Pastry Cream

Pastry Cream


1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.)  Sift the flour and cornstarch (corn flour) together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling.  (The milk will foam up to the top of pan when done, so watch carefully.)  Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)  Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (The vanilla bean can be dried and placed in your sugar bowl to give the sugar a vanilla flavor.  This sugar can then be used in baking where you would like a vanilla-flavored sugar, e.g. pies, cakes, cookies.)

Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly.  When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur

(if using).  Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming.  Cool.  If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.  Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

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Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.

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lemon meringue pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
1 1/4  cups sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup corn starch
1 1/2 water
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter

par cook the pie shell at 425

Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, milk, water, and pinch of the salt in a large, non-reactive saucepan, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. As the mixture reaches a simmer and begins to thicken and turn clear, 4 to 5 minutes, whisk in the egg yolks, 2 at a time. Slowly add the lemon juice, whisking constantly, and add the zest. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisking constantly, return to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into the prepared pie crust.

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and remaining pinch salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat, as this will make the meringue difficult to spread.

To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. (Alternatively, the meringue can be cooked in a preheated 325 degree F oven until set and golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.)

Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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Baked Beans

Baked Beans


1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained

1 pound bacon, chopped

3 cloves garlic, grated

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/3 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

8 cups chicken stock


I make these beans in a slow cooker, though they can be baked in an oven or simmered slowly on the stove. To make them faster, you can cook the beans first by themselves or even use canned beans.

In medium sized pan, cook bacon on medium until it starts to get crisp. Add onions and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

In a medium sized bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, molasses, 1 cup of chicken stock, cayenne and a pinch of salt. Place in microwave and cook on high until the sugar dissolves and form a sauce.

Place beans in slow cooker. Add onion mixture and then pour the sauce on top. Stir.

Add sauce mixture and enough chicken stock so that it’s the same consistency as very thin lentil soup. Cook on high for 4 hrs., adding chicken stock if needed to prevent burning and achieve proper consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 recipe pie dough for a double crust pie
8 cups of fruit, half strawberries, half rhubarb
2 tbsp. butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup corn starch
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp. water

Preheat your oven to 450.

When bottom pie crust is chilled after being rolled out, combine all other ingredients except the butter and put into the pie shell. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot it around the top of the pie.

Cover with the top crust and brush with the egg glaze.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and cook for another 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top. If the crust starts to get too brown around the edges, just cover the edge with foil.

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Buttermilk Waffle

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
.5 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
.5 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

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Dinner rolls

For the dough
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk; more as needed
  • 1 packet (1/4 oz. or 2-1/4 tsp.) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lb. 7 oz. (5-1/4 cups) unbleached bread flour; more as needed
  • 1-1/4 tsp. table salt or 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 large egg

Let autolyze for 20 minutes. Knead for 10. Let rise to double.

Shape into 18 pieces approx. 2.25 oz. each. Shape and let rise for about 30 mins., just until they begin to swell. Then preheat the oven to 375 and let finish rising, til they’re about 2.5 times their original size.

Egg wash and bake for about 15 mins. total, rotating once during cooking.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Dish out using a large cookie scooper and space them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

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Red beans and rice

1 lb. red beans, soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 large smoked ham hocks
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups white rice, cooked
8 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 bunch green onions
.5 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Saute onion, celery and bell pepper in olive oil until softened. Remove from pot. Brown ham hocks and sausage and remove from pot.

Put beans in the pot and add chicken stock to cover by two inches. Add in seasonings, ham hocks, sausage and beans and bring to a boil.

Partially cover and simmer lightly for about 3 hours, until beans are very soft. Add more stock if necessary to keep them from getting dry.

Remove bones from the ham hock and fish out any skin or gristle. Break up the meat into smaller pieces.

Take about half the beans out of the pot and mash them up, then put them back in. This will make the beans really creamy.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice with garnish of green onions and hot sauce.

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Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb. ground beef
.5 onion, chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup peas, frozen
1 cup corn, frozen
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
.5 tsp. onion powder
.5 tsp. garlic powder
.5 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. fresh thyme or .5 tsp. dried thyme
1/3 cup flour
2 cups beef broth
4 cups mashed potatoes (potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper)
2 tbsp. butter, melted
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Saute onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add in ground beef and brown. Add seasonings and tomato paste and cook another minute. Sprinkle flour over the top and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add beef broth and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until it thickens to a gravy.

Add peas and corn. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Place mixture in an 8×8 baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Brush butter over the top of the potatoes. Place in 350 degree oven until the top is golden brown.

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