Judy’s Newest Cheesecake

I tried a new cheesecake and it came out beautifully.  The water bath worked amazingly.

Beating the egg whites separately insures a very light texture.  The next time I make

this, I want to add a thin layer of whipped cream on top and then top that with sliced

strawberries.  If I do that I may substitute chocolate wafer crumbs in my crust.

for the crust:

  • 2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter (I used salted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Chocolate cookie crumb crust

  • 3 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (don’t use the crème filling) (use food processor to make crumbs
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

I did not pre-bake this crust; I put it in the freezer for about 20 min. prior to putting the filling in.

    for the filling:

    3 8 oz. blocks of Philadelphia brand cream cheese, at room temperature. (for a 10 in. springform,

    I used 4 blocks of cream cheese (1 was neuf.)

    1 pint whole fat sour cream (I like Daisy brand as it has nothing artificial in it)

    5 extra large eggs (separated)

    1 1/3 cups sugar

    pinch of kosher salt

    1 tablespoos fresh lemon juice (I use either fresh or Minute Maid frozen concentrate)

    1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

    Put graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl.    Melt butter in bowl in microwave.  Add it to bowl with

    crumbs,  add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix.  Grease a 9 inch springform and

    then press the crumbs mostly on the bottom and a little up the sides of the pan.  Bake

    at 325 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Let cool on counter.

    make the filling:

    Separate eggs and set aside. In large bowl of mixer using the paddle attachment, mix the

    cream cheese till smooth and a little fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the yolks and

    mix just till smooth.  Add lemon juice and vanilla, blend a few seconds.  Add pinch of salt.

     Add the sour cream,and mix on very low speed or even by hand till blended.  In a second

    bowl, whip the egg whites with whisk attachment till stiff

    peaks form.  Fold egg whites into batter gently. Pour batter into crust lined pan and smooth top

    gently.

     

    Change:  instead of wrapping pan in foil and baking in water bath, I did something

    much easier that had equally good result.  Place roasting pan filled 2/3 to the top

    with water.  Place this pan on a rack just below the rack you’ll be baking

    cheesecake on.  The steam has same effect as water bath.

     

     

    Bake in middle of oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 min.  Turn oven off and open door

     slightly, keeping it open with a wooden spoon.  Let sit in oven for a few hours until the cake

    is almost totally cool.  Let sit out on the counter for another hour or so.  Then cover with plastic

    wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    I recommend making this at least 1 day in advance.

    Note: I’d like to try whipping up about a half pint of whipped cream with some sugar and

    spreading it on top, then topping with some thinly sliced strawberries the next time.

    Or just slice up some fresh strawberries or a mixture of berries and serve on the side.

     

    Raspberry Swirl Variation :  Tried on Mother’s Day 2014 with excellent results

      For the raspberry sauce:

    • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed

    In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar and water. Add the raspberries

    and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture boils. Once boiling, cook

    and stir for one additional minute. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve placed

    over a bowl to remove seeds. Cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator.

    Pour half of batter in crust.  Put little baby spoons of the sauce all over the batter.

    Then take a wooden skewer and swirl the sauce through,being careful not to touch

    crust when you do this.

    Then pour rest of batter on top and repeat with raspberry sauce in baby spoons over

    top; then swirl through.

     

    Judy’s Newer Carrot Cake

    I made a carrot cake yesterday.  It is basically a cross between Ina Garten’s recipe and David Lebovitz’s recipe.  I brought it to school, and some of the teachers asked for the recipe, and anyone who ate it said it was amazing.

    ingredients for the cake (basically from Ina Garten)

     

    • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (Ina uses 2 cups)
    • scant 1 1/4  cups vegetable oil (Ina uses 1 1/3 cups but this cake is moist enough without the extra oil.  I used corn oil, but canola would be fine too)
    • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (if cold from fridge, place in bowl of warm water for a few minutes)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour (you do not need to sift it)
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder (not in Ina’s recipe)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I use, but optional)
    • 1 cup raisins (I did not use)
    • 1 pound carrots, grated (I use organic, I peel them, and then grate them in the food processor using the grater attachment)
    • 1 8 oz. can Dole crushed pineapple in natural juice, which I lightly drain pretty well (Ina uses 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple- which I would use, but the crushed in the can is perfectly fine)

    ingredients for cream cheese frosting (this is basically from David Lebovitz):

    2- 8 oz. packages of regular Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature

    1 – 4 oz stick of salted butter (he uses unsalted)

    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (he says a few drops)

    about 3 3/4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar (sift first, then measure) (he says 2 to 3cups)

    ***updated icing (March 2016)- oh my gosh this is amazing and I like it better than my original above)  This has no nuts in the icing!

    • 1 stick salted butter (room temperature)
    • 1 8oz. package Philadelphia (full fat) cream cheese (room temperature)
    • about 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar (I didn’t sift as it seemed very fresh and lump free.)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

    directions for the cake:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 13 pan with butter.  I use the rectangular pan because it’s so easy, but you could make this as a layer cake as well (which Ina does).

    Place dry ingredients- flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with rubber spatula- just to blend everything together.

    Beat sugar, oil, and eggs in large mixing bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment till it becomes light and a little fluffy.  Then  add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just till blended.  Add crushed pineapple and nuts and mix a few seconds till blended in.  Add carrots, and fold in by hand.  Pour all into greased pan.

    Bake about 50-60 min. till toothpick comes out clean and sides of cake are separated from the pan.  Cool on wire rack.

    Frost when totally cool.  I like to put the cake in the fridge after it’s cool and get it really cold before I frost it because if the cake is still slightly warm when you frost it, the frosting starts to  melt into the cake.

    directions for the frosting:

    When cream cheese and butter are totally at room temp (this will prevent lumps in the frosting), put them in large bowl of mixer with the wire whisk attachment if you have it- otherwise use the regular beaters or paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed till light and fluffy. On very low speed add the sifted confectioners sugar and salt. Gradually raise the speed and blend until lump-free. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix till light and fluffy.

    Use a rubber spatula to frost the cake.  Even though this makes a ton of icing, I use it all. You will have a nice thick layer of icing on the cake, but that’s what makes the cake.

    Note:

    I have eliminated the nuts in the cake and used them in the icing.  That’s really good, too.

    Croissant Bread Pudding With Chocolate Chips

    I recently watched an old episode of Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, and he made a luscious looking bread pudding.  I made a few changes to his recipe, and I really loved the results.  What is remarkable about this recipe is that it is so easy to make. Below is my version of his recipe.

    • 12 plain croissants (I bought mine at Costco) (let sit unwrapped for a few hours before you use them)
    • about 15 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 stick butter
    • 7 large eggs
    • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
    • 1 cup sugar

    Directions:

    Generously grease a large 10 by 13 pan- sides and bottom- with butter.  Tear croissants into 1 inch pieces- maybe about 4 or 5 pieces for each croissant.  Put all pieces in prepared dish.  Then sprinkle the chips all over.  Toss lightly with your hands or move the some of the top pieces so that some of the chips slip through. 

    Prepare the custard by melted the stick of butter in the microwave in a mixing bowl large enough to eventually fit all the custard ingredients.  Let cool a few minutes or stick in the fridge to cool for about 5 minutes.  Then, add the sugar and mix.  Add the cream, and then the eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Whisk till  blended well. 

    Ladle the custard mixture over the croissants and chocolate chips.  Push the croissants down lightly with your hands to submerge as best as possible in the custard.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Refrigerate until ready to bake. 

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake (still covered in foil) in center of oven for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.   Uncover and let cool for a few minutes and serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

    ***If you are baking this at home and then bringing it with you, put it on a half sheet pan after it comes out of the oven, keep it covered with the foil until you serve it. 

    Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

    My grandson Noah’s third birthday was coming up, and my daughter Randi asked me if I wanted to make the cupcakes.  I think she knew what my answer would be.  I just needed to find the perfect recipe.  After reading many blogs about cupcakes, I couldn’t decide between a recipe from the Hershey’s website which Hershey’s calls, “Perfectly Chocolate Cake” and a recipe called “that Chocolate Cake” on the Scharffen Berger web site.  It was then that it dawned on me that they were literally the same, except that on the Hershey’s site, the recipe calls for 2 tsp. of vanilla, and on the Scharffen Berger web site, their recipe calls for no vanilla.  I compromised and settled on using 1 tsp. of vanilla.  I also changed the recipe by using extra large eggs and corn oil rather than canola oil.  No reason- I just grew up in a house where corn oil was used.  I used Hershey’s cocoa as that’s what I’ve got in my pantry-  I have both Hershey’s natural cocoa and Hershey’s special dark cocoa, so I used a combination of both- using a bit more of the natural than the dark.  I was “perfectly” happy with this recipe for the “Perfectly Chocolate Cake.”  This is so easy to make- I think just as easy as a mix- because you are doing it all in one bowl- practically just dumping the ingredients in.  The batter is very thin, so I ladled it into my muffin cups.  The result was very dark chocolate cupcakes, and very light- which was exactly what I was looking or.  My daughter compared the experience of eating these to eating Hostess chocolate cupcakes- only much better!  I used a standard recipe for vanilla icing which I adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.  These cupcakes are amazing!

     Ingredients:

    2 cups sugar1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used a mixture of natural and dark)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda1 teaspoon kosher salt

    2 eggs (I used extra large) 

    1 cup whole milk

    1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used corn oil)

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe called for 2)

    1 cup boiling water

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 12 muffin pans with muffin cups.

    Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl of standing mixer.   Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans (I used a ladle, but I think next time, I will pour the batter into a large bowl I have which has a spout, so that I can just pour the batter right into the muffin cups.Bake 22-25 min. or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with vanilla frosting (which will  follow shortly).   Vanilla Frosting:1 stick butter, softened4 cups confectioners sugar1/4 cup regular milk 1 teaspoon pure vanillapinch of salt if using unsalted butterDirections:  Put softened butter in mixer.  Mix with paddle.  Add 10x sugar, and mix, add milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix till smooth.  This makes enough for 24 cupcakes.

    Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

    I found a great recipe for chocolate chip muffins on a blog called evilshenanigans.com. I adapted the recipe and made a few changes, and the muffins were really delicious.

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/3 cup orange juice
    3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (I used organic Wegman’s plain yogurt)
    2 large eggs
    1 2/3 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet mini chocolate chips (I used King Arthur Flour‘s bittersweet chocolate chips, which are not mini chips, but are smaller than standard chocolate chips)
    1 tablespoons flour

    Heat the oven to 375 F and spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray (this recipe made 30 mini muffins). In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, vanilla, orange juice, sour cream or yogurt, and eggs.In a small bowl toss together the chocolate chips with the 1 tablespoons of flour until they are well coated.Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until the dry ingredients are moist.  Add the chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the center of the muffins springs back when lightly pressed, a toothpick comes out clean, and the tops are just starting to turn golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Homemade Vanilla and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    To me making ice cream is very exciting.  It seems like a little miracle to be able to make from scratch something I’ve never made before.  And it’s been so much fun for my family to eat this delicious homemade confection.  So, I made the chocolate, so it was time to try making vanilla.  But, since my favorite flavor has always been chocolate chip (Grunnings chocolate chip – now extinct, and second to that Baskin Robbins), I decided to make the vanilla base, freeze half of it in the ice cream maker for about 1 and a half pints of vanilla ice cream, and then use half of the base to concoct chocolate chip ice cream.  I basically used a recipe I found on line for David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream.  Oh my god- both turned out great.  I served the ice cream for my son Danny’s wonderful friends, Stephanie and Emily, along with my homemade hot fudge.  Their exclamations of glee and ectasy were beyond music to my ears.  For me, I like to eat the vanilla ice cream with the hot fudge, but I enjoy the chocolate chip  without the fudge so  I can savor the contrast of the vanilla with all those chunks of bittersweet chocolate.

    Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – (adapted from, “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz)

    • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
    • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
    • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
    • 5 large egg yolks
    • a few drops of vanilla extract (I used 1/2 teaspoon and that was perfect)

    for the chocolate chip ice cream:

    • about 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate ( I used King Arthur bittersweet chips)

    Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour ( I skipped this 1 hour infusing step, and the ice cream had plenty of vanilla flavor for me).

    To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Remove bean pod from milk.  Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula and temperature is about 170 degrees.

    Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

    Pour half of the custard into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  I put the bowl with the other half of custard back in the fridge, covered with plastic, and churned the vanilla  for 1 hour, then spooned it into a freezer proof container, and froze it.

    Then I moved on to making my chocolate chip ice cream.  I poured the remaining custard into the ice cream maker and started the machine.  Then I melted about 8 oz. of bittersweet King Arthur chocolate chips on low power in the microwave in a microwave proof bowl.  Then I stuck the bowl in the fridge to cool the chocolate a little.  After about 30 min. of churning, I started drizzling the melted chocolate right in the ice cream maker.  The chocolate froze on contact and didn’t mix in with the vanilla.  That is what I was looking for.  After I used about 1/3 of the chocolate up, I took the ice cream in the churning canister and stuck it in the freezer.  I did this because I noticed that the ice cream was getting a little melty from the chocolate.  After about 15 minutes, I took the canister out, starting churning again, and drizzled about 1/3 more of the melted chocolate right in as it was churning.  Then, I took the canister and put it in the freezer for another 10 or 15 minutes.  Then, I took it out of the freezer, started churning it again, and drizzled the remaining chocolate in as it was churning.  I probably churned for another 15-20 minutes, then transferred the ice cream to a freezer container, and froze it.  For some reason, I ended up with a lot more of the chocolate chip ice cream than the vanilla, even though I had divided the custard in half for each.  I think what happened was that the longer churning process- going in and out of the freezer resulted in creating more volume in the chocolate chip ice cream.  But the end product was beyond amazing!

    I got the idea for drizzling the melted chocolate right into the ice cream as it churned from two places.  One was from reading the description of how Baskin Robbins makes their chocolate chip ice cream right on their container.  The other place I got this idea was from a blog called Technicolor Kitchen.

    Homemade Creamy And Rich Chocolate Ice Cream

    My daughter Randi and her husband Dan bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday last year.  I just never got around to using it until last week. I used a recipe I found for chocolate ice cream from a blog called amandascookin.com, and she got her rccipe from David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop.  I followed the recipe she posted on her blog almost exactly.  The ice cream came out chocolaty, creamy, and absolutely delicious!  And it was very easy to make as well, which is surprising when you taste how delicious this is.

     

    Ingredients: 

    2 cups heavy cream
    3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used King Arthur’s Dark Dutch Cocoa)
    5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used King Arthur’s Bittersweet Chocolate Chips- and I did not chop them)
    1 cup whole milk
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    pinch of salt
    5 large egg yolks (I used extra large, as that was what I had on hand)
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I used pure)

    Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

    In small saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and salt.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

    Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula ( I used a wooden spoon), scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

    Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  (I followed the directions on my Cuisinart ice cream maker which said to churn for 30 min.) (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)  Then spoon into freezer-proof container or containers, and freeze until firm- a few hours.)

    Peach Crostadas Or Peach Turnovers

    Yesterday, my daughter Randi got back from a great summer vacation with her husband Dan and his  family in Mantoloking, New Jersey, a beautiful shore town next to Point Pleasant Beach at the Jersey Shore. I knew that Randi wanted Nana (my mother) and me to pick up some incredible fried fresh flounder platters (the best!) from the amazing Keyport Fishery (Keyport, NJ) for dinner tonight.  When Randi called me yesterday she put Noah (now 2 years old) on the phone to tell me what he wanted me to bake for our dessert.  He said in his sweet baby voice, “peach pie.”  So Randi asked me if I would oblige, or if it was too big a deal to make it.  I said I would love to make it for Noah.  Luckily, I was just about to set foot in Trader Joe’s where they happened to have beautiful looking peaches.  So last night, I made some pastry, and this morning, I made the filling, and I actually made 1 12 in. crostada, and 2 mini crostadas, and 2 turnovers with the filling and the pastry.  I was just fooling around to see how the turnovers would come out.  The reason I made the 2 mini crostadas and not 2 more turnovers is because when I cut the dough, 2 pieces just weren’t squared enough to make the turnovers, whereas you don’t have to worry about that with the crostadas. The large crostada just came out of the oven, and the rest are baking.  Oh my god, the crostadas are gorgeous, and so are the turnovers! the dough looks super flaky. Yes!

    for the dough:

    •     2 1/2 cups unbleached organic (King Arthur) flour (carried by Stop and Shop and A&P or kingarthurflour.com)
    •     2 Tbs. granulated sugar
    •     1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    •     1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), cut into pieces (I take butter right from the freezer)
    •     6 oz. cold cream cheese , cut into pieces
    •     1/2 cup cold light cream, half and half, or heavy cream

    for the filling:

    •     about 6 large peaches or nectaries (I did not peel them to save work and to add a bit of the rustic), about 2 lbs.
    •     scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    •     juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 tablespoon
    •     about 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    •     1 tablespoon flour
    •     1 tablespoon cornstarch
    •     1 large organic egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoons light cream (substitute half and half, heavy cream, or whole milk)
    •     granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

    make the dough:

    Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Pulse.  Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse till the mixture looks like very coarse meal, 10-15 pulses approximately.  Add the cold cream and pulse, just until the dough starts to come together, about 10 pulses.  Turn dough out onto clean work surface or waxed paper, gather dough together, cut it into 2 pieces, form into 2 disks, and wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least 2 or 3 hours, or overnight as I did.

    when ready to bake:

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Position oven racks in middle of oven.  Line heavy duty baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Make your filling.  Slice peaches into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick wedges and some smaller pieces with remaining parts of peaches into large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, flour, cornstarch, and salt.  Set aside.

    Take out 1 disk of pastry.  Roll out disk on waxed paper which you dusted with flour till you have about a 12 inch round (doesn’t have to be totally round)  Every once in a while, lift dough up, and sprinkle a little more flour underneath, or sprinkle flour on top as I do, and flip pastry so that the newly floured top is now on the bottom.  When dough is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick, transfer it to parchment lined baking sheet (fold in quarters, transfer, and unfold).  Place about half of your peach mixture on round, leaving about 1 inch on edges that you are not putting the peach mixture on.  Begin draping dough up and over, making pleats, pressing to seal.  Place back in fridge right on baking sheet so dough gets cold again before you bake it- that will keep it flaky.  Take out when cold, in about 15 min., and brush dough with egg wash, sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Then dot the filling with just about 1/2 tables. of butter.   Bake for about 30 min. or a little more till crust is beautifully browned.  If you think crust is browning too quickly, reduce temp to 400 degrees midway.  Let cool on baking sheet, either serve warm or at room temp.

    Then take out remaining disk of pastry from fridge.  At this point lower temp. to 400 degrees.  (I felt I would lower temperature, because these smaller turnovers seemed a little more delicate, so I decided they would do better with 400 degrees rather than 425 degrees.) Roll out pastry somewhere between 1/4 in. and 1/8 in. thick, try for a large rectangle, about 12 by 14 in. if you want to make the turnovers, otherwise roll out into another big circle if you wish to make a second crostada, again sprinkling with flour as you go as explained above..  I did the rectangle.  Then with pizza cutter, cut into 4 squares or rectangles, if possible.    Tranfer first square or rectangle to parchment lined baking sheet.  I actually at this point cut my largish peach slices in smaller pieces.  Spoon a few tablespoons of peaches onto half of rectangle, on half of your square- making a triangle, or on middle of round if that’s what the quarter of your dough turned into.  Leave a border of about 1/2 inch in square or rectangle, and about 3/4 inch for round.  Brush border of square and rectangle with egg wash to be a sort of glue.  Then fold over the dough for your turnovers- your square or rectangle, and pleat the dough over the mini crostada.  Brush tops of turnovers all over with some of the remaining egg wash, brush dough of crostada, and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 min. till beautifully browned.  Take out and serve either warm or at room temperature.

    an easy variation for the crostadas:

    one box of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry- defrost it in fridge, then break sheets into thirds along line that is present, then roll out each third till about 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick, form into squares, rectangles or circles, and fill with above filling, fold over to make either triangles, rectangles, or half moons.  When ready to bake, brush with melted butter and bake on parchment lined cookie sheets at 400 degress until browned.

    Chocolate Chip Cake

    My mother, Shirley Fried, was a wonderful baker when I was growing up.  One of my favorite cakes of hers was a chocolate chip cake that she made.  This chocolate chip cake reminds me of the one she made.  I make it in a tube pan, but it can also be made in a large loaf pan.  If you don’t have miniature chocolate chips, you can chop regular chips and use them instead.

    • 1 12 oz. bag mini sem-sweet chocolate chips
    • 2/3 cup unsalted butter – room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 cups unbleached flour
    • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 1/4 tsp. salt (if using salted butter, use 1/2 tsp. salt)
    • 2/3 cup whole milk
    • 3 extra large eggs
    • 1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tube pan, bundt, or loaf pan well- sides and bottom, and tube if you are usiing a tube pan.   Cream butter, then add sugar, and cream till fluffy.  Add eggs and cream till fluffy.  Combine the dry ingredients and blend in alternately with the milk and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients each time only till blended. Then add chips and fold in with rubber spatula.  Bake in greased pan for about 1 hour till toothpick comes out clean.  If you are baking in a loaf pan, then it may take a bit longer.  Just make sure the toothpick comes out clean.

    Note: I usually bake this in a tube pan, then I cut cake into thirds, I keep one third of the cake out, and I freeze each of the other thirds by wrapping them in plastic wrap first and then in a ziploc bag.

    Note:  I have sometimes used 6 or 7 oz. of chocolate chips and then 6 oz. of bittersweet chocolate chopped too, but the easiest thing to do is just use one 12 oz. bag of miniature semisweet chocolate chips. 

    Shirley’s Apple Pie

    When I was growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at our house.  My Aunt Florence, Uncle Larry, and my cousins Karen, David, Debbie were always there.  It was wonderful.  Our yearly menu never changed and will be imprinted in my mind forever.  Here it is:  The hor d’oeuvres were as follows:  3 dozen Cohen’s little hot dogs, 3 dozen Cohen’s potato puffs, 1 dozen Cohen’s egg rolls, my mother’s homemade chopped liver served with party rye,  and  chilled Sacramento tomato juice.  For the main course we had:  brisket, turkey, my Grandma Hindes’s stuffing, cranberry jello mold, candied sweet potatoes, potatoes cooked around the turkey, salad, and French style string beans surrounding glazed carrots.  For dessert we had:  2 homemade apple pies served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip squares, coffee, and milk.  As a little girl, I adored watching my mother make all the food, and I was very involved with lots of the food preparation.  But I think my favorite part (besides eating all of her delicious food) was watching my mother make her delicious apple pies.  I really watched her every move as she rolled out the dough, placed the bottom crust in the pyrex pie plate, spooned the ample pie filling into the bottom crust, dotted the apples with margarine, and finally, lifted the top pie crust and beautifully placed it on top of the apples, masterfully crimping the pie dough to seal in the apple filling.  I think of all the cooking jobs my mother did for Thanksgiving, the pies always loomed over her as a daunting task.  But when those apple pies cooked and the delicious appley smell wafted through the house, and those gorgeous apple pies came out of the oven, she knew, and I knew that every bit of her effort was worthwhile!

    for 1 double crust:  (In parentheses are quantities for a slightly large crust.)

    • 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour (3 cups)
    • 1 teaspoon salt (1 1/3 teaspoons)
    • 3/4 cup  cold Crisco shortening (1 cup)
    • 5 tablespoons ice water (7 tablespoons)

    Mix flour and salt in bowl of food processor or in large mixing bowl.  In processor, spoon shortening over flour mixture, and pulse till mixture is the size of small peas. Or if mixing by hand use a pastry blender.  Then add water and pulse only until dough comes together. If doing by hand, use a fork and blend water into dough  just until dough comes together.  Then dump dough out on floured board, and form into a large ball.  Divide into 2 disks, one slightly smaller than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

    When dough is sufficiently refrigerated, begin making your filling:

    for the filling:

    • about 7-8 very large apples- Winesap, Rome, Granny Smith, Fuji, or a mixture of these or any other baking apples
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • heavy 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Minute Maid lemon juice from concentrate
    • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine to dot the filling
    • egg wash:  1 egg yolk mixed with 1  teaspoon water

    Peel and slice apples into large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, cinnamon, flour salt, and lemon juice.  Roll bottom crust (smaller disk) out to a large enough circle on waxed paper.  Transfer to pie plate.  Spoon filling in.  Dot top of filling with the margarine or butter.  Roll out top crust (larger disk).  Gently lay over filling.  If you are freezing the pie, wrap well in plastic wrap at this point, then with foil.  If you are baking, brush pie crust with egg wash, make a few slits in the pie to allow steam to escape, place pie on sheet pan, and bake at 425 degrees about 40-60 minutes till browned all over.

    Note If pie is frozen, then bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes and at 375 degrees for another 30 minutes till browned.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

    Note If you bake this in the morning, you may place it in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes before serving to warm it up.