Monday, March 24, 2014

Milk Tart, or Snickerdoodle Pie

 My brother lived in South Africa for two years and came back raving about a South African dessert he ate there called Milk Tart. I kept meaning to make it for his birthday, but this year I finally made it happen. I served him up his birthday slice and waited for a verdict. He took a bite and declared it as good as the versions he ate over there (whew!).

My brother wasn't he only one who approved of the Milk Tart. My family quickly dubbed it Snickerdoodle Pie, due to the flavor's similarity to that glorious cinnamon-flavored cookie. They liked it so much, I have made it twice for family events in the past month. The first time, I forgot to take a picture and it quickly disappeared. The second time, I forgot again until there was only one [slightly flawed] piece left... but you get the idea. Snickerdoodle in pie form: a new family favorite. Enjoy!

Milk Tart, or Snickerdoodle Pie

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt

4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 cup sugar. Add 1 egg and beat until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture just until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Press mixture into bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie pans. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

 In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes. Pour half of mixture into each pastry shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill before serving.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake - Revisited

 I attended a family reunion for my dad's side this weekend. My assignment was to make this lovely Pineapple Upside-Down Cake in Cast Iron Skillet. The recipe originally came from my Grandma through my aunt, and I have blogged about it before, but it came out SO much better this time around (as you can see). I like to think my photography skills are ever so slightly improved, and I edited the recipe to make it more clear.

I HIGHLY recommend using the Trader Joe's Vanilla Cake mix mentioned in the note. I'm not normally a Trader Joe's person, but this mix was amazing. It actually has flecks of vanilla bean (!!!) and no chemical junk in the ingredients. It made me wonder why Duncan Hines can't do something as simple and tasty with their mixes. But I digress! This cake is classic and fantastic- try it!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (in Cast Iron Skillet)

Trader Joe’s has a good vanilla cake mix that works as a substitute for the dry ingredients. Just mix  1/4 cup pineapple juice in with 3/4 cup milk in place of the 1 cup of milk it calls for.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
One can pineapple slices in juice
Buttermilk (or sour milk made with lemon juice and milk works fine) plus juice from drained pineapple to make 1 1/4 cup liquid
Maraschino cherries, halved (optional)
Chopped nuts (optional)

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar

Cream white sugar and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Alternate adding the buttermilk/pineapple juice mixture and the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until mixed without lumps.

Put ½ cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar in a cast iron skillet. Heat on stove top over medium heat until bubbling. Then reduce heat while bubbling softly and thickening slightly, about 3 minutes total. Don’t burn the sugar/butter mixture. Turn off and lay drained pineapple slices decoratively on top. (Add cherries or nuts if desired.) Pour batter over slices. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until done. Let cake rest for 10 minutes and invert cake. Leave upside down for a minute or so. Lift pan.