Cook’s Corner

Cook’s Corner: What to do with that rose cake pan?

 

Breakfast

Pumpkin Pancakes

21/2 cups flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

11/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 pinch clove

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter

2 eggs

Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices into a large bowl. Whisk to mix well. Beat the pumpkin, milk, melted butter and egg in a separate bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir to incorporate but do not over mix. The batter will be very thick; if you like a thinner pancake, add more milk.

Grease a heavy skillet or griddle and place over medium heat. When water bounces when dropped onto the surface, it is ready. Pour 1/4 cup-portions of batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until bubbles show throughout, then flip (about 3 minutes for each side). Keep warm while cooking remaining batter. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Makes about 20 five-inch pancakes.

Source: Linda Cicero Cook’s Corner


Dessert

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1½ cups (3 sticks) butter

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Cut butter and cream cheese into small cubes; allow to soften at room temperature 10 minutes. Thoroughly grease a 10-inch tube pan. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer until blended and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. (Rub a small bit of batter between your fingers; you should not feel any sugar grains.) Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes, until cake tests done. Cool 15 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan. Makes 16 servings. Source: Linda Cicero Cook’s Corner


Side dish

Summer Squash and Herb Gratin

3 pounds zucchini, yellow squash, or a combination

2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

11/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the squash into ¼-inch thick rounds, then cut the rounds in half. Place the squash in a colander and generously season with the 2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt to draw the excess moisture away from the squash. (This is more salt than you would normally season them with for eating. Some of the salt will penetrate, but some will be rinsed off.) Let sit 20 minutes, rinse with cold water, then thoroughly dry with a kitchen towel.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in medium-size skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, swirl the pan for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is lightly browned. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are browned. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in ¼ cup of the Parmesan.

Heat the olive oil and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and garlic and cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the squash is tender and brown in spots. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan, the red pepper flakes, marjoram, rosemary, and parsley, and season to taste with black pepper. Transfer the squash to a shallow gratin dish, top with the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.

Source: The New Southern Table (Quarry Books).


Q: I have a rose cake pan, but no recipe for using it. Can you help?

Antoinette Rader, Davie

A: The rose shape cake pan is simply a riff on the Bundt pan, so you can use any recipe suitable for a tube or a Bundt. For those unfamiliar with the pan, it looks like a giant blooming rose, with petals unfolding from the center of the pan. A version currently is available from Nordic. It has a 10-cup capacity; for most batters count on baking in a heated 350-degree oven for about an hour, testing to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center. For pound cakes, count on 11/2 hours before testing. One tip: Given the deep grooves in the pan, I’d recommend greasing and flouring the pan even if you have a version with nonstick coating. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before inverting on a wire rack

This is one of my favorite cake recipes that works perfectly in a tube or fancy Bundt pan. It is essential you use real butter and real vanilla since the ingredients are so simple. The cream cheese gives just a tiny tang to the vanilla and butter goodness. It needs no frosting, though I like to slather it with homemade whipped cream for birthdays and special occasions. The texture is wonderful — sturdy enough to hold up to a scoop of ice cream, a spoonful of macerated fruit or a douse of liqueur — and yet tender with a little caramelization in the crust.

Q: A friend, knowing I love anything with pumpkin in it, recently told me of some absolutely delicious pumpkin pancakes she had on a trip. They were supposedly made with canned pumpkin added to the batter. By some chance do you know of such a recipe?

Julie J., Elyria, Ohio

A: Like you, I love anything with pumpkin and have never subscribed to the only-at-Thanksgiving standard. I actually stocked up this year when a pumpkin frozen waffle was a “seasonal flavor,” scouring local groceries for the last few boxes. The pumpkin pancake recipe here has all the flavors you want with pumpkin — cinnamon, ginger and a whiff of clove. The pumpkin puree does make it pretty thick, but it is still a great pancake. The recipe makes a lot but can be halved, or you can store the cooked pancakes in the freezer and simply warm them in the microwave at will. And yes, you can substitute pumpkin pie seasoning for the individual spices in the recipe. I tend to shy from the blend because it goes stale faster than I could ever use it.

Cookbook Corner

Southern cooking is getting lots of attention in the spring cookbook releases from publishers. Two favorites:

The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens (Quarry Books, $21.95) is a fresh take, with traditional Southern ingredients in recipes using French, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin flavors and techniques. In the gratin here, for example, the classic Southern squash casserole is lightened and refreshed with a taste of Provence. Other intriguing recipes abound — pimiento cheese made with habañeros, Monterey jack and pecans, lamb-stuffed collard leaves, roasted sweet potatoes with tahini yogurt are just a few.

The Southern Slow Cooker Bible by Tammy Algood (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) is a down-home primer with 365 recipes for getting more use out of your slow cooker. In addition to recipes for everything from country ham polenta to green bean casserole to butterscotch cream cake, there is a primer on how to convert your own favorite recipes to a crock pot.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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