Photos on Gimme a Little Sugar on the Weekend are originals taken by Miriam Latour and under copyright protection.
Recipes are originals by Miriam Latour, unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cherry Turnovers

Flaky, sugary crust with a tart cherry filling. Delicious hot, or serve cold as finger food for New Year's Eve. Makes 8 large turnovers.

14oz can or tart pie cherries in juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 T corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
1 recipe double pie crust (your favorite)
1 egg, blended

Mix the sugar, corn starch, and the juice from the pie cherries in the bottom of a small sauce pan until smooth. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla and cherries, stirring carefully (so cherries don't break apart).

Roll pie crust into two large circles. Cut each circle into fourths. paint the edges of each triangle with egg, place about 1/4 cup cherry filling in each and seal the edges. Place on a greased cookie sheet, paint with more egg and sprinkle liberally with white sugar. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pumpkin Loaf with Rum Butter Sauce

This cake loaf is delicious sliced with nothing on top. It's dense and fabulous as it is. But who can say no to rum butter sauce?


3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Oven 350ºF
Blend together sugar, oil and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Spread in two greased 9x5x3" loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Tear into pieces, place in individual serving dishes and top with rum butter sauce.

Rum Butter Sauce:

2 cups brown sugar
4 Tbsp cornstarch
dash of salt
2 cups water
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup rum (or to taste)

Mix together sugar and cornstarch and salt in a medium sauce pan. Stir in water and place over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter and rum. Stir until butter is melted.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


No food sensation in this world is better than the combination of good shortbread and hot tea. At least that's how I feel about life. I like to sit down and relax in the afternoon around 3:30 with a hot cup of tea. I buy loose leaf tea from the British Tea Store and my favorite blends are Angel's Dream, Buckingham Palace Tea Party, and the French Blend. Dave's favorite tea is Yorkshire Gold. Good commercial shortbread can be pretty expensive. Walkers is my favorite. But shortbread is actually really simple and easy to make at home. There are only three ingredients and it just takes minutes to put together.

3/4 cup butter (I use half salted and half unsalted)
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup sugar

Blend together until smooth. Press into a square 9" x 9" baking pan. Bake at 350ºF until starting to brown around the edges (my oven took about 30 minutes, but it's a slow oven, so watch closely). Cool completely and slice.

For the shortbread in the photo, I scored the dough into squares as soon as I pulled it from the oven and used and pricked each square with a fork. Then I waited until it was cooled completely before removing it from the pan.

This recipe is found in many places on the internet and the credit can't be traced to one source. So I'll just call it a "traditional" recipe.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Bunch of Pies

It's not a good idea to try new recipes when you are in charge of a dozen pies for a Thanksgiving dinner, but I do a lot of things that aren't necessarily good ideas. Fortunately, all my pies turned out splendidly (although some weren't as pretty as others), and every pie had at least one person who favored it above all the others. I came up with my pie list by asking family members what their favorite pie was and then adding a few I wanted to try. Here was my pie list:

Cranberry Pecan Pie
Banana Cream Pie
Cherry Pie
Mixed Berry Pie
Pumpkin Praline Pie
Apple Cranberry Custard Pie
Pumpkin Pie(s)
French Silk Chocolate Pie
Pecan Pie

Cranberry Pecan Pie

This recipe was suggested by my friend, April and is also found here. This pie was one of my personal favorites. The bourbon flavor is strong, so like April says on her blog, you want to use a good bourbon. I really like the tangy bite of the cranberries in contrast with the warm flavors of the dark brown sugar, bourbon, and almonds.

Bourbon Pecan Pie with Cranberries

1 single pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pecans, lightly toasted
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Put the corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the butter, bourbon and vanilla. Let the mixture cool, and then add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

Arrange the pecans and cranberries on the bottom of the crust. Carefully pour the filling over them. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling is set; rotate the pan halfway through baking time.

Banana Cream Pie

I was surprised to find out that more people in my family favor banana cream pie than any other pie. I've never been a huge fan of cream pies, and it didn't seem like a Thanksgiving dessert, but I found this recipe, which is fantastic because it follows the "less is more" concept that I love. Even more surprising, it was gone first, and even Dave, who usually doesn't like banana cream pie, loved it. I don't have a photo of the pie I made, because it disappeared too quickly.

3/4 cup white sugar
3 T corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
4 bananas, sliced

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn starch, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour.

Cherry Pie and Mixed Berry Pie

I used the same recipe for the cherry pie and the mixed berry pie, interchanging tart pie cherries with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. As far as I know, this is a classic recipe that many people who make fruit pies use when making a double-crusted baked pie. I'm not sure where it originated:

3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 - 4 Tbsp cornstarch
4 - 5 cups berries (or cherries)
1 cup of juice drained from berries or cherries (or bought separately)
1 Tbsp unsalted salted butter
Almond flavoring (or vanilla or lemon or nothing, depending on taste)

Combine juice with cornstarch and sugar until smooth. Heat in a saucepan over medium-low until thick. Place berries or cherries in the bottom of a pie shell. Top with thickened sauce. Cover with top crust and seal. Bake in 400ºF preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes until crust is brown and filling is bubbly.

Pumpkin Praline Pie

This pie recipe came out of a Better Homes and Garden magazine and can be found here online. It was one of Dave's favorite and popular with the whole family. I think they loved the toffee bits on the top and the cream cheese layer on the bottom. It's a very pretty pie as well as being something a bit different from the classic pumpkin pie.

12 ounces cream cheese (four 3-ounce packages or 1-1/2 8-ounce packages), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
Pastry for a Single-Crust Deep-Dish Pie
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
3/4 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup milk chocolate-covered toffee pieces or chopped chocolate-covered English toffee bars
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Hot fudge ice cream topping (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Pumpkin pie spice (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and the 1/3 cup sugar; beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth. Beat in the 1 egg; stir in orange peel. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F . Prepare Pastry for a Single-Crust Deep-Dish Pie. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll dough from center to edge into a circle about 13 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9 1/2- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge high (photo). Do not prick pastry.

3. For pumpkin filling: In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, the 3/4 cup sugar, and the 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. Add the 3 eggs and beat lightly. Gradually beat in half-and-half. Spread cream cheese mixture in pastry-lined pie plate. Carefully spoon pumpkin filling over cream cheese layer. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 25 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, toffee pieces, and brown sugar. Remove foil from pie. Sprinkle with walnut mixture.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill pie within 2 hours. If desired, garnish individual servings with hot fudge topping, whipped cream, and additional pumpkin pie spice. Makes 10 servings.

Apple Cranberry Custard Pie

This pie is obviously from the previous post on this very blog and can be found here.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

This pie is also found on my blog, here.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This pie was also gone before I captured a photo. The recipe is found here, but I used 2.5 times the amount of filling for one pie. It needs it! Some people are put off by the raw eggs. If that bothers you, then use raw eggs that have been pasteurized and sold in a carton.

Pecan Pie

This is another recipe that I was thrilled to find. The recipe is online here. It doesn't require corn syrup, and I liked it so much better than the corn syrup pecan pies. This particular recipe only makes a very shallow pie, however. I'd like to try increasing the filling next time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Apple Cranberry Custard Pie

I've been seeking for some good pies to make for Thanksgiving, and I really like this streusel-topped custard pie filled with apples and cranberries. It's quick and easy which is a plus when you have a dozen different pies to make, and the custard adds a rich, creamy flavor. I found the recipe here, which I have copied directly. However, you ought to be aware that this pie needs time for the custard to get dense by allowing it to cool completely in the refrigerator. In fact the texture is best if you wait to eat it until the next day.

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND®
Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups fresh or dry-pack frozen
2 medium all-purpose apples, peeled and
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1. Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. Add eggs, water and fruits; mix well. Pour into pie crust.
2. In medium bowl, combine sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts. Sprinkle over pie. Bake 10 minutes.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F; continue baking 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator. (Note from Miriam: I like to allow the pie to cool completely in refrigerator overnight so that the eggs settle and the custard has a dense, creamy flavor.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranberry Almond Cobbler

This is a simple dessert that contrasts the bitter-tart flavor of cranberries with rich butter and brown sugar. It's so easy to make, and perfect around the holidays when cranberries are in season. Serve it hot, topped with vanilla ice cream. I've seen this dessert called "Nantucket Cranberry Pie" online, but I've always called it cranberry cobbler.

In the bottom of a pie plate, spread:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cups dark brown sugar

Mix together and pour over cranberries:
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp Amaretto

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45 - 50 minutes until done in center.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mimsy's Rich, Dark, Traditional Pumpkin Pie

It's interesting that so many people still use canned evaporated milk in pumpkin pie. Canned milk came about as a way to preserve milk when refrigerators weren't a part of every kitchen in the early 1900s. I think it might have to do with the Libby's® pumpkin pie recipe which has been around since the 1950's. Well, it's time to move out of the canned evaporated milk era and start using fresh ingredients again!

This is my own pumpkin pie recipe, developed over years of making pie for Thanksgiving.

3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (or use canned pumpkin in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 T molasses
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
2 T vanilla
2 unbaked single pie shells (your favorite recipe)

Using a wire whisk, beat all of the ingredients in a large bowl until completely blended and divide between two pie crusts in two 9-inch pie tins. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350ºF and continue baking until set, approximately 50 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rustic Apple-Cranberry Tart

Tart cranberries and tart apples in a sugar-coated crust, served hot with vanilla ice cream. I like a tart... tart. There are all kinds of varieties of recipes for apple-cranberry rustic tart on the internet. Some even use canned cranberries and canned apple pie filling (gah!). Don't do it! Sure, it takes a while to hand peel some fresh apples off the tree. But touching and smelling the apples, working them with your hands, picking over the beautiful, brightly colored fresh cranberries and listening to them pop as they cook is all part of connecting with nature. When we eat by opening cans or dumping food that has been processed and packaged onto our plates, we lose the pleasure of becoming intimately acquainted with the treasures of nature and truly understanding how to enjoy the complex and simple flavors of fruit, grains, vegetables, even of poultry and fish and meats. It's about quality rather than quantity. Taking time to slow down and enjoy food is better for our bodies and even a little sugar on the weekend can become part of an overall more healthier lifestyle.

The following is my own recipe...

Cranberry Mixture:

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine in a saucepan and cook until berries pop open and mixture has thickened slightly.

Apple Mixture:

7 medium tart apples (I used granny smith)
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine in a large glass bowl and microwave for 12 minutes (this step keeps the tart from being too watery, but is not necessary. If you prefer, you can skip microwaving the apple mixture and place them directly into the crust)

Preheat the oven to 425ºF

Assemble the tart by rolling out your favorite pie crust for a single-crust pie, making it larger than the pie tin you will be using. Drape the crust over the tin, and fill first with apple mixture and then with cranberry mixture. Fold the extra dough over the top around the edges (as seen in the photo at the bottom of this post). Paint the edges of the dough with egg white and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes in pre-heated oven, then decrease the temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the apples are fully cooked and the crust is brown.

Friday, October 9, 2009

October Pie (Walnut-Pumpkin)

Two of my favorite Autumn pies in one: Walnut and Pumpkin. This is my own recipe that I developed from of similar concepts I've seen. It turned out delicious! Not as rich as a pure nut pie and something a bit more hearty than a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Layer:

1 egg
1 cup solid pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 T molasses
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together with a wire whisk and spread over your favorite uncooked pie crust.

Walnut Layer:

2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 T butter, melted
1/2 T molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup broken walnuts

Whisk together all ingredients except nuts until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Pour over pumpkin layer.

Bake at 350ºF for 50 - 55 minutes or until set. Cool before cutting.

Glass Candy - Root beer/ Vanilla Rum

Root Beer Candy

Vanilla-Rum Candy

Homemade hardtack candy is ridiculously easy to make, and for some reason it has always made me feel like I'm in an 1800s General Store as a little girl in pigtails and an apron, looking at the big jars full of sparkling glass candy and deciding how to spend my penny.

I used this recipe but made a few minor changes. A candy thermometer makes it very simple.

3 3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 T flavoring* (extract) (I divided the candy into two and flavored one with rootbeer extract and one with rum extract and vanilla extract)
1/2 food coloring (optional) (I didn't use any coloring)
butter (for pans)

*Note: 100% natural extracts can be purchased at Faerie's Finest.

Butter two cookie sheets.
Combine sugar, cornsyrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil, then allow to boil until it reaches the temperature of 310ºF on the candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring and color. Pour over the two cookie sheets. As it is cooling, you can score the candy like I've done in this photo:

Once it is cool, the candy will break into squares. Or you can leave the candy smooth and break it to look like broken glass:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Black-Bottom Fresh Raspberry Pie

Fresh raspberries over chocolate ganache, covered with natural raspberry puree and whipped cream. Life doesn't get better than this! The following recipe is adapted from April Fossen's recipe which is an adaption from Dave's recipe and a black-bottom banana cream pie recipe from Bon Appetit, November 1991. So this pie was built on the shoulders of greater cooks than myself.

I'm going to let you use your own crust recipe. I've found that people are really particular about their crusts. I use a baked traditional crust made with butter and lard, but you can use a cookie crumb crust or anything you like.

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/8 cup heavy whipping cream
3 T unsalted butter

Stir these ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.

Fruit Filling:
3 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine 1 cup frozen raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until thick. Cool slightly.

Spread mostly cooled ganache over bottom of crust. Top with fresh raspberries. Top berries with cooked frozen raspberry mixture. Whip heavy cream with sugar (to taste) and top pie with cream. Sprinkle with extra bittersweet chocolate flakes.