Susan B. was looking for an easy pumpkin ice cream pie she made as a teenager in the late 1980s, recalling “everyone was amazed at how good it was, since I was known for my baking disasters.”
Her brother had asked her to make it this Thanksgiving. Happily, readers came through with their versions (read on for the tested recipe).
“A good friend gave me this recipe about 25 years ago,” says Vicki Gelfund of Plantation. “It’s always a hit and I make it every year — and not only at Thanksgiving.”
“I clipped this from Better Homes & Gardens magazine when I was just learning to cook as a young bride,” writes Linda Zorn of Austin, Texas. “This would have been the early ’70s, and believe me I had plenty of disasters, too, so this recipe was a godsend. It is still our traditional pie for Thanksgiving, though I’ve since learned how to cook pretty well!”
“I just happen to have a recipe for the Frozen Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie that was served at a restaurant called John’s Flaming Hearth in Niagara Falls,” notes Lani Kaskel. “We frequented this restaurant on special occasions during my growing up years outside of Buffalo, New York, and the recipe was circulated among the restaurant-goers.”
Butternut Pound Cake
Q. In the ’60s & ’70s there was a butternut pound cake recipe on the Superior Vanilla Butternut flavoring bottle that was lighter than most recipes. It quickly became a family favorite. You stirred the baking soda into the buttermilk until foamy and folded in beaten egg whites. I have searched for the recipe for several years. I hope you can help me find it.
A. We have a mystery. I tracked down Superior Vanilla Butternut Flavoring in Charlotte, N.C., and owner Betty Fox told me the recipe on the bottle today is the same one that has always appeared there.
“My customers would have my head if I ever took it off or changed it,” she says.
However, that recipe does not use buttermilk or baking soda. Most pound cakes by definition do not normally have an added leavening ingredient. If you like you can take this recipe, substitute buttermilk for the milk and separate the eggs, folding the beaten whites in at the very end. However, I tested this recipe and it does not need any help rising nicely, with a fine, tender texture.
For those unfamiliar with butternut flavoring, it is a combination of imitation flavorings of butter, vanilla and nuts. Those who use it swear by it, if Internet chatter can be trusted.
I was dubious, I have to say, for imitation anything strikes me as not as delicious as the real thing. But call me convinced: In this pound cake recipe the flavors come on strong with no unpleasant fake taste — kind of assertively buttery, the way buttered popcorn tastes.
Finding vanilla butternut flavoring can be tough, though McCormick makes a version as well. You are more likely to find it in the Deep South. I ordered my Superior bottle with its recipe from Betty’s Country Store in Stokes County, N.C. (shopbettys.com), which turns out to be a great source of hard-to-find flavorings, such as horehound and sassafras and vanilla butternut. There is also a natural vanilla butternut at TheBakersKitchen.net.
Tony Roma’s Pork Chops
Q. Can you tell me how they get the pork chops so juicy at Tony Roma’s?
A. My take is that home cooks can’t completely duplicate the flavor imparted by restaurant grills, which have been “seasoned” with ribs for years. But here’s the method (recipe follows): Marinate the chops overnight in beef broth. As a bonus, we’ve got the praline bacon butternut squash and pearl onion topping that is simply addicting.
Tried and New
I use my oven a lot, but have to confess I rarely clean up spills since it takes a human contortionist to do it properly, and I hate running the self-cleaning cycle since it heats the kitchen so horridly.
So I happily tried the Cookina Gard Oven Protector, which is billed as “a toxin-free, easy-to-use product that helps home cooks keep the oven clean with minimal effort.”
You put the sheet of coated fabric on the bottom of the oven to catch spills and splatter, then when it is cool take it out and wash it off. It is heat-resistant up to 500 degrees and is suitable for gas or electric ovens and microwaves.
Upsides: You can cut it to exactly fit your oven, and it cleans quite easily.
Downsides: You have to be careful not to scratch the sheet when taking off stubborn spills, and there is some discoloration after a few uses.
Available at many stores, including Home Depot, for about $15: cookina.co.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.
Tony Roma’s Grilled Pork Chops
1/2 cup beef base
2 quarts water
5 (about 9-ounce) large pork chops
3/4 pound peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash
8 ounces pearl onions, peeled
2 slices raw bacon, chopped
1 stick butter, at room temperature, plus 5 teaspoons
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
Mix beef base (a concentrated stock more flavorful than bouillion) and water. Add the pork chops and marinate overnight.
Combine the squash cubes and onions (I used frozen, defrosted) with the bacon, 1 stick of butter and brown sugar. (Hands and very soft butter work best). Spread onto a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. While squash cooks, season chops with salt and pepper to taste and grill to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Top with pat of butter prior to removing from grill. Top chops with butternut squash-bacon topping and serve. Makes 5 servings.
Per serving: 577 calories (45 percent from fat), 28 g fat (16 g saturated, 8.2 g monounsaturated), 187 cholesterol, 52.8 g protein, 25.3 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g fiber, 638 mg sodium.
Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from a recipe by chef Bob Gallagher of Tony Roma’s.
Easy Frozen Pumpkin Pie
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 9-inch graham cracker or gingersnap crumb crusts
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Whipped cream for garnish, optional
Additional nutmeg for garnish, optional
Take ice cream out of freezer and let sit just long enough to soften. Beat the pumpkin with the brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the ice cream, then quickly stir in the pumpkin mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon into the prepared crusts and top with pecans. Freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm; cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer until needed (up to 1 month).
Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with additional nutmeg. Makes two 9-inch pies, 16 servings. Recipe may be halved for 1 pie.
Per serving: 433 calories (49 percent from fat), 23.6 g fat (12 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 96 mg cholesterol, 5.2 g protein, 49.4 g carbohydrate, 1.4 g fiber, 330 mg sodium.
Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from reader recipes.
Superior Vanilla Butternut Cake
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 sticks butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla butternut flavoring
1 cup whole milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan and dust with flour. Cream the shortening and butter together, then gradually add the sugar and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flavoring to the milk and then add alternately with flour to the creamed mixture. Spoon into prepared pan and bake about 1 1/2 hours, or until cake tests done. Makes 16 servings.
Per serving: 426 calories (42 percent from fat), 20 g fat (9.7 g saturated, 5.1 g monounsaturated), 102 mg cholesterol, 5.4 g protein, 56.6 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fiber, 162 mg sodium.
Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from Superior Products Co. recipe.