Milkmaid's Recipe Box

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! I'm such a FARMER at heart-- even a CALF knows that so much in life is about the FOOD!

You can find a recipe index entitled "Labels" down along the right side, starting below the picture of the farm. Then, below the "Label" list are pictures of some of my old "standbys"-- click on their picture and it should take you to the recipe.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Polish Cream Cake (AKA Karpatka)

With all the talk about this being Fat Tuesday, and the TV coverage of all the paczkis being made/sold in Pulaski (they sold 30,000 of these treats on this day in 2014), I figured I'd make my "Polish" husband something Polish, also. I figure he "qualifies" because he quite often gets mail (sometimes, even checks) with his name spelled "Jeski"!  (Here, I made what is called Polish Cream Cake-- AKA Polish Carpathian Mountain Cream Cake, or Karpatka.)  There are SO many recipes for this kind of "cake" on the Internet.  For the most part, I followed a recipe given by a cook named Ania.

This reminds me of two 9x13-inch layers 
of ECLAIRE dough filled with cream custard filling!

Advance Preparation:  Using a non-stick spray, spray bottom and sides of two of 9x13-inch pans.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to around 375-degrees.  (Some say 400-degrees, but that's a little too high for my oven.)

Ingredients and Directions for the two "cake" layers (yes, these amounts make enough for both of the 9x13-inch layers)-- this first step is like what you do to make cream puffs, or eclaire dessert, etc.:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 whole eggs
  1. First, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the water and butter until boiling.  
  3. Take off heat and stir in the flour mixture.  Keep stirring until the dough leaves the edges of the pan and sort of forms a ball around your spoon (a wooden spoon works best!).  Let this cool for about 5 minutes.  
  4. Then, add the eggs (only one at a time), beating after each addition until the dough gets smooth (about 30 strokes?).  The thing to avoid is putting a raw egg into the hot water/butter/flour mixture and having the first raw egg start to 'cook' if you don't stir it in rapidly enough!
  5. Patiently, spread 1/2 of this dough mixture into each of the prepared pans.  It takes a little "doing" because the sprayed pan surface is "slippery".  (While this is baking, go ahead and make the custard filling, because that, too, will have to cool down to room temperature before adding to the baked and cooled crust.)
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes-- the top of this will end up being all "bubbly/humpy" and that is how it is supposed to look.  (You don't have to press the "humps" down.)
  7. Remove from oven, and cool in pans until it is for sure at room temperature.  (We're having sub-zero temperatures right now, so I cooled these pans out on the enclosed and unheated porch.)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ADDITIONAL cup of milk
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch combined WITH 4 tablespoons flour.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened. (This butter will be mixed in only AFTER the custard sauce has been made and cooled a bit.  See below.)
  1. Whisk together only 1 cup of the milk, the 5 egg yolks, vanilla, corn starch and flour...and salt.  Set aside.
  2. Pour first 3 cups of milk into saucepan and, while stirring and watching carefully, heat until little bubbles start to form around the edges.  
  3. Add the 1 cup of sugar to the hot milk.  Return to heat and stir just until sugar is dissolved (you'll be able to tell this when your stirring spoon doesn't "feel" any grains at the bottom). Remove from heat.
  4. VERY SLOWLY, add the combined egg yolk/milk/corn starch/flour/vanilla mixture--  whisking rapidly all the while.  (We do NOT want any of the egg mixture to "start cooking", nor do we want the sauce to end up being lumpy*.) 
  5. Stirring constantly, and scraping the bottom of your pan, cook this totally combined mixture over med. heat until it cooks enough to become thick and smooth. 
  6. With waxed paper, cover the surface of this custard sauce so that it doesn't form a "skin" while it is cooling down to at least room temperature.  I used my very cold (sub-zero) porch to get this done in a hurry. 
  7. When the custard is cooled to "room temperature", it is time to combine it with the last ingredient-- the 1 cup of softened butter.  BUT,... first of all, beat the butter alone until it is fluffed up and very smooth.  Now,...
  8. Add the cooled custard to the butter in the mixer, only one heaping tablespoon at a time and beating for a little while after each addition.  After all the custard has been incorporated, mix for about another 30 seconds.   DONE!
  1. If you want to leave the "cake" in the pans to transport, or serve from, remove one of the layers of baked "crust" from its pan and set it off to the side.  
  2. In that now empty pan, insert a sheet of parchment paper and leave "lifter" tabs above the edges.  
  3. Put the removed layer back into that paper-lined pan.  
  4. Spread all of the custard over the "bumpy" top of it.  
  5. Now, carefully remove the other "cake" layer and from its pan and put it on top of this first layer ("bumpy" side up) that you have topped with the custard.  Done.  Now, it's just time to ... wait.  
  6. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours to allow the custard to firm up just a bit.  
  7. Then,...just before serving, dust with confectioners (powdered) sugar.  The addition of the powdered sugar is intended to make it look like the snow-covered Carpathian Mountain tops in Romania.  
  8. Using the "lifter tabs" of the parchment paper, you could now lift the VERY cooled "cake" from its pan and move it to your serving dish/tray. 
How I did it for mine:
Instead of putting the parchment paper down and assembling everything in the pan, I just lifted the first "cake layer" out and put it on my serving plate right away-- spooned the custard on it, and then put the second layer on top of that (the puffed up edges of the baked layers kept the custard in place even without being in a pan).  Since each step was followed and all was cooled as it was supposed to be, this worked great for me.  

*If your custard sauce should happen to get "lumpy", I've read of cooks running the warm sauce through a screen-type strainer to de-lump it;  others have put the hot/warm mixture in a heat-proof kind of blender and let it run for a very short while.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Berry Coffee Cake*

Above and below:  Coffee Cake with 
BLACKBERRIES (white glaze).
Above and below:  This Coffee Cake made with 
RASPBERRIES and browned butter icing.**

1 and 1/4 cups frozen fruit (blueberries or blackberries, or raspberries), thawed and well drained.  The frozen raspberries I used were "quite" smoooooshy when they thawed, but I just made sure they were well drained (I then drank that unsweetened juice!).
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup tablespoons granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 container (8 oz) sour cream

1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons water

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and side of a bundt pan with shortening; lightly flour. (I used the kind of Pam spray that has flour right in it.)  In the "greasing" process, do not miss the "grooves" in the pan.
  2. In small bowl, stir together filling ingredients; set aside.
  3. Start the batter:  In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
  4. In large bowl, beat 1¼ cups granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture with sour cream, beating just until blended after each addition.
  5. Using a tablespoon, put one-third of the batter into the prepared bundt pan, spreading it out evenly (I left a very slight groove in the batter for the fruit filling). 
  6. Spoon one-half of the fruit filling onto the batter (using a teaspoon, I put little dabs of this "filling mixture" near the center of the "ring of batter").
  7.  Spoon another one-third of the batter (by tablespoonfuls) over fruit filling-- at this point, I used the tip of a knife to carefully spread this second amount of batter over the fruit; 
  8. Add the remaining fruit filling as I just explained above. 
  9. Spoon the last one-third batter over filling, covering the last layer of fruit filling as I explained above; finally, carefully smooth the top of the last batter layer.
  10. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine was done in 55 minutes.) Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack (or plate, like I did). Cool completely, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (To keep cake really moist ahead of putting the icing on, I put this "still warm" coffee cake in an enclosed "cake carrier" and set it in a very chilly area for overnight--  then, this morning, when I carefully removed the cover, I just wiped off any moisture that had accumulated on the surfaces of the cover-- DONE!)
  11. In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over cooled coffee cake.
I'm not into having coffee, 
but I surely wouldn't turn 
down a cup of hot cocoa,
 or a glass of cold milk 
to go with either of these!

(Above:  Blackberry version.)
(Above, Raspberry version.)

                                  * Originally, I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker Website.

Heat ½ (or 1/3?) stick of butter in pan only until golden brown in color (stirring all the while)-- this does NOT take long.  Quickly add about two Tbsp. milk to quickly stop the browning, and then add some SIFTED powdered sugar till you have the amount and consistency of frosting you need. You do not want this to be thick!   It may be necessary to addtiny amounts of more milk to get a smooth texture.   I drizzle this over the bars.  (You have to drizzle this on the cookies quickly before it thickens-- that's why I just line up the baked cookies and go 'back and forth' over their tops.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015


This is a quick meal-- it can be ready 
in about thirty minutes.

Pasta, Leeks, Bacon, Cream, Parmesan 
Cheese-- what's not to like!?!?

Just lately, I bought LEEKS for the very first time!  I've heard a lot of professional chefs mention them quite a bit and if using LEEKS is good for them, I figured they could be good for me (us!).  The only thing about buying them is that my husband was with me at the time.  This is the posting I put on facebook about that:

"A number of years ago, as I was in the process of 

making a big kettle of soup, four-yr. old Grandson Ben

 saw me chopping up some apples and said "M-m-m!"

Then, when I switched to chopping onions, potatoes

and cabbage, he asked, "What are you making?"

Cabbage Soup-- all of these things go into it, I told him.

 Very quickly, as polite as he could be, his "M-m-m-m"

 changed to "You don't have to make any of that for

 me."  Well,... today, WJ was with me as I picked up

 some leeks in the grocery store and I had a

 FLASHBACK as I heard him (my husband) quietly say

 to me, "You don't have to make any of that for me."

 (Like grandson, like grandpa?)  For me, lesson learned

-- shop alone!"

Twice, since I bought the leeks, my husband has eaten them without knowing, and he even said he liked what he was eating. So, LEEKS will be on my regular shopping list from now on.

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces mezzi rigatoni, or other short pasta.  (I used Ronzoni "Smart Taste" brand of Penne Rigate.)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-in pieces.
  • 1 bunch of leeks (there were three in the "bunch" I used).  Cut the root end off and use the white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed WELL!*
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a bit extra for topping.
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnishing when finished.
  1. Bring a large pot of "Kosher-salted" water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.  I had to cook mine for about 12 minutes.  (Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain off the rest.)
  2. Meanwhile, as the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes(?).  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the skillet.
  3. Add the sliced/washed leeks to the bacon grease in the skillet.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the heavy cream and cook only until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked/drained pasta to the skillet of leeks/cream along with the Parmesan cheese, half of the bacon pieces and more pepper (if desired).  
  6. Toss to coat and, if you wish, add just enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to get the consistency you like.  
  7. To serve, top with the remaining bacon pieces, more grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped pieces of flat leaf parsley.

 * One of the cooks I was watching lately said to slice the leeks and then let them float in cold water-- any sand/soil should settle on the bottom.  Scoop the floating leeks off and you should be good to go.

** This recipe was adapted (and changed a bit) from one I found on the Internet, a recipe posting of the Food Network and it can be found at:

Here's another version of this dish using pancetta: