Who isn’t attracted to a brand new bright colored cookbook with
gorgeous photos even if you aren’t a cook? However, my experience
has been that some of my best recipes have come from old and often
unattractive sources. This was the case with this simple but
delectable dish I had made to take to Thanksgiving Dinner.
A while ago while waiting to meet with someone in our retreat kitchen
I glanced through a faded well worn beige and black spiral bound
old favorite church cookbook. At the bottom of one page I spied a recipe for
onion pie. There was no story accompanying it, no explanations….
just these handwritten words sprawled across the margin “Out of this world”.
That was enough to hook me and pull me in. And I was not sorry.
It was one of the best decisions I’d made in a long time as everyone
at the dinner agreed.
This “easy as pie” dish is so well worth considering for the holiday
season whether its offered as an interesting side to a main meal, alone as a
light lunch, or a special dish to take to a Christmas buffet, all who try it will
agree that it is indeed “Out of this world”. You might even want to consider
giving it to a busy friend who comes home tired with little time to prepare a
dinner from scratch. It could be a much appreciated Christmas gift.
The vegetables are really pouring in from the gardens now. Every year it seems to happen all at once. Last summer I never got around to using one of my most favorite tomato zucchini recipes, and I don’t want that to happen again this year. I used this frequently for guest meals and retreats for many, many years and it was always very popular. It is definitely old fashioned but definitely good! Plus it is a very attractive and savory compliment to any plate, especially when all the fresh tomatoes and summer squash are at their peak.
It is a sunny, slightly warm day here on the Cape, but cold weather is on its way again soon. I’m not quite ready for spring, though, I am still waiting for the BIG snow of the season. We did have a couple of snow falls of a couple of inches, but I would really love a good 10 to 12 inches. Snow is also great for the garden, and we are already planning what vegetable seeds to buy, along with starting another plot for a garden, so please pray that we get the big storm!
I recently had a birthday and was given one of my favorite desserts — a coconut cream trifle. I have served this in little glasses, and called it coconut cake in a glass — and it is truly divine. This recipe is a little complicated and time consuming, but I promise it is well worth the effort for any event or family gathering.
Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Then the custard:
Bring milks to a simmer over low heat in a nonreactive saucepan.
Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl.
Whisk in a small amount of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly whisk in the rest until smooth.
Return mixture to the pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened.
Scrape mixture into a bowl, and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
Now the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter and flour 2 (9″by 2″) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
Whisk together the milk, egg whites, vanilla in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add remaining milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more.
Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Divide batter between the 2 pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 22 to 24 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then invert onto the rack, removing the parchment. Let cool completely.
Toast the 1 cup of coconut until golden for topping.
Whip the 1 1/2 cups of cream, and fold 2/3 of it into the cooled custard for the filling between layers of cake, reserving the last 1/3 for the final layer of the dessert.
Slice each cake into 2 layers, brush with the simple syrup, and then chunk up into bite size pieces.
You can make these either individually in glasses, or for a crowd in a large glass bowl.
Put a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of your container, then a layer of the custard mixture, continuing until your container is full, final layer being the last 1/3 of the whipped cream, and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
This is most delicious if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours so the flavors meld.