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Paranormal Pretzels

My niece, Chrystina and her son, Damian have so much fun making snacks together.

Damian shared these cute pretzel snacks with his friends at school, but they’d be perfect for a kid’s party or for Halloween (being that they look like aliens or bugs). 🙂

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Chrystina adapted this recipe from one she found in Parent magazine.  Here’s how she and Damian made them.

You’ll need to buy pretzels already covered in yogurt, but you can buy plain pretzels and coat them with white candy melts.

Use candy melts and multi-colored sprinkles for the eyes. Melt the candy melts in the microwave in 30-second intervals then pour into a frosting bag fitted with a small tip to do the eyes.  If you don’t have a frosting bag, you can also use a resealable bag, cutting a tiny piece off one corner.

NOTE: You need a helper to be putting the sprinkles on because the candy melts settle real quick!

From Chrystina:  “A lot of our little paranormal friends ended up looking like their eyes were gorged out and left empty and bloody — which is ok too.  Damian went as fast as he could. ☺️”

Have fun making these cute snacks.  Chrystina and Damian sure did. 🙂

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Sweet Dinner Rolls ~ My Original Go-To Version

As the title for my recipe states, this is my go-to recipe when I want to whip up a tray of sweet dinner rolls.

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It’s also the same recipe I use in my tutorial videos for making dinner rolls (see below).

I’ve heard from many people who have made dinner rolls following this recipe and my instructions in my tutorial videos.  Most of them were successful at their first try, but I will tell you that baking with yeast requires PATIENCE and practice.

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If you don’t succeed in your first try, keep at it.  My very first attempt at baking with yeast was an epic failure — my rolls were as hard as rocks! But not anymore!  I can’t tell you how much money went down the drain, not to mention the valuable ingredients I wasted each time I tried, but tried I did until I got it right!

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Here are some tips when baking yeast breads:

  • Sometimes the dough is MEANT to be sticky.  Do not be tempted to add a ton of flour just to prevent it from sticking to your hands or you’ll end up with super dense and rock-hard rolls.  Instead of adding flour to the dough, flour your hands, or rub a bit of vegetable oil to your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to them.
  • Even if a recipe states to wait about an hour for dough to double in size, sometimes it takes longer depending on the temperature of your rising place.  BE PATIENT…the dough will rise and double eventually (provided your yeast is active).
  • Test the temperature of the water (or other liquid) you use to proof your yeast.  Use a thermometer if you have one.  Otherwise, use your finger to determine whether the liquid is too hot.  The perfect yeast-proofing temperature should feel like the temperature of your skin, or a low-grade fever (around 100-101 degrees).  Or, for you moms out there, if the temperature feels like it would be too hot to put in a baby’s bottle, then let it cool longer before adding the yeast.  Too hot of a temperature will KILL the yeast.
  • Yeast needs sugar to grow.  Make sure you add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the proofing liquid.  If your yeast doesn’t start to bubble after 5 minutes of proofing, chances are the liquid was too hot (and you killed the yeast), or the yeast was old, or you didn’t add any sugar to feed it.
  • Do not over knead the dough.  Hand kneading should take about 10-12 minutes, or 6-8 minutes if using a stand mixer.

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Give my recipe a try (posted beneath my tutorial videos).

Post any questions in the comment section below, or message me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnniesChamorroKitchen1/ for a quick response.

Good luck, and happy baking!

Tutorial Video, Part 1:

 

 

Tutorial Video, Part 2:

 

 

Sweet Dinner Rolls - My Original Go-To Version
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Soft, fluffy and slightly sweet dinner rolls ~ perfect on its own, or slather with sweetened butter for a delicious dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: Yeast Bread
Serves: 28 rolls
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar (up to ¾ cup if you want it sweeter, but use 2 packets yeast if you add more sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk (low fat or whole milk)
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (for proofing the yeast)
  • ¼ cup warm water (for proofing the yeast)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and warm water. Stir together to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let it stand for 5-10 to allow the yeast to proof.
  2. Meanwhile, melt together the ¼ cup butter and milk in a microwave. Let it cool slightly. Add some of the cooled milk mixture to the beaten egg (this is to temper the egg so it won't scramble when you add it to the milk mixture). Add the egg to the rest of the milk mixture. After the yeast has proofed for 10 minutes, add the milk- butter-egg mixture to the yeast. Stir to combine.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together 2½ cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Reserve the remaining flour (you might not need it). Pour in the yeast-milk mixture. Turn the mixer to medium, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides. If the dough still looks very sticky and is not pulling away from the side of the mixing bowl, add in more flour, a few spoonfuls at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (See NOTE below.) Once the dough pulls away from the sides, turn the mixer to medium high and knead for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes of kneading, remove the dough to a clean and greased bowl (you can use cooking spray). Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to let the dough rise and double in size, about 1 hour. After the dough has doubled, take it out of the bowl and gently punch it down. Cut the dough into 28 small pieces then roll them out into balls. Place the balls of dough in a greased 9x13 pan (7 rolls across and 4 rolls down). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise again until doubled.
  5. After the rolls have doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and brush with more butter.
NOTE:
In most types of yeast bread recipes, the ratio of flour to total liquid should be 3:1. For instance, this recipe calls for just over 1 cup of liquid (including the egg); therefore, use only about 3 c. flour. Start out by mixing in a little less flour than the recipe calls for; If your dough seems too sticky, use only a little more flour just to allow you to knead it, but resist the urge to keep adding flour just so the dough won't stick. Too much flour (and kneading too long and too roughly) will make your finished bread come out tough/hard.

 

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Ube Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?  And for those of us who grew up in the islands, who doesn’t love ube-anything?  If you haven’t tried ube, or taro, now’s the time.

While vacationing on Guam not too long ago, I went to a restaurant that featured a taro cheesecake as one of their signature desserts.  It was to-die for!  The cheesecake was rich, creamy, and topped with a crispy caramelized sugar topping that took this dessert to an entirely new level!

I decided then and there that I would try my hand at making this cheesecake.  I decided to use steamed and puréed fresh purple yams instead of ube jam.  Ube jam is good, don’t get me wrong; I just wanted to control the amount of sugar I put into the cheesecake and ube jam is already sweetened.

I’m forewarning you…this cheesecake takes a while to prepare.  The mixing of the batter doesn’t take that long at all.  There are, however, several steps in making this cheesecake, but it’s worth it in the end.  The cooling process takes a very long time as well, about 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.  But don’t let all that discourage you from giving my recipe a try.  While there are a lot of steps, it’s a very easy recipe to make.

Give it a try and let me know how it turned out for you.

Ube Cheesecake

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Make the Crust:

  • 18 graham cracker squares
  • 3 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

This is a photo of graham cracker “squares.”  Depending on the brand, some graham crackers are rectangular shaped.  I used plain graham crackers for this recipe.  I do not recommend using graham crackers that have sugar and cinnamon on them.

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Break the squares into small pieces and place into a food processor.

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Pulse until you get fine crumbs.

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Pour the crumbs in a bowl, stir in the sugar, then fold in the melted butter.

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Spread the crust mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

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Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and just slightly up the side.  I use a measuring cup to press down on the crust to really compress it.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees, or until the crust turns a nice rich brown.

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Make the Cheesecake Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups steamed and puréed purple yam or taro (about 1 large or 2 medium ones)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cook the yams:

There are many ways to cook yams.  You can roast them in your oven, bake, boil or steam them.  I prefer to roast yams if I’m eating them by itself as part of my meal.  However, for this recipe, I decided to steam them.

Fill a pot with just enough water so that the water does not touch the steam basket when it’s placed into the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.

Wash the yams throughly.  Use a dish scrubber to remove any dirt. Cut out any dark, rough spots.

Peel the yams. Cut the yams into large chunks.

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Place the yams into the steamer basket then place the basket over the pot of boiling water.

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Cover the pot and let the yams steam for 25-30 minutes. The yams are ready when they are tender when pierced with a fork.

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Place the yams into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until the yams are smooth and creamy.  Set aside for now.

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Make the Filling:

Before getting started on the filling, I need to say a word or two about the cream cheese…you really want to use full fat cream cheese in this recipe.  Reduced fat cream cheese doesn’t bake well, especially in cheesecakes.  I like Philadelphia brand cream cheese over other brands, but use the brand you like.

You’ll also notice I used heavy cream in my recipe instead of sour cream.  The sour cream is traditionally used in recipes for New York style cheesecake, making for a tangier dessert.  I didn’t want to overpower the yams so I opted for the milder heavy cream.

Alright, back to the filling.  Whisk the sugar and salt together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

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Spread the puréed yam on a triple layer of paper towels.  Place another triple layer of paper towels on top of the yam.  Press down on the paper towels to soak up as much moisture as possible.  If you don’t press out the liquid, your cheesecake will turn out too wet and you’ll end up with a fall-apart, mousse-like pie.

Because I steamed the yams rather than boiled them, there wasn’t that much water to squeeze out.

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Place the softened cream cheese in a stand mixer on medium low speed; mix for a minute or two.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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Mix 1/3 of the sugar mixture with the cheese.  Mix on medium speed for a minute until the sugar is incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle then add another 1/3 of the sugar.  Mix again then scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Add the remaining sugar; mix until creamy.

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Add the pureed yam to the bowl, along with the vanilla extract.  Mix on medium speed for a minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

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Add 3 eggs to the bowl, mix for a minute, scrape down the sides, then add the last 2 eggs, mix and scrape.

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Add the heavy cream.  Mix for another minute.

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Bake the Cheesecake:

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

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I decided to bake this cheesecake in a water bath.  This prevents the top of the cheesecake from cracking during baking. You could also place a pan filled with water in the rack beneath the cheesecake.  If using a water bath, place two layers of foil beneath the springform pan.  Wrap the foil around the sides of the pan.  This keeps the water from the water bath from seeping into the pan.

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Place the foil-covered springform pan into a large roasting pan.

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Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake inside it into a pre-heated 325 degree oven.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan (be sure to wait until AFTER you place the pan into the oven to pour in the hot water).  The water should come about halfway up the side of the springform pan.

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Bake for 1 1/2 hours.  If you have a thermometer, take the temperature at the edge of the cheesecake to see if it is done.  The cheesecake is done when the temperature reaches between 145 and 150 degrees. Or, do what I do and use the “jiggle method” to check for doneness.  If you move the pan, the center of the cheesecake should move or jiggle only slightly.  Too much jiggle in the middle means you need to cook it a bit longer (10-15 minutes should do it).

When the cheesecake is done, remove the roasting pan and cheesecake from the oven.  CAUTION!  Be very careful taking the pan out of the oven!  You don’t want to spill hot water on yourself!!  Leave the cheesecake in the pan of hot water for 1 hour before removing it from the roasting pan.

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After an hour of cooling at room temperature, the cheesecake needs to now cool in the refrigerator.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill for 4-6 more hours in the refrigerator; chilling overnight is even better.

NOTE:  After chilling for just 4 hours, I cut a slice of the cheesecake.  The middle was still a bit softer and creamier than the edges.  It appeared that the cheesecake was underdone, but it was cooked the right amount of time.  All I needed to do was refrigerate it for a few more hours (overnight cooling did the trick).  In the morning, the cheesecake was PERFECTLY set.

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Caramelized Sugar Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar

Before serving, sprinkle the superfine sugar all over the top of the slice of cheesecake.

NOTE:  4 tablespoons of sugar covers the ENTIRE cheesecake.  You’ll need about one teaspoon of sugar per slice.

If you can’t find superfine sugar at your grocery store, just blend regular white, granulated sugar for a minute or two until you get superfine granules.

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Use a creme brûlée torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.  Allow the caramelized sugar to harden then  serve.

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For presentation purposes (for pretty pictures 😉 ), I caramelized sugar on top of the entire cheesecake.  However, I recommend you slice individual pieces of cheesecake BEFORE caramelizing sugar on top.

The melted sugar hardens and makes cutting clean slices a challenge if you caramelize sugar on top of the ENTIRE cheesecake rather than just one slice at a time.

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Here’s a tip for an easy way to cleanly slice the cheesecake.  Dip a knife (a carving knife works well since it has a narrow blade) into a glass or pitcher of very hot water.  Dry off the knife before slicing.

Serve and ENJOY!

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Rich and Creamy Custard Pie

Rich, creamy, sweet and luscious Custard Pie…are you drooling yet?

Egg custard pie is so easy to make. Chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, so why not bake up one of these sweet and creamy pies for your dessert tonight?

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This is not a pie that is a bake-and-eat option.  Because it’s a baked custard, you must let the pie fully set (cool) before serving.  Therefore, if you want this for your dessert after dinner, I advise making this pie in the morning or early afternoon (or even the night before).

I’ve tried many recipe variations for custard pie, most of which are good, but I wanted a really creamy filling.  Some recipes I’ve tried included butter in the custard filling — this is not necessary at all.  Other recipes I’ve tried use variations of milk — skim, low-fat, or whole milk.  I found that using rich heavy cream or half-and-half makes a custard filling that is out-of-this-world rich and creamy, just what I want in a custard pie!  My recipe below uses half-and-half.

I’ve also used store-bought/ready-made pie crusts before.  I am very picky about my pie crusts.  Most commercial brands taste too bland for me.  It’s so easy to make homemade pie crusts, so why buy the pre-made stuff?  I include a recipe for homemade pie crust as well.  Give it a try, but if you prefer the packaged kind, I recommend you still pre-bake (also called blind-baking) the crust before baking the custard.

One note about the pie crust and filling — my recipe below makes enough for one DEEP-DISH, 9-inch pie.  Make sure you use a deep dish pie plate (or buy a deep dish pie crust) when making this recipe or you’ll have leftover pie dough and filling that you’ll end up throwing out (it would be a shame to waste your ingredients).

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Rich and Creamy Custard Pie

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Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ICE-COLD water

Custard Filling:

  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Other Items:

  • 1 9-inch deep dish pie pan
  • Dried, uncooked beans (any kind), about 3 cups
  • Parchment paper

Directions:

MAKE THE CRUST:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter.

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2.  Stir the ingredients together briefly, just enough to mix the flour, sugar and salt together.  Use a dough cutter (or you can use a food processor) to “cut” the butter into the flour.  You want to see very small pieces of butter (about the size of a pea).

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3.  Pour the ice water over the flour mixture, starting with 1/4 cup of ice water.  Gently mix the water into the flour, forming a shaggy, loose dough.  Add more water, a spoonful at a time, until the dough comes together.  You should not need more than 1/2 cup of ice water.

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This is what it looks like after the initial mixing of water and flour.  You can still see some dry bits at the bottom of the bowl, but this is the perfect consistency — you do not need any more water at this point.

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Give it another minute or so of kneading and the dough will come together.

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4.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 15 minutes.  I actually place my dough in the freezer.  Don’t worry — the dough won’t freeze solid.  The goal is to get the butter very cold again (since the butter softened during the mixing process).  You want to still see chunks of butter when you roll out the dough and eventually bake it.  During the baking process, the melting butter creates steam, which is what makes your dough nice and flaky.

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5.  After 15  minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator (or freezer).  Place the dough between two large sheets of parchment paper.

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6.  Roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick and two inches larger in diameter than the width of your pie pan.  Turn the pie pan upside down on top of the parchment paper to measure.

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7.  To place the dough in the pie pan, remove one sheet of parchment paper.  Turn the pie pan upside down over the dough.  Carefully slide your hand beneath the parchment paper and flip the dough and pie pan right-side-up.  Gently push the dough down into the pie pan.

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8.  Carefully peel the parchment paper off the dough (save the paper for use later).  Push the dough into the sides of the pan (and pinch the dough to close any holes), if necessary.

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9.  Trim off some of the dough around the edge, leaving a little bit of dough hanging over the side.  Use whatever method you like to flute the edge of the dough.  I just use my fingertips to create a fluted edge like you see below.

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10.  It’s time to blind-bake the pie crust.  Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Place one sheet of parchment paper inside the pie pan.  Place the dried beans over the parchment paper.  I like to place my dried beans in oven cooking bags; this way I can reuse the beans the next time I bake a pie.

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11.  Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes then remove it from the oven.  Remove the beans and parchment paper and return the pie crust to the oven to bake for 5 more minutes.

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12.  During the last 5 minutes of baking, the bottom of the pie crust will very likely bubble up.  Do not panic.  After you remove the crust from the oven, immediately (but very gently) push down on the bubble to release the steam.  The bottom of the pie crust will flatten again once all of the steam is released.

Set the pre-baked crust aside while you prepare the custard filling.

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MAKE THE FILLING:

1.  Decrease your oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, place the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt.  Use a hand mixer on low speed (or a whisk) to mix the ingredients together; mix for a couple of minutes only.  Do not over-mix or your resulting custard will turn out grainy.

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2.  In a separate microwave-safe bowl, heat the half-and-half in the microwave on high for two minutes.  Mix the hot half-and-half — 1/2 cup at a time — into the egg mixture.  DO NOT add the hot liquid all at once or you will end up scrambling your egg mixture!  Adding the hot liquid a little at a time tempers the egg mixture.  Continue mixing in the hot liquid, a little at a time, until all the liquid is mixed with the egg mixture.

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BAKE THE PIE:

1.  Place your oven rack in the bottom half of your oven.  Place a baking pan in the oven, then place the un-filled and pre-baked pie crust on top of the baking pan.

Carefully pour the filling mixture into the pie crust.  Be careful not to touch the hot oven with your arms or hands as you pour the liquid into the pie crust.

I do it this way because the filling will come to the very brim of the pie crust — it is much easier doing it like this than trying to fill the crust outside of the oven, then carrying the full crust to the oven without spilling it (yeah, that’s a mess waiting to happen). 😉

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2.  Bake the pie for a total of 50 minutes.  After 40 minutes, if you need to, wrap a piece of foil (or use a pie shield) around the edge of the pie (to prevent the crust from burning or browning too much).  Bake for 10 more minutes then remove the pie from the oven.

The pie will be jiggly still when you take it out of the oven.  It will look something like jello, with the top surface of the pie rippling as you gently shake it.  You may think the pie is under-cooked, but TRUST ME, it is DONE.  Resist the urge to bake it longer.

You really don’t want to over-bake custard pies.  Have you ever had custard pies that tasted way too much like eggs?  That’s due to OVER-BAKING the custard — a real no-no.

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3.  Now comes the hard part.  You MUST let the pie cool at room temperature for at least 2 or 3 hours before cutting into it.  As the pie cools, the filling is still “cooking.”  The pie will set (firm up) once completely cooled.

Ideally, after cooling at room temperature for a few hours, you want to refrigerate the pie another hour or so to finish cooling and allow the pie to set fully.

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Of course, after the requisite 3 hours of room-temperature cooling, I just could NOT wait to eat this pie.  I went ahead and cut a small slice — to give it a taste test, you see.  As our family’s resident home chef, I just HAD to ensure this pie was fit for consumption! And it was. 🙂

As you can see, the pie is mostly set at this point, but another hour or longer of cooling in the refrigerator will be better.

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This is the pie after cooling in the refrigerator overnight.  Make sure the pie is completely cooled at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator or else condensation will collect on the top of the pie as it cools in the fridge.  If that happens, don’t worry — just use a paper towel to soak up any accumulated condensation on top of the pie.

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This makes the BEST breakfast!

Serve up a slice — or two — and ENJOY!

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King Cake

King Cakes are part of a popular tradition that celebrates the 12th day following the birth of Christ, during which the 3 Wise Men or Kings visited the Christ Child.  The celebrations continue sometimes up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, in French), the day before Ash Wednesday when the Lenten Season begins.  The custom of baking these “cakes” is in honor of the Three Kings, hence the name, “A King’s Cake.”

The custom includes baking a tiny porcelain or plastic baby inside the cake.  King Cakes are usually served at parties, and the person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is supposed to host the party the next year.  Instead of having a party, you could bake several smaller King Cakes and give them to your neighbors.  The neighbor who receives the King Cake with the baby gets to bake them for the neighbors the following year.

King Cakes aren’t really cakes, but a rich danish (I’ll keep calling them cakes, though).  Some King Cakes are baked without adding a filling, but I like to make mine with a rich and luscious cream cheese and cinnamon filling.  After the cake is baked, the baby is inserted.  Then the top of the cake is covered with a rich glaze and decorated in the traditional colors of purple, green and gold.

These colors have a special meaning as well.  One explanation is that the official Mardi Gras colors were selected in 1872 to honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff, whose house colors were purple, green and gold.  Another explanation is that the colors purple, green and gold were used by Catholic Church throughout history, and the colors represent Justice (Purple), Faith (Green), and Power (Gold).

This recipe takes some time to make, but it’s worth it in the end. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

King Cake

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 Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (98-105 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

 Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Cinnamon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

 Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or milk

 Decoration Ingredients:

  • Green sugar sprinkles
  • Purple sugar sprinkles
  • Yellow sugar sprinkles
  • One tiny plastic or porcelain baby (about 2 inches long)

 Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small microwave-safe bowl, place the butter and sugar.  Cook for 1-2 minutes in the microwave until the butter melts.  Transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.

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In another small bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside to allow the yeast to proof. It should be very bubbly after five minutes; if not, then discard the mixture and start over. NOTE: Water that is too hot will kill the yeast. The water should feel as warm as the temperature of your skin.DSC_0011

Place the egg into the bowl of a large stand mixer (such as a KitchenAid).  Use the paddle attachment to slightly beat the egg.

The photo below shows two eggs–I doubled my recipe when I made this so I had enough cakes to give away to friends.

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Mix in the sour cream mixture and proofed yeast.

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Slowly mix in the flour, one cup at a time. NOTE: If you live in a low humidity environment, you may need less flour, about 2 1/2 cups. If you live in humid area, you may need slightly more than 3 cups of flour.

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After the flour has been roughly mixed with the wet ingredients, switch to the dough hook.

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Turn your mixer to medium-high speed and knead for 5 minutes. NOTE: If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. After kneading, place the dough into a greased bowl (clear works best so you can see if the dough has doubled in size); place in a warm place to rise until doubled.

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While the dough is rising, make the cream cheese and cinnamon fillings.

Make the Cream Cheese Filling:

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the egg, sugar and cream cheese. Mix on high until there are no more lumps and the filling is smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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Cinnamon filling: In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon filling ingredients together. Set aside.

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Make the Glaze:

Mix together the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and just half of the orange juice. Mix until smooth.

You want the glaze to be slightly thin but not runny. Add more orange juice if you need to thin it out more.

Set aside.

Put it all together:

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Place onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 18×12 inches.

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Roughly mark lines in the dough to separate it into thirds (do NOT cut through the dough). Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the OUTER sections into diagonal strips about 1 inch wide; these strips are what you will use to create a woven or braided look for the top of the King Cake. NOTE: Make sure you do not cut through the middle third of the rectangle.

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Spread the cream cheese mixture down the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top of the cream cheese mixture.

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Fold the strips of dough over the fillings, alternating sides. Overlap the strips to form a braided or woven look.

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Tuck the ends of the dough underneath the end; use any extra dough to ensure both ends of the King Cake are sealed (to keep the filling in while baking).

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This is how you’d make a round King Cake.

Roll out two pieces of dough about 16 inches in diameter.

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Cut one piece of dough into strips, like you’re cutting a pizza.

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Place the uncut round piece onto a baking sheet.  Place the cut pieces of dough underneath the edge of the uncut piece (pointed part facing out), going all around the side (it will look like a large sun with rays pointing out).  Press along the edges of the cut pieces to the seal them to the uncut circle.

Spread the cream cheese filling around the edge of the uncut circle of dough.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar filling on top of the cream cheese.  Fold each cut piece inward, pressing down at the pointed tip to seal the dough (you will have a small “well” of dough in the middle).

Into the small well, pour more cream cheese filling.  Top with cinnamon filling.

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Carefully lift the shaped dough and place onto a large baking sheet.  Spray the top of the King Cake (dough) lightly with butter flavored cooking spray, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again until doubled.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

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Glaze the King Cake and Decorate:

While the King Cake is still warm, spread a thin layer of the glaze on top.

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Decorate with the sugar sprinkles, alternating the colors.

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Slice, Serve and ENJOY!
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