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Recipes, Articles, and Equipment
The Best Ever
A Prepared Pantry Publication
The Prepared Pantry Dennis Weaver
In my childhood, the best holidays were at my grandmother’s with uncles and aunts and lots of cousins. We had a ball wandering through the farmyard and exploring the barn and the granary. Sometimes we would hike along the creek that ran behind the pastures. Sooner or later hunger and visions of turkey and dressing and pies would draw us back to the old brick farmhouse. And then it seemed that it took forever for dinner to be ready. My grandmother, mother, and aunts fixed fantastic holiday meals. We would like to help make yours just a little bit better. In this handbook, we’ll tell you how to roast a turkey or a chicken—how to make it moist and succulent. You’ll find six different recipes. We’ll tell you how to make creamy mashed potatoes 15 ways. You’ll learn how to make homemade dinner rolls from a mix or a recipe. And pies! We’ll share our best pumpkin and apple pie recipes plus a few other dessert recipes—over 40 recipes in all. You’ll learn lots about tools and techniques. We think you’ll like what you find. Happy holidays. Dennis Weaver
The Prepared Pantry 2 North Landmark Lane Rigby, ID 83442 208-745-7892 www.preparedpantry.com
Copyright 2005-10, The Prepared Pantry. All rights reserved. The material herein is published by The Prepared Pantry for the private use of individuals and may not be used for commercial purposes without the express consent of the publisher. The information contained herein is believed accurate but the publisher makes no warranties, express or implied, and the recipient is using this information at his or her own risk.
Table of Contents
How to Roast the Best Chicken or Turkey Ever!.........................................................6 Two Weeks in the Test Kitchen: The Journey to Find the Best Roast Chicken ..........7 The Four Techniques for the Best Chicken or Turkey................................................ 10 How to Inject a Chicken or Turkey with Marinade ...................................................... 11 Tools of the Trade: How to Roast a Better Chicken or Turkey ...................................12 How to Roast a Chicken or Turkey ............................................................................13 FAQ’s about Roasted Chickens and Turkeys ............................................................14 Six Great Recipes for Chicken or Turkey...................................................................15 Oven Roasted Garlic Chicken ................................................................................ 15 Roast Chicken with Wild Rice.................................................................................16 Honey Butter Roast Chicken ..................................................................................18 Apricot Orange Chicken .........................................................................................19 Mexicali-Lime Roast Chicken .................................................................................20 Dressy Italian Chicken............................................................................................21 How to Store that Leftover Turkey .............................................................................21 What to do with Leftover Turkey................................................................................ 22 Selecting and Baking Your Holiday Ham...................................................................23 Nine Glaze Recipes for Your Holiday Ham................................................................ 25 How to Make Great Dinner Rolls ................................................................................ 28 How to Make Kaiser Rolls .........................................................................................30 How to Make Great Mashed Potatoes........................................................................32 How to Mash Potatoes .............................................................................................. 32 A Guide to 15 Different Kinds of Mashed Potatoes....................................................33 Garlic Mashed Potatoes .........................................................................................33 Sunday Dinner Potatoes ........................................................................................ 33 Bacon and Cheese Mashed Potatoes ....................................................................33 Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes ..........................................................................34 Garlic and Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes ...................................................... 34 Skins-on Mashed Potatoes ....................................................................................34 Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish ........................................................................34 Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes...................................................................................34 Mashed Potatoes with Shallots .............................................................................. 34 Onion Mashed Potatoes.........................................................................................34 Mashed Potatoes with Chives ................................................................................ 34 French Onion Mashed Potatoes .............................................................................35 Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions ..................................................................... 35 Cheddar Mashed Potatoes .....................................................................................35 Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes ............................................................................... 35 Make Great Pies! .........................................................................................................35 Five Essential Tools for the Pie Maker ...................................................................... 35 A Pastry Knife ........................................................................................................36 A Rolling Pin ..........................................................................................................36 Pie Pans.................................................................................................................37 Other Tools ............................................................................................................38 Making the Crust ....................................................................................................... 38 Five Easy Keys to a Great Pie!..................................................................................39 The Best Pumpkin Pies .............................................................................................40 Four Egg Extra Light Pumpkin Pie..........................................................................40 Adding Yams or Dry Pumpkin ................................................................................ 41 About the Spices ....................................................................................................41
Our Best Pumpkin Pie ............................................................................................41 Mom’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie..................................................................................42 Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Streusel in a Gingersnap Crust ................................ 43 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie Recipe ...................................................................... 44 No-Bake Turtle Pumpkin Pie ..................................................................................46 Pumpkin Pie Squares .............................................................................................47 The Best Apple Pies..................................................................................................48 Fifteen Minute Apple Pie ........................................................................................ 48 My Favorite Apple Pie ............................................................................................49 Dutch Apple Pie ..................................................................................................... 50 Bavarian Apple Pie.................................................................................................51 Maple Apple Pie ..................................................................................................... 52 Caramel Apple Pie .................................................................................................52 Other Recipes for the Holidays ..................................................................................53 Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust ............................................................54 No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe ..................................................................... 55 Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with a Chocolate Swirl................................................ 56 White Chocolate Cheesecake ...................................................................................57 New England Apple Pie Pastry..................................................................................58 Appendix...................................................................................................................... 60 Video Cooking and Baking Lessons ..........................................................................60
How to Roast the Best Chicken or Turkey Ever!
We’ve all experienced dry, tasteless chicken or turkey. Sometimes it's hard to swallow or rubbery. But even good chicken or turkey usually isn’t as tasty and succulent as it could be. To be really good, it must be melt-in-your-mouth succulent and loaded with flavor. So we spent two weeks in the test kitchen in pursuit of these two dimensions— moistness and flavor. We experiment with chicken with the assumption that whatever worked with chicken, would work with turkey. What we found were multiple techniques to make the very best chicken or turkey. In following section, we’ll tell you about our two weeks in the test kitchen, all the chickens that we roasted, and what we discovered. In the next section, we’ll share four secrets to great chicken or turkey plus some additional tips and techniques. We’ll describe each of these four techniques plus share a video with each technique with stepby-step instructions so you’ll really get to know these techniques. Then we’ll talk to you about the tools of the trade and recommend the equipment that will best fit your cooking. Finally, we’ll give you six recipes. So let’s get started . . .
Two Weeks in the Test Kitchen: The Journey to Find the Best Roast Chicken
Sunday dinner is usually a highlight at our house. It’s a lingering, casual dinner, usually with extended family. Often we have a pot roast put on before church plus plenty of potatoes and gravy. Sometimes we have roast chicken--simply fixed with seasonings and herbs. Somewhere along the line, we determined to find the best way to roast a chicken. So it was off to the test kitchen. We outlined the project—never dreaming that it would become so involved. First, we had to recruit Lou Anne Johnson, our chief kitchen engineer, and Debbie Frantzen, our operations manager and a qualified foodie. We were concerned that Lou Anne might not find chickens exciting enough for a major project, but once she saw where we were going, she was on board. We knew that Lou Anne would be exhaustive. Unlike anyone we’ve ever met, Lou Anne will bake from a cookbook—front to back—just for recreation. So we began the research phase. We read everything that we could about roast chicken. We went on line. We looked in periodicals. We reviewed recipes in nearly every cookbook that we owned. We kept notes and dog-eared pages. We were ready to get started. We would try different recipes and techniques until we found what worked. We would use staff for testers—especially the crew downstairs in Production and in Fulfillment. (Actually, we fed chicken to everyone that came through, sales people, delivery drivers, and all.) Lou Ann made the first trip to the grocery store. We live and work in a small town; there are about 3,200 people in Rigby. Food shopping consists of one grocery store which is remarkably well-stocked for a little town in the country. Lou Anne came back from the grocery store giggling. “The meat department manager doesn’t understand where all his chickens went.” That’s because she bought them all. Over the next week, we roasted tons of chickens. We roasted them horizontally and vertically, in the pan and on racks. We roasted them right out of the wrapping and after soaking them in brine. Over and over, we’ve set chicken on plates in front of our conscripted testers. We filled plates with chicken, each with a placard identifying what chicken was on what plate. They would walk down the line with plate in hand, adding a little chicken from each plate. Then we would quiz them.
“Did you like this one or that one better? What did you like best about that chicken?” Everyone likes a moist chicken. In fact, the most common complaint was, “This chicken is dry.” Some of the chickens were soggy and greasy, at least in parts. Chickens have so much fat that there is quite a pool after baking. If the chicken is sitting in that pool, it’s greasy and soggy. With a rack, the juices dripped to the bottom of the pan and all the fat drained off for a healthier meal. So, very quickly we decided that our chickens had to be roasted on racks. (A rotisserie does the same thing.) We used both horizontal and vertical racks. We could tell no difference in the meat but with the vertical racks, we had a nice even golden color on the skins. We found that if you use a horizontal rack, turn the chicken breast up so that the tender breast meat is turned away from the heating elements in the bottom of the oven. The breast cooks more readily than does the leg meat. Chickens roasted on racks were consistently dry. So we tried a vertical rack with an infuser. The rack has a cylindrical reservoir in the center that protrudes into the chicken’s breast cavity. As the chicken cooks, the liquid evaporates and fills the cavity. (Think “beer-can chicken”) We used apple juice, orange juice, water with herbs, and water with garlic. Any liquid made the meat much, much more moist and in every case was preferred over the dry rackroasted chicken. It was clear that infusers made a much superior chicken. About the racks used: We tested three racks in the roasting of our chickens: A horizontal nonstick rack that was large enough for a turkey, a nonstick vertical rack, a stainless steel vertical rack with an infuser. All of these racks are available at The Prepared Pantry. If you use either the horizontal rack or the nonstick vertical rack, soak your chickens in brine water before baking. With the rack with the vertical infuser, soaking is not necessary.
While the infusers made for moist, succulent chicken, much superior to dry roasted, the infusers did not impart a lot of flavor. Maybe there is a trick to imparting flavor with these racks but we never discovered it. Still, we would not hesitate to purchase a vertical rack with an infuser for the moisture. To create a moist chicken, we next tried a steam roast—roasting the chicken in a steamy pan. We placed the chicken on a rack in a pan and added water to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Since we didn’t want a boiled-looking chicken, our strategy was to bake the chicken for about half the time with the lid off so as to brown the chicken skin nicely and then place the lid on the pan to capture the steam. The roasted chicken was attractive but the meat was not as moist and nice as when we used the infuser. We concluded that since the infuser concentrated the steam in the breast cavity and did so over the entire cooking, the resulting roast chicken was much more moist. We tried soaking our chickens in water before roasting. Maybe the chicken would retain water for a moister roast. The results were surprising. While soaking the chicken in plain water did not do much, an hour in brine water made for a very moist, very succulent chicken. The brine water soak rivaled the chickens baked with a vertical rack and infuser; our testers couldn’t tell the difference.
So at this point, we had concluded that, in addition to roasting on a rack or rotisserie, a chicken is much more succulent when either infused with steam or soaked in brine. Not only is the chicken much better eating, it makes for a healthier, less fatty chicken. We found that the best brine water was one-half cup of salt to 8 or 10 cups of cold water and a soak time of about an hour in the refrigerator was about right. We were giddy over our success. Never had we made such succulent, moist, roast chicken. And the techniques were simple—brining or infusing with steam. We couldn’t wait to share them with our subscribers. By now we had fallen in love with our stainless steel vertical rack with infuser. It made chicken so moist and tender. But we were disappointed with the flavor. The rack is presented as a method to add flavor to chickens. We would fill the infuser reservoir with a beverage, stock, or juice, and it would impart some flavor to the chicken but not as much as we would like. But then we read about tucking herbs and seasoning under the skin of a chicken, right against the meat. We had to try that. It was back to the store for more chicken. We started baking chickens, making little pockets for seasoning under the skin on the breasts and thighs. We made garlic chicken, orange chicken, and lemon chicken. The technique worked. The chicken was now moist and flavorful. But then we considered marinades. A marinade has three purposes: it imparts flavor to the chicken, it adds moisture to the chicken to make it more succulent, and it breaks down tissues in the flesh for more tender meat. While a marinade works well for cut up chicken, it requires a lot of marinade to soak a whole chicken. So we looked at injectors. A hypodermic injector injects marinade deep into the flesh. The marinade imparts flavor and moisture and does help to break down tissues for more tender meat. So we bought even more chickens and started experimenting with techniques and recipes. We made savory chickens and sweet chickens. We found that an injector is very easy to use and very effectively imparts flavors to the meat. It makes for a very flavorful, tasty roast chicken. Now we had arrived. We knew how to make very succulent chicken and very flavorful chicken. We had four techniques in our arsenal: brining, infusing with steam, tucking seasonings and herbs under the skin, and injecting marinades. All four were very useful. We’ll explain these four techniques, where each is applicable, and present an instructional video for each.
The Four Techniques for the Best Chicken or Turkey
In our quest for the best roast chicken or turkey, we examined four techniques--two for flavor and two for moistness and tenderness. For flavor, we used a technique for putting herbs and spices under the skin and one for injecting chicken with a marinade. For moistness, we brined and infused chickens with steam. All four of the techniques are remarkably successful.
See the Video: Four Techniques for Better Chicken
Or type the following URL in your browser: http://www.preparedpantry.com/4-Chicken-Techniques.htm
For Moistness and Tenderness: Brining Brine the chicken for one hour, in the refrigerator, in a solution of 1/2 cup salt for ten cups water. If you brine the chicken, you can still insert flavors under the skin. Injecting marinade after brining does not work well. For Moistness and Tenderness: Infusing with Steam Infusing with steam leaves the chicken moist and tender without becoming soggy. The best way to infuse with steam is with a vertical rack with infuser. You can inject marinade into the chicken before baking with this method. For Flavor: Inserting Herbs and Spices Under the Skin With the back of a spoon, create pockets on the breasts and legs. Place spices or herbs in these pockets and spread around. This works best in conjunction with brining or infusing steam during baking. For Flavor: Inserting Marinade Use a marinade injector to insert a wide range of marinades directly into the meat of the chicken. Puree chunky marinades first--those with herbs or vegetables. This method works well in conjunction with a vertical rack with infuser.
How to Inject a Chicken or Turkey with Marinade
It’s really quite simple, injecting a chicken with a flavorful marinade. We tried it over and over with different recipes until we had the technique down. You can use any marinade that will pass through the needle on your injector. The injector that we use has a large diameter needle with two large holes cut into the sides of the needle. Still, marinades with large pieces of herbs will not pass through. To solve that problem, we put chunky marinades in our blender and pureed them. The techniques used here can also be applied to turkeys and modified for roasts. 1. Prepare the marinade. Depending on the strength of the marinade and how flavorful you will want your chicken, you will need a cup of marinade. 2. Leave the skin on the chicken. It will hold moisture and flavor and protect the tender breast meat from scorching. 3. Load your injector. You will need to load it several times to use all your marinade. Use the first third to marinate the legs and then one third in each of the two breasts. 4. Start with a leg. Insert the needle deep along the bone. Press lightly on the plunger to begin releasing marinade and then begin withdrawing the needle, slowly releasing the marinade as you withdraw the needle. Inject the other leg and both thighs. 5. Next inject the breasts. Insert the needle into the deepest part of the meat and inject marinade as you withdraw the needle. Tip the needle, inject the needle through the same hole again and press the needle into another part of the breast. Do this “directional drilling” again so that the entire breast has received marinade and yet there is only one hole in the skin. 6. Reload the plunger and inject the second breast. The objective is to get as much marinade as possible dispersed in the meat. There are two keys to loading up the chicken with marinade: probing the needle into different parts of the chicken and pressing on the plunger as you withdraw the needle thereby injecting marinade along the way. 7. Place the chicken in a bowl and return it to the refrigerator. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that the marinade can seep through the tissues. 8. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and prepare it to roast by wiping any marinade from the skin and basting the skin with melted butter. Marinade left on the skin may burn. Butter helps the skin brown properly. 9. Bake according to recipe instructions. Notes: 1. After pureeing your marinade, if a piece still gets stuck in the needle, use a piece of fine wire to unclog the needle. A twist-tie stripped to the wire works perfectly. 2. With liquid within the meat, infused chickens take longer to cook. At 350 degrees allow up to two hours. 3. If you use an infuser, be sure and place a pan under the chicken to catch excess drippings. The infuser sets in a nine-inch pie pan perfectly. 4. It doesn’t work to inject marinade into a brined chicken. A brined chicken has retained water and there is less capacity for marinade. For the best chicken, use a vertical rack with an infuser to make the chicken very moist and an injector for the most flavor. 5. Don’t let the chicken sit for over 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
6. Do not leave the chicken on the counter. Food safety requires that raw chicken be refrigerated. 7. You can use leftover marinade that has not been contaminated with any juices from the chicken. Discard any marinade in the injector marinade that has touched the needle.
Tools of the Trade: How to Roast a Better Chicken or Turkey
You can use two of the four techniques explained in this handbook without any special equipment: brining and inserting flavors under the skin. To be equipped for the other two techniques, you will need the following equipment. For infusing steam into your chicken: Stainless Steel Vertical Roaster Rack with Infuser TN265 This vertical roasting rack has a reservoir in the center of the catch basin. You fill this reservoir with water, a beverage, wine, or juice. The steam imparts some flavor to the chicken. It also makes the chicken moist and succulent. For injecting marinade into your chicken: Professional Marinade Injector TN777 You can make very flavorful, succulent chicken by injecting marinade into the meat with this hyperemic-type injector. If the marinade contains an acid, it will also help tenderize the chicken. The secret is to load the meat with marinade, injecting marinade until it can hold no more. Poke a minimum number of holes into the chicken—one for each breast and one for each thigh—so that marinade does not seep from the extra holes. This is an inexpensive and very useful tool for your kitchen that works as well with other meats as it does with chicken.
How to Roast a Chicken or Turkey
This is a basic chicken recipe but much more moist and tender than a chicken just popped into the oven. You can easily modify this for a turkey. 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds in weight 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted salt and pepper 1/2 cup salt for brining or use an infuser Chicken can become very dry in roasting and nearly unpalatable. To avoid dry chicken, you need to infuse water into the chicken. You can do that in one of two ways. Use a vertical roasting rack with an infuser. In this way, you create steam in the body cavity that permeates the meat. The infuser can be loaded with water, juice, cider, pop, or beer. Herbs or spices can be added to the reservoir. The other way to create a moist chicken is to soak it in a brine solution for an hour. The salt water will permeate the bird so that the chicken retains water prior to roasting. If you use a brine soak, dissolve one-half cup of salt in 8 to 10 cups of cold water and soak the bird for an hour in the refrigerator just prior to roasting. Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 1. If you are not using an infuser, soak the chicken in 8 to 10 cups of water with the 1/2 cup salt dissolved in the water. 2. Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Salt and pepper the body cavity. Place the chicken on a vertical or horizontal baking rack. If you have not soaked the chicken, use a vertical rack with an infuser. Fill the reservoir with the liquid of your choice. 3. Use a pastry brush to brush the skin of the chicken with the melted butter. Use a spoon to lift the skin away from the breast meat. Spoon any herbs or herb butter into the pockets and press on the skin to spread the paste onto the breasts or sprinkle salt and pepper into the cavities. (See how this is done in a video clip.) 4. Place the chicken in the center of the oven and roast it until it is done, about 1 1/2 hours. Test for doneness with an insta-read thermometer. (See below.) Cook’s notes: Do not overcook. Use an insta-read thermometer to tell when your chicken is cooked. The thermometer should be inserted deep into the meat but not against the bone since the bones tend to reach a higher temperature than does the meat. The breast meat should test 165 degrees and the thigh meat, 170.
You can roast a chicken without brining or without an infuser but the meat will tend to be much drier. The cooking times will be about the same. Do not set the chicken in a baking pan to roast. The liquids will drain out of the chicken into the pan and permeate parts of the chicken to make it soggy and greasy. A rack allows the grease to drip away from the chicken.
FAQ’s about Roasted Chickens and Turkeys
At what temperature should I roast my chicken or turkey? In preparing this handbook, we read many recipes and found baking temperatures from 325 to 500 degrees. As a principle for roasting meat, a slow roast is preferred and results in a tender, moist product. And while we tried higher temperatures, we had better results with the oven set on 350 or 375 degrees. One of the reasons offered for higher temperatures is the argument that higher temperatures are required to brown the bird. Not so. If you brush your chicken with melted butter before baking, it will brown very nicely. What about stuffed chicken? If you stuff your chicken with dressing will it be moist? Not as moist as a brined chicken or one baked with an infuser. If you have a very moist dressing, it may help. But to be safe, the dressing must reach 160 degrees. (Dressing stuffed inside of a chicken or a turkey where unsafe juices can drip into the dressing, is a common source of food poisoning.) By the time the dressing in the far recesses of the chicken reaches 160 degrees, the tender breast meat will be overcooked and dry. Won’t soaking in water do the same thing as soaking in brine? No. We don’t understand the chemistry, but soaking in brine works much better than soaking in plain water. The chicken is moister and more tender. It seems that the salt water penetrates the walls of the cells better than unsalted water. Do I use cold water or warm? Cold water. You don’t want either the chicken or the water rising above 40 degrees. At 40 degrees, bacteria start to multiply much more rapidly.
Since it’s only an hour, can I let my chicken soak on the counter? No. You have to keep the temperature below 40 degrees. If you kept adding ice to chill the water, you could. If you really don’t have room in the refrigerator, consider a vertical roaster with infuser. What does basting do? Basting with butter helps brown the skin nicely and make it crisper. If you eat the skin, that’s important. The butter makes the skin taste better. We don’t think that the butter penetrates enough to make an appreciable difference in the flavor of the meat. We rub our chickens with butter before baking but don’t bother to baste while baking.
Six Great Recipes for Chicken or Turkey
Oven Roasted Garlic Chicken This chicken will be moist and flavorful and yet have the distinct flavor of oven roasted garlic. Ingredients: For the chicken 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds in weight 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted salt and pepper 1/2 cup salt for brining or use an infuser For the garlic paste: 8 to 10 cloves of roasted garlic or 2 or 3 cloves of raw garlic. 1/4 cup softened butter. Directions: Roast chicken can be very dry and nearly unpalatable. To avoid dry chicken, you need to infuse water into the chicken. You can do that in one of two ways. Use a vertical roasting rack with an infuser. In this way, you create steam in the body cavity that permeates the meat. The other way to create a moist chicken is to soak it in a brine solution for an hour. The salt water will permeate the bird so that the chicken retains water prior to roasting. If you use a brine soak, dissolve one-half cup of salt in 8 to 10 cups of cold water and soak the bird for an hour in the refrigerator just prior to roasting. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Make the garlic paste by mincing the garlic and then mixing it in a small bowl with the softened butter until you have made a paste. Set aside. 2. Wash the chicken and pat it dry. Salt and pepper the body cavity. Place the chicken on a vertical or horizontal baking rack. If you have not soaked the chicken, use a vertical rack with an infuser. Fill the reservoir with the liquid of your choice. 3. Use a pastry brush to brush the skin of the chicken with the melted butter. Use a spoon to lift the skin away from the breast meat. Spoon the garlic paste into the pockets and press on the skin to spread the paste onto the breasts. (See how this is done in a video clip.) 4. Place the chicken in the center of the oven and roast it until it is done, one hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness with an insta-read thermometer. (See below.) Cook’s notes: Do not overcook. Use an insta-read thermometer to tell when your chicken is cooked. The thermometer should be inserted deep into the meat but not against the bone since the bones tend to reach a higher temperature than does the meat. The breast meat should test 165 degrees and the thigh meat, 170. You can roast a chicken without brining or without an infuser but the meat will tend to be much drier. The cooking times will be about the same. Do not set the chicken in a baking pan to roast. The liquids will drain out of the chicken into the pan and permeate parts of the chicken to make it soggy and greasy. A rack allows the grease to drip away from the chicken. Roast Chicken with Wild Rice When we lived in Minnesota, wild rice was readily available, harvested from the marshy lakes in the northern part of the state. We miss those rice dishes. So we decided to roast a chicken with wild rice. Again, this is a recipe for a tender, moist roast chicken. The nut-like flavor of wild rice complements this moist chicken perfectly. For the chicken: 1 whole chicken (4 -5 lbs), brined salt and pepper 4 cloves roasted garlic or two cloves raw garlic, minced about 1 1/2 cups water 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
1. To cook the chicken, place a rack inside of a large roasting pan with lid. Salt and pepper the chicken. With your fingers, create a pocket between the skin and breast meat on each side. Spoon half of the garlic on each side. Place the chicken breast side up in the pan on the rack. Pour the water into the pan to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Sprinkle the sage and oregano over the chicken breast and legs. 2. Place the chicken in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. Bake without the lid on the pan. After 30 minutes, check to make sure there is still water in the pan, add more if necessary, and put the lid on the pan. Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken tests done with an insta-read thermometer. For the wild rice pilaf: 2 cups chicken broth 2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup wild rice 1/2 cup long-grain rice 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 1 tablespoon butter 2/3 cup diced sweet onion such as Vandalia 2/3 cup carrot slices 8 ounces sliced mushrooms 1. While the chicken is cooking, make the pilaf. In a medium pan with a lid, bring the broth, water, and salt to a boil. Add the wild rice, turn the heat down, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the white rice, bring to a boil again, turn down to simmer, cover, and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. 2. While the rice is cooking, sauté the vegetables. Melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté the carrot slices until they are almost tender. Add the diced onion and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another couple minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables to the cooked rice. Place the roasted chicken on a platter and surround the chicken with the rice pilaf. Garnish with sprigs of parsley if desired.
Honey Butter Roast Chicken Like the honey-roast meats at the deli, this is a mildly sweet flavor that everyone in your family will enjoy. Make the marinade and inject in the chicken with a marinade injector. For the chicken: 1 whole chicken butter for basting Make the marinade and set aside. (Recipe follows) Wash the chicken and pat dry. Use a marinade injector to load the chicken meat with marinade. (See how to do this with a video.) After marinating, return the chicken to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the marinade to seep through the meat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Wipe any marinade from the skin with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast side up in the pan on the rack or on a vertical rack with an infuser and water to add steam to the chicken. (The chicken will be more moist and succulent with an infuser.) Brush the chicken with melted butter. Place the chicken in the oven for 1 3/4 hours or until the chicken tests done with an insta-read thermometer. Note: Chicken cooks faster on a vertical rack where the heat can reach it from all sides. On a horizontal rack in a pan, cooking time is extended by about 15 minutes. For the Honey Butter Marinade: 1/3 cup chicken broth 2/3 cup honey 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Apricot Orange Chicken This sweet-spicy marinade makes a fantastic chicken. The marinade is made with an orange and apricot jam. You will use a marinade injector to inject marinade in the chicken. For the chicken: 1 whole chicken butter for basting Make the marinade and set aside. (Recipe follows) Wash the chicken and pat dry. Use a marinade injector to load the chicken meat with marinade. (See how to do this with a video.) After marinating, return the chicken to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the marinade to seep through the meat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Wipe any marinade from the skin with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast side up in the pan on the rack or on a vertical rack with an infuser and water to add steam to the chicken. (The chicken will be more moist and succulent with an infuser.) Brush the chicken with melted butter. Place the chicken in the oven for 1 3/4 hours or until the chicken tests done with an insta-read thermometer. Note: Chicken cooks faster on a vertical rack where the heat can reach it from all sides. On a horizontal rack in a pan, cooking time is extended by about 15 minutes. For the Apricot Orange Marinade: 1/2 cup orange juice 1/2 cup apricot jam zest from one orange 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons butter Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender.
Mexicali-Lime Roast Chicken This chicken has a nice south-of-the-border touch with cilantro and lime. Make the marinade and inject in the chicken with a marinade injector. For the chicken: 1 whole chicken butter for basting Make the marinade and set aside. (Recipe follows) Wash the chicken and pat dry. Use a marinade injector to load the chicken meat with marinade. (See how to do this with a video.) After marinating, return the chicken to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the marinade to seep through the meat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Wipe any marinade from the skin with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast side up in the pan on the rack or on a vertical rack with an infuser and water to add steam to the chicken. (The chicken will be more moist and succulent with an infuser.) Brush the chicken with melted butter. Place the chicken in the oven for 1 3/4 hours or until the chicken tests done with an insta-read thermometer. Note: Chicken cooks faster on a vertical rack where the heat can reach it from all sides. On a horizontal rack in a pan, cooking time is extended by about 15 minutes. For the Mexicali-Lime Marinade: 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped juice from one lime 1 tablespoon taco seasoning 3 cloves garlic, whole 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons butter Add all the ingredients, including the whole cloves of garlic, to a small saucepan and heat until the butter melts and the salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender.
Dressy Italian Chicken This chicken has a nice Italian touch. chicken with a marinade injector. For the chicken: 1 whole chicken butter for basting 1 cup Italian salad dressing Wash the chicken and pat dry. Use a food processor to pulverize any chunks in the Italian dressing. Use a marinade injector to load the chicken meat with marinade. (See how to do this with a video.) After marinating, return the chicken to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the marinade to seep through the meat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Wipe any marinade from the skin with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast side up in the pan on the rack or on a vertical rack with an infuser and water to add steam to the chicken. (The chicken will be more moist and succulent with an infuser.) Brush the chicken with melted butter. Place the chicken in the oven for 1 3/4 hours or until the chicken tests done with an insta-read thermometer. Note: Chicken cooks faster on a vertical rack where the heat can reach it from all sides. On a horizontal rack in a pan, cooking time is extended by about 15 minutes. Use Italian salad dressing and inject in the
How to Store that Leftover Turkey
From the time the turkey comes out of the oven until the leftovers find their way back to the refrigerator should not exceed two hours. That also goes for the stuffing and gravy. After two hours at room temperature, bacteria levels may have grown to dangerous levels. The stuffing should be removed from the bird. If you need to keep it hot, store it in the oven at 200 degrees. Once you put the turkey in the refrigerator, it should cool rapidly. Remember, bacteria will keep multiplying until the meat reaches 40 degrees. To cool properly, not only should the stuffing be removed but the meat should be removed from the bones. If you have a lot of meat leftover, place it in several smaller dishes instead of a larger one so that it will cool more rapidly.
Tightly covered, your leftover turkey will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. We often store turkey meat in zipper-type plastic bags. Your stuffing and gravy should be used within a day or so. If you would like to keep your turkey longer than a few days, freeze it. It will last up to three months in the freezer. Zipper-type freezer bags work well. Cut the boned turkey into pieces that your family will use. If you are going to use it for sandwiches, freeze slices. If you will use the turkey in soups and casseroles, cube it. Pull out what you need for soups, casseroles, or a stir fry. The stock or gravy can be frozen as well. If you do bagged lunches, try making the sandwiches with frozen slices. (Remember, all meat must be kept at 40 degrees, even while thawing.)
What to do with Leftover Turkey
We hope that you had a wonderful holiday with family or friends! Now what are you going to do with all that leftover turkey? Here are some of our favorite turkey recipes. Click on the links to see the recipes.
Turkey Salad Sandwiches: We have
always been partial to chicken salad sandwiches. This a version made with leftover turkey meat. The dried cranberries are a terrific addition--bright red sweet nuggets of flavor. Open Face Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches: This is a hot sandwich topped with a cheese sauce. The surprise ingredient is some of your leftover chip dip spread on the bread as you would mayonnaise. Turkey Supreme: This is a traditional turkey dish, turkey in a white sauce served over rice. We added slivered almonds and peas. This is easy-to-make comfort food. Turkey White Bean Chili: This soup is so good, it's worth cooking up another turkey. It's hearty, spicy, and full of flavor--and easy to make with canned beans. Turkey Enchiladas: When I was growing up, my mother made this dish often. She would freeze her leftover turkey and use it later for this dish that was always a favorite with the family. Turkey Tacos: You can make traditional tacos with leftover turkey meat. This is an excellent recipe for the dark meat from the turkey. Turkey Club Salad: This beautiful salad is simple to prepare. It is made with leftover turkey, bacon bits, tomato and lettuce--just like a club sandwich. Turkey and Broccoli Quiche: This is a favorite around our test kitchen and a great recipe and dish to serve to guests.
Selecting and Baking Your Holiday Ham
Use this guide to help you select and prepare your baked ham for that special meal. With this guide, you will be able to identify and understand the various types of hams and select the best ham for your family. We’ll even tell you how to bake your ham. This guide is organized in a question-and-answer format for easy reference. What are the different types of hams that I should consider? A ham is cured pork, specifically the entire back leg of a hog. But ham is very different than uncured pork. It’s the curing process that changes the flavor and texture of the meat. Cured hams can be either cured in brine—the most common—or dry cured. There are four major types of brine-cured hams: fresh, cured, canned but not pasteurized, and canned and pasteurized. With the exception of some dry-cured hams, any ham that is not pasteurized must be refrigerated. Dry cured hams are usually more expensive, are quite salty, have a unique flavor, and are not commonly used as dinner hams. A country ham is a dry cured ham that is usually heavily salted and is usually soaked to remove some of the salt before it is cooked and eaten. Dry cured hams are not generally found in grocery stores. Dry cured hams include prosciutto, serrano, and like types. Hams may be whole or half. A half will be labeled either as a rump half or a shank half. In some cases, a half ham has had a cut removed and is therefore a rump portion or a shank portion. A shank portion will have more connective tissue and will be less meaty. What about water content? Except for dry cured hams, hams absorb moisture from the curing brine either by soaking or injection. In smoking and drying, that moisture may be removed. The government dictates that the moisture level must be indicated by the labeling. The driest product labeled “Ham” will not exceed ten percent added water. A product labeled “Ham with Natural Juices” is the next driest, then “Ham Water Added” and finally a “Ham and Water Product” which has as much as 35% water. Should I be concerned about nitrites? The brine used for curing is a combination of water, sugar, salt, and sodium nitrite. After several days of curing, the ham is washed free of brine, cooked, and is sometimes smoked. According to government allowances, the finished product cannot contain more than 200 parts per million of nitrite. All processors are regularly inspected by the USDA to assure compliance.
The nitrites used are approved by the FDA as safe in the concentrations allowed. How do I select a quality ham? Hams may be one of those items where you usually get what you pay for. Mass produced, inexpensive hams may be processed in as little as twelve hours. More expensive hams may not be ready for market with less than two weeks of processing. Additionally, the best hams come from selected pigs that have been fed high protein diets prior to slaughter. Processors may vary the amount of salt or sugar in a ham to meet company specifications. Additionally, the smoking process may vary. When you find a ham that has the flavor that you like, stick with it. Color and appearance are important considerations in selecting a ham. Select a fresh ham that is a bright grayish-pink. Those fresh hams that have a pale, soft, watery appearance are less desirable. A fresh ham that has a greenish cast may indicate bacterial growth and should be avoided. Select a cured ham that has a bright pink color. A lighter-colored pink or a non-uniform coloring may be the result of improper curing or exposure to store lights. Again, a greenish cast may reflect the presence of bacterial growth. Avoid those hams that have a multi-colored appearance. It may suggest the presence of bacteria. Avoid those hams that have excessive marbling. These may have a greasy taste. The general rule is to plan on six to eight ounces of boneless ham per serving and eight to twelve ounces of bone-in ham per serving. It is the opinion of some that bone-in hams taste better. How do I prepare my ham? Most hams, including many canned hams, require refrigeration before baking. Unless it is pasteurized and states that refrigeration is not required, keep your ham in the refrigerator. As with all meat products, make certain that your ham is properly baked--though a ham marked “fully cooked” does not need to be cooked again. A Kitchen thermometer is essential. Measure the baked temperature of the meat in the thickest portion of the ham and in at least two spots to make sure that the thermometer is not inserted into a pocket of hotter fat. Make certain also that the thermometer is not placed against the bone. To be safe, a fresh ham should be baked to 170 degrees and a cured uncooked ham baked to 160 degrees—many bacteria can survive to temperatures of 140 degrees. If you are warming a fully cooked ham, heat it to 140 degrees. If you are purchasing a bone-in ham, be certain of your carving skills. Carve at right angles to the bone. Let the baked ham set for five minutes before beginning to carve.
What about glazes for my ham? Glazes are a very nice touch for you ham. You can make a glaze or simply glaze your ham with a jelly. Red currant jelly is the traditional favorite followed by pineapple jelly. Pomegranate jelly which is bright and clear and sweet is our favorite. All three are available at The Prepared Pantry.
Nine Glaze Recipes for Your Holiday Ham
There is a myriad of glazes to spark up that ham dinner. Choose one that suits you perfectly. Here’s a tray full of ten glazes to get you started. Applesauce Glaze 1 cup applesauce 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup honey 1 teaspoon dry mustard Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Pour a portion over the ham and save the remaining amount as a table sauce. Heat the table sauce and stir well to assure that the sugar crystals are dissolved before serving. Cinnamon Raisin Sauce 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup apple juice 1/2 cup raisins 1 tablespoon butter or margarine In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and apple juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is clear and thickened. Add the raisins and cook until they are plump, about ten minutes. Stir in the butter. Apricot Pecan Glaze 1 cup apricot preserves 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, peanuts, or walnuts Thirty minutes before ham is baked, spread apricot preserves on the ham and then sprinkle with the nuts.
Orange Marmalade Glaze 1 cup orange marmalade Thirty minutes before ham is baked, spread orange marmalade on the ham.
Old-Fashioned Mustard Sauce 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1 dash pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix the flour, mustard, pepper, and salt in. Using a whisk, stir in the milk. Bring to simmer and let simmer for two minutes or until thickened. Old-Fashioned Horseradish Sauce 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce 1 dash pepper 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the remaining ingredients except for the milk. Using a whisk, stir in the milk. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for two minutes or until thickened. Honey Barbecue Glaze 1/4 cup catsup 1/4 cup honey 1/2 tablespoon vinegar 1/2 teaspoon chili powder Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Simmer in a saucepan for ten minutes. Brush on the ham during the last thirty minutes of baking. Cranberry Spice Sauce 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup apple juice 1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 dash cloves 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon butter or margarine In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and apple juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is clear and thickened. Add the craisins and spices and cook for about ten minutes. Stir in the butter. Jelly Glaze Jellies make a very nice touch for your ham. Red currant jelly is the traditional favorite followed by pineapple jelly. Pomegranate jelly which is bright and clear and sweet is our favorite. All three are available at The Prepared Pantry. 1 cup jelly Spread over the ham during the last half hour of baking.
How to Make Great Dinner Rolls
Nothing makes a dinner special quite like dinner rolls. You can make dinner rolls from your favorite bread mix or recipe though rolls are usually a bit sweeter and richer with more butter and milk products. There is probably no bread product that allows you to be more creative than dinner rolls. You can make them plain or fancy, and if fancy, into a multitude of shapes. You can wash them to give them an attractive glaze or you can top them with seeds or grains. Here we'll show you how to make several of these shapes. You can use any mix or recipe of your choosing. We have several dinner and sandwich roll mixes. (Click here to see your choices.)
Round Rolls Let's begin with a simple round shape. After the dough has risen, use a sharp knife (rather than tearing) to divide the dough into the chosen number of pieces. A piece the size of a golf ball or small egg will make a nice-sized roll. If you are using a scale, about 1.5 ounces makes a popular-sized roll. To form round rolls, some people simply roll the dough pieces between their palms. We prefer to pull the skin around the center and pinch the seams together on the bottom to form a taut skin. Place the rolls about 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased pan, cover, and let them rise again until doubled. When the dough has risen fully, a finger pressed softly into dough should leave an indentation. Cloverleaf rolls are made by rolling three equally-sized rolls in butter and then placing them in a muffin tin. Parker House Rolls Traditionally, parker house rolls were made this same way only with a rich dough. Parker house rolls are also made in a folded shape as follows: Roll balls of dough as in round rolls. Press them flat into 1/4-inch thick disks then brush the tops with butter. Fold them in half as shown in the picture and let them rise until doubled. (To see our Classic Parker House Roll Mixes, click here.) Kaiser Rolls Now let's look at making Kaiser rolls or dinner rolls in a rosette shape. Kaiser rolls are a New York favorite, typically made larger than dinner rolls and used for sandwiches, but you can use the rosette shape to make fancy dinner rolls. Detailed, illustrated directions are found below. More about Rolls In addition to the shapes shown here, you can make twists, overhand knots, or any other shape that you desire. Often, you will want to glaze the tops of your rolls for a glossy finish. For a bronze glaze, use an egg yolk. For a clear glaze, use only the white. For something in between, use the entire egg. To make the glaze, whisk up to one tablespoon of water with the egg. Brush the tops of the rolls with the glaze just before baking. If you would like, you can
sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or rolled oats after glazing. Tip the pan from side to side to sprinkle seeds on the sides. The egg will hold the seeds in place. If you do not glaze your rolls, consider brushing them with melted butter just after they come from the oven. The result will be a soft, buttery crust. Soft dinner rolls freeze well. Simply put the extras in a plastic bag and freeze for up to two months. Our choice? We must confess: we usually make round rolls—though for guests, we often make fancy rolls. We also make a lot of hamburger buns. We much prefer hamburgers on homemade buns and we use the extras for sandwich rolls. (If you would like to know how to make hamburger buns or buy mixes designed for hamburger buns, click here.) One final note—dinner rolls make a great project with the kids. They love to get their hands in the dough and make their very own shapes.
How to Make Kaiser Rolls
Want to impress your family and friends at the next gathering? Serve sandwiches on Kaiser Rolls. They’ll look so professional--like they came from the bakery. You don’t have to tell them how easy they were. If you can make dinner rolls, you can make Kaiser Rolls. You can make Kaiser Rolls out of any lean bread dough but if you would like to make your rolls from a mix, we suggest using our Sunday Dinner Rolls. Simply leave the butter out and add another half-tablespoon of water. A Kaiser Roll is merely a lean roll, specially shaped, and baked in a steamy oven to make it crusty. Choose a recipe or mix for a lean bread dough—or leave the butter or oil out of the recipe. Make per the directions for rolls including letting the dough rise the first time. Here’s how to shape the rolls: Step 1: Cut a piece of dough off about twice what you would use for a dinner roll. (We scale the dough at 3.5 ounces for our sandwich rolls.) Roll the dough out into a rope about eight inches long. Step 2: Form a simple over-hand knot in the center of the dough. Leave the knot loose; do not try to draw it tight. You will have two protruding ends a couple inches long. Step 3: Take one of the ends and continue it around the rope and push it down through the center hole. It should look like the picture to the right.
Step 4: Take the other end of the dough, go around the rope, and push the end up through the center hole. The finished roll should look like the one to the right. It’s more complicated to try to describe the forming process than it is to form the rolls. After the first couple, you’ll breeze right through without even thinking. Now let the formed rolls rise covered on a baking sheet. When they are ready to bake, brush them with a whisked egg and one tablespoon water, then sprinkle them with sesame or poppy seeds. You can bake them as you would dinner rolls but if you would like crusty roll like true Kaiser Rolls, follow the direction for baking breads in a steamy oven. To form the thick, chewy crust that is typical of artisan breads, follow these instructions: Place a large, shallow, metal pan in the oven on the lowest shelf. You will pour hot water in this pan to create steam in the oven. High heat is hard on pans so don’t use one of your better pans. An old sheet pan is ideal. Fill a spray bottle with water. You will use this to spray water into the oven to create more steam. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When the oven is hot and the bread is fully risen and is soft and puffy--being very careful not to burn yourself with the rising steam and with a mitted hand--pour about two cups of very hot water in the pan in the oven. Quickly close the oven door to capture the steam. With spray bottle in hand, open the door and quickly spray the oven walls and close the door. Immediately put the bread in the steamy oven. After a few moments, open the door and spray the walls again to recharge the steam. Do this twice more during the first ten minutes of baking. This steamy environment will create the chewy crust prized in artisan breads. You can use this baking procedure for crusty hearth breads also. For rolls, bake for ten minutes at 450 degrees then lower the temperature to 350 degrees until done. How long you will bake them will depend on how quickly your oven loses heat but it will probably be about ten additional minutes (a total of 20 minutes). As for all hearth breads, the internal temperature of your crusty rolls should be about 210 degrees. (If crusty rolls are not well baked, the internal moisture will migrate to the crust and make it soft.) You can make Kaiser Rolls out of any lean bread dough but if you would like to make your rolls from a mix, we suggest using our Sunday Dinner Rolls. Simply leave the butter out and add another half-tablespoon of water. To make it even easier, try our Sunday Dinner Rolls.
How to Make Great Mashed Potatoes
For Thanksgiving and other traditional events at our house, we whip up a big pot of mashed potatoes. Often we load them with butter and cream cheese, add a little milk, and whip them into a light and fluffy mass. There are three ways to make mashed potatoes: You can mash then by hand with a hand potato masher, whip them with an electric mixer, and rice them with a potato ricer. What’s the best way? We love the texture created by a potato ricer or a food mill. They both work on the same principle: they force mashed potatoes through a metal plate with small holes. A hand potato masher leaves a bit of texture to the potatoes with an occasional lump. The quickest way to mash potatoes is with an electric mixer. An electric mixer whips potatoes into a smooth, light, fluffy consistency. The rap on using an electric mixer is that it makes for gooey, gluey, mashed potatoes. Entraining air into mashed potatoes does make them a little gooey but we don’t find them offensive even though we prefer riced potatoes. We often resort to the electric mixer because it is the quickest way to process a tub full of boiled potatoes.
How to Mash Potatoes
Making basic mashed potatoes is simple. Start with good quality potatoes, potatoes that are fresh and free from bruises. Choose a heavy pot that will disperse heat well and that is large enough to hold your potatoes with ample water so that it will not boil over. Your potatoes will cook quicker if you place a lid on the pot. Unless you are making skin-on mashed potatoes with red potatoes, peel your potatoes, cut them into chunks, and place them in the pot of water. If you leave your potatoes exposed to air, they will change color. Add salt to the water, about one teaspoon per gallon of water and potatoes. Boil your potatoes until they are tender when poked with a fork. Two pounds of potatoes boiled on medium-high heat will take about 15 minutes after boiling starts, to cook but will vary depending on the pot, the quantity of water, size of the cut potatoes, and the stove. Drain the potatoes, then put them back into the pot over VERY low heat to evaporate any excess liquid. This will dry the potatoes. Mash your potatoes immediately. You can use a hand masher, a hand-held electric mixer, your stand-type mixer, or a potato ricer. For creamy mashed potatoes, add milk as you beat or use one of the recipes below. A good rule of thumb is to use about 2/3 cup milk for every 2 to 3 pounds of potatoes. You can use a mixture of cream and milk, if desired. Add butter or margarine to the hot, dry potatoes, keeping them over very low heat. Mash with your preferred method—by hand, with an electric mixer, or with a ricer-until the butter is melted and the potatoes are very smooth.
Many recipes call for heating the milk and melting the butter before adding to the potatoes. You can easily do so in the microwave and it will help to keep your potatoes hot. We usually don’t bother if we are beating the potatoes immediately after cooking. Place your mashed potatoes in a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. The plastic wrap will keep them warm. After dinner, immediately refrigerate your potatoes. They will keep covered in the refrigerator for three to five days.
A Guide to 15 Different Kinds of Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes don’t have to be bland, something to pile gravy on. They can be adventuresome—anything from garlic mashed potatoes to cream cheese mashed potatoes. Here we will give you two recipes plus directions to make thirteen other kinds of mashed potatoes. Garlic Mashed Potatoes 2 pounds potatoes 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup grated Romano cheese 1 tablespoon oregano 4 cloves garlic, minced salt and pepper Wash potatoes and boil until tender and soft. Mash them using the method that you prefer adding the butter, cheese, oregano, and garlic as you mash. Salt and pepper to taste. Sunday Dinner Potatoes 1/2 c. chopped onions 2 pounds potatoes 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup grated cheddar cheese 1/2 cup sour cream salt and pepper Cook the chopped onions in the microwave until they are translucent and tender. Set aside. Wash potatoes and boil until tender and soft. Mash them using the method that you prefer adding the butter, cheese, and sour cream as you mash. Salt and pepper to taste. Bacon and Cheese Mashed Potatoes Fry bacon slices or cook them in the microwave. Use kitchen shears to snip the bacon into 1/4-inch bits. Add 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, five slices of bacon, and 1/2 cup milk or cream for each two pounds of potatoes. If you like, you can sprinkle additional shredded cheese over the top of the potatoes in the serving dish.
Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Beat in 4 ounces of cream cheese, two tablespoons butter, and 1/4 cup milk for each two pounds of potatoes or to taste. Garlic and Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Beat in two cloves garlic, sautéed or roasted plus 1/2 cup milk, 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, and 2 tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Skins-on Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above but use thin-skinned red potatoes. Beat in two cloves garlic, sautéed or roasted plus 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Beat in 1/4 cup horseradish and 3/4 cup cream for every two pounds of potatoes or to taste. This ratio of horseradish to potatoes will provide some “kick”. at an upscale restaurant and he brought this recipe home. Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes We like the tang of buttermilk in our potatoes married with fresh creamery butter. Use about 3/4 cup buttermilk and three tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes or to taste. You will need a balance of butter to buttermilk in this recipe. Mashed Potatoes with Shallots Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Thinly slice shallots and sauté the onion in butter. Add two small shallots, 3/4 cup cream or milk, and three tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Onion Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Finely chop a sweet onion such as Vandalia. Sauté the onion in butter in a skillet or microwave it until tender. Add about one-half of a medium onion, 3/4 cup cream or milk, and three tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Mashed Potatoes with Chives Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or two tablespoons dried chives, 3/4 cup cream or milk, and three tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Our son, Nathan, worked
French Onion Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Add 1/2 cup French onion dip, 1/2 cup milk or cream, and 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese for each two pounds of potatoes. Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Add 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, 3/4 cup cream or milk, and three tablespoons butter for each two pounds of potatoes. Cheddar Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Add 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, two tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup milk or cream for each two pounds of potatoes. If you like, you can sprinkle additional shredded cheese over the top of the potatoes in the serving dish. Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes Make mashed potatoes as directed above. Beat in 3/4 cup sour cream and two tablespoons butter for each two pounds of raw potatoes or to taste.
Make Great Pies!
Five Essential Tools for the Pie Maker
I’ve always been the pie maker in the family. If company was coming or for a holiday, my assignment was the pies. I made lots of pies. I loved to experiment with different fillings—say adding blueberries to a peach pie or a layer of ganache beneath my pecan pie filling. So I would line up my pie pans and make lots of crusts. I would like to think that my family and friends enjoyed the resulting array of pies as much as I enjoyed making them. I still do lots of experimenting with pies but now most of it in our test kitchen at work. Last year I spent several days experimenting with pumpkin and sweet potato pies. From that came several memorable recipes including Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Streusel, a pumpkin pie made in a gingersnap crust and with a pecan toffee topping. One thing has changed though: Most of the time I reach for our just-add-water professional pie crust mix. It’s quick and easy, it helps me make pies en masse, and if I don’t overwork the pie dough, they’ll turn out as good as from scratch. Five Essential Tools Every pie maker worth his crusts will have five essential tools in his or her kitchen. Here, you’ll learn about these tools and their functions and how to use them. We’ve added a couple tools at the end that we rely on but that are not essential.
A Pastry Knife A pastry knife is also known as a pastry blender. It’s used to cut the butter or shortening into the flour. The fat--butter or shortening--has to be distributed through the flour prior to making the dough. Once mixed and rolled, this fat creates small, flat pockets of fat in the formed crust. In the heat of the oven, these melt—and in the case of butter—create pockets of steam. This delaminates the dough and makes the crust flakey. Pastry knives are constructed with a series of parallel blades to cut through the butter and flour and which are attached to a handle. Since the blades are forced through the butter with some pressure, we recommend a pastry knife of sturdy construction. Our personal preference is for pastry knives with sure-grip handles as we tend to grip and twist the knife as we drive the blades through the butter.
See our pastry knives >>
A Rolling Pin A rolling pin is used to roll the dough to a thin layer, 1/8 inch thick or a little thicker. Look for a rolling pin that is rigid, sturdy and has a slick surface so the dough does not adhere to the rolling pin. We recommend one with a ball bearing chassis for smooth, easy, non-slip rolling. We carry three rolling pins: a nonstick rolling pin, a marble rolling pin, and a stainless steel rolling pin and have used all three. The stainless rolling pin is a big, heavy chunk of steel. (The weight of the rolling pin means that you do not need to press as hard since the weight is creating some of the pressure.) The marble rolling in is turned from solid marble. The nonstick on is constructed of a nonstick Teflon® surface bonded to a wooden roller. We like all three. The nonstick rolling pin gets the most use; we reach for that for most light work and when rolling soft, light rolls. When we are making cinnamon rolls or rolling pastry doughs, we usually reach for the stainless pin. In doughs using butter, it is critical that the dough be kept cool so that the butter does not melt. If the butter turns to a liquid, the dough is ruined and must be discarded. The advantage of steel and marble is that rolling pins made with either can be chilled in the refrigerator or freezer. These chunky bocks of steel and marble can chill the dough and extend the time that you can work with the dough before the butter becomes soft and turns to a liquid. This feature is a real advantage.
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Pie Pans In our opinion, every pie maker should have three types of pans at a minimum: Professional grade, heavy duty, dark colored, nonstick pans; deep-dish, dark metal pans; and stainless pans. The professional grade nonstick pans will be used for most of your work. They are sized for most recipes. Because they are heavy and dark, they will absorb heat, bake the crust evenly, and reduce the chances of an underbaked, soggy crust. We do not recommend glass or ceramic pans. The surface should be so slick that you can slide the cooled pie from the pan to a platter or plate for serving. You can then cut the pie into neat slices without having to dig slices from the pan and since you are not cutting in the pan, you will not mar the nonstick surface of the pan. The deep dish metal pans will be used for deep dish pie recipes. Again the dark metal will bake the crust thoroughly. The stainless pans are perfect for crumb crusts, either unbaked pies or baked pies made with crumb crusts. Since the crumbs are cooked, you don’t need to further bake the crumbs and the shiny surface reflects rather than absorbs heat protecting the rather fragile crumbs. You may also wish to invest in mini-pie pans. Four mini pie pans are the equivalent of one standard pie pan. They will require more dough than a standard recipe but the same filling.
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Pie Weights Pie weights are essential for unbaked pie crusts. They are laid across the bottom of the pie crust before baking to avoid bubbles and upheavals in the crust while baking. Pie weights can be purchased in two types: ceramic beads and pie weight chains. Both work satisfactorily.
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Pie Shields Pie shields are essential for fruit and custard pies including pumpkin pies. (Pumpkin pies are custard pies as are many other egg-based pies.) In the long heat of the oven necessary to bake a fruit or custard pie, the rim of the pie crust—exposed to heat from above and below—is over baked. A pie crust shield protects the edge of the crust from above, reflecting the heat. Unless you want to use strips of aluminum foil,
which are an aggravating nuisance, pie crust shields are essential. Simply slip them on the pies before they go in the oven. Pie shields come in aluminum and silicone. We’ve used aluminum. Silicone shields collapse and are easier to store.
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Other Tools We use a flour shaker every time we make dough on the counter. We dust the counter, dust the rolling pin, and sometimes dust our hands. They are not expensive and are a good investment. A bench scraper is one of the most used tools in our kitchen. We use it to scrape dough clear of the counter, to lift pie dough to place it in pie pans, and to cut the excess dough from around the rims of our pie pans. It seconds as a straightedge and as a ruler with inch and fractional measures etched in the metal blade.
Making the Crust
You have three choices for a crust: buy a ready-made crust, use a mix, or make one from scratch. We don’t use a ready made crust anymore; we don’t think they are very good. And we rarely make one from scratch anymore; our just-add-water pie crust mix is too easy and makes an excellent crust. But if you make your pie crusts from scratch . .. There are tricks to making perfect pie crusts. The first is maintaining the correct balance of ingredients and the second is temperature. Pie crusts are a mixture of flour, fat, and water. The best recipes seem to have a common ratio of these ingredients: 1/4 cup water to 1/2 cup fat to 2 1/2 cups flour. (The flour should be measured by spooning the flour into the measure, not scooping it. Scooping packs the flour and overloads the formula.) Add a teaspoon of salt and you have a recipe for a double crust. For the fat, you can use either butter or shortening or a combination. (Butter is 15% water so cut back slightly on the water when using butter—though the ratio is forgiving enough that you probably won't notice the difference.) If you are making more than one pie, just change the amounts but keep the same proportions. Temperature may be even more important than balance—especially if you are using butter. The trick is to keep the butter and the dough cold enough that the butter pieces remain intact. If it gets too warm, it melts and saturates the flour. (The same thing happens with shortening but the melting temperature of shortening is higher.) It's the little pieces of butter that makes the crust flaky. As the butter heats in baking, little pockets of steam are formed from the butter nodules.
To keep your dough cold, use only the coldest butter and water. Then refrigerate the dough for an hour before forming the pie. If making multiple pies, take only enough dough from the refrigerator for one pie keeping the rest cold until you are ready to for it.
Five Easy Keys to a Great Pie!
Don’t let pies intimidate you! With these easy keys, you’ll make great pies every time. Key 1: Use a pie crust mix. I figured a pie crust mix would be okay for those who are not comfortable making crusts but would offer little for experienced pie makers. I was wrong. I can't make a better crust. In fact, it consistently makes a better pie than many of my carefully crafted crusts. And it saves a bunch of time. It makes a nice, flaky, soft crust with hardly any work--just add water and mix. Give it a try.
Try this pie crust mix! >>
Key 2: Use the right pan. If you are making a fruit pie, you must use a dark heavy metal pan. Dark metal pans absorb heat to cook your crust to crisp and avoid “soggy bottoms.” If you are making a crumb crust, use a silver pan to reflect the heat away from your tender graham or other crumbs.
Get the right pans here—including very hard to find deep-dish dark metal
pans. >> Key 3: Use a premade filling. Yes, nothing beats fresh but when you're in a hurry, you can make a very good pie with a premade filling.
Try these premade fillings >>
Key 4: Consider a streusel topping. It’s easier and faster than a pastry topping—just mix, sprinkle, and bake.
Try this easy streusel topping recipe >>
Key 5: Bake your crust completely but don’t burn it. It takes a little patience to cook that bottom crust thoroughly and avoid the soggy bottoms. In the meantime, the top rim burns. But that’s easy to solve—just use a pie crust shield.
Avoid burning the edges of your pie >>
There you have it: five keys to a great pie.
The Best Pumpkin Pies
We set about to find out what made the best pumpkin pie. In our test kitchen, we kept making pies, changing ingredients and experimenting. We fed pumpkin pie to our staff until they would have no more. We handed out slices topped with dollops of whipped cream to customers in our store. We soon discovered that people preferred a more flavorful pie. They did not like bland pies and when we handed out the more flavorful versions, even those that said they didn’t like pumpkin pie, tended to like these. So how do you make a more flavorful pumpkin pie? We took two approaches: changing the spices and altering the filling materials. Along the way, we found that more eggs made for a lighter filling. We started with four large eggs in a standard nine inch pie along with 2 cups of pumpkin and one twelveounce can of evaporated milk. (We definitely preferred pies made with evaporated milk to those made with fresh milk or cream.) The result was a very light pie. While warm, it reminded us a bit of a pumpkin chiffon pie. When it cooled, it became a little denser but it was still a light pie. Many of our testers preferred this pie. The recipe follows:
Four Egg Extra Light Pumpkin Pie
2 cups canned pumpkin 4 large eggs 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon allspice Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 1. Form the pie shell. You may use our pie crust mix or your favorite recipe. Make a built up crust as shown below if you are using a standard nine-inch pie pan. If not, use a deep dish pie pan. A dark pan works best. 2. Mix all the ingredients together with your stand-type mixer or an electric beater until smooth. Some fibers may stick to the beaters; remove and discard them. 3. Place the pie shell on a rack in the center of the oven. Immediately pour the filling into the pie shell.
4. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, cover the crust with a pie shield, and bake for another 40 minutes or until done. A knife inserted near the center should come out clean when done. 5. Cool in a pan on a rack. When cool, slip the pie out of the pan to a serving plate for cutting and serving.
Adding Yams or Dry Pumpkin
When I lived in the South, I found many versions of sweet potato and yam pies—some of which were close cousins to pumpkin pies. But pumpkin has an earthier flavor than yams. So we made pies with all pumpkin and yams and with mixtures of the two. Yams give the pie a brighter orange color that is attractive and a very light, mellow flavor. Many of us really liked the all-yam version. In the end, we settled on about a 5050 version, about half yam. As a variation to the all pumpkin version, we added 1/4 cup dry pumpkin powder. It intensified the flavor, not dramatically but noticeably. It also turned the pie much darker—not unattractive but darker. When we served that to testers, some really liked the pie and remarked that it had more flavor.
About the Spices
The Libby’s® recipe found on the back of their pumpkin cans seems to be the standard in pumpkin pies. We, and most of our testers, found it a little too bland. It calls for one teaspoon of cinnamon, a half-teaspoon of ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of cloves. With a little experimenting, we settled on one teaspoon of cinnamon, a half-teaspoon of ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice. That is, we had twice as much ground cloves and an addition of allspice—enough to make the pie noticeably spicier. Repeatedly, testers said that this was better than other pumpkin pies that they had made.
Our Best Pumpkin Pie
The recipe that we concluded was the best, the most popular, has three eggs, an approximate 50% addition of yam, and a spice mixture including allspice. The recipe follows. 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin 1 cup cooked yam 3 large eggs 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon allspice Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1. Form the pie shell. You may use our pie crust mix or your favorite recipe. Make a built up crust as shown if you are using a standard nine-inch pie pan. If not, use a deep dish pie pan. A dark pan works best. 2. Mix all the ingredients together with your stand-type mixer or an electric beater until smooth. Some fibers may stick to the beaters; remove and discard them. 3. Place the pie shell on a rack in the center of the oven. Immediately pour the filling into the pie shell. 4. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, cover the crust with a pie shield, and bake for another 40 minutes or until done. A knife inserted near the center should come out clean when done. 5. Cool in a pan on a rack. When cool, slip the pie out of the pan to a serving plate for cutting and serving.
Mom’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie
We like this smooth, deep-dish pumpkin pie made with brown sugar. The brown sugar gives it just a hint of caramel. Try this for the holidays. Ingredients 3/4 cup brown sugar 3 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups) 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk 1 9-inch deep-dish pie shell Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 1. Mix the sugar, eggs, salt, and spices together. Add the pumpkin and evaporated milk. Mix well. 2. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Bake for another 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. The pie will be done when a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Streusel in a Gingersnap Crust
I’m more of a baker than a cook so I don’t use a lot of fresh ginger. But the ginger in this recipe, along with the butter rum flavor, just makes a wonderful pie. Of course, the pecan streusel certainly helps. This is an outstanding pie. While it certainly works for holiday dinners as an alternative to pumpkin pies, this should not be relegated to holidays. We think this will be one of your favorite pies, something to turn to whenever fresh fruit is not in season. For the crust 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 cup just-add-water pie crust mix 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water 1. Mix the ginger, sugar, and cinnamon with one-fourth cup of the pie crust mix. Stir well to distribute the ginger. (The key to this crust is getting the fresh ginger evenly distributed in the crust.) Stir this mixture into the remaining pie crust mix until it is well distributed. (You may also use a food processor to mix the ingredients.) 2. Add the water. Stir with a fork to form a dough ball. 3. Roll out the dough and form the crust in a deep dish pie pan. Form a decorate edge that also acts as a dam to reduce spills. (See picture for a recommended edge.) For the filling 2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes 3 large eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon fresh ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons butter rum flavor In your stand-type mixer with the whip attachment, beat the sweet potatoes until well mashed. Add the other filling ingredients and mix until combined. For the streusel 3/4 cup pecan pieces 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter In a medium bowl, combine the pecan pieces, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. With a pastry knife, cut in the butter until the pieces are no larger than peas. Set aside. To assemble and bake the pie. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 1. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Spoon the streusel over the top. 2. Place a pie shield over the edges of the crust or form a shield from strips of aluminum foil. 3. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the heat and continue baking at 350 degrees for another 40 minutes or until done. Baking times will vary depending on the oven. As it bakes, streusel top will look wet and soft. When done, all but the very center will be set and the interior of the pie will register 170 degrees with an insta-read thermometer when done. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie Recipe
This pie is worth a little extra work. A layer of pumpkin pie filling hides a cream cheese filling. It’s topped with a pecan praline-type mix. The trick with this pie is to not dislodge the cream cheese pie filling when topping it with pumpkin pie filling. If dislodged, the cream cheese filling will float to the surface. We tried two approaches: refrigerating the cream cheese filling for 45 minutes before adding the pumpkin and partially baking the cream cheese filling before adding the pumpkin. We settled on refrigeration but it matters how you add the pumpkin filling. If you pour the pumpkin onto the cream cheese filling, it tends to upset the cream cheese. If you carefully spoon the pumpkin onto the cream cheese, treating it as if it were fragile, it works just fine. This pie is designed for a deep dish. Ingredients 1 single crust pie pastry 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese 1 large egg 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree 1 1/2 cup evaporated milk 3 large eggs 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup pecan pieces 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon butter Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. For the cream cheese filling: 1. Prepare the pie crust. Line a nine-inch deep dish pie pan. Set aside. 2. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, one egg, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread the filling in the pan and set the pan in the refrigerator to chill for 45 minutes. For the pumpkin filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 1. In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together until smooth. Carefully spoon the pumpkin filling over the cream cheese filling. 2. Bake the pie for 20 minutes then cover the pie crust with a pie crust shield or aluminum foil. Bake for another 30 minutes. For the streusel topping: 1. While the pie is baking, make the streusel topping. Combine the pecans, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, flour, and 1 tablespoon butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the partially baked pie. 2. Return the pie to the oven and bake for another ten minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. As soon as the pie is cool, store it in the refrigerator. Baker’s note: As with all custard pies, this one should be stored in the refrigerator. It should not be left on the counter for over an hour.
No-Bake Turtle Pumpkin Pie
This recipe was contributed by Dessa Bailey of Idaho Falls, Idaho. We found it very easy to put together. We served it to customers in our store and attendees at a class to rave reviews. Ingredients 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup butter, melted 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping 1/2 cup pecan pieces 2 packages (3.4 oz each) vanilla flavor instant pudding 1 cup cold milk 1 cup canned pumpkin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip® topping, thawed and divided For the crust 1. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and stir. Heat the ice cream topping and add to the crumb mixture. Press the crumb mixture across the bottom of a nine-inch pie pan and up the sides to form the crust. Sprinkle with the pecans and press them into the crust. Set aside. For the filling 1. Whisk the dry pudding mixes, milk, pumpkin, and spices until well blended. Stir in the Cool Whip. Spoon the filling into crust. 2. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with remaining Cool Whip®, caramel topping and pecans just before serving.
Pumpkin Pie Squares
We’ve made this for many years. The original recipe hails back to an old Farm Home Journal cookbook that is welltattered and stained. It’s been modified over the years but has always been a winner—and it’s easier than making pies. This recipe is designed for a small, a medium or a large batch. Use an 8 x 8inch baking pan for the small, an 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan for the medium, and a 10 x 15inch pan for the large. Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. For the crust, cut the butter into the sugar, oats, and flour until crumbly. Press the ingredients into an ungreased baking pan, across the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. 2. For the topping, cut the butter into the nuts, flour, and brown sugar. Set aside. 3. For the filling, combine all ingredients in and whisk until smooth and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into the baked crust. Bake for twenty minutes and remove from the oven. Immediately, spoon the topping over the filling and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with whipped cream.
The Best Apple Pies
Fifteen Minute Apple Pie
The first time I made this pie, it took me 14 minutes. Now, I already had all the ingredients staged—sitting on the counter. If you familiarize yourself with the recipe before, don’t dawdle, and have everything sitting on the counter ready to measure, you really can make a 15 minute apple pie. That includes making the pie crust (from a mix) and peeling, coring, and slicing the apples (with an Apple Master). And this is no stripped down version of a pie. The filling is made with brown sugar and cinnamon. We added a scalloped edge and sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar. All in less than 15 minutes. just-add-water pie mix for a nine-inch, double crust pie water for the pie crust 6 cups peeled and sliced apples 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 cup sour cream turbinado or cinnamon sugar for sprinkle on the pie Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 1. Place the pie crust mix and the water in the bowl of your stand-type mixer with paddle attached. Beat for about a minute or until the dough comes to a smooth consistency. Do not over beat. 2. Roll the dough to nearly 1/8-inch thickness. Place the dough in the pan and form the bottom crust. Trim the excess. Roll out the rest of the dough for the top crust. 3. Use an Apple Master to peel, slice, and core six cups of apples—about six medium apples. Place the apple slices into a large bowl. 4. Add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and sour cream. Stir with a spatula until the slices are coated with filling and the dry ingredients are mixed in. 5. Place the apple filling in the pie pan. Brush water on the edge of the bottom crust with your fingers or a pastry brush. Lay the top crust over the top and press around the rim of the pie pan. Trim the excess crust and seal and form the edge. 6. Brush water on the top of the pie and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture or turbinado sugar. With a knife, slice about a dozen 3/4-inch “V” slots to allow the steam to escape. Place a pie crust shield over the top of the pie to protect the edges from over-browning. 7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the topping is browned and the apples are tender. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
My Favorite Apple Pie
When the warm summer nights turn crisp and clear, I find myself in an apple pie mood. And it can’t be just any apple pie; it has to be my favorite apple pie--a great mound of a pie crusted with cinnamon and sugar. Under that buttery crust will be sweet-tart apples infused with the richness of sour cream and quality cinnamon. The apples have to be good apples, fresh and crisp and sweet. I like them on the tart side, maybe some pippins or jonathans. I love cranberries and so I’ll throw in a generous handful to become rubies in my sea of apples. At Thanksgiving time, I’ll use fresh cranberries but dried ones will do. I’ll serve that pie hot to family and friends and of course, save a too-large slice for myself. I’ll crown each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a little caramel. That’s the way fall is supposed to be. The autumn baking season has arrived. Here’s the recipe for Simple Caramel Sauce. To make apple pies easier, check out this apple peeler, corer, and slicer. My Favorite Apple Pie Recipe We prefer a buttery crust for this pie but use your favorite pastry crust. If you use butter, be sure and keep the dough cold so that you have solid butter bits in the dough. If the dough gets too warm, the butter will melt and your crust will be soggy. Since you are baking a high-mounded, deep dish pie, you will need about 1 1/2 to two times a normal double crust recipe. You will also need a nine-inch, deep-dish pie pan for this recipe. Ingredients For the crust: 9-inch double crust For the filling: 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2/3 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ginger 9 to 10 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup dried, frozen, or fresh cranberries (optional) 4 tablespoons butter For the topping: 1 large egg white 1 tablespoon water 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar Use quality apples and other ingredients for this pie. You can purchase super cranberries, quality cinnamon, and turbinado sugar from The Prepared Pantry. Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. Prepare and press the pie crust into a deep-dish pie pan setting aside the dough for the top crust. Trim the crust. Do not bake the crust. 2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, sour cream, lemon juice, and spices together into a smooth paste. Add the apples and cranberries and mix until coated with the sour cream mixture. Scrape the apple mixture into the unbaked pie shell. 3. Roll out the top crust. Brush the top edge of the bottom crust around the rim with water to help the two crusts seal. Place the top crust over the pie. Trim the crust and seal the two crusts with the tines of a fork. 4. Mix the egg white, water and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon together. Brush the mixture over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar. 5. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to keep it from burning. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the foil. Bake for another 35 to 45 minutes or until the pie is bubbly and the crust is golden. Cool before serving.
Dutch Apple Pie
There's a reason why this is called deluxe. It's loaded with sweet apples and brown sugar and then accented with sour cream. (We like to spike it up with cranberries or walnuts but those are optional.) Then of course, it's topped with a streusel topping. (And of course, a streusel topping makes for an easier pie.) 8 cups peeled and sliced apples 2/3 cup dried cranberries (optional) 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup sour cream
Deep dish pie shell for a nine-inch pie Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Streusel 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 1/3 cup cold butter cut into small pieces Directions 1. Mix the sugars, flour, and spices in a large bowl. Add the apples, optional cranberries, optional nuts, and sour cream. Toss the fruit through the mixture with a spatula to coat. 2. Spoon the fruit mixture into the pie shell. 3. For the streusel, mix the all ingredients in a deep bowl. With a pastry knife, cut the butter through the mixture until it becomes coarse and granular. Spoon the streusel over the pie. 4. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the topping is browned and the pie is bubbly. 5. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Bavarian Apple Pie
Bavarian cream is a filling used for donuts and other pastries. It makes a fine complement for tart apple slices. This recipe has plenty of cream filling, about two-thirds apples and one-third cream filling. This is a simple apple pie to make. The cream filling doesn’t have to be cooked before baking. It is made with packaged Bavarian cream and brown sugar. Lemon is added for tartness and to help keep the apples from turning brown. 4 1/2 to 5 cups 1/4–inch thick sliced apples (4 or 5 medium whole apples) 6 tablespoons Original Clearjel 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1/2 cups Bavarian cream 2 tablespoons lemon juice pie crust mix or recipe to make a double crust 1 tablespoon melted butter 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and the Clearjel. Add the Bavarian cream and the lemon and mix well. Add the apple slices and stir to coat. 2. Form the pie shell. Add the filling to the pie shell. Add the top and crimp the edges or make a lattice top. Brush the butter over the crust and sprinkle with the
turbinado sugar. Unless you are using a lattice top, cut slits in the crust to allow the steam to escape. 3. Place a pie shield over the crust edges to avoid over-cooking the edges of the pie crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
Maple Apple Pie
We served this pie at a class in our store. Some of the attendees thought this was the best apple pie they had ever tasted. It is very good. Maple and apple does make a fine combination. We served this warm with ice cream and with whipped cream. This pie is made with maple syrup with Clearjel to thicken it. This filling is cooked on the stovetop. With this ratio of ingredients, your filling will be firm enough for clean cuts with a nice presentation. We used maple syrup from the store; maple flavored not the real thing. You could use this same technique with other fruit or water based syrups. 4 1/2 to 5 cups 1/4–inch thick sliced apples (4 or 5 medium whole apples) 1/2 cup Original Clearjel 1/2 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 tablespoons melted butter pie crust mix or recipe to make a double crust 1 tablespoon melted butter 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. Combine the brown sugar and Clearjel in a medium saucepan. Mix well. Add the water, maple flavor, melted butter, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until it thickens and just begins to bubble. Take it off the heat immediately. Do not overcook. The slurry will thicken more when baking. Add the apple slices and flavor and stir. 2. Form the pie shell. Add the filling to the pie shell. Add the top and crimp the edges or make a lattice top. Brush the butter over the crust and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Unless you are using a lattice top, cut slits in the crust to allow the steam to escape. 3. Place a pie shield over the crust edges to avoid over-cooking the edges of the pie crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
Caramel Apple Pie
Caramel is made with cream and brown sugar. We approximated that with brown sugar, milk, and butter and then strengthened it with a little caramel flavor. There is enough caramel to coat every apple piece. This is a great pie. Serve it with whipped cream or ice cream. 4 1/2 to 5 cups 1/4–inch thick sliced apples (4 or 5 medium whole apples)
1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup Original Clearjel 2/3 cup milk 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon caramel flavor (optional) pie crust mix or recipe to make a double crust 1 tablespoon melted butter 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 1. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and Clearjel in a medium saucepan. Mix well. Add the water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until it thickens and just begins to bubble. Take it off the heat immediately. Do not overcook. The slurry will thicken more when baking. Add the apple slices and flavor and stir. 2. Form the pie shell. Add the filling to the pie shell. Add the top and crimp the edges or make a lattice top. Brush the butter over the crust and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Unless you are using a lattice top, cut slits in the crust to allow the steam to escape. 3. Place a pie shield over the crust edges to avoid over-cooking the edges of the pie crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
Other Recipes for the Holidays
We’re partial to cheesecakes during the holidays. They are rich, elegant, and easy to make. And one cheesecake makes a lot of slices. In this section, we have included three recipes for pumpkin cheesecakes and a recipe for a white chocolate cheesecake. The white chocolate cheesecake is our “go to” recipe that we use over and over. We’ve also included a fun apple pastry recipe. For a particularly noteworthy cheesecakes, consider using a square cheesecake pan. A silicone cheesecake pan cleans up nicely and easily releases the dessert. We most often use glass based springform pans. You can slip the cake on the glass bottom onto a serving palter for easy cutting and serving. A glass base avoids the metallic taste that sometimes comes from metal bottoms. Serve your cheesecake plain or with a topping. Our favorite topping is a simple sauce made with berries. We use these recipes often. They can be made with fresh or frozen fruit.
Raspberry Sauce >> Strawberry Sauce >>
You can also use a pastry filling. A pastry filling, because it has to balance with the amount of pastry such as in a donut, is more flavorful. We recommend a raspberry, blueberry, or cherry pastry filling. Professional pastry fillings in 2-pound bags are very economical.
Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust
Looking for something different for the holidays? This pumpkin cheesecake is absolutely phenomenal. It has a pumpkin cheesecake filling with a vanilla cheesecake top layer. The crust is made with gingersnaps which compliments the spicy pumpkin filling perfectly. If you are not in love with gingersnaps, substitute vanilla wafers for the crumbs. Interested in a pie recipe with a vanilla wafer crust? See our Easy Strawberry Cream Pie. Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust This scrumptious cheesecake is best made the night before so that it can thoroughly chill in the refrigerator. (Of course, that is one less thing you have to do on the day of the dinner.) You will need a nine or ten-inch springform pan for this recipe. (The nine-inch size is perfect.) The cake pictured was baked and served in a nine-inch glass-base springform pan. For the crust 1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts 1/4 cup brown sugar 4 tablespoons butter, melted For the filling 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 4 large eggs 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 teaspoon ginger 2 teaspoons cinnamon Directions Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 1. Crush the gingersnaps. Mix the crumbs with the nuts, brown sugar, and melted butter in a nine or ten-inch springform pan. Press the mixture into a crust across
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the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Put the crust in the refrigerator to set up while you prepare the filling. Mix the cream cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla together with your stand-type mixer using the whisk attachment. Beat until smooth and fluffy, six to eight minutes. Set about 1 1/2 cups of the mixture aside for the topping. To the remaining filling, add the pumpkin, whipping cream or yogurt, and spices. Beat until well-mixed. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Carefully spoon the set-aside topping over the top of the pumpkin-cheesecake filling. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until the top starts to brown and the center of the cake is just barely jiggly or until the center of the cheesecake reads 160 degrees with a thermometer. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove the ring and let the cheesecake cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
We do love pumpkin cheesecakes. (Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in Gingersnap Crust is a favorite cheesecake. We have included the recipe.) Canned pumpkin is cooked in the canning process. Surely, we thought, we can use canned pumpkin in a no-bake cheesecake as long as there are no uncooked eggs. So we converted our pumpkin pie recipe to a no-baker. For the crust 1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (or graham cracker crumbs if you prefer) 1/4 cup brown sugar 2/3 cup butter, melted Mix the gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs with the nuts, brown sugar, and melted butter in a nine inch springform pan. Press the mixture into a crust across the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Put the crust in the refrigerator to set up while you prepare the filling. For the filling 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 cup cooked pumpkin puree 1 1/2 cups Bavarian cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon allspice 2 teaspoons cinnamon Mix the cream cheese and granulated sugar together with your stand-type mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and fluffy, six to eight minutes. Add the pumpkin, Bavarian cream, vanilla, and spices. Beat until well-mixed. Spread the filling in the prepared crust. Refrigerate before serving.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with a Chocolate Swirl
Again we paired chocolate with pumpkin for a really nifty-looking, scrumptious dessert. This makes a great holiday or seasonal dessert but since canned pumpkin is available anytime, you can indulge year around. This is an easy cheesecake to make. The chocolate requires an extra step but otherwise, this is as easy as most other cheesecakes. Ingredients 1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 6 tablespoons butter, melted 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1 16-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups) 4 large eggs 1/2 cup whipping cream 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 pinch nutmeg 1 cup pure dark (semisweet) chocolate chips Directions Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 1. For the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press onto bottom of a ten-inch springform pan. 2. For the cheesecake, in the bowl of your stand-type mixer, beat the cream cheese, salt, and granulated sugar together. Beat in the pumpkin, eggs, cream, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 3. Heat the chocolate chips until melted, either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add one cup of the pumpkin batter and stir it into the melted chocolate. 4. Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared crust. Spoon the chocolate batter on top. Use a straightedge spatula and vertically cut through the batters to create a chocolate swirl in the cheesecake. 5. Bake for 60 minutes or until the cheesecake tests done. Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator before serving.
White Chocolate Cheesecake
This is a great cheesecake recipe. The white chocolate makes this cake particularly rich. We have served this repeatedly in our test kitchen and in classes and it is always a favorite. Ingredients For the crust: 1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs 1/2 cup butter, melted 2 tablespoons granulated sugar For the filling: 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/3 cups white chocolate wafers or 8 ounces of white chocolate baking bars Notes about the ingredients. Use good quality white chocolate wafers with a high cocoa butter content. Wafers have a finer grind and are richer and smoother than chips. Some white chocolate chips do not melt properly. Purchasing graham cracker crumbs will save you time and cleanup and usually cost less than crackers. If you use crackers, the easiest way to process them into crumbs is with a food processor. Directions Preheat the oven 325 degrees. 1. In a springform pan (see notes), mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together. Press the mixture across the bottom of the pan and up the sides to form the crust. Put the crust in refrigerator while you mix the filling. 2. With the paddle attachment of your stand-type mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Melt the chocolate. Drizzle in the melted chocolate while it is still warm and while the beaters are running. Pour into the crust. 3. Bake for 50 minutes or until the cake is done. Let cool on a wire rack. After ten minutes, loosen the sides with a spatula and remove the ring. Refrigerate the cheesecake to cool completely.
New England Apple Pie Pastry
We had a lot of fun with this. It’s not really a pie or a pastry but it is scrumptious. It’s made with a rich cream cheese pastry on top and bottom with an apple cinnamon filling tucked in. It’s a little more work than an apple pie but it’s not hard and it is worth the extra time. Check out the unusual topping. It’s easy. It is made by freezing the pastry dough and then shredding it as you would shred cheese. We used an electric shredder attachment for our stand-type mixer and made quick work of the task though a box grater works too. We used a ten-inch springform pan for this dessert. You could also use a nine-inch square springform pan. Ingredients for the dough 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese 1 cup cold butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 tablespoon baking powder 1/3 cup whipping cream Ingredients for the filling 5-6 medium baking apples 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 3 tablespoons flour 2/3 cup dried cranberries (optional) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 to 2/3 of an 8-ounce jar of red currant jelly or other red jam or jelly Directions 1. Cream the cream cheese and butter together. Add the vanilla and granulated sugar and continue creaming.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add half the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until just combined. Add the whipping cream and beat again. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. You should have a soft dough. Add more cream or flour if necessary to get the right consistency. 3. Divide the dough in half. Put one half in the refrigerator and the other in freezer. Allow the dough in the refrigerator to freeze rock hard, at least several hours. 4. For the filling, peel and core the apples then coarsely grate them. Add the cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, flour, optional cranberries, and nuts. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to bake. 5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the half of the dough that was in the refrigerator and roll it out as you would pie dough. Place it in a ten-inch springform pan and mold the dough across the bottom and 2/3’s up the sides. (See picture.) You may cut and patch the dough as required. 6. Spread the jelly across the bottom of the dough. Spoon the filling into the pastry shell. (See picture.) 7. Take the frozen dough from the freezer. Coarsely grate it as you would cheese using a box grater or electric grater. Spread the grated dough across the top of the pastry. 8. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the apples are oozing juice. Cool on a wire rack for five minutes and then remove the outer ring. Cool until just warm and serve plain, with whipped cream, or ice cream. Baker’s note: Both the jelly and cranberries add color to the dessert making it more attractive. Do not cut while it is piping hot.
Video Cooking and Baking Lessons
How to Roast Flavorful, Moist Chicken or Turkey o See four video clips with four different methods for flavoring your turkey or chicken. How to Make Aebleskiver o Aebleskiver or Danish Puff Pastries are holiday classics. They are easy once you see them done. Fill them with fruit or cream fillings. How to Make Dessert Pizzas o A dessert pizza will be the hit of your holiday party. They are gorgeous and scrumptious. Made with a cookie dough crust, a layer of Bavarian or other cream, and an arrangement of cut fruit. How to Make Crème Brulee o Crème brulee is not reserved for only upscale restaurants. Once you see how, you can make them for your next holiday dinner. How to Easy Huckleberry Fudge o Now you can make holiday fudge—huckleberry or another flavor—even if you are not a candy maker. This is the easy way.
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