HANDS-DOWN, ONE OF OUR SISTERHOOD’S MOST FAVORITE TREATS!
This is a dessert / snack that I think is fair to say, always brings a smile and sparkle to the eye. Whether served as a plated reception option, a surprise snack for a hard-working crew, a dessert tucked into a bag lunch, it always hits the mark—and is never refused! And as a living testimony to this—today, I left the batch of fresh baked Carmelitas on the counter, only to find when I returned to do my blog “photo shoot”, that the Sister on duty saw them and couldn’t resist offering a few to some Brothers doing a spackling job; I’m still hearing how much they loved them!
Greetings from Barga, Italy! For the past several weeks I have been serving at the Community’s outreach in Tuscany, and learning about Italian food in the process. During the holidays I made one of my most favorite Italian dishes: arancini. You would be hard pressed not to find comfort in these creamy risotto balls stuffed with cheese, aside from the fact they are also breaded and deep fried…mama mia.
As with most things I’ve encountered in Italy, this dish brings a centuries-long history to the table, dating back to 10th-century Sicily. While arancini has undergone some modern interpretation over the centuries, it remains a delicious treat. Buon appetito!
Fill a saucepan, crockpot or deep fryer with 4-5 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees, regulating frequently with a thermometer if not using a crockpot or deep fryer appliance.
Form a ball of risotto no larger than a golf ball in your hand and press it flat on a piece of wax paper. Place a mozzarella cube in the center, and close the risotto around it. Reshape into a ball if needed and set aside and repeat with remaining risotto.
Once all the risotto has been formed, gently roll in flour, then egg and finally the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
Working in batches, gently drop risotto balls into the oil, frying until the outside becomes a light golden brown color. Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack to drain excess oil.
Serve warm or with a red or white sauce of your choosing.
“O Star of wonder, Star of night, Star with royal beauty bright…Guide us to thy perfect light.” How wondrous the Star that leads the Magi to the Infant Christ! And as we continue to celebrate this season so filled with awe and beauty, it lends itself to more creativity as we prepare treats for the many Yuletide events—(or for any festive occasion!)
Beat the butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy; add egg and flavorings and beat until smooth.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and after sifting flour, baking powder and salt together, add slowly until just blended.
Divide dough in half, forming 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until firm, or longer if need be. It will need to be pliable to be able to roll out.
Using a sprinkling of flour, roll out dough to about an 1/8’ thickness. Cut out your desired shapes; place on baking sheet and bake for about 15” or until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing them.
In a medium size bowl, mix by hand, the sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and flavorings until smooth and well blended. Depending upon the colors you’re using, divide glaze into separate dishes, adding colors
Holding the cookie, gently lay it on top of the glaze, so that surface is covered. Set aside for a few minutes and then decorate with colored sprinkles of your choice, before glaze sets too firmly.
Green tomatoes. What to do with these beautiful yet green garden tomatoes? A few things sprang to mind when I saw a flat of green tomatoes tucked in amongst other garden produce given to us from a local farm this week: fried green tomatoes (a classic!), green tomato salsa verde, green tomato muffins…
Then a recipe caught my eye for a green tomato fritter–just the thing! With a few “tweaks” to the original recipe–omitting the cinnamon and sugar in favor of a savory version–this late summer treat is a reminder not just the generosity of the giver, but an invitation to explore the possibilities of an otherwise puzzling and often overlooked gift from the garden–perfectly unripe.
In a deep, heavy pan, heat 3 inches of oil to 365° F, or use a crockpot with a fry basket.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Stir in the green tomatoes, corn and seasonings.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and butter. Stir into the first mixture until just blended. Batter should hold its shape when dropped into hot oil–add more flour if needed to thicken the batter.
Working in batches, drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil, cooking until fritters are a deep golden brown, turning about halfway through.
This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to pick blueberries from a local farm with a good friend of mine. We arrived shortly after sunrise on a glorious Sunday morning. We talked little and just enjoyed circling the bushes from different angles to find the plump berries. Her husband had fashioned coffee cans into containers that dangled from our necks to collect the berries. We both used this time to pray and be thankful. It's amazing how close to God we both felt in nature. So much beauty and peace surrounded us. I hope you will taste God's goodness in this tasty summertime treat.
1 pie(8 servings)
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
1 hour, 30 minutes
20 - 30minutes
1deep dish pie crust - 9 inchunbakedwell chilled before filling
For the filling:
2/3cupsugar(or more if you want a sweeter filling)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pie crust with parchment and add pie weights or dried beans. Place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and bake the crust for about 20 min. Remove parchment and weights and return to the oven for 10 min. until slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest. Put the blueberries in a mixing bowl and add the sliced nectarines, lemon juice, vanilla and the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Gently toss and let sit as the berries start releasing their juices.
Meanwhile, prepare the crumble: In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter and white sugar. Pulse until combined (this can also be done by hand). With your hands, press topping together to form clumps and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the pie: Pour the blueberry/nectarine mixture into your blind baked crust. Top with the crumble mixture - covering the top and spreading evenly.
Bake until the filling bubbles and the pie is golden brown, about one hour. Allow to cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
At our Thanksgiving feast we enjoyed celebrating God’s blessings. One of them, the best in my opinion, is of course, lovely breakfast treats. In specific, a golden cream cheese danish with a hint of almond…can you see where were going with this?
Danishes can be a little tricky – below is simple version of the recipe. If you’d like a flakier danish, I suggest doing the square of butter version (see notes at end of recipe).
But either way, with a straight-forward approach and a little bit of time, you can enjoy the sweet, flaky treat for a Sunday brunch or with your mid-morning coffee. We are so grateful to God’s many blessings and pray that you also were able to appreciate God’s goodness this year. Happy belated Thanksgiving!
In a medium bowl, add the yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and warm water. Let the yeast rest until it proofs (5 minutes). Once the yeast has proofed, add the egg, milk, sugar, and salt. Stir with a whisk, and set to the side.
Place the flour and 1/2 cup cubed butter into a large bowl. With a pastry blender, combine until the butter is in tiny pieces. (You can also use the food processor for this step.) **NOTE** If you'd like a flakier Danish, set aside 1/2 cup of butter and make into a butter square.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour and combine until the dough comes together. Place the dough onto a floured work surface and shape into a square. Roll the dough into a rectangle 9 x 13-inches. If you'd like a flakier crust, place the butter square (see #8) in the middle and fold the dough lengthwise into thirds (similar to folding a letter to fit into an envelope). Roll the dough into a rectangle again, and then again fold into thirds. Repeat this process twice more, until you've done it a total of 3 times. Cut the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. The dough keeps for one week in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer.
Beat Cream Cheese till very smooth and no lumps remain. Combine with rest of filling ingredients.
Remove one piece of dough from the fridge, and save the other for a rainy day (the dough can last in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 3 months). On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a 9 x 13-inch rectangle. Spoon some of the cream cheese filling in the middle of the dough. With the dough laid in front of you vertically (so that the smaller 9-inch end is facing you), make 1-inch diagonal cuts down the left and right sides of the dough (imagine you are making a Christmas tree). Once you have reached the bottom, cut away two triangle pieces, so that the dough now has a tree trunk. Fold the tree trunk flap over the apples, then go back to the top and fold each strip over the cheese filling, alternating from left to right and moving towards the bottom.Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Gently lift the parchment paper and the braid onto a baking sheet. Brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash (one egg white and a teaspoon of water). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until brown on top.
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and vanilla until you get a desired consistency. Add a tablespoon more milk if the icing is too thick. (It should be pourable, but not so thin that it drips off of the pastry.) Drizzle over the top of the braid and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm. The danish lasts for 3 to 4 days. It's best to store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, and then reheated in the oven or microwave before eating.
*NOTE: Option for Flakier Dough: Before cubing butter, set aside 1/2 cup of butter. Cut into 4 squares, sprinkle with a little flour and roll to a 1/4" width between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Refrigerate till ready to use in Step #5.