Cooks Corner

May 21, 2014

Pennsylvania Dutch treat is best with cold milk

Frank G. of Davie asked if anyone had the recipe for smearcase, a dessert he had growing up in Maryland that he thought was possibly German.

Frank G. of Davie asked if anyone had the recipe for smearcase, a dessert he had growing up in Maryland that he thought was possibly German.

Marilyn Jones of Medina, Ohio, came through with the recipe, which she says is Pennsylvania Dutch and “very good!”

Tim Schuler of Homestead, also originally from Maryland, did not have a recipe but tells us he, too, remembers getting a square of smearcase from corner stores, served on a piece of waxed paper. “It was the most delicious treat, which my mom would make even better by serving it with a cold glass of milk and a spoonful of crushed fruit on top.

“All those corner stores, where you could get groceries and the newspaper and pickles out of a barrel, are gone now,” Schuler said. “Last time I was home to Baltimore I searched all over for smearcase and didn’t find it.”

Top 10: Reader Responses

“Here’s a recipe you should have put in the top 10: Trucker’s Beans,” said Leo C. of Miami. “It goes back at least 20 years, and I have taken it to every potluck, family reunion, picnic, barbecue or wake since then. It is delicious, feeds a crowd for very little, and takes no fancy kitchen work.”

Leo is right — this is a perfect recipe for picnics, and with Memorial Day coming up I plan on making a batch. The recipe dates to the early 1990s, when I published it in Cook’s Corner after tasting it at a family reunion. You can swap out various varieties of beans to suit your taste.

Reader question: Chicken Francese

Q: Quite a few years ago (and I’m talking probably at least 20) the recipe for Chicken Francese from the Anacapri Italian Restaurant in Pinecrest ran in the Miami Herald. I cut out the recipe and made it several times. Everyone loved it. But in my moves I have misplaced the recipe. Could you please provide?

Michelle Delvecchio, Hollywood

A: Always happy to repeat a great recipe that’s also easy.

Sleuth’s Corner

Q: When I was a student at Stetson University in the ’60s, Morrison’s ran the cafeteria and possibly the coffee shop, the Hat Rack, which made fabulous cinnamon rolls. The center was pulled up a bit and was crusty. There were raisins and lots of cinnamon; the whole thing was coated liberally with sugary icing. When I visited the campus about 25 years ago, the roll was not on the menu in the coffee shop and no one knew anything about it. Does anyone have an idea of how these rolls were made?

Blanche Gordon

Tried and New

This is not your abuela’s coffeemaker! Moka, familiar to anyone who makes Cuban coffee the old-fashioned way on the stovetop, has looked the same for the past 80 years, since it was first introduced by Alfonso Bialetti. My gran’s battered aluminum one still holds a place of honor in my kitchen. The iconic design (more than 200 million have been sold) is newly out in bright red, orange, blue and purple. A sure hit for wedding presents and grads. Available in the 6-cup size, the new color Mokas have a suggested price of $39.99 and are currently available at Bed Bath & Beyond or online at

New for a quick breakfast or snack: Garden Lite’s Veggie Muffins not only are packed with vegetables (the first ingredient listed in each variety is zucchini, carrot or whatever) but also are gluten-free, high in fiber, low in fat, kosher and vegetarian. Flavors include Blueberry Oat, Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Zucchini Carrot Berry and Corn. Find them in the freezer section at Target, Publix, Whole Foods, Costco, Fresh Market and other shops;

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

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