The easy way…
‘Tis the season! Time to try new and delectable dishes for family and friends – and make something easy and fun with our grandchildren that they’ll enjoy as well. Cooking together is truly a family affair. We love these two recipes, perfect for this time of year…. brought to us by food writer and cookbook author Laurie Burrows Grad.*
GOLDEN APPLE YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS
In England, Yorkshire pudding is prepared in a “Yorkshire pudding tin” which is similar to our muffin top pans. I have taken a popover recipe and transformed it into a wonderfully fun fruit dessert. The recipe needs to be served immediately after it pops out of the oven.
Muffin Top Pans are available from Amazon or at many other sites on the Internet. Another handy tool is an apple slicer, which children will love to use.
medium-size heavy skillet
large mixing bowl
6-hole non-stick muffin top pan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
4 medium-size Granny Smith or Pippin apples
1 egg white
2 whole eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Accompaniments: vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
2. Grandmothers and grandkids peel and slice the apples with an apple slicer.
3. In a medium-size skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter with ¼ cup of the sugar and stir well over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly caramelized and starting to soften. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg white until lightly frothy. Add the remaining ¼ cup of the sugar, the whole eggs, the flour, the vanilla, and the salt and stir to combine. Stir in the apples and mix to just combine the ingredients. Do not overbeat.
5. Brush a 6-cup muffin top tin with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter until well-coated. Place the tin in the oven to just melt the butter for about 3 minutes. Do not allow the butter to burn.
6. Remove the tin from the oven and spoon the batter into the cups, making sure all the apples are distributed into each hole. Return the tin to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven until they are finished!
7. Carefully place each pudding onto a plate and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
HAM AND CHEESE STRATA
Stratas are grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. I love to bake them on a night when my grandson is having a sleepover. We assemble the dish the night before and then bake it for a delicious breakfast the next day. Feel free to improvise and add bacon instead of ham; add interesting sausages like chicken apple or spinach-feta; or vary the cheese to your tastes.
8 X 11 X 2-inch baking dish or similar size gratin dish
large mixing bowl
6 1-inch thick by 5-inch wide slices French or Italian bread
8 large eggs
1 ¾ cups 2% milk
6 ounces Virginia ham, finely diced by the Grandmother
4 ounces Gouda cheese, grated by Grandmother (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Jarslberg cheese, grated by Grandmother (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened and diced by children
1. Lightly butter a 8 X 11 X 2-inch baking dish.
2. Children can break up the bread into little pieces and place in the prepared baking dish. If it’s easier, they can cut the pieces of bread with a plastic knife. The bread pieces should cover the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Top the bread with ham, gouda, and Jarsberg
4. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs with the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the Dijon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and continue to whisk until well-combined.
5. Pour the mixture over the bread making sure the bread is soaking in the liquid. Top with the grated Parmesan and tiny pieces of the butter scattered on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the strata from the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to baking.
7. Bake the strata uncovered, for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until puffy and golden and the center is set.
8. Remove from the oven and allow the strata to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot, cut into squares.
Have fun and enjoy!
*Laurie Burrows Grad is a cookbook author, television chef, food journalist, and activist/fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her cookbooks include Make It Easy in the Kitchen; Make It Easy Entertaining; Make It Easy, Make It Light; and Entertaining Light & Easy. On a personal note, she is the enthusiastic babysitter for her twelve-year-old grandson Lucas and his eight-year old sister, Georgia.