Tag Archives: recipes

Nana’s Cinnamon Rolls

Nana's Cinnamon Rolls

The woman who shared this recipe with me calls them Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls, but I call them Nana’s Cinnamon Rolls even if this lovely woman isn’t my Nana. I’m an inveterate collector of recipes and I will ask anyone to share, including total strangers and other people’s family members. Recipes like this are my reward and many thanks to my brother-in-law’s Nana for this one.

Ingredients – Dough:

  • 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs

Ingredients – Cinnamon Filling:

  • 10 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon

Ingredients – Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Maple syrup (or milk)
  • Maple extract or vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Instructions – Cinnamon Rolls:

STEP 1:  In a large mixer bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and yeast. Stirring constantly, heat the milk, granulated sugar, butter and salt just until mixture is warm and the butter is almost melted (120-130 degrees). You can use a thermometer for this but you do not have to.

STEP 2:  Add milk mixture and eggs to the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. (Dough will be soft.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball.

STEP 3:  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). The dough is ready for shaping when you can lightly and quickly press two fingers 1/2 inch into the dough and the indentation remains.

STEP 4:  Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half and shape each half into a smooth ball. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes.

STEP 5:  On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a 12 x 10 inch rectangle. Spread with 5 Tbsp. softened butter. Combine cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle half over rolled dough. Roll dough from the short side and seal edges with fingers dipped in water. Make a second roll with the remaining dough, butter and sugar mixture.

STEP 6:  Slice each dough roll into pieces about 1 inch thick using dental floss. Slide the floss under the dough bring it up and tie it right through the dough. You’ll get perfect slices without smashing the roll. Repeat to slice both rolls of dough. Arrange in a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled (about 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 350 degrees when you cover the rolls to rise.

STEP 7:  Bake rolls in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Invert immediately on a wire rack. Cool slightly and drizzle with the following glaze.

MAPLE GLAZE:  Gradually whisk maple syrup into 1 cup of powdered sugar until drizzling consistency is achieved. If maple syrup is not available milk can be substituted and 1/4 cup chopped nuts can be added to either if desired. If using milk, maple extract or vanilla can be added for flavor.

NOTE:  If you want to make the rolls the night before, cover tightly and refrigerate once you’ve sliced them and arranged them in the pan. The final rise will take longer than 30 minutes when you take them out of the fridge and will depend on the temperature in the room. I take them out a couple hours before I want to bake them and bake once they’ve doubled in size.

For those of you who would like to print this recipe, click here for a printer friendly PDF version.

More about Wanda Shapiro • Novels by Wanda Shapiro


Persian Mulberry Pie Recipe

Persian Mulberries

I promised this recipe to a lovely woman named Ruth I met at the Santa Monica farmers market. She understood why I was rushing to the Weiser Family Farm stand for the Persian mulberries and her ears perked up when she heard about the pie I was planning to bake.

Many thanks to Alex Weiser, fam and crew for another fabulous crop of Persian mulberries. If you haven’t tried them, I suggest you put them on your bucket list. They look like wet black berries and they have an indescribably strong flavor I wait all year for. They are pricey but they are worth every penny and the rhubarb in this pie keeps the cost of the berries down.

Ingredients – Pie filling:

3 cups Persian mulberries (drained)
2 ½ cups rhubarb (diced)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Ingredients – Pie Crust:

For the top crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. pork lard
4-6 Tbsp. ice water

For the bottom crust:

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. pork lard
6-8 Tbsp. ice water

NOTE: For best results, I recommend using organic ingredients, especially when it comes to meat and dairy products.

Instructions for the pie crust:

Add salt to flour. Cut butter and lard into flour with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add water 1-2 table spoons of ice water at a time. Mix thoroughly with a spoon with each addition of water until a ball of dough forms in the bowl. Gently and quickly form the dough into an even ball and transfer to a well-floured surface. Gently and quickly press the dough into a disk approximately 2 inches thick. Wrap the disk in wax paper and repeat this process for the second crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours and don’t worry if the crust is stiffer when you try to roll it out.

NOTE: I know most pie recipes provide one list of ingredients that is supposed to be used for the top and bottom crusts. However, that way you end up with too much dough for the top and not enough for the bottom crust. After being frustrated by this for years, I re-wrote the recipe to make two more logically proportioned crusts.

Instructions for the pie filling:

Drain mulberries for at least one hour or overnight in the fridge. Slice rhubarb lengthwise and dice into ¼ inch pieces. Place both in a large bowl. Mix sugar, flour and cornstarch until thoroughly mixed. Add dry mixture to mulberries and rhubarb in three or four batches, mixing well with a spatula between each.

Instructions for the pie:

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crusts and place in a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Add pie filling being sure to evenly distribute any sugar mixture which is left in the bottom of the bowl. Crimp the edges of the crust and slice a vent in the crust with a sharp knife. Bake immediately for approximately 1 hour on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Rotate pie front to back after 30 minutes. If the pie is not browned to your taste after 1 hour, leave it in for another 10-15 minutes. Let pie cool completely before slicing and serving.

NOTE: I know this seems like a high temperature for a pie but a butter-lard crust requires a higher temperature than a butter-only crust or a crust made with vegetable shortening. One of the nice things about butter-lard crust is that the edges of the crust won’t burn before the pie is done. You won’t need those crust covering rings, even at 425. If you use a different pie crust recipe to make this pie, bake according to the temperature and time of the other recipe.

For those of you who would like to print this recipe, click here for a printer friendly PDF version.

More about Wanda Shapiro • Novels by Wanda Shapiro


Cherry Pie Recipe

cherry_pie

As promised in my last post, and in celebration of spring, here’s my cherry pie recipe. It’s a short season so I’m on a mission to see how many pies I can squeeze into 2015.

Ingredients – Pie filling:

2 1/2 lbs cherries
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Ingredients – Pie Crust:

For the top crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. pork lard
4-6 Tbsp. ice water

For the bottom crust:

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. pork lard
6-8 Tbsp. ice water

NOTE:  For best results, I recommend using organic ingredients, especially when it comes to meat and dairy products.

Instructions for the pie crust:

Add salt to flour. Cut butter and lard into flour with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add water 1-2 table spoons of ice water at a time. Mix thoroughly with a spoon with each addition of water until a ball of dough forms in the bowl. Gently and quickly form the dough into an even ball and transfer to a well-floured surface. Gently and quickly press the dough into a disk approximately 2 inches thick. Wrap the disk in wax paper and repeat this process for the second crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours and don’t worry if the crust is stiffer when you try to roll it out.

NOTE:  I know most pie recipes provide one list of ingredients that is supposed to be used for the top and bottom crusts. However, that way you end up with too much dough for the top and not enough for the bottom crust. After being frustrated by this for years, I re-wrote the recipe to make two more logically proportioned crusts.

Instructions for the pie filling:

Pit cherries using a cherry pitter and place in a large bowl. Mix sugar, flour and cornstarch until thoroughly mixed. Add dry mixture to cherries in three or four batches, mixing well with a spatula between each.

Instructions for the pie:

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crusts and place in a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Add pie filling being sure to evenly distribute any sugar mixture which is left in the bottom of the bowl. Crimp the edges of the crust and slice a vent in the crust with a sharp knife. Bake immediately for approximately 1 hour on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Rotate pie front to back after 30 minutes. If the pie is not browned to your taste after 1 hour, leave it in for another 10-15 minutes. Let pie cool completely before slicing and serving.

NOTE:  I know this seems like a high temperature for a pie but a butter-lard crust requires a higher temperature than a butter-only crust or a crust made with vegetable shortening. One of the nice things about butter-lard crust is that the edges of the crust won’t burn before the pie is done. You won’t need those crust covering rings, even at 425. If you use a different pie crust recipe to make this pie, bake according to the temperature and time of the other recipe.

For those of you who would like to print this recipe, click here for a printer friendly PDF version.

#happyspring

More about Wanda Shapiro • Novels by Wanda Shapiro


Making Your Own Bread

bread

I have been making all of my own bread for years and the cooking question people most frequently ask is, “How do you make bread?” Everyone is always expecting some complicated answer, but it’s really only a few clicks away. The following book – Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day – changed my life and helped me get the factory out of my bread box. I have baked many of the recipes in the following book but the rustic boule and the ciabatta are my every-day sort of breads. Although I don’t make it nearly as often, my favorite is the cinnamon raisin bread which takes a little practice but it well worth the effort.

artisan_bread_in_five_minutes_a_day_cover

Depending on your kitchen, you may need to purchase a few other items in order to embark upon this bread baking adventure, but nothing you can’t purchase inexpensively on Amazon. You will need a baking stone, a dough bucket and a pizza peel, but you can get away without the oven thermometer or the dough scraper.

Someday, I will post the video I made for my Dad about how to make bread, but for now, this reference will have to do. This book really is all you need to wow your friends and family with professional quality bread, and there’s nothing to it but to do it.