Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread

There is a story behind this moist and delicious pear bread.   More than three decades ago, I was gifted a loaf by a dear lady named Frieda.  After a long day of work, I recall how nice it was to have the fresh pear bread to enjoy with the family in the evening.  Frieda told me it was a recipe from a cookbook put out by a group of local women.  I had the cookbook at home, and made a mental note to bake the pear bread in my kitchen sometime. Time flew by and several years ago I finally got around to baking the pear bread...and I brought Frieda a loaf.  Not so long ago, I brought her another loaf…along with a bouquet of tulips.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago and did not expect to see the flowers of spring the following year. Since then, two years have come and gone.  Frieda has enjoyed the tulips and now she is smelling the roses!  And tomorrow she will be celebrating her 90th birthday. She's still looking terrific and feeling quite well.  Her only explanation is that God still has a purpose for her on planet earth!  It seemed a good day to share this recipe.  Feel free to leave your birthday greetings to Frieda in the comment section.  I happen to know Frieda reads this blog!

Cinnamon Swirl Pear Bread 
  • 3 cups chopped peeled ripe pears (3-4 pears)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 9 - 10 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  1. Combine pears, water and 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain pears, reserving syrup. Add cold water as necessary to reserved syrup to measure 1 1/2 cups; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, butter, honey, salt, almond extract and lukewarm pears and reserved juice. 
  3. Stir instant yeast into four cups flour and add to other ingredients.  Beat well.
  4.  Continue adding flour to form a soft dough.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. 
  6.  Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
  7. Punch dough down; divide into three pieces.  Roll each portion into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle each surface with 1/3 of the cinnamon mixture to within 1/2 in. of edges.
  8. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal. 
  9. Place, seam side down, in three greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, (about one hour).
  10. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 20 minutes longer or until bread tests done. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.  
Yield: 3 loaves   
I have one more note of interest about the origin of this recipe.  It was submitted to the original cookbook by Bev Klassen.  Who knew that one day Bev and I would both be contributors to Mennonite Girls Can Cook...and that I would be the one to share it over here?  It is a small world after all!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Bowls

We serve up our salads in tortilla bowls, why not desserts?  Cinnamon sugar tortilla bowls make a great dish for those summer desserts. What could be better than an ice-cream sundae served in a crispy that is meant to be eaten?  They are simple to prepare and can be made ahead. 

  • 6 - 6" flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Spray 6 large oven-safe ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Soften the tortillas by microwaving for about 10 seconds.
  4. Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter and coat with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Place each tortilla in a ramekin, gently folding as needed and pressing to flatten the bottom.
  6. Bake on middle rack of oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp.
  7. Remove shells from ramekins after several minutes and cool on a rack.

Fill with a scoop of ice-cream and your desired toppings.  Or fill with pudding, fruit and whipped cream...or even fruit salad.   And don't forget to eat the bowl!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Microwave Corn-on-the-Cob

Fresh Chilliwack corn-on-the-cob is at its prime right now...and we are enjoying it often.  Last year I shared a tip for cooking corn-on-the-cob for the masses in a picnic cooler.  It's perfect for that backyard BBQ when the whole gang is coming.

But what if there are just two of you?  Or even one?  Here is the best way to cook and husk a few cobs of corn!  Pick out fresh cobs, fully ripe with the husks and silk intact.  Then place them in the microwave and cook on high  for 3-4 minutes per cob (4 minutes for a large cob).  Remove from the microwave oven with an oven mitt or a hot pad.  Then comes the magic part!

1. Place corn cob on cutting board, holding with the hot pad on silky end.
2. Cut about 1" off bottom end of cob.
3. Squeeze from the top and the cob will slip out the bottom. Ta-da!
4. Yield: 1 perfectly cooked and silk-free cob of corn!

Smother in butter and season as you like.  Enjoy!