Old Fashioned Chocolate Custard Pie

I am starting a new tradition this year. One of Keith’s childhood memories is of his grandmother’s chocolate pie. A dear friend made him one the last couple of years for Christmas. Now it’s my turn. I will make him one every New Years Eve. This is an old southern style custard pie with meringue! There is nothing, I say nothing like a real custard pie. There is no substitute.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
Pie Crust
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. ½ teaspoon salt
  3. ⅓ cup shortening
  4. 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Chocolate Custard
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  3. ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  4. ¼ teaspoon salt
  5. 1½ cups whole milk
  6. ½ cup evaporated milk
  7. 4 extra-large egg yolks, beaten
  8. 2 tablespoons butter
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. 5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
  2. ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  3. ¼ cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare Pastry
  1. 1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Push mixture to one side of bowl.
  2. 2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon water along edge of flour mixture. Use a fork to toss some of the flour mixture into water. Move mixture to opposite side of bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water.
  3. 3. Gather the dough together with your hands. You can add a little more water if the mixture is too dry, but it is best to add as little water as possible. Shape dough into a disk and place on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. 4. Roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess pastry and fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork and bake for 9 minutes, until golden brown. Set pie crust aside to cool and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare Chocolate Filling
  1. 5. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  2. 6. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  3. 7. Remove from heat and gradually whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Continue to add hot mixture to egg yolks while whisking constantly until approximately ¼ of the mixture has been added to the egg yolks.
  4. 8. Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  5. 9. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  6. 10. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Pour chocolate filling into pie crust.
Prepare meringue
  1. 11. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.
  2. 12. Spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool completely before slicing.
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Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Hard Bourbon Sauce

I’ll post a picture soon. I am trying testing this recipe tonight.

Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Hard Bourbon Sauce
  1. 4 large eggs
  2. 2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
  3. 1 1/2 cups milk
  4. 1 cup half-and-half
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1 (12-oz.) French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  1. 1 cup pecans, chopped
  2. 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup butter
  4. 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bourbon Sauce
  1. 2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  2. 2 tablespoon(s) bourbon
  3. 1/2 cup(s) chopped toasted pecans
  1. 1. Prepare Bread Puddings: Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.
  2. 2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. 3. Bake, covered, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes.
4. During last 15 minutes of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce
  1. Heat pecans in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  2. 5. Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans.
  3. 6. Remove bread puddings from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.
  4. Optional Hard bourbon Pecan Sauce
  5. You can use this instead of the Caramel Sauce.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the remaining butter with the confectioners' sugar, bourbon, and pecans. Serve the pudding with the sauce.
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Turkey Tamales

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Dinner was great and everyone had a wonderful time. You’ve made at least one round of turkey sandwiches, but what else could you do with that left over bird?

Do what we do here in Texas – make tamales! Just think about it, all of that work prepping, seasoning and basting that succulent bird. Maybe you smoked that turkey or deep fried it.  The flavor is great! add some tomatillos, chilis and masa, a little time in the kitchen and you have a great treat that no one will get tired of!

Here’s the recipe I use for Turkey Tamales. A Quick Google and you will find wondrous recipes from Mole Negro Turkey Tamales. I even found one to use up those cranberries by making a Guajillo-Cranberry mole for the tamales.

Feliz Comer!

Turkey Tamales
For the Masa and Corn Husks
  1. 1 (8-ounce) bag dried corn husks
  2. 2 cups dried masa mix for tamales (do not use masa harina)
  3. 5 ounces/ 2/3 cup chilled lard
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. Salt
  6. 1 cup cool chicken or turkey broth
For the filling
  1. ½ pound fresh tomatillos, husked
  2. 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, stemmed (and seeded if desired)
  3. 2 tablespoons chopped white onion, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  5. 6 to 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  6. 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  7. 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  8. Salt to taste
  9. ½ teaspoon crushed dried chipotle chiles or chipotle powder, I'm using Ancho Chili Powder.
  10. 2 cups/ 1/2 pound shredded cooked turkey
  1. 1. Prepare the corn husks: Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and use a plate to submerge husks. Soak 1 hour.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, prepare the masa: In a medium bowl, mix masa with 11/4 cups hot water. Let cool.
  3. 3. Combine lard and baking powder in a stand mixer and beat for 1 minute, until light. Add salt and masa in 3 additions, beating at medium-low speed. Gradually add 3/4 cup broth while beating on low speed; beat for another minute or two. Taste for salt. Test to see if masa is aerated enough by dropping 1/2 teaspoon into a cup of water; it should float to the top. Batter should be soft but not runny, holding together on a spoon if you tilt the spoon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Beat masa again for a couple of minutes, adding remaining broth.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until softened and olive green. Drain and place in a blender. Add green chiles, onion, garlic and cilantro sprigs. Blend until smooth.
  5. 5. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo purée and stir constantly until it thickens and begins to stick to pan, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, add salt to taste and bring to a simmer; let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chipotles. Sauce should be creamy and coat the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded turkey.
  6. 6. Make the tamales: Select 16 corn husks; look for large ones that have no tears. Take a few more and tear into 16 1/4-inch-wide strips for tying tamales. Use some of the remaining husks to line a steamer that is at least 6 inches deep (or a pasta pot with an insert); reserve a few husks in case you need to double-wrap tamales. Add just enough water to the pot to miss hitting the bottom of the basket.
  7. 7. Lay a corn husk in front of you and pat dry. Spread a scant 1/4 cup of the masa into a 4-inch square, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border at pointy tapered end of the husk and a roughly 3/4-inch border on the other sides. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of turkey mixture down the middle of the masa. Pull long edges of husk toward each other and join them so that batter is now wrapped around the filling. Fold the two pinched-together edges over in the same direction and wrap the tamale. If it does not seem well wrapped, wrap in a second husk. Fold pointy end up to enclose the bottom and tie with a strip of husk. The wide top end will be open. Stand tamale up, closed end down, in steamer. Repeat with remaining masa and filling. The tamales should be crowded into the steamer so they remain upright. If they don’t, fill spaces with crinkled foil. If tops stick out from top of steamer, trim with scissors.
  8. 8. Lay unused soaked husks over open tops of tamales. Bring water to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat to medium and steam tamales for 11/2 hours. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil to replenish water in bottom of the pot, should it run out (check periodically). Tamales are done when husk comes away easily from the masa; when done, let them sit at least 15 minutes in the pot, uncovered, to firm up. Serve hot.
  1. This recipe scales nicely, I like to bump it a little to make 2 dozen tamales. Keep half and gift half to people I like... 🙂
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Old School Dinner Rolls

Old School Dinner Rolls
  1. 2 c. whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
  2. ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  3. 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
  4. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  5. 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
  6. 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
  7. 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3 beaten eggs
  1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache for you.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes–it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.
  4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
  6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
  7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  9. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.
  10. You must now eat one! Now! While it’s hot! Its your reward!
  11. Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated. Makes 2 dozen rolls.
  1. These are the real deal from my childhood. I grew up in a German family in Kenosha, WI. Every time we got together with my cousins, my Aunt Marge made the most incredibly delicious dinner rolls. Soft buttery, slightly sweet, with that comforting yeast smell. If you take the time to make these you will be rewarded. This recipe makes two dozen. We often bake all and gift half away, because seriously we can eat them all.
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