So you'll have to go to its source:
So you'll have to go to its source:
Yield: Makes 12 muffins
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 1 hr
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)
Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups; 12 foil or paper muffin liners
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries gently.
Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Four years until I’m at the age Daddy was when he died, he was 52 and, in another month, I’ll be 48. This weighs heavily on me, more than it should. My inner self-loathing gets the better of me and I think of all the success he had, all the success I have not.
Last week, my neighbor Michelle suggested that I need Ritalin. Ritalin, like I have ADD and can’t focus on anything. But that’s wrong. I can focus on a myriad of subjects, hobbies and creative interests, reading, knitting, farming, painting, sewing, glasswork, writing, computer programming for Chrissakes. I just can’t stay interested in them for long periods of time and I don’t know why. I tell people I bore easily and I do but it’s more than that. I’m interested in learning to do something, I figure out how, and then I am no longer interested. My intellectual curiosity has been met. I know a moderate amount about many, many things, Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
This flaw of mine has gotten worse in recent years. I’m afraid my time is drawing nigh and, if I can’t discover that one thing, all this life will be for naught.
Yes, I have beautiful brilliant children who, without me, would not grace this world with their presence. Yes, I’ve made a lot of things that I have sold or given as gifts, objets d’art and craft that I’m reasonably confident are admired.
But honestly? I’m almost 48. Instead of a career, I pick up bartender and server jobs for needed household-running funds. I’m terrible with money management; I fail as a homemaker. Laundry piles flow like lava out the laundry room door, dog hair rests in clumps in the corners, windows are dirty, floors are worse. I’m a good but inconsistent cook. I have a good but inconsistent life.
When Daddy reached 50, and before he was diagnosed with the melanoma that would kill him, he commented that he had made it farther than his own dad, a binge-driven alcoholic who went to “dry out” and failed, no “rehab” in those days, at least not in its current incarnation. Part of my father doubted he would make it to 50. Perhaps, that is why he worked as hard as he did, became such an enormous success at a relatively young age. I haven’t done that.
Years move faster as one ages. Tempus fugit and all that. And I’m not afraid to die. I’m afraid to not live.
When I was a little girl, Helen, or Gramma as I called her, would hug me tight and declare that I was so sweet, she could eat me with a spoon. Which, looking back, was very loving and wonderful in that way that only grandmothers can convey; but, at the time, it frightened me. I had all sorts of mental images of my grandmother, who was a tall, big-boned German woman, wielding a giant grapefruit spoon and plunging it into my short, small-boned American body like a deranged zombie.
I assumed it had to be a grapefruit spoon as it needed sharp edges and a point to really dig into my my flesh. Unfounded fear is all in the details.
But we're here to talk about pie, aren't we? Thanksgiving is in exactly a week. And I am scheduled to work that day. Which does not please me. So let's pout and make sweet potato pie. With bourbon, some in the pie and a slitch on ice for the baker.
Sweet Potato Pie is similar to pumpkin pie in the fact that is indeed orange and uses similar spices and flavorings in its recipe. But a sweet potato is a tuber while a pumpkin is a squash. As an aside, sweet potatoes are not yams but were mislabeled as such by growers who thought we were too stupid to know a sweet potato was not the same as regular potatoes. Because there is nothing worse than baking what you think are russets and discovering that your chives and bacon bits are useless. Yams are a completely different genus and species, are native to Africa, popular in Latin American dishes, and very sweet. They can also grow over seven feet long which would be damned difficult to manage in my kitchen.
To my taste buds, sweet potatoes are richer and slightly more sugary than pumpkins. But canned pumpkin puree is ubiquitous this time of year and one actually has to bake and mash sweet potatoes. How inconvenient. We're making pie with them regardless.
Or irregardless as Helen would say. She loved collecting malapropisms and using them for her own amusement so that someone, meeting her for the first time, would not realize that she knew the correct word or phrase.
This recipe is courtesy of Paula Deen and FoodNetwork.
Butterscotch Cream Pie
Submitted By: Colleen
2 cups milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
|1.||Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Brush pie crust lightly with egg white to seal. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until light brown and crisp. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).|
|2.||In a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar and salt; set aside. In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, scald the milk while stirring with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened; remove from heat.|
|3.||Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/3 of the milk mixture to temper the yolks, Then pour the yolk mixture back into the pan. Return to the stove and cook, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust.|
|4.||In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, covering completely.|
|5.||Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown in spots.|
|ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2010 Allrecipes.com
What I did right: As I don't cotton to tempering egg yolks (pathological fear of scrambling), I performed my Time Saving Superhero Pudding and Pie Filling Shortcut. After whisking the dry ingredients together in a heavy bottomed saucepan (I prefer All-Clad Master Chef), I mixed in the egg yolks and then drizzled in the milk before heating the pan. After about ten minutes of stirring with a whisk, the mixture thickened and came to a full boil. I took it off the heat, added the butter and twice the vanilla called for, and, shazam, butterscotch pie filling. Also, I used a clean copper bowl and a handheld mixer to beat the egg whites, giving me picture-perfect meringue.
What I did wrong: I could say I did nothing wrong though I did insist on using my favorite Emile Henry 10" pie plate which was a tad large for this recipe. My 8" Pyrex would have made a high and perfect pie but it's boring glass and I like pretty dishes. I am a girl after all.
What I thought of it: Delicious! There I was right back at The Greenbrier all over again, poolside with hunky teenage lifeguards. Then, I started to feel pervy because I am 47 and my twin boys are the same age as those lifeguards were so I just ate quietly and minded my own beeswax while my waistline expanded.
How I'll tweak it next time: I'll search the internets for a smaller but still pretty pie plate or, sigh, use the Pyrex one. Other than that, I won't change a thing.
Unless you all have a special request, tomorrow we'll talk dough and sweet potatoes. And ugly pie plates because the pretty one has a pie in it.
BTW, Helen would definitely enjoy a piece of this pie. She liked having "a little meat on her bones". In moderation. "Everything in moderation."
With many thanks to Julie Delio.
This post originates on my new blog: Channeling Helen.
Many moons ago, when we had fewer children and animals to husband, Hubby and I treated ourselves to the occasional brunch at Kiva Grill. This upscale New Mexico-style restaurant across from the no-longer-new Marriott in the La Jolla/UTC area of California featured amazing cuisine unfamiliar to me at the time. Amongst the delicious blue corn tamales, the red or green chiles, the posole, and the pork adovada, lay a hidden yet simple gem, Mexican Sweet Corn Cake. Not quite a pudding but not a bread either, it's sweetness provided the perfect foil to the spiciness of its accompaniments.
Note from Helen: "I don't like spice. All that pepper makes me choke." Coughs for emphasis.
We loved the sweet corn cake. We emptied multiple chafing dishes of sweet corn cake. Because of that love, The Kiva Grill went belly up as their corn cake costs became too high to stay in business. I may be slightly exaggerating but they did, in fact, close down and I, in fact, had babies and sat on the bed for a year with a pillow on my lap practicing the football hold while nursing twins and never went to brunch again. But I digress.
Years of fun and chaos passed with nary a thought to the aforementioned corn cake until a recent sojourn to Texas, state of great cuisine in which each and every Anglicized/mispronounced city demands in its charter that a Tex-Mex and a barbecue restaurant must exist for every 10,000 people at a minimum. The lovely and gracious Julie Delio served as hostess and, on my last day there and after an interesting tour of downtown Fort Worth, the cattleyards, and the barrio, we ended up at an upscale New Mexican restaurant serving Sunday brunch. And there, there amongst 10,000 salsas and meats aplenty, a beacon from my past shone. Right in front of me, Sweet Mexican Corn Cake. I did my Meg Ryan in Harry Met Sally impression right then and there but I was not, repeat, I was not faking it.
Home, I searched the internets and tubes and discovered the following recipe. Today, I tried it. What follows are my thoughts and critiques.
Recipe was submitted by Lee Ann Clarke to the allrecipes.com website.
Sweet Corn Cake
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour Ready In: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
"Corn flour, or masa harina, is available at many larger grocers. Here it blends with corn meal, sugar, butter and cream in this luscious pudding-cake."
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup masa harina
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
DIRECTIONS: 1. In a medium bowl beat butter until it is creamy. Add the Mexican corn flour and water and beat until well mixed. 2. Using a food processor, process thawed corn, but leave chunky. Stir into the butter mixture. 3. In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, cream, salt, and baking powder. Add to corn flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Smooth batter and cover with aluminum foil. Place pan into a 9x13 inch baking dish that is filled a third of the way with water. 4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven F (175 degrees C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop for easy removal from pan.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2010 Allrecipes.com
What I did right: I didn't try to "healthy-up" the recipe. Helen always said "Butter makes it better and, pounds schmounds, she was dead right. I used polenta instead of regular cornmeal which I think gave it more bite and I used half and half because that's all I had and I was too lazy and unshowered to drive 16 miles to the grocery store.
What I did wrong: I prepared it in the Kitchenaid stand mixer which was overkill, not enough batter for such a large bowl without the handy dandy scraping beater blade that I don't own. Next time, I will use one medium and one small bowl, my right hand, a fork, and a spatula. I suppose one could use a hand mixer if creaming butter with bare hands makes one squeamish. Personally, I need the extra moisture. Also, I did not use hot water in the water bath which prolonged the cooking time.
What I thought of it: After I clean the corn kernels from behind my ears and in between my toes because I felt compelled to bathe in it, I'll let you know. In other words, Meg Ryan in Harry Met Sally all over again. And again without the faking it. How I'll tweak it next time: I don't need to do a damned thing to it but I might add chopped hatch chiles or bacon bits to add a little salt and spice but, as Helen was wont to say, that would be gilding the lily.
BTW, another wonderful discovery in Texas? Shiner Bock. Which I could also bathe in but, for now, I think I'll drink some and watch football. It is Sunday, after all.