Shrimp in Pastry Shells

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On our first wedding anniversary (over 52 years ago) we lived in Corvallis, Oregon. Our budget did not allow restaurant meals and I was still a beginner cook. But I served Joe Shrimp in Pastry Shells on our wedding china and we still consider it one of our fanciest dishes. Somewhere I still have the index card on which I taped the simple recipe clipped from a magazine, using Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup and canned shrimp.  These days, I do not buy the little shrimp in a can, but I do keep a bag of frozen peeled and deveined shrimp as a freezer staple. This version is how that first anniversary shrimp n shells dish has changed, definitely for the better.  However, Pepperidge Farm still makes their wonderful Puff Pastry Shells that make it so easy to pull puff pastry out of my oven for the base of a wonderful entree.

Shrimp in Pastry Shells

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry shells (6 shells)

1/2 to 1 pound medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined (fresh or thawed from frozen) We like plenty of shrimp.

2 Tablespoons butter,

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill,

1/4 cup Sherry

Bake Puff Pastry according to instructions on package..  Be sure to save the discs of pastry that you remove from the top after baking to top each serving. Place each pastry on serving plate, with tops on the side.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in saute pan, add mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms have cooked down and liquid begins to reduce. Add soup  plus only 1/2 cup milk and simmer until well blended and beginning to thicken.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring, 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Blend in dill and sherry and ladle into pastry shells.  Top each with a puff pastry topper.

 

 

 

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

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Maddie helped with baking Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Bars for our Thanksgiving feast. She is recently very interested in history, so it was fun to talk about the history surrounding this recipe. I found the recipe in a cookbook I bought over 30 years ago while visiting Colonial Williamsburg, a wonderful living history site. The Williamsburg Cookbook, compiled by Letha Booth, is one of my most favorite cookbooks. It is a collection of nearly 200 traditional and contemporary recipes adapted for home kitchens – a good way of remembering my trips to Colonial Williamsburg.  I have never tried a recipe from this collection that was not delicious. Not surprising, since many of these are served in different Inns there.  Christian Campbell’s Spoonbread and Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew have become family favorites as well as Williamsburg Inn Pecan Bars. I adapt this recipe to include Texas pecans and Meyer Lemons grown in my back yard. Pecan pie in small bites!

Texas Pecan Pie Bars

      Bottom layer, or crust

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

zest of 1 whole Meyer lemon

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat overn to 375 degrees. With baking or cooking spray, coat 2 nine inch square baking pans.  Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, lemon zest and mix.  Add flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixtures.  Combine well. Pull dough into a ball and chill for 15 minutes to provide easier handling.  Divide in half and press each half into bottom of baking pan.  Bake 12 -15 minutes but remove from oven before browning. Add pecan topping which can be assembled while crust is baking.

        Pecan Topping

1 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup honey

1/3 cup whipping cream

3 cups of pecans, chopped coarsely

Change oven setting to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, and honey in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes, add cream and pecans and mix well.  Spread topping evenly over baked crust with a buttered wooden spoon.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into 1X2 inch bars.

 

 

 

Apricot Scones

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I fell in love with scones in 1991 during a trip to Scotland. While we were living in Indonesia, I read an enchanting article in Victoria Magazine which featured a tearoom in the Highlands housed in a 200 year old cottage. When we planned soon after to include a trip to the UK on summer trip back to the US from Jakarta, I hoped to add a visit there. Joe managed to find Shore Cottage (not easy), and he and I and our youngest son, Ben had tea there. I bought a Shore Cottage Tearoom Book of Recipes which still holds a place of honor on my shelves of cookbooks. Tell me, wouldn’t you be drawn to go to a place with this description?

“Through a periwinkle gate and a rose-bedecked door, one enters the white cottage where Lilly McNaught was born Perched above Loch Etive, it is now a tearoom noted for the sweets Lilly bakes with her daughter and granddaughters.”

This recipe is not in Shore Tearoom’s little blue book, but it comes from an intrigue with scones begun there in the Scottish Highlands.  When I think of baking them, I am reminded of the Shore Tearoom and our scones there. As you can see, I still have the article which drew me there.  I keep it folded inside the recipe book. I don’t know if Lilly still bakes with her granddaughters, but tomorrow I plan to bake scones with mine!

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Apricot Scones

2 Cups flour

3 Tablespoons. sugar 

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 Cup white chocolate chips

1 1/2 Cups whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons. orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°. Line with silpat or grease baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, apricots and vanilla chips.Stir to coat apricots. Add the whipping cream and almond extract all at once and stir just until ingredients are moistened.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured cloth, turning a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and pat into two 6-inch rounds. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5minutes. While the scones cool, combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over warm scones. These are best served warm.

Poppy Seed Rolls

 IMG_1781 IMG_1779Crescent roll dough found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket is one of the most versatile ingredients to be found!  Hundreds of uses can be found online and in cookbooks, featuring the dough in everything from savory starters to desserts.  Stuffing the dough with poppy seed paste or filling is only one of the many fillings that result in easy to do, tasty pastries.  These are close to homemade poppy seed kolaches!  We also use chocolate chips, apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and separate the dough triangles into smaller pieces to wrap little sausages for pigs in a blanket!

Poppy Seed Rolls

2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 can poppy seed filling
For Glaze:
1⁄2 cup

confectioners sugar

1 1⁄4 tablespoon milk
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheet with silicone liner or lightly butter. Separate dough along perforations into 16 triangles. Spread poppy filling over triangles. Roll up, starting at wide end. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. To make glaze, combine confectioners sugar, milk, and lemon zest in small bowl, and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of rolls while they are warm

Almond Kringle

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On the morning of St. Nicholas Day, December 6 this week, I made a European treat, a Kringle. It is simply a choux pastry which is baked and glazed.  A variety of nuts or chopped fruit may be added.  This one has almond flavoring in the dough as well as glaze, and is topped with sliced almonds.  Although the water, butter, and flour are mixed quickly by hand, I highly recommend using an electric stand mixer for beating in the eggs one at a time – this develops alot of muscle if you do it by hand.

Almond Kringle

1 cup water

1/4 cup butter

1 cup flour

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

dash of salt

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest

Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to boil, then remove from heat.  Add flour all at once and stir quickly until mixture forms a ball.  Transfer mixture to bowl of electric stand mixer and set paddle to slow.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add almond extract and salt, then turn mixer to medium and beat until shiny and well blended.  Spread the dough into circle (about 10 inches) on buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Do not overbake. While Kringle is baking, mix glaze by combining all ingredients and stirring until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over warm Kringle and sprinkle with almonds.  Serve immediately.