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Queen Elizabeth Cake

Queen Elizabeth II
Our Gracious Queen

 April 1926 – September 2022

A recipe that Anneliese posted in 2016 in honor of her Majesty's 90th birthday.  We are reposting it today in honor of the Queen.  Rest in peace.  

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, chopped fine and 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
topping
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut or mix of coconut and thin slivered almonds
Method:
  1. In saucepan, bring dates and water to boil and continue simmering for about 3- 5 minutes until soft. Turn off heat and add baking soda, stirring to mash well. (it will bubble) Add vanilla, Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare 8 - 9 inch round or square pan by greasing and lining with wax or parchment paper. A spring form pan is ideal but not necessary.
  3. Cream butter, sugar and egg.
  4. Add dates and then stir in the dry ingredients, mixing on low if using mixer. 
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile melt and warm butter and cream, adding sugar, coconut and nuts. Stir until well blended and set aside.
  7. When cake is done, gently spread with topping and return to oven to broil setting for about 2 minutes. Watch it so it does not burn. It should bubble and turn a nice golden color.
  8. Let cool. Loosen edges with knife. If not using a spring-form pan, remove by placing a piece of wax paper over the top along with a flat plate. Flip upside down and then right side up again onto serving plate. 


Thank you for your years of service Queen Elizabeth.

Orange Peach Jam


Combine this jam, slightly runny and rich in citrus flavor, with cream cheese on a bagel OR with a barbecue sauce to use as a glaze on baked meatballs. I have given quite exact numbers when it comes to the fruit, but it does depend on size of fruit.

Ingredients for one batch:
(the goal is approximately 7 cups raw fruit blended before adding sugar, equaling 8 cups cooked, for one batch. I recommend doubling the amounts and cooking two batches)
  • 9 ripe peaches
  • 3 seedless oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Certo Light or 1 pkg regular pectin

 Method:
  1. Wash jars and lids. Place clean jars in 225° F oven to keep hot. Place lids in small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off element, covering pot to keep lids hot.
  2. Peel peaches, quartering them to remove pit. In blender, blend only for a few seconds until barely smooth. Can have a few tiny chunks. Pour into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Peel oranges with potato peeler. Remove pith (white part) and discard. Blend orange segments with the orange rind until thick and smooth, for about 1 minute.
  4. Combine blended oranges and peaches. Measure out 7 cups (or at least 6) to pour into large stainless steel pot.
  5. Measure 1/4 cup of the sugar, blend with pectin and stir into fruit. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, bring to boil on high heat.
  6. Add 4 1/4 cups sugar all at once and continue stirring until it comes to a full boil once more.
  7. The whole top layer should be bubbling before setting the timer. Boil for 3 minutes, while stirring and making sure it cooks hard the whole time. If it splatters quite a bit, turn down the heat just a tad.
  8. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot jam into jars and cover with lids to seal. Repeat process if cooking more batches.
  9. Cool sealed jars at room temp before storing. Jam thickens as it cools.
I prefer storing jam in the fridge or freezer, so that it keeps fresh tasting, but you do not have to if it is sealed. You can tell if it's sealed if the center of the lid is slightly inverted rather than rounded. Do not push it in by hand.

Peach Almond Scones

We are so enjoying the local peaches at this time of the year.  By local, I don't mean that they are grown in my neighbourhood but that they are British Columbia peaches.  Peaches are grown in the southern areas of the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Kootenay valleys, by about 800 peach growers.  BC produces 7 million kilograms of peaches...about 20% of the Canadian production, mostly sold as fresh produce.  I'll be sad when the peach season ends.

Here's a recipe for fresh peach scones you might also enjoy!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cups sliced almonds, slightly toasted, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup diced peaches
Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender...or grate with a coarse grater and combine with fingertips. 
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup of toasted almonds. 
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and the almond extract. 
  6. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. 
  7. Add the peaches and stir just until well-combined. (This is a somewhat wet and sticky dough, perfect for drop scones.)
  8. Drop by large spoonfuls (ice-cream scoop) onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of sliced almonds.
  10. Bake until golden...15 to 18 minutes.
  11. While still warm, drizzle with glaze.
 Yield: 1 dozen large scones.



This is just one more way to enjoy our local peaches!

Fresh Okanagan Peach Pie

It is hard to decide what is my favourite summertime pie is but without question, fresh peach pie is up there at the top.  Okanagan peaches are grown a few hours away and every summer we wait with anticipation for the first loads of peaches delivered to our local markets.  

If you have never had a fresh peach pie, try this one because nothing goes better together than peaches and cream.  It tastes like summertime! 

Peach Filling
  • about 6 ripe peaches
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
Cream Filling
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese (light or regular)
  • 1/2 cup icing/powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 packet whipping cream stabilizer (Dr. Oetker)  or 1 tablespoon vanilla instant pudding
  1. Peel peaches and put 2 peaches into a food processor to mash or mash very well with a potato masher.
  2. Measure mashed peaches to make about 1 cup. (mash part of another peach if necessary)
  3. Combine mashed peaches, cornstarch, sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat until bubbly.  Alternately, stir together ingredients in a medium pot, stir over medium heat until it is thickened and beginning to simmer. 
  4. Remove from heat.  Add the remaining peaches.  Set aside to come to room temperature.
  5. Beat together, softened cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add unwhipped whipping cream and whipping cream stabilizer or instant pudding and beat together with a mixer until thick and creamy.  
  6. Set aside 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture for garnishing the pie. 
  7. Line the bottom and sides of pie shell with the remaining cream cheese mixture.  
  8. Once the peach filling has completely cooled, pour the peach filling into a strainer over a bowl to remove about 1/2 cup of excess sauce.  (Refrigerate the extra sauce to serve with scones and cream.)
  9. Garnish the top of the pie by filling a piping bag with a large star tip. 
  10. Refrigerate a few hours until serving time.  


Old Fashioned Apricot Jam


There is nothing like old fashioned apricot jam on a piece of toast with some cheddar cheese to top it.   Everyone has their favorite way to dip into apricot jam and maybe you can suggest your favorite apricot jam treat for our readers.
This jam has no added pectin but it thickens and is still soft. I was taught by a fantastic Mennonite baker many years ago that if you wanted to bake cookies with jam inside it was best to use jam that had no pectin because it helps the jam to not absorb into the cookie which makes your cookie hollow.   So if you are planning on making jam jams this year for Christmas you may want to put up your apricot jam now.  I store my jam in the freezer where it always tastes as fresh as the day it was made.  If you want to store your jam in the pantry, it is recommended that you use a hot water processing bath.

  • 9 cups washed and diced apricots  (about 5 pounds whole apricots)
  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  1. You will need  10  - 1 cup / 250 ml jam jars.  Wash the jars and place them in a 225 F for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Sterilize the lids in boiling water. 
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy large pot.  Stir together well and then turn the heat to medium high and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil the mixture.  Set the timer to 30 minutes and stir every few minutes to be sure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  If your pot is a good quality you should have no problem with it burning on the bottom but if you are at all unsure, it is best to stir often to ensure all your hard work is not ruined by burned jam.
  4. At first the jam will foam on top but this will eventually go away and your jam will begin to thicken slightly.   Put a small plate in the freezer and when the jam is near the 30 minute mark.  Take the plate out after a few minutes and spoon a teaspoon of jam on the plate and allow it to cool.  When the jam slowly drips down and has a thickened consistency the jam is finished.  My jam usually takes about 30 - 35 minutes.
  5. Ladle the jam into jars leaving 3/4 inch space.  Place lids and screw tops on the jars and cool.  Once cool, store the jam in a refrigerator or freeze it.


Rollkuchen


 
Rollkuchen are a tasty, deep fried pastry that are a wonderful accompaniment to cold watermelon on a hot summer day.  How well I recall childhood picnics with big tubs of fresh Rollkuchen.  Let's just say that eating them is rather like eating peanuts...you can't stop at just one! Sometime over the years, Rollkuchen became paired with Roger's Golden Syrup (definitely a Canadian thing) on my table; they make a great team!

My mother-in-law made the best flaky, crispy Rollkuchen. Mine never quite measured up, so I have always made the thicker, softer variety and they have become a family favorite. Hers were all uniform in shape; mine are rather 'free-form'. Each recipe seems to differ slightly but I've never met a Rollkuchen I didn't like!

Rollkuchen

  • 5 - 6 cups / 1150 - 1350 ml flour
  • 3 teaspoons / 15 ml  baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup / 250 ml sour cream
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk
 
  1. Combine 5 cups / 1150 ml  flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Beat eggs, sour cream and milk together and add to dry ingredients
  3. Continue to add flour to form a soft dough ... usually about 1/2 cup more.
  4. Allow the dough to chill for an hour or two before rolling, for easier handling.
  5. Divide the dough in half and roll out quite thin on a floured board ... if you prefer them soft, then not quite so thin.
  6. Cut strips of dough about 2x4 inches / 5x10 cm ... with two slits cut in center of each.
  7. Stretch the pieces somewhat before dropping into the hot oil.
  8. Fry in deep hot oil over medium heat until golden on one side. Turn and brown the other side.
     

The rollkuchen puff up beautifully while cooking and are really mostly air pockets by the time they are ready to eat. A totally a healthy choice!  Who am I fooling?


Serve with cold watermelon and Roger's golden syrup.  Grilled farmer sausage is also a nice touch!

My Favorite Pie Crust plus Rhubarb Pie

We had a family gathering and I baked three Rhubarb pies since we all have our personal favorites. Try them all and decide for your self......mine is Rhubarb Cream. The recipe below had an even tie with Rhubarb Strawberry Streusel Pie. I wouldn't know I didn't get to taste them, sigh.


This is truly a wonderful crust, I always always have success with it.
  • 5 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb of lard or shortening, chilled
  • 1 cup of cold ginger ale or 7-up
  1. Mix flour and salt, cut in the lard until there are pea sized crumbs. 
  2. Pour in the ginger ale and gently combine to mix the wet and the dry ingredients together.
  3. Try not to over work the dough and have all the ingredients cold.
  4. If you make a one crust pie, put it into the pie plate and chill before baking. 
  5. Bake at 375 F for about 12-15 minutes or it has reached the desired color. (it helps keep it from shrinking). For a double crust pie follow the directions below. 
Double 9" crust Rhubarb pie filling;
  • 6 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Line the bottom with pastry. 
  2. Add the chopped rhubarb. 
  3. Mix the sugar, flour, eggs and pour over the fruit. 
  4. Dollop the top of the fruit with butter. 
  5. Cover with the top layer of pastry.
  6. Brush with a bit of cream and sprinkle with regular or coarse sugar 
  7. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven. 
  8. Turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. 
  9. If the top of the pie is getting too brown cover with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent further browning. 

Raspberry Freezer Syrup


With raspberry season here in the raspberry capital of Canada, I thought I'd share this all-year fresh tasting raspberry syrup.


In our family it is a must addition to waffles with vanilla custard. Just a drizzle also adds so much to a slice of Napoleon Torte, vanilla jelly roll, cheese cake, plain yogurt or a smoothie.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 flat raspberries (5 lbs)
  • 8- 10 cups sugar
Method:
  1. Puree cleaned berries in blender until just blended
  2. Measure out berries into a large bowl.
  3. For each cup of berries add 1 cup of sugar. I do a little less ( 8 cups sugar for 10 cups berries). Do not lessen the sugar more as it is what makes the syrupy texture and acts as the only preservative in this mixture.
  4. Let sit at room temperature for about half a day, stirring every half hour or so. Ladle into clean jars and freeze. No need to seal, kept in freezer.  Makes about 12 cups. One cup is enough for a larger family serving on waffles. You can re-freeze or keep it in the fridge for about a week. 


I like to collect a few odd shaped jars to fill and give away  as a gift. In this case, I bring the liquid just to boiling, ladle it into a sterilized hot jars and seal with the original rubber lined lid, also sterilized.  Even in this case, I still advise to keep refrigerated or freeze. It does not take long to thaw and keeps it tasting like the berries were just picked.

Fresh Raspberry Pie


With the raspberry season beginning, it is time to roll out those berry recipes! We had a birthday party at the beach for two special 'sons' last night and found out that fresh raspberry pie with a sparkler makes a fine birthday cake.

Fresh Raspberry Pie:
  • 1 baked 9 or 10-inch pie crust
  • 4 cups of fresh raspberries
Glaze:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jello
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  1. In 4-cup glass measure or small mixing bowl, combine water, sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Microwave at High for 2 to 5 minutes (until thickened and clear) stirring every minute.
  3. Stir in raspberry jello. Cool about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour carefully over the berries in the pie shell.
  5. Refrigerate several hours; serve with whipped cream.

Enjoy the ultimate summer dessert together with some good friends.

* The glaze is one I adapted from a fresh peach pie recipe and works well in any flavour!


Canada Day Strawberry Filled Doughnuts


Happy Canada Day!

All over Canada families and friends will be gathering to celebrate Canada's birthday.


If you live in Canada you already know that a Canadian favorite place to meet for coffee is the local doughnut shop.  
We stopped in ourselves for coffee and picked up some Tim Horton  Honey Crullers  for our Canada Day dessert.


 As far as I can tell, a glazed honey cruller is basically deep fried cream puff dough.


I thought it might make a great way to make cream puffs without heating up the oven on a hot day and a great way to make a quick dessert.


 I used an electric knife to slice them in half.
If you don't have an electric knife, use a sharp serrated knife.
I then gently removed the soft part inside which is much like we do with cream puffs.
I then filled them and served them "open faced".
Six doughnuts makes enough for 12 servings.



For smaller appetites,
I used some of the little honey cruller tim bits and stuffed them with whipped cream and strawberries.

  • Tim Horton Honey Cruller doughnuts and doughnut holes
  • fresh berries
  • 2 cups whipping cream (for one dozen doughnuts and 20 timbits
  • 2 packages Dr. Oetker Whip It cream stabilizer or 2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/4 cup powdered / icing sugar
  1. Slice doughnuts in half using a electric knife or serrated knife.
  2. Remove the soft part of in the inside of the doughnut.
  3. Wash and dry strawberries and slice and dice into small pieces.
  4. Whip cream with stabilizer or instant pudding and powdered sugar until stiff.
  5. Place whipped cream into a piping bag with a star tip, fill the doughnut and top with strawberry pieces and then garnish with a few more stars of whipped cream.
  6. Refrigerate until serving time.  These filled doughnuts are best when doughnuts are purchased and and put together on the same day.