Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Rhubarb Custard Pie

This recipe for Rhubarb Custard Pie was on the back of the recipe for Rhubarb Crumble. I’m really glad I turned it over and looked on the back. The rhubarb is just about gone for this year, but I still have plenty of recipes left to try next year. There are at least 3 more rhubarb pie recipes in the bunch, not to mention all of the other desserts, and I think there are several rhubarb recipes from Grandma’s sisters. We’ll have enough to keep us in rhubarb treats for years yet!

This pie is full of rhubarb!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Combine:

1 pound of rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

Spoon into pie shell.

Beat:

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour over rhubarb.

Place pie pan on baking sheet so the pie doesn’t overflow and make a mess on the bottom of your oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Have a pie crust made and ready to go. I used Grandma’s recipe for Never Fail Pie Crust.

There are 2 parts to this filling – first the rhubarb with the dry ingredients, and then the eggs and sour cream mixture.

Before and after baking – you can see how it really does make a custard-like filling, and look at how loaded with rhubarb it is!

This is another beautiful and delicious pie to share with family and friends.

I have never made this one before, since I didn’t even know it was on the back of another recipe, but it’s easy and very delicious. The taste is less sweet than some other pie recipes, and the family liked that. The taste of the rhubarb really comes through because it IS less sweet. It’s very nice. Try this Rhubarb Custard Pie, and let’s continue to enjoy rhubarb season as long as we can!

 

 

 

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Limoncello and Freezing Lemon Juice

Making Limoncello was my daughter’s idea after she brought home those beautiful lemons from California last winter. We had a lot of lemons, and after making all of those wonderful recipes with them, I still had a bunch left over. Why not? I’ve never had Limoncello and it sounded delicious. I’m up for it.

See what I mean? They’re seriously beautiful lemons.

This is MY lemon tree. My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago, and it has barely – and I mean barely – survived the winters in my kitchen where it gets the most sun in the house. The poor thing really needs A LOT more sun than it gets here. Let me add that in this picture, it is looking VERY good. I’m not even going to show a photo of what it looks like right now – a lot of blossoms, but yellow leaves that are falling off faster than summer is getting here. The tree has done well being out on our deck in the summertime, and it NEEDS to be out there. It’s done well enough to give me 2 whole lemons! Just enough to make myself 1 lemon drop cocktail!!! There are recipes all over the internet for making Limoncello, and that’s where I found the instructions to make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Limoncello

Wash and scrub 12 lemons (organic, if possible). Peel them with either a vegetable peeler or knife, getting the peel as thin as possible, without any of the white pith on it. The pith makes it bitter, so you could use a little knife and carefully cut or scrape off the white pith.

Juice the lemons, but don’t waste that wonderful juice.

I froze the juice in 1 cup amounts in zip top freezer bags. Freeze them flat and you can stack them in your freezer to take up less space. It’s also easier to break off what you need when it is frozen flat. Use this over the summer to make Lemonade, Lemon Meringue Pie, or Lemon Meringue Pie #2.

Put the peel into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add one bottle of grain alcohol (which I couldn’t find) or 100 proof vodka (which is what I used).

Let it sit for 3 weeks and get all nice and lemony from the oils in the peel. I labeled it so I wouldn’t forget how long to leave it alone.

After 3 weeks, filter the peels out of the vodka. I used a coffee filter put inside my mesh strainer to do this. Press all the vodka out of the peel and filter. Don’t waste a drop!

Now you have the beautiful, fragrant vodka, but you need to add some simple syrup. Heat 3-4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool. Add the simple syrup to the lemon vodka and combine. Now you have your Limoncello.

I used a funnel to pour it into a bottle – we had a few clean, old plain glass bottles and that’s what I used. Top it with a cork and you’re done!

Here is the beautiful, yellow, lemony Limoncello. It had a mellower, less lemony taste than it might have if I had used regular lemons – these are Meyer lemons with a sweeter, milder flavor. This also makes a great gift – tie a pretty ribbon around it, add a gift tag, and you’re good to go!

I’m glad I tried this. It’s delicious, and when you store it in the freezer, it’s nice and icy cold – you can even enjoy it with some sparkling water and/or over ice. Or try it over cake or ice cream. Try this stuff on anything. Limoncello is the perfect after dinner cocktail for a warm summer night.

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Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

The card for this recipe doesn’t have a title, so I’m calling it Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert. I don’t know why,  but rhubarb recipes always remind me of Grandma, even if they aren’t from her. I wanted to share this photo today, of Grandma and Grandpa (on the left) and Grandma’s sister and her husband. Grandma and this sister had their birthdays on the same day, but 2 years apart. I just love this picture!

They look so young and so happy! These sisters were so close and such good friends, that I’m sure they spent many afternoons chatting over cups of coffee and some of these rhubarb recipes. This recipe is so easy and so delicious, that you’re ALL going to want to try this one!

This sounds like another weird one, but trust me, this one is really good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

Mix according to package directions:

1 yellow or lemon cake mix (I used lemon for this one)

Put in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Pour over cake mix:

5 cups chopped rhubarb

Then over that:

1 1/2 cups sugar

Pour over top of all:

1/2 pint whipping cream (I mistakenly bought Half-n-Half to make this and didn’t realize it until I was about to pour it on – it worked fine)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve upside down with whipped cream (or ice cream).

This one takes a lot of rhubarb – that means a lot of chopping.

I know it sounds weird, but put the cake batter into the pan, sprinkle on the rhubarb, then on goes the sugar.

Pour the whipping cream over the top of everything.

After baking, it looks totally different. It’s ok – this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Don’t forget to put it on the plate upside down. You can see the how the rhubarb goes to the bottom of the pan and so do the sugar and whipping cream, so it makes a delicious custardy topping for the cake.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s delicious just the way it is, but Grandma always liked to gild the lily.

That means adding the whipped cream at the end. I used lemon cake mix instead of yellow for this cake, and it was delicious but a bit overpowering. I think the yellow cake mix lets the rhubarb flavor come through better. Either way is so easy and so tasty, that I hope you’ll all try this Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing mothers and grandmothers out there!

I just had to share this photo of my mom with me and my sister, and we’re all wearing the matching and very festive bright green polka dot mother/daughter dresses that mom made for us! This was about 1970, and it looks like it!!!

Enjoy your special day, all you moms and grandmoms, and thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate each and every one of you and all of your support!

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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Angel Sponge Cake

This recipe for Angel Sponge Cake comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. I haven’t had any bad ones from this book, however, this might be the first one. This one was kind of weird. I looked online to see if there were any recipes on there for Angel Sponge Cake that I could look at, but I didn’t find any. Not one. At any rate, I tried it, and I’ll share it, but I warned you. I wanted to have this cake on today so there would be a beautiful and tasty dessert for you to make for mom this weekend. Boo. I’m not so sure about this one. You might want to try some other recipes I’ve posted. The ridiculously delicious Prune Cake is a great one, or the Chocolate Rose Cake for the chocoholic mom, or even the luscious Lemon Dessert #2. There are so many desserts and cakes to choose from – go crazy and pick one!

I think they ran out of room to write out the recipe – it’s a bit confusing.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Angel Sponge Cake

Beat:

6 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add:

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

Put in bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan (I think – there’s no size listed).

Beat until light:

6 egg  yolks

Add and beat until light in color:

3 Tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Sift together:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine with egg yolk mixture.

Pour over egg whites in pan.

Bake in slow (300-325 degrees – I had the oven at 325 degrees) 45-60 minutes.

Separate the eggs first – this recipe doesn’t take long if you have everything ready to go ahead of time. I used my big mixer, but I think it would have worked better with a hand mixer.

Here is the angel food layer in the pan first. Looks harmless enough.

The recipe doesn’t have everything in the instructions. Sift ALL the dry ingredients for the sponge cake layer together first.

Here is the sponge cake layer poured on top of the angel food layer. Ok . . .?

I thought maybe the two types of cake would assimilate and mix together more. Instead, there are definitely two separate layers with two totally different types of cake. Weird.

Whipped cream and fresh berries make anything delicious AND beautiful!

The cake is good – just a bit strange – and kind of tough. Not my favorite and possibly the first recipe from that tiny book that isn’t so great. Maybe I missed something here, I don’t know. Anyway, if you try this Angel Sponge Cake, let me know how it turns out for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble is one of Grandma’s recipes that doesn’t seem to make sense. I think it’s more of a cake than a “crumble”. When I think of a “crumble”, I think of more of a “crisp”, but this recipe makes more of a cake. In fact, I’d say it reminds me of more of a coffee cake. It’s perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or afternoon coffee. The recipe is a bit mixed up, so I had to figure out what to do with this one. Let’s get started and you’ll see what I mean.

This delicious crumble/cake is loaded with rhubarb.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crumble

Topping:

Mix together and set aside:

3 Tablespoons, melted butter

2/3 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used pecans)

Mix together in order given:

1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/3 cup self-rising cake flour (I never have cake flour OR self-rising flour in the house, so I had to go to Google and find out how to make a substitute: 2 1/3 cups flour, 1/2 heaping t. salt, 2 1/2 heaping t. baking powder – whisk together and sift 5 times to make it light.)

Fold in:

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces

Spoon into greased 9 inch springform pan.

Add topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes.

I didn’t see the part about the rhubarb needing to be in 1 inch pieces until I had already cut it into 1/4 inch pieces. It was just fine.

You can see how full of rhubarb the batter is, and that bit of orange in there is really tasty.

The crumble topping goes on top and then after baking, it makes a delicious crumb top.

Not only is this a delicious cake – it’s beautiful! I put it on the glass plate pedestal I made a few years ago, and you can find the instructions for how to make that here.

The springform pan makes it easy to cut the pretty pieces, but I think you could also bake this in a 9 inch x 9 inch pan.

This beautiful and delicious crumble/cake would make the perfect brunch dessert for Mother’s Day. It would also be perfect for your afternoon coffee. Serve this Rhubarb Crumble with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and mom will be so glad – and proud – that you baked!

 

 

 

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Chocolate Cake (Cupcakes) with Chocolate Buttercream

The recipe for Chocolate Cake (which I decided to make into cupcakes) comes from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. It was time to make my son’s birthday cake and he decided that this year he wanted chocolate. Well, are we glad I tried this recipe from that book! This is one of the family’s newest favorites. The front page of that little book said that the recipes were “tested” and I would have to say they did it right. All of the recipes from that tiny book have been absolutely delicious, and this one is no exception. I made this recipe for a birthday, but it would also be great for Mother’s Day, or any other celebration – especially if your mother is as much of a chocoholic as my mom is. In honor of the upcoming day to celebrate mothers, here is a photo of 3 generations: my mom, my grandma, and her mother – my great-grandmother.

It must have been a special occasion – they’re all dressed up and Grandma has a hat on! So let’s get back to the business at hand – Chocolate Cake!

This recipe is quick and easy to do – just the way we like ’em!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Cake

Mix in order given:

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 small eggs

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon (heaping) baking soda (add to the flour)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa mixed with enough boiling water to make a paste

Bake at 350-375 degrees for 40 minutes (I baked the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes).

Chocolate Buttercream

2 sticks butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2-3/4 cup cocoa (depending on how cocoa-y you like it)

2-3 Tablespoons vanilla

3-4 Tablespoons milk

Blend well with a hand mixer, adding more milk if necessary to thin to perfect piping or frosting consistency.

This is what the cocoa paste looks like – nice and creamy.

Here’s before and after baking – very chocolatey.

I don’t think you can see it here, and I’m not sure why, but these cupcakes had a nice bit of a crust on top – it was delightful and we all loved that part.

I piped on the buttercream, but you can frost them with a knife also. The buttercream is delicious on these and it WAS a birthday – there HAS to be sprinkles.

This my new favorite recipe. They were just delicious. I use that word a lot – delicious. But they were – absolutely delicious. The whole family agreed. Try this recipe for Chocolate Cake for your chocoholic – it’ll be their new favorite, too!

 

 

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Rhubarb Bars

I can’t believe it! It’s finally here! Rhubarb season! Time to make the first recipe of the season – Rhubarb Bars. My plants are as big as they’ve ever been, and while I know I say that every year – this time I mean it!

Rhubarb is one of those things that my grandmas used to help them survive the Great Depression. They planted rhubarb, and while it still took some sugar to bake with it and to eat, it was a fruit they grew themselves and it was free – they didn’t have to use their limited resources to buy it. I’m sure friends and family gave each other parts of the plants they grew – just like sharing perennials – so they didn’t originally have to BUY the plants. That’s probably why Grandma and her sisters had so many recipes for delicious treats like Rhubarb Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Rhubarb Bread, Rhubarb Muffins, Rhubarb Cream Delight, Rhubarb Crunch, Rhubarb Crunch #2Orange Rhubarb Pie, Rhubarb Jam, Rhubarb Torte, and Rhubarb Sauce. When I planted my first rhubarb plant many years ago, I did buy it because neither grandma or my mom still had rhubarb for me to get a piece of. I put it on the south side of our garage and it grew pretty well, but only had pencil sized stalks. I was telling Grandpa about it and he told me to pick almost all of it before it froze in the fall, so it had to grow new stalks every year. Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised that the old farmer knew what he was talking about – it’s grown bigger every year (I’ve since split it into two clumps and even given some pieces to friends) and this year the stalks are about an inch wide. This is so exciting! More rhubarb to make more recipes! Let’s get started.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Bars

In a saucepan, dissolve in 1/4 cup water:

2 Tablespoons corn starch

Mix in:

3 cups cut-up rhubarb

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook until thick.

Cool.

Mix together until crumbly:

1 1/2 cup oatmeal

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Pat 3/4 of this mixture into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Pour in the cooled rhubarb mixture.

Top with remaining crumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I didn’t press the crust in too hard, just patted it in. Next goes on the delicious and jammy filling, which seemed like it didn’t thicken up enough, but was just fine in the end. I almost would have suggested an extra tablespoon of corn starch because of that, but I soon realized why it wasn’t necessary. After baking, we couldn’t wait to try the bars. We cut them while they were still warm and they were really crumbly and soft. My advice – WAIT until they’re totally cool and they’ll be more like a bar and easier to cut.

This is before and after baking. These are almost like a jam bar with that filling in there.

Oh wow – these smell so delicious while they’re baking – and aren’t they pretty?!!

Get out to your garden and start picking those beautiful stalks of rhubarb. Then start your rhubarb baking and try these bars. They’re so delicious – just like Grandma used to make! You’re going to love these Rhubarb Bars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eggs Pizzaiola

Recently, while making this recipe for Eggs Pizzaiola, for some reason I started remembering overnights at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. One of my favorite things we did was reading with them at bedtime. After getting into our jammies, it was time to snuggle in Grandma and Grandpa’s big bed and read while they shut everything down for the night and got ready for bed themselves. While being able to be in their bed made up with the sheets that had been deliciously dried outside on the clothesline was a luxury in itself, I have to admit that reading was absolutely my favorite thing to do when I was little, so that part was fantastic to me. They had one special book that was a favorite of mine, “The Adventures of Mr. Toad”, which was the Disney version of “The Wind in the Willows”. It had amazing illustrations and I loved it. Next it was time to read from the little devotional book that came monthly from their church. There was a short story, a bible verse, and a little prayer at the end. When the reading was done, it was upstairs to our beds (also made up with sheets deliciously dried outside on the clothesline) to be tucked in and then “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .”.

The next morning it was down the stairs to choose from the 4 or more boxes of breakfast cereal in one of the kitchen cupboards. I’m not sure why they always had such a selection of breakfast “food” (as Grandma called it), but it was another of my favorite things about staying at the farm. We NEVER had that many breakfast options at home. It was such a treat to be able to make a selection from all of those magical boxes of cereal. I’m not sure why that was such a big deal to me, but it was.

Then it was on with the day, and more of my favorite things to do: listening to the blue jays squawking in the trees in the grove, catching butterflies and putting them into one of the many jars Grandma saved on the wooden shelves in the basement, watching the sun shining through the kitchen window in the morning as Grandma did her baking for the day, the moss roses waving in the sunlight as they cheerily bloomed along the sidewalk to the house, checking out the thorns on the towering yellow rose-bush blooming on the northwest corner of the garage, afternoon coffee and a snack or treat at 3:00 in the kitchen, at the picnic table, or out in the field with Grandpa, listening to the musical church chimes drifting over the cornfields from their little town west of the farm at 7:00 pm, and either a competitive evening of lawn games and/or board games before it was time for bed again after the local news at 10:30.

But most of all, I remember love.

Grandma didn’t make a big breakfast very often – hence the large choice of cereals – but I think she would have approved of this very easy and very tasty breakfast. This Eggs Pizzaiola could even be a light lunch or dinner. Everywhere you turn these days you see an egg on top of everything, so we’re right on trend here. This is tomato sauce with eggs on top. I found a recipe for this on Skinnytaste, (and of course I made a few of changes) and it’s delicious, healthy, and good for you.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Eggs Pizzaiola

In a large non-skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Saute until golden:

4 cloves garlic, minced

Add:

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I didn’t have any for this batch)

Stir.

Add:

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups crushed tomatoes (I used petite diced tomatoes)

Bring to a boil.

Add:

4 basil leaves, torn (I used dried basil)

Reduce heat to simmer 5 minutes.

Gently drop in:

6 eggs with yolks intact

Top with:

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon Pecorino cheese (I didn’t use this – I only had Parmesan)

Cover and simmer on med-low for 10-15 minutes until whites are cooked through and no longer runny.

Finish with:

2 more Tablespoons Parmesan

1 more Tablespoon Pecorino (I used 3 more Tablespoons Parmesan since I didn’t have any Pecorino)

I’m always one for “making do” with what you have (I’m sure that comes from my two grandmas who lived through the Great Depression) and not stopping to run to the store if I don’t have something (if I don’t absolutely have to). I didn’t have a couple of things when making this for lunch one day. I didn’t have either fresh OR dried parsley – so I didn’t use any, and I didn’t have stewed tomatoes, so I used petite cut tomatoes. It was still delicious and worked great!

This is after putting the eggs into the sauce, and topping them with the parmesan – and then after they simmered for 10 minutes or so. I would have cooked them a bit less – we like our yolks a bit more runny.

I love a quick and easy breakfast dish, and this one certainly fits the bill.

Eggs in a tasty tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese – fast AND delicious! This makes the best breakfast, or lunch, or dinner for that matter – it’s my new favorite! Serve it with a nice slice of toast or a chunk of bread. You can’t beat that, and you can’t beat this Eggs Pizzaiola!

 

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White Cookies

I’m not sure why the funny name for these cookies – why they called them White Cookies. Maybe it’s because this recipe comes from the tiny book at my sister’s house and there were at least 4 other sugar cookie recipes in there. Maybe they needed a different name for some of them. Who cares what the name is – these cookies are tremendously goo-ood. This recipe makes a smaller batch of beautiful, tasty, roll-out sugar cookies. This batch of went to some friends, and I couldn’t resist using my chicken cookie cutter! Something about chickens just makes me smile, and I hope they made my friends smile, too! I did roll these a bit thick, and I got 37 chickens out of them. I think you could count on getting anywhere from 3-4 dozen cookies from this batch, depending on how thick or thin you roll the dough.

It’s a very simple but very tasty recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

White Cookies

Cream together:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

4 Tablespoons milk

Sift dry ingredients together:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Roll out the dough, cut cookies, and bake.

Note that there are no time or temperature again.

I baked the cookies at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

It doesn’t say to chill the dough, so that may be why the cookies spread out a little bit.

First mix the wet (ish) ingredients, and then add the dry ingredients that have been sifted together.

Because the dough isn’t chilled, it is a bit of a soft dough. It does cut beautifully.

Here are the cut out chickens. You can put any colored sugar on these (or frost them, of course), but in this case, I liked the sparkle – and bit of a crunch – of plain sanding sugar.

You can see how they spread a little bit, but that sure doesn’t hurt the flavor.

Here are the beautiful little chickens!

These absolutely delicious, and are perfect with your afternoon coffee. Or evening coffee. Or weekend coffee. Or any coffee. Make a batch of these tasty White Cookies!

 

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