Thursday, February 26, 2009

Out my door

stands this beautiful tree. The fruit on this tree is a limon, which as you probably know is a cross between a lemon and a lime.

Here we sit in our RV in Mesa, AZ fruit trees everywhere around us. And we are so lucky to have access to this bountiful limon tree.

Asked Mr Doodles to pick me some ripe fruit so I could make a Key Lime pie. Notice the the skin is the lemon but the flesh is the lime, dang these are good so I knew what a great pie they would make.

Here ya go but this photo does not do this pie justice one bit cause Mr Doodles said "ya know living in the Florida Keys we had access to some of the best key lime pies in the world, this is better than any of those". WOW!!! what a compliment huh? He's my sweetie tho.

Now where I got the recipe I do not know but it is one I have used for years, it's the key lime pie that gives you that tart taste but rich enough to curl your toes.

So if in fact you do partake in this recipe don't email me about the calories I already know, but what is worrisome is that there is still more of the little gems coming ripe on that beautiful limon tree, there goes the hips.

Citrus Key Lime Pie

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or cheat like I do sometimes buy a prepared crust
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup key lime juice NEVER use bottled juice/regular limes are OK
2 tsp lime zest

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, or a food processor, combine wafer cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter, stirring until mixture resembles wet sand. If you are using vanilla wafers or graham crackers, add 2 tsp lemon zest or lemon extract.
Pour into a 9-inch pie plate and press into an even layer across base and up sides.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust begins to lightly brown.
Cool completely before filling.

Preheat oven to 300F.
In a large bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, egg, lime juice and lime zest until mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared crust.
***Bake for 20 minutes, until filling is just set.
Cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator before slicing.
Top with whipped cream to serve.

*** not everyone bakes their key lime pie..........I always have because of the eggs.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cast iron biscuits: so tender

The weather is starting to warm up and it's outdoor dutch-oven time, again. The last trip to the beach I brought and bought my cast iron collection to practice for our Tear Drop camp out in March. I've been perfecting a recipe for the potluck, Chili Verde but I tried a new one for biscuits. Who doesn't like the smell of freshly baked biscuits while camping?

Because our weather did not allow me to set up outside I modified my biscuits to the indoor kitchen. Instead of the outdoor dutch-oven I used my ancient iron skillet. This was passed down from my Grandmother, Emily to my Mom, Lorna and then to me. I use it to cook fried chicken, among other things, and it is seasoned to perfection.

My recipe for biscuits is easy:

2 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, not kosher
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup shortening, cold cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 or 2 tablespoons canola oil

You will need a ten inch iron skillet, hopefully seasoned. If not you can make this in a glass dish.
Preheat oven and iron skillet, 400 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients then cut in the shortening until it resembles course sand. I use a pastry blender but you can also rub it between your fingers.

Pour in buttermilk and gently mix with a fork and dump out on floured surface. Gently knead with floured hands and then fold over a few times and pat it to about an inch thick.

With a floured cutter, I use a wine glass, cut out as many biscuits as you can, then gather the remaining dough together; gently and repeat. Did I say gently enough times?

Remove your hot skillet from the oven and add oil tilting until it covers. Place each biscuit in the skillet. I just touch the top in the oil and roll the biscuit over to get a bit of the hot oil on top. Be careful the pan is hot and it should sizzle. You want to crowd them in so they all touch, I get eight in my 10 inch pan.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes until tops are slightly golden.

I should tell you to enjoy but I can't imagine anyone not enjoying hot biscuits and honey butter.

If you want to do these while camping use a ten inch camping dutch oven. I put eleven coals on top and only five underneath. Remember to preheat that DO smoking hot before putting in the oil and the dough. Turn every five minutes. Cooking time should be the same.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Birthday cake

More from the Princess' birthday cake. I was chastised by Laura Rebecca to post more photos and a recipe. Thanks for the prod, Laura. Check out her blog she seems to be a proficient baker.

This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen and I did not change the recipe a bit. Mine came out more dense than I thought but still quite tender. I do believe the key is everything needs to be room temperature.

The first time I made this cake, every cake has an audition in my kitchen, I did not frost it but used the odd vanilla filling I post about last week. Auditioned cakes get shared with my neighbor and she really liked it. She doesn't realize it but she's my food tester. Well, maybe now she does since she does read the blog.

To frost this cake I used a product called "Frosting Pride" I get it at Smart and Final and it tastes like a whipped cream frosting. Very easy and quite tasty you can add color and I've added softened cream cheese before. As you can see, decorating is not my strong suit.

I doubled this recipe for a half-sheet pan

2 1/2 cups cake flour , plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk , room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks , room temperature
3 large egg whites , room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

2. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A satisfied customer

This is one of the cakes I made last weekend. The little cake with an E was for the Princess in honor of her first birthday. I made a larger adult cake, too. She wasn't too sure what to do with it but once a piece was cut she picked it up and had a taste. She just didn't want to soil her dainty fingers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A creamy cake filling

Having no pictures because my camera is wonky should not be an excuse for not posting but, regrettably it has been. I'm posting this recipe because I found it odd. While searching for the perfect cake for a first birthday I ran across this filling. In the final cake I ended up not using it but thought it would be an interesting post, anyway. I guess it's because I like odd things.

What I found odd was, you make a cream sauce then add butter and shortening, sugar, and a bit of vanilla. I was sure it wouldn't be any good so I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It is light and not too sweet and would hold up to adding a bit of fruit or jam. I wonder why I'd not heard of this one before. The first time I made it I used non-fat milk, all I had on hand, but when I made it again with half-and-half I didn't notice much difference.

This is a Paula Deen recipe.

5 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a lidded container shake the flour and milk until mixed. In saucepan, cook and whisk until thick. It's a cream sauce and you don't want lumps so whisk the hell out of it. Cool.

In bowl, combine sugar, salt, shortening, butter and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy, then add the cooled milk mixture and beat again, until fluffy.