Archive for November, 2007

Honey Apple pie for Thanksgiving Day Dessert

I got this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens in 1995. This big, beautiful pie garnished with cut-out pastry leaves and coarse sugar topping was featured on the cover. I tried making the recipe for the first time then, and it tasted as good as it looked. I make this from scratch and my family members love it…I just made two pies today, one for the family and one for a friend, for Thanksgiving Day dessert.
My pie is slightly “pastry deprived” because I ended up using the larger half of the dough for my friend’s pie (which I put together first) and not realizing it till later.
(co-posting with
The recipe is available online at:

Honey Apple Pie

Recipe From : Better Homes and Gardens (from Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield, MA)

1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash salt
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
6 to 8 medium cooking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Winesap, peeled and sliced (7 1/2 cups)
1 recipe Rich Pastry for Double-Crust Pie (see notes below)
1 beaten egg
1 Tbsp. coarse sugar

Rich Pastry for Double-Crust Pie:
In a medium mixing bowl stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Cut in 3/4 cup shortening till pieces are the size of small peas. In a glass measure combine 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and enough water to make 1/3 cup liquid. Add liquid to flour mixture. (If necessary, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, till dough clings together). Divide in half. Form each half into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball of dough with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough from the center to the edge, forming 2 circles, each about 12 inches in diameter.

For filling, in a large mixing bowl combine honey, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted margarine. Stir in apples.

Wrap 1 circle of pastry around a rolling pin. Unroll onto 9-inch pie plate. Ease into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Cut decorative shapes from trimmings. If desired, make decorative cutouts in remaining dough circle for top crust. Cover with plastic wrap.

Fill pastry-lines pie plate with apple filling. Place top crust on pie. Turn edge under the pastry, flute as desired. If not using cutouts, cut slits in top crust for steam to escape.

In a small bowl combine beaten egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush pastry with egg mixture; add decorative shapes. Brush with egg; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cover edge with foil to prevent overbrowning.

Bake in a 350- degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 30 minutes more or till pastry is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Add comment November 21st, 2007

Gingerbread scone recipe turned out less than ideal, new batch of Arab ice cream better

I receive Lady Dawnya’s Start A Tea Business e-mail newsletter. (Her blog is here: That is where (for it is not on her website) I got the following recipe for Gingerbread Scones:

Gingerbread Scones


1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup uncooked oats
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup raisins
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs molasses

Preheat oven to 425F. Save out
1 tsp sugar for later. Mix the
rest with the flour, oats, baking
powder and pumpkin pie spice.

Cut in margarine until mixture
is coarse crumbs. In a small bowl,
mix milk, raisins, egg and molasses.

Add to the flour mixture.
Mix until just moist. Knead dough
on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes.

Roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness,
and cut out scones with a cookie
cutter. Sprinkle with saved sugar.

Bake scones on an ungreased baking
sheet for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 10 yummy scones


Lady Dawnya

I did not have any pumpkin pie spice, so I gave a good shake of ginger, allspice,  cinnamon and nutmeg, respectively, into the batter, in the hopes of approximating the desired taste. The finished product is a little “flat”, but an OK approximation of gingerbread.  However, I think I rolled the majority of the scones too thin.  I know I did make a miscalculation in using steel-cut oats instead of the commonly available-in-America rolled oats. Going with the British theme of the dish, I decided to dip into my rarely-used can of McCann’s Irish oatmeal. (Mine is the smaller of the cans displayed on this page:  The batter was too sticky and uncooperative when I rolled it out: common rolled oats with their large flat surfaces and papery texture would have absorbed a lot more moisture and possibly stickiness from the dough instead of studding every scone with hard little pellets. I don’t normally like raisins in baked goods, nevertheless, I added some as per the recipe, but using Golden Raisins (which I like better) instead of the standard-issue black raisins.

On a different note, I was in the kitchen a couple of days ago, running the ice cream maker and concocting another batch of Arab ice cream, this time with a recipe with ingredients measured according to American measures and using (correctly!) only 1/8 tsp. of gum arabic (mastic or mastika) which I had to improvise by filling 1/2 of the 1/4 tsp. measure, which is the smallest measuring spoon I or darn near anybody else actually _has_ in their kitchens.  The Arab ice cream in this batch came out with a much more delicate flavor and still has the “scoopability” and flexible texture of the previous, strongly-tasting batch. If I am not mistaken, many store-bought ice creams have gum arabic or Xanthan Gum or something similar to prevent them from freezing as hard as many homemade ice creams.  I definitely plan to use a teeny pinch of gum arabic in some conventional ice cream recipes in the future.  It will save having to chisel the ice cream off the sides & bottom of the ice cream maker, putting scratches on the finish, and make homemade ice creams a lot easier to store & serve.

Add comment November 17th, 2007

Bouzat Haleeb (Arab ice cream) and metric system misadventures

I used this recipe:

Bouzat Haleeb Recipe
1000 gram Milk, full cream
250 gram Sugar
30 gram Cornstarch
4 gram Mastika (Gum Arabicum)
3 gram Rose Water
In a medium saucepan, scald milk. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Whisk into milk, blending completely. Return mixture to heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Mix in sugar, continuing to stir. When milk thickens, stir in ground mastika and rose water. Set aside to cool.Transfer to ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers instructions to freeze.
from The SugarHead Blog

I went to this site in an attempt to calculate the metric conversions, knowing I would never be able to do so with pencil and paper. However, converting grams into ounces or fractions thereof was not really very helpful, as I do not have measuring spoons marked in either grams or fractions of ounces and the problem I have with the metric system is that it has no given unit that is actually the same size as anything found in (a) nature, or (b) my kitchen. In the end, I just had to make a guess, and remembering from my school textbooks that a gram weighs the same as two paper clips, in other words, it is extremely light and far less than an ounce, but how far less, I wasn’t exactly certain. The mastic granules that I had just pulverized with a hammer _had_ to be very light, so I dumped a couple heaping tablespoons of ‘em into the bouzaat haleeb…BIG MISTAKE!!!! When I tasted it, it tasted mostly of mastic, extremely bitter, pine-y, and turpentine-y. And now I’m stuck with a whole batch of it…yecch!
I recently found another recipe for bouzat haleeb with the ingredients proportioned in US measures (see below) and I plan to try it soon and see how it compares.

Egyptian Ice Cream (Bouzat haleeb)

This is not similar to the ice cream we all scream for, but one that stretches when you spoon it up. Mistika is Arabic gum which gives it the stretchy quality. It is available at Middle Eastern markets and this ice cream is so amazing that we recommend you go in search of it.

4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground mistika
1 teaspoon rose water


Requires ice cream maker.

In a medium saucepan, scald milk. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with a small amount of cold water. Whisk into milk, blending completely.

Return mixture to heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Mix in sugar, continuing to stir. When milk thickens, stir in ground mistika and rose water. Set aside to cool.

Transfer to ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers instructions to freeze.

Recipe from

Contributor: Elinoar Moore

Add comment November 12th, 2007

fun with gum arabic

Over the Veterans’ Day weekend, I made two recipes using my little packet of gum arabic, also known as mastic or mastika. One was “panda cake”, named for having a thick vanilla bottom and a creamy chocolatey topping, a Turkish confection which is really a sort of frozen pudding, and the other was Bouzat Haleeb, a sort of Arab ice cream which is flavored with mastic and rosewater. I was disappointed to discover that I had got the metric conversions wrong and had added too much mastic resulting in a heavy “pine resin” flavor when what was really intended was a touch, to give a bit of piquancy. The Panda Cake went over reasonably well despite an initial chorus of groans, but I don’t expect the family to touch the botched batch of Bouzat Haleeb.
The Panda Cake I made was darn near impossible to get out of the glass bowl (I would advise using something else to store it in the freezer) and froze very hard when stored. At least the bottom half did. The chocolatey topping was less foamy and cohesive than that shown in the pictures on the blog from whence it came, and more runny, forming irregular dark patches whenever you scooped a portion from the bowl. I would never have been able to get it cut into the nice looking even square pieces that are in the first picture on the blog. Here’s the recipe:
Frozen Panda Cake (Panda Pasta)from

One of my oldest friends, Sena, taught this recipe to me approximately 15 years ago. It was a big hit then. We would make Panda cake every week. Especially that coo sauce; we didn’t seem to get enough of it. Although this is really a pudding, since you need to cut it and eat it with a fork we call it cake. I wanted to have Panda cake again for a long time, but didn’t ask Sena to e-mail the recipe, because I thought it wouldn’t be as good without mastic gum. But it turned out just fine with vanilla, too. Thanks, Sena!

200 gr. butter
1 – 1.5 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 cup flour
1 liter milk
1 tsp vanilla or 1-2 piece mastic gum

for the sauce
50 gr. butter
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened coco powder
4 tsbp milk
1 egg

-Heat butter in a pan. Add flour and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon on medium heat constantly approximately for 5-7 minutes.
-Add milk. Stir constantly until it thickens up.
-Add vanilla or mastic gum if you can find it. (Read Haalo’s post to learn more about mastic gum)
-Pour cold water in a big and shallow pot. Place the pudding pot in the big shallow one so that the pudding pot is surrounded by cold water. Beat pudding with electric mixer on medium to high for 15 minutes. This will air up pudding and give it a nice texture.
-Wet a 2 or 3 Quart glass dish like Pyrex. Pour pudding into the glass dish. Cover with a clear wrap and put in freezer.
-For the sauce, melt butter. In a mixing bowl beat butter, egg, sugar, coco powder, and milk. Add milk one tbsp at a time to lighten the sauce up.
-Spread the coco sauce on pudding which should be slightly firm by now. Put it back in the freezer.
-Take Panda cake out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving to give it a little time to warm up and be ready to be cut. Put the rest back into freezer.
-You can serve it with ice cream.

Add comment November 12th, 2007


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