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by Heather Harris Brady

This idea was a happy coincidence that came out of a need to use up a large batch of bananas – or maybe it was an excuse to use a can of dulce de leche, tomato, tomahto šŸ˜‰

I used a basic cream puff dough (pate de choux), topped with cinnamon sugar and a bit of streusel for crunch. Then I put a dollop of dulce in the bottom of each puff, and topped it with a large scoop of banana soft-serve. The flavors work together really well, and if you have a very cold deep freeze you can have it on the table in less than two hours (most of which time is just allowing the bananas to freeze).

Churro Puffs, Makes eight servings

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 T. 1-2-3-4 streusel
  • 2 T. cinnamon sugar
  • 1 c. dulce de leche
  • 6 large ripe bananas for banana soft serve
  • Chocolate syrup, for garnish

Slice your bananas and put them in a single layer on a piece of waxed paper. Slide them into the deep freeze.

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the water, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

When the butter is melted and the mixture is steaming hot, add the flour all at once.

Whisk quickly until the mixture comes together in a ball.

Take the dough off the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. (Note – these are farm fresh eggs from a friend so the yolks are a beautiful deep yellow orange.)

When both eggs are incorporated you should have a lovely paste.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, and top each one with cinnamon sugar and streusel.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. When you take them out of the oven split the tops to let the steam out.

When you’re to serve prep your serving plates with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, top it with a puff and add a spoon of dulce into the bottom of each puff.

Put the frozen banana slices in the food processor and process for two minutes on high, until smooth.

Add a large scoop of banana soft serve into each puff and serve!

Baked puffs may be stored at room temperature for a few hours, and they freeze well. You can recrisp frozen puffs at 350 for 5-10 minutes.


Four years ago: Stuffed Zucchini
Three years ago: Butternut Squash BBQ Sauce
Two years ago: Double Berry Cookies
One year ago: Coney Sauce, Michigan Style


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by Heather Harris-Brady

Thanks for sticking with me gang, while I get this off-to-college/graduation business sorted out! Here is a nice, quick little recipe that would make a lovely Mother’s Day dessert to have with tea or coffee. It’s super easy, a great one to do with the kiddos.

You can vary the flavors with this to suit, I used orange flavoring and mini-chips but you could use citrus or almond as well. This comes from Maida Heatter’s Book of C0okies, and they freeze well if you want to make them ahead. It’s tempting to cut them in larger squares, but the smaller 2″ squares seem just right.

Cheesecake Bars, Makes about 16 2″ squares

  • 1/3 c. butter, softened
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 8 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese at room temp.
  • 1/4 c. granulated sguar
  • 1 t. flavoring (vanilla or other)
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and oatmeal. Blend until well mixed.

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Set aside a cup of the mixture and press the rest into a lightly greased 8″ square pan.

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Bake for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, cream the egg, sugar, flavoring and cream cheese together well.

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Pour it over the hot crust.

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I added a few mini chips here to compliment my orange flavored filling.

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Top the cheesecake with the rest of the crumbs.

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Return it to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

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Cool thoroughly and then refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut it into squares with a sharp knife and serve.

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Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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by Heather Harris Brady

Since Saturday was PI day (3.14.15) and I live in a house with a bunch of math geeks/pie lovers pie there was no choice, pie had to manifest. The fresh fruit this time of year is somewhat expensive and questionable, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the tricks of making pie with frozen fruit. Quick pie. Pie when you do not have the time to defrost because dinner is imminent. Pie when you want to clean out the freezer to get ready for spring.

Here I used a cup of small wild blueberries, about three cups of Montmorency cherries and one cup of raspberries – all individually quick-frozen last summer. Because you can’t tell with frozen fruit how much juice the berries will give off, things get tricky. So you guess at the start and then cheat if you have to later on.

I started this pie off in the oven without its topping. About halfway through the baking I checked to see if my initial guess was correct. Here I could have added in some cornstarch or tapioca flour, but I didn’t need to as you will see.

Mixed Berry Pie (with frozen berries), Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 5 c. mixed berries of your choice, all individually quick-frozen
  • One unbaked deep dish pie shell (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 2 c. streusel (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 1-1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. small tapioca
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Mix the sugar, tapioca and berries together in a bowl. Let stand for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.

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Fill the pie shell with the berries evenly.

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After 25-30 minutes, take the pie out of the oven. The berries should be giving off their juices and while it should be a bit watery (because the tapioca is starting to do its job) the berries should not be completely submerged.

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If you have too much juice at this point you can gently stir in some more cornstarch or tapioca flour mixed with cold water. Then proceed to cover the pie with the streusel.

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Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, until the streusel is nicely brown.

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The pie will thicken as it cools. I left it to cool at room temperature. Here it is six hours later.

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Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Two years ago: Cream Scones
One year ago: Key Lime Pie

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by Heather Harris-Brady

My grandma was an amazing cook but she only used rhubarb one way, stewed. I hated it. It was a grayish runny mass with pink and green strings running through it. So the only way I ate rhubarb as a kid was raw, like a stalk of celery. Yes, it was super-sour but I’m weird like that.

One gorgeous day when we were still childless and fancyfree my DH and I were traipsing the backwoods of Ontario, as we were wont to do. We ended up at a little Irish restaurant somewhere around Stratford. Lunch was great (shepherd’s pie) and when the waitress asked about dessert I said, “Is there anything I shouldn’t miss?”

“The rhubarb pie’s pretty good,” she said. I winced a little, picturing a runny mass inside a crust so I only ordered one piece. It was a revelation. Tender chunks of rhubarb, sweet and sour at the same time. For the better part of a year I read rhubarb pie recipes to discover the secret. I ended up combining elements of several, but it was when I found a recipe for rhubarb custard pie that I knew I was close. So here you have it, tender chunks of rhubarb simmering under a blanket of crumbs and merging into a golden, molten whole. You could totally make it without the crust if you want. I think it’s best warm, with a little vanilla ice cream on the side. Try to select rhubarb stalks that are roughly the same size, or cut really large ones in half.

Rhubarb Streusel Pie, Makes one 9″ deep-dish pie

1/2 recipe Aunt Linda’s never-fail pie crust

4-1/2 c. rhubarb, cut in 1/2″ chunks

1-1/3 c. sugar

2 eggs

1/3 c. flour

2 t. vanilla

Streusel

1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. butter

1/3 c. sugar

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Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the rhubarb with the 1-1/3 c. sugar. Let stand 15 minutes. While the rhubarb is resting, roll out the crust and line a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Weight it and bake for five minutes.

Beat the eggs, flour and vanilla together. Stir it into the rhubarb.

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Pour it into the crust. Make the streusel: mix the flour and sugar together, cut in the flour until you have coarse crumbs. Spread them over the top of the pie.

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Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes until the rhubarb is tender all the way through.

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This would make a great Father’s Day surprise, btw. I’ll just wait here while you go hunt down some rhubarb. . .

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I’ve had a pumpkin streusel sweet roll recipe for while which I like because they are moist, it makes a lot and they are good keepers. As I contemplated how to use up the rest of the pumpkin a little voice inside my head started speaking.

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This little voice first piped up when I read the Milk Bar cookbook. If you read that post you know that means trouble. The little voice said, “So you’re making these because you like pumpkin but they don’t taste that much like pumpkin? weeee-iiiirrrrdddd.” So I took measures and after the pumpkin butter, the cream cheese and the streusel the little voice went quiet. Just to be sure I topped things off with dulce de leche, lightly salted.

These rolls could be the result of a cinnamon roll honeymooning in Cabo with a pumpkin cream roll – such is the fantasy life of a baker! Start out with a large can of pumpkin puree (29 oz.).

Pumpkin Sticky Buns Recipe, Makes about 22 large rolls

1 batch of cinnamon roll dough, reducing the liquid by 1/2 cup and adding 1 c. pumpkin puree to the hot liquid

1 batch of 1-2-3-4 streusel

1 batch of pumpkin butter (recipe follows)

1 batch of dulce cheesecake filling (recipe follows), if desired

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So as your lovely orange dough is rising off to the side, make the pumpkin butter:

Pumpkin butter recipe, makes about 1-1/2 cups

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Put the remaining pumpkin puree in a microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. sugar and 2 t. pumpkin pie spice. Stir well and microwave on high for three minutes. Stir well and microwave for another two minutes. The pumpkin puree will cook down and darken into pumpkin butter. Let cool.

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Dulce Cheesecake Filling Recipe

1 8 oz. package 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. dulce de leche

Stir everything together well in a bowl and set aside.

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Once the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and knead it for five minutes. Depending on your flour you may have to knead some additional flour, whatever it takes to get to a soft dough. Divide the dough in half. Take one half and roll it out on a floured board until it is 1/4″ thick.

Spread it with half of the pumpkin butter.

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I sprinkled the pumpkin butter with some spiced nuts here I had left over from Christmas.

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Spread half of the cheesecake filling on the dough if you’re using it.

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Then top everything with 1/2 the streusel.

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Roll the dough up and slice it into 1/2″ thick slices. Lay them into greased pans and let them rise until doubled in bulk. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

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Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

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Take the rolls out of the pans and let cool slightly on a rack. Drizzle the tops with the rest of the dulce de leche. I sprinkled them lightly with sea salt.

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Serve them slightly warm and store any leftover baked rolls in the refrigerator.

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