Monthly Archive for December, 2009

The Pancake (disambiguation) – A foreign cook-u-mentory

While I certainly could bore you with jumping right into my post on how to make a German pancake (which I earnestly tell you is a great new video cook-u-mentory) I thought I would amuse you with a bit of background on the various types of pancakes found in our vernacular (a few of my favorites excerpted from Wikipedia):

Pancake is a batter cake fried in a pan. Pancake may also mean:

* In volleyball, a pancake is a pass technique executed by sliding the hand palm-down on the court during a dive, so that the ball bounces off of the back of the hand
* Pancake makeup is a cosmetic used for heavy coverage and evening out skin tone. In cake form, the make-up is usually applied with a damp cosmetic sponge and dries to a smooth, matte finish. The Max Factor company created pancake make-up in the 1930s as an improvement on easily-smearing greasepaint used on stage.
* In American football, a pancake block denotes the flattening (pushing to the ground) of an opposing lineman by a blocker
* A pancake landing is an emergency aircraft landing maneuver where the craft drops flat onto the ground from a low altitude
* In the arts, a “pancake” is a platform 1/8 the size of an apple box
* In construction, “pancaking” refers to the collapse of floors in a building, one on top of the other, in a manner which resembles a stack of pancakes.
* In professional wrestling, a pancake is another variated name for the professional wrestling maneuver Flapjack

That covers the random pancake disambiguation segment of this post. Now onto the cook-u-mentory on Sarah’s German pancakes.

Lower Saxony German Pancakes (AKA Pfannkuchen Fischkopf)

Ingredients

6 eggs
6 TBS sugar
1 cup milk
4 TBS flour
1 tsp water
pinch of salt
2 -4 TBS butter (to coat pan, do not use all at once)
2 bananas, sliced (optional)
1 container strawberries, sliced (optional)
4 kiwi fruit, sliced (optional)
chocolate sauce or Nutella (optional)
jam (optional)
chocolate candy, cut into small squares (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

In medium size bowl add eggs and mix well with hand whisk. Add sugar, milk, flour, and water. Continue to stir until there are no lumps of flour remaining, approximately 2 minutes. Add in salt and do a final mix. Set aside.

Prepare fruit and other toppings and place in bowls.

On medium heat, butter a medium-large size pan. Spread batter evenly around the pan. When edges begin to pull away from side, flip pancake over. Place pancakes in warm oven on plate until all of the batter has been used. Serve with desired toppings. Roll up and eat with hands or fork and knife!

Sidebar: I’ve learned from Sarah that often times people from Lower Saxony are called Fish-Heads or Fischkopf. These lovely pancakes are anything but fishy 🙂 They are quite similar to a crepe and seem like more of a dessert treat than a meal although I am told that this is a favorite lunchtime meal.

Unless you know someone with a Feijoa Tree!

Feijoa – A waxy green fruit about 3″ long. Although it is not a guava you may know it as a Pineapple Guava. Feijoa sellowiana is an evergreen shrub which grows to approximately 10-16 ft. It typically thrives in subtropical regions but is hardy and once established will tolerate moderate frosts. This peculiar fruit is either eaten raw (with or without the skin) or made into jellies, sauces and chutneys. As you may have guessed, this post is one for the Aussies & Kiwis…unless you know someone with a Fejoa Tree (yes, I DO)!

Gorgeous Feijoa Almond Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients

6 TBS butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Feijoa (pineapple guava) puree
2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps ground ginger
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
crystallized ginger slices, finely chopped (optional)
whip cream (optional)

Cocoa Crumble Streusel Topping Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBS cocoa powder
1 tsp allspice
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter, softened

Cake Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 9-inch round cake tin with cooking spray.

Cut fruits in half and remove soft center with a teaspoon. Mash Fejoa until it becomes pulp.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and honey. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Fold in fruit pulp.

In a medium size bowl, sift flour and add in salt, ginger, baking powder and baking soda. Add into butter mixture. Fold in milk.

Spread into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes.

Struesel Crumble Directions
To make the streusel topping, add the flour, sugars, cocoa powder and allspice to a medium bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix butter and dry ingredients until fully combined. Set aside.

Remove cake from oven and sprinkle almonds over cake followed by the streusel topping. (Finely chopped crystallized ginger may be placed on top of cake.) Bake for another 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into middle of cake comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes to set-up.

Serve with fresh whip cream and freshly pulped Fejoas.

Fejoa Coffee Cake (photo failure on resolution)

Fejoa Coffee Cake (photo failure on resolution)

Luscious Holiday Pear Pie


To say that I’ve been thinking about this pie for a few weeks would be an outright lie. I’ve been contemplating this concoction for over three months. Last night, I couldn’t take *thinking* about it any longer, I had to rally and it was worth the effort. The wafting fragrance was to me in one word, Christmas. It smelled like Christmas…let me know if this tangy pie reminds me of your holiday. Enjoy!

Fresh Pear Ginger-Spiced Cranberry Brown Sugar Streusel PIE

Streusel Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
whip cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Pear Filling Ingredients

3 lbs (5-6 medium size) Anjou or Bartlett pears
2 TBS lemon juice, fresh squeezed
2/3 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups cranberries, fresh or thawed frozen
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 TBS crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Crust Ingredients

To save time, buy ready made 9-inch deep dish pie crust and cook according to package directions. Alternatively, you can make the crust with this recipe. This pie dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or can be frozen for 3 months. If frozen, thaw the night before using or at least 6 hours before. The secret to a perfect pie crust _ _ _ _ _ _ (BUTTER)! If making crust from scratch, please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the directions and be certain to make this before you start the filling to minimize the fruit from forming excessive liquid in the waiting process.

1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
8 TBS unsalted butter, cold and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 to 4 TBS ice water

Directions- pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, position rack in center of oven.

Peel and core the pears. Cut length-wise into 8 wedges and then slice cross-wise into 1/2-inch slices. (End result should be approximately 7 cups of fruit). In large bowl, add the sliced pears and lemon juice.

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries with the sugar until coarsely chopped. Add this into the pear mixture.

In small-size bowl, add the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and crystallized ginger. Mix together well. Add the dry ingredients into the pears and toss well to combine.

Place cooked pie crust on a foil lined baking sheet. Mound the pear filling into the pie crust.

Directions- brown sugar streusel

In a medium-size bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Using your fingers blend the softened butter into the mixture. The mixture will be somewhat firm. Sprinkle the streusel over the pear filling and press it into the top of the pie filling in all of the open spaces. (Note: If you crumble the topping vs. gently pressing it onto the pie filling it will spill over.)

Bake pie 40 minutes and then rotate. The pie filling should become bubbly and the red color evident in through the streusel. Return pie to oven and cook for another 25-30 minutes. (Note: If the crust or streusel browns before the filling has thickened, loosely cover the top or edges of the pie with either a bit of aluminum foil or a pie shield.)

Cool approx 45-60 minutes before serving. For extra bonus calories, top the slice of warm pie with fresh whip cream or ice cream. Depending on the preference this recipe yields 6-8 servings. Pie is best stored at room temp for up to 2 days, in cool conditions.

Directions- pie crust (for the die hards)

In a medium-size bowl, add flour, sugar and salt mixing well. Add the butter by rubbing the chunks between fingers (smearing the butter into the flour mixture). The consistence should be flaky.

Drizzle 3 TBS of cold water over the flour mixture. Dough needs to hold itself together, if it doesn’t then add an additional 1 TBS of water.

With well floured hands, form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour, best if it can chill for up to 4 hours.

Before rolling out the dough, allow to sit at room temperature to soften slightly. Depending on how long the dough was chilled this will take between 5-20 minutes. Be certain to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface- rolling ‘around the clock’ (in a center out to edges in a clockwise direction is usually best). Dough should be 13 to14-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. (Note: only add extra dusting flour as needed as this will make the crust thicker and clunky).

Gently transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish, trimming any overhanging dough. To get a thick edge crust, roll the dough under itself into a cylinder form on the rim of the dish. Crimp edges if you like the extra flair.

Using a fork, prick the sides and bottom of the crust. Refrigerate about 1 hour until firm.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, position rack in center of oven. Line the chilled pie crust with aluminum foil and fill it with the contents from a few bags of dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the foil/beans or weights. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake approximately 5-7 minutes longer until bottom of crust looks dry but is not browned. Allow to cool 10 minutes before filling. A dry crust will minimize ending up with a wet soggy crust when filled.