Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pear Pie

I always find that the hardest part about making pies, is making the crust. If you want to save yourself some time, use a ready made pie crust! The rest is easy. Here we go. 

Pear Pie
Adapted from allrecipes.
8 Servings

1 ready made pie crust, 9" unbaked
6 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and vanilla, followed by the pears. Place the pear mixture into the pie crust.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the pears are soft and the centre of the pie is set. Cool completely before serving.

I tasted it warm (a la mode of course) and at room temperature. It's best when it's cool.

Our Favourite Carrot Cake

My husband is a huge fan of carrot cake. Sometimes when you buy it from the store or a restaurant, the flavour isn't as good as when you make your own. So, why not just make your own then? This is the best carrot cake recipe I've tried, and it's not difficult. Sometimes I make only half the recipe and still get a good size cake out of it. You can easily serve 8 people with half the recipe. I think the crushed pineapple helps keep the cake moist too! It called for vegetable oil, but I always use canola. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever purchasing vegetable oil. 

Our Favourite Carrot Cake
Adapted from allrecipes.
16 Servings

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins. 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray and flour two 10" round cake pans and set aside. Sometimes I also cut a round of parchment for the bottom.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for a minute on medium speed, until they get a little fluffy. Beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla, then, switch to a spoon and stir in the pineapple.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir into the wet mixture just until everything's combined.

Now stir in the carrots and nuts and divide the batter between the two pans. 

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I allow mine to cool in the pan for about 1/2 hour. If you try to remove the cakes while they're hot, they may just fall apart. 

Serve the cake as is, or top with your favourite cream cheese frosting. 

Here are some recipes you could try for the frosting.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Frosting
easy cake ideas Cream Cheese Frosting
Pryia Rao's Recipes Cream Cheese Frosting (this one has white chocolate in it)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Homemade Butter - Secret Recipe Club

This challenge I was given yet another fabulous blog to choose a recipe from. Sid's Sea Palm Cooking is the blog and if you're looking for Tapas ideas, you'll definitely want to go have a look!

While Sid has an amazing selection of delicious recipes, I chose to make butter. I'm thinking now that I may have chosen something a little too simple, but before I saw it on Sid's blog, I never thought about trying to make my own. If I didn't try it now I may never have tried it at all! It's so easy you won't believe it. After I made it, I used it to fry some veggies. It works just like real butter. Oh wait, it IS real butter!

I agree with Sid, making your own butter is expensive. You can get butter on sale for less than it would cost you to buy the cream to make it, but it's still fun and your friends will be impressed when you tell them you made it.

After the whipping cream stage, a little more beating will turn it into this.

Keep whipping and the liquid will start to come out.

Now it's drained. I should have whipped a bit longer but it still worked!


Secret Recipe Club

Heavy Cream (35%)
Salt (optional)

Place the cream in a large bowl and whip it on medium speed until it turns into whipped cream. Looks pretty right? 

You're not done yet. Keep whipping. Oops, now it looks curdled! Your whipped cream is ruined! BUT don't throw it away. Keep whipping! The solids will separate from the liquid and you will have butter! 

Drain off as much liquid as you can, then whip a bit more. There may still be some liquid left to whip out. I think I could have whipped it slightly longer because I  noticed some liquid coming out when I put a blob in the hot pan to melt. You can also add some salt if you like. Store the butter in the fridge. I'm not sure how long it lasts but Sid suggests freezing it if you're not going to use it within a few days.

You can use the buttermilk in your baking.  You could also add some cinnamon or herbs and spices to the butter. Wouldn't that be fun?!