Monday, February 28, 2011


I have been thinking about how baking and cooking may have changed lately. Actually, I have recalled that in the 70's and 80's we made a lot of foods using ideas from Duncan Hines, Jello, Dream Whip, Campbell Soups and that type of item. Casseroles and large desserts were our delight!   I still make these things but I do think we would agree that there is a greater emphasis now to learn to make your own sauces and to bake from stratch. What do you think? 

 This Lemon Pretzel Torte would be be a type of thing one would bring to a Potluck Dinner in the 1980's. 

During the 1980's I received this recipe from a lady who lived in Burlington, Iowa and inspired me in so many ways!  I also recall that I had received a set of antique luncheon plates from her during those years when she moved into a Senior Townhome.   These dishes became the beginning point for me to collect mix matched pieces and cups and saucers.

I learned so much from Frances who was a frugal woman!  She was very creative and knew how to stretch a dollar! 

Here is the recipe for Frances Vollmer's Lemon Pretzel Torte:
You will need 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 stick of butter softened, 1 - 3 1/4 oz package of lemon pie filling mix (NOT instant), 2 3 oz packages of Dream Whip Topping Mix (yes they still have it at the grocery), 1 8oz package softened cream cheese and 1 cup of powdered sugar. There are 3 levels to this dessert, it is easy to do and will feed 12 to 14 people.  You will be using a 9 x 13 pyrex dish for the dessert.

For the bottom level of the dessert:  Crush pretzels into small bite size pieces like nuts.  Cream the butter and the sugar.  Add the pretzels pieces and mix together.  Using your hands to form a ball, press this mixture into the 9 x 13 pyrex pan.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Go ahead now and make the lemon pie filling as directed on the package and refrigerate in a separate bowl until cool but not yet firm.

The Second level of the dessert is this: prepare the 2 whipped topping envelopes  according to directions. Then beat this into the cream cheese and powdered sugar till well blended.  Spread this over the bottom crust in the pyrex dish and put back in refrigerator.

Now for the top level:  Spread the lemon pudding mix on the top and return again to refrigerator.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Last night after dinner I noticed I still had some buttermilk left from earlier baking projects. I knew just what to do with it as lately I have dreamed of Buttermilk Pie - a favorite from my homeland in Virginia.  Many years ago my friend, Ann Aiken and I had it at the Chickahominy House in Williamsburg, Virginia.  This isn't their recipe but is one that I have tweaked over the years and is so easy to make!

I started with a simple pie dough recipe but you could use a frozen pie shell if you like. 1 cup sifted flour, 1/2 tsp sale, 1/3 cup plus 
1 Tb shortening and 2 1/2 Tb ice water  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and mix all above to make a nice dough.  Roll it out and place in a 9" pie pan or pie dish.  Bake for 5 minutes in the oven.  I don't put beans in mine to weight it but I do prick it all over with a fork.  Take out of the oven after 5 minutes.

For the pie: 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 sticks of butter melted, 1 tsp vanilla extract,
3 Tb  flour, 1 cup of sugar and a sprinkle of salt.  Get out a large bowl and beat the eggs well first and then add all the other items and blend well.  Pour into the pie crust and put back in the oven at 450 degrees for another 5 minutes - then reduce the oven to 325 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes.  Watch carefully for too much browning.  The center should be firm.  If the crust begins to brown too much - take a piece of foil and go around the edges.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


This was a busy week for me as I got ready for A Valentine Friendship Tea Event....making enough food for 50 people.

I want to share this recipe that I made for some scones.  I had saved this recipe since the 1980's when it was in Country Living.  It was the first time I ever made these and I thought they were good!

Some of you will remember Lucy Wing often had fabulous recipes and this was an entire booklet just on scones.  I think scones are more popular now than in the 1980's.

This recipe made 16 medium size scones using the middle size heart cookie cutter.

You will need 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 Tb baking powder, 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt, 2/3 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, 6 Tb cherry jam or preserves or pie filling

Preheat the oven to 424 degrees and grease a large baking sheet (I always use 2 and have the next one ready to save time)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3 Tb of the granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  With a pastry cutter, blend in the butter or cut it in with 2 knives until the mixture is like coarse crumbs.  Add buttermilk to the dry mix and stir into a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-6 times.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with your heart cookie cutter. After you cut the firstgroup - roll the dough again and cut the rest. You will be putting a teaspoon or more of the cherry filling right in the center and putting another "top" on it stacking it and crimping all around the edges with a fork. Now sprinkle sugar on tops and bake around 15 minutes - watch till they are just turning golden.

I think you would like these if you decide to try them!  Friday I made several batches.  I have learned not to double or triple recipes but do separate batches. 

For my event I made 2 Scottish Marmalade Loaves, my Chocolate Fudge Cake Ooooh la la, Linzer Valentine Heart Cookies, Ham Biscuits with Hot Pepper Peach Preserves, 2 Cheeseballs, A Red Pepper Dip and Apple Cranberry Chutney Spinach Pinwheels. I am sorry to say - I forgot to take pictures.  Oh - I also made several batches of sugar cookies "just in case" there wasn't enough!