Sunday, December 14, 2008

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil
3 eggs
1 lb. can pumpkin (15 oz. can works fine)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Measure all ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Beat together well for 5 minutes.

Add 1 c. chocolate chips - if desired.

Pour into cupcake pans (fill more than 1/2 full). Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Basic Cream Pie

2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 T cornstarch
1 T flour
3 C milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 T margarine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour in a heavy saucepan. Add milk gradually, stirring well to mix ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil two minutes. remove from the heat. Slowly add half of the mixture to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to remaining ingredients in the saucepan and blend well. Boil one minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; blend in margarine and vanilla. Cool (unless adding meringue), stirring occasionally. Pour into cooled pie crust. Chill thoroughly for two hours. Top with sweetened whipped cream, which you make by beating 1/2 C of whopping cream until stiff, and beating in 1 T confectioners' sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Or sprinkle with shaved nuts, toasted coconut or fresh berried. Take the chilled pie out of refrigerator 20 minutes before serving; this allows the crust to b e a the peak of flavor.


Follow the basic cream pie recipe, except fold in 3/4 cup moist, shredded coconut just before filling pastry shell. Sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup of shredded coconut on whipped cream or meringue topping (before meringue is baked so coconut will toast in the final baking). I toasted the coconut at 350 degrees until lightly browned and then sprinkled it on the whipped cream.


Follw the basic cream pie recipe, except increase the sugar amount to 1 1/2 cups and add 3 square (3 oz) of chopped, unsweetened chocolate with the milk (or add 1/2 C cocoa with the dry ingredients before adding milk). Top with whipped cream or meringue.


Follow the basic cream pie recipe, except arrange a layer of sliced bananas, 1/2 inch deep, in a pastry shell before pouring in cooled filling. Three bananas usually are adequate. If you use whipped cream topping, garnish with a ring of sliced bananas. To prevent the banans from turning brown, dip them in lemon or pineapple juice or a commercial fruit preservative containing ascorbic acid.

Basic Recipe for Pastry

Single Crust - 9 inch

1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C shortening
2 T water

Mix flour and salt. Add shortening. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the texture is the size of small peas.

Add ice cold water, sprinkling water on flour, one tablespoon at a time. Mix lightly with a fork until the flour is moistened. The dough should form a ball, but not be sticky.

Lightly flour a dough board or pastry cloth. Flatten and press the dough into a circle. Roll the pastry from the center to the outer edge until it is a large enough circle to cover your pie pan.

Fold the pie crust into fourths, transferring quickly to the pie pan. Unfold, being careful to center the pastry in the pie pan.

If you have an uneven amount of crust hanging over the edge, trim it away with kitchen shears or a knife. A 1 inch overhang is adequate. Flute edges.

Prick the unbaked shell liberally with a fork. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. Cool.

Coconut Chocolate Pie

1/2 C sugar
1/3 C cornstarch
1/4 C baking cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C milk
16 miniature Almond Joy candy bars, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
Whipped cream

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened (mixture will thicken quickly). Remove from the heat.

Add chopped candy bars and vanilla; stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into pastry shell. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Slice and serve with whipped cream. I went ahead and put a layer of whipped cream over the entire pie.