Lemon Pie


Spring & Summer mean lemon pie! What’s great about this pie is that it’s started on the stove top then placed in the fridge for a few hours. Make it in the morning to enjoy after dinner.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 Cup (about 3/4 stick) melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; Grease a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter and stir with a fork until blended. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake this for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely.

2 Cans (14-oz each) sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh is always better, if not strain it first)

In a medium pot, whisk the milk, yolks and lemon juice until smooth. Cook this custard over medium heat until very hot – this take about 8-10 minutes – stirring it occasionally with a wooden spoon. Do not let this boil.

Strain custard filling through a sieve into the pie crust shell. Smooth the top. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve with whipped cream on top (or, use Redi-Whip).

Best Chocolate Birthday Cake

This is a true, chocolate birthday cake. Because it needs to be stored in the fridge it’ll taste  just like a Sara Lee chocolate fudge cake.

2 sticks softened butter (not margarine, please!)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take out a 9 x 13 x 2 pan and grease, set aside. Place the butter, eggs, and buttermilk out onto the counter to come to room temperature while your oven preheats. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and allow to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, with a handheld or electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars for 3 minutes; add the eggs and beat well after adding each, add the chocolate and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift/whisk the flour and baking soda then add it to the batter alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. Spread into the pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool completely then frost.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 stick softened butter (not margarine, please!)
2 tsp. milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

With a handheld or standing mixer, cream the butter for about 3 minutes, add the milk and the chocolate and mix well. Add the vanilla and cream for 3 minutes. Add the sugar (taste for sweetness) mix until desired consistency. Spread on cooled cake.

The Best Perfect Pound Cake

Oh yes, this loaf cake definitely lives up to its name. Perfect as is, or with preserves or whipped cream plopped on top – even ice cream.

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract (or 1 tsp. pure vanilla)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge and set on the counter for at least 30 minutes while the oven preheats.

When ready, sift or whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, add the eggs beating for 1 minute each and scraping down the bowl between each. With mixer on medium-low, add the almond and mix thoroughly. Incorporate the flour mixture into the creamed mixture with a spatula or a wooden spoon – you should fold it in gently but carefully and thoroughly.

Spread batter into pan and bake for about 70-75 miunutes, until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Check on it at about 30-40 minutes to see if its browning, if so then cover loosely with foil until baked thoroughly. Set on a rack to cool down for about 30 minutes, then turn out of the pan onto the rack and cool completely.

Sally Lunn Bread

This is a high-rising yeast bread with a hint of spice and a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.  It originated in Bath, England and was brought across the pond to us. Good thing too, as it is delicious and doesn’t require kneading. It’s perfect as a brunch serving when friends and family come for weekend visits or holidays.

3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter (no margarine, please!)
1 packet (2-1/4 tsp.) yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
3 large eggs, beaten well
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange rind
1/2 tsp. ground mace
4 cups flour, sifted
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Place the milk, sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan and heat to scald the milk; set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Into a large bowl, pour in the very warm water and sprinkle the yeast over; stir until the yeast dissolves then stir in the cooled milk, eggs, lemon rind and mace.

Stir the flour in until well blended, then beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon, scraping down the bowl often as you do this – the dough will become shiny elastic. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

Grease a large tube pan then punch dough down and spoon into the pan. Cover and let rise again for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees to get it set.

Remove the plastic and place pan in the oven for about 35-45 minutes or until it is golden – check on it at the 30-minute mark to make sure it doesn’t brown too much. Remove from oven, remove from mold and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before the sugar. Sprinkle with the sugar and serve.

New York Cheesecake

What separates a New York Cheesecake from all others is the simplicity, height, and firmness of the cake.  You definitely need a cheesecake (spring form) pan for this.  It is decadently simple yet delicious.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. softened butter (NOT melted)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of kosher salt
2 lbs. (4 8oz. blocks) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
6 large eggs
8 oz. sour cream (NOT lite, NOT low-fat)
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and take out all the ingredients and the pan – set on the counter for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.  This will get the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream to room temperature which is needed for cheesecakes.

Now make the crust by combining the crumbs and sugar in a bowl, then kneading in the butter with your fingers until it is well mixed and crumbly.  Press firmly into the bottom only of your spring form pan; set aside.

Now make the filling:  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, and salt.  Now add the cream cheese, a block at a time and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time mixing slowly, but well after adding each.  Blend in the sour cream and vanilla then pour into the pan.  Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.  Turn the oven off but keep the cake in the oven with the door ajar for another hour.  Place on cooling rack, cool completely then place in the fridge for several hours or overnight until serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is fabulous and beautiful with the speckling of spice. It’s also not as overpowering as a standard pumpkin pie may be to some.

Picture at left is pre-baked in a water bath.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Cream Cheese Filling:
3 8-oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (NOT lite, NOT low fat)
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation, please)
1 cup canned pumpkin (Libby’s is the best)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the cream cheese and eggs on your counter for at least 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.

Make the crust by combining all the crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir well with a fork. Empty this into the springform pan and gently shake and tap the pan on the counter to distribute the crumbs. Gently press the crumbs into the bottom and just a tad up the sides of the pan as you turn the pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes then set aside to cool. Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil – you will be baking the cake in a water bath (no cracks) and this will prevent spillages.  Place the wrapped springform pan inside a large pan with high sides (such as a roasting pan).

Now make the filling – in a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and the vanilla. Mix until smooth – about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, eggs, and spices and continue to mix for about 1 more minute.

Pour the batter into the pan. Slowly and gently fill the larger pan with hot water (6-8 cups, depending on the size of your large pan) until it comes about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Place the whole thing into the oven and bake for 60 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the closed oven for 1 hour.

Remove springform pan from larger pan (don’t remove the foil) and place pan on a rack for about 3 hours to cool. Now remove the foil and place cheesecake (springform and all) on a plate, then place another plate on top of the springform pan as a cover and place in the fridge at least overnight so it can set. Remove sides before cutting.

Homemade Doughnuts

What a gem these are. Either recipe you use – apple cider or buttermilk – will be great. You don’t even need a cookie or doughnut cutter! Surprise you family, friends, weekend guests, they will be appreciated. Enjoy!

8-9 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider OR buttermilk
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
4 large eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

About 4 cups (at least 3+ inches) vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix 5 cups of the flour with everything up to the oil. Stir in as much flour as needed to make an easy to handle dough. Flour your counter top well, then dump the ingredients  onto this and knead until smooth – this will only take about 2 minutes – do not over knead. Divide dough in half, cover one half with plastic or in a zip-lock type bag and place in the fridge while you work with the other half.

Place oil in a large pan, fryer or Dutch oven and heat oil to 375 degrees; keep an eye on this temperature because I let mine get too high and had 4 black hockey puck doughnuts! Anyways, while the oil is getting hot, get out a large baking sheet and place paper towels on it for the cooked doughnuts, but also place a large plate or another pan next to your work area to make the doughnuts. Here’s how you do it:

Pinch off pieces of dough about the size of golf balls, then roll them out with your two hands into ropes about 6 inches long – kids love to do this – and make into a doughnut round. Place on the counter and flatten out a bit with your hands. If you don’t flatten them, the outsides will cook but the inside will be raw.  You’ll get about 2+ dozen from just the half dough your working with. I get so many that I freeze the other half of the dough.

Anyways, when the oil is ready, place 3-4 dough rounds into the oil and fry for about 1 minute on each side, then drain on paper towels. As soon as their cool enough – which does not take long – roll them in a sugar and cinnamon mixture (2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup cinnamon) then enjoy.

Microwave Made Chocolate Pudding

Simple, fast and really, really good. Surprise yourself with this new way of making pudding.

1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa (I use Hershey’s)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Redi-Whip – (optional, but why not?)

Using a 1-quart microwaveable bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch & salt together. Stir/whisk in the milk and vanilla until smooth. Microwave this, uncovered, on high power for 3 full minutes. Stir, then microwave again for 5 minutes longer, or until thickened. It may take an additional 1 – 2 minutes more. Stir. BE CAREFUL, THE BOWL GETS HOT!

Spoon into the individual dishes and place in the fridge – they’ll be ready in about an hour or less. (Note, placing plastic wrap directly onto the pudding while it is cooling will prevent the “skin” from forming if you don’t like pudding skin). Pipe the whipped topping on if using. Enjoy!


Very rich, very good and you don’t need a stove – it doesn’t get much easier than this!

16 oz. sour cream
16 oz. (2 8 oz. blocks) cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup cooled, black coffee
2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) ladyfingers, split
1-2 Tbsp. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

Take the sour cream & cream cheese out of the fridge and place on counter to come to room temperature – this takes about 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat on high with an electric mix the sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the coffee & chocolate syrup.

In a 2-quart casserole pan, layer one package of the cookies – cut side up. Brush with half of the coffee/chocolate mixutre, spread half of the cream cheese mixutre then repeat. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over top (through a sifter) cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours. This really does need a long fridge set time.

Apple Crumb Loaf Cake

A quick and easy loaf cake to share with friends, beverage, and good conversation.  Also delicious for a breakfast treat and a take along in the lunch bag.

Crumb Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1  stick) melted butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter melted
1/2 cup milk or half-n-half
2 peeled, diced, tart (Granny Smith) apples

Preheat oven to 350, grease a loaf pan.  Put all crumb topping ingredients into a medium bowl and stir until crumbly – set aside.

For cake, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Then in a separate bowl, beat the eggs just until blended, stir in the butter and milk. Add this to the flour mixture and fold in just until you moisten the dry ingredients. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it to cover the bottom, sprinkle the apples then half the crumb topping, then repeat, gently press down. Bake for about 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto plate then back onto wire rack to cook completely.