey glaze and return to over for 7 minutes.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Mayo Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 2/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Grease (with shortening) and flour a 13- x 9-inch pan.2. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla at medium-high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer about 3 minutes or until mixture is very light brown and ribbons form when beater is lifted. Add mayonnaise, and beat at low speed until combined.3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan.4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).

Bourbon Apple Pie Recipe

2 1/2 lbs. apples
1 cup sugar
1 tblsp. sugar
3 tblsp. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
6 tblsp. butter
1/2 cup Bourbon
2 (9 inch) pie crusts
1 orange, zest of large orange
1 egg

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and core the apples. In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and apples. Toss to coat evenly.
2.In a wok or large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add apple mixture. Cook until apples start to soften and brown slightly, about 7-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add bourbon (you can use brandy instead). Simmer down to a light syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange zest.
3.Put one pie crust into a 9″ deep pie dish. Add filling. Slice the second pie crust into 1/2″ strips. Lattice the top using the strips and using a basting brush coat lattice with egg wash (beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon of water). Sprinkle evenly with tablespoon of sugar.
4.Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 more minutes. Keep a cookie sheet on the oven rack below to catch any spillage from the pie.

Dark Hot Chocolate

4 cups whole milk

2 cup heavy cream

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Warm milk and cream over medium low heat in saucepan. Add chocolate and whisk until incorporated.  Add sugar and whisk until incorporated.  Continue to stir for five minutes and whisk in nutmeg.  Enjoy with whipped cream on top!

Chocolate Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup and 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl.  Combine milk and melted butter.  Add oil to milk and butter and whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.

Thoroughly grease and flour a muffin pan.

Add liquid ingredients to dry and mix lightly.  With a spatula, gently fold in 1 cup of chips.  Do not overmix.  Spoon mixture into muffin pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of chips onto tops of muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan gently and let cool on a wire rack.