Saturday, December 21, 2013

California + Sydney, AU = Two of my family's best holiday receipes

My dad made the best fresh dinner rolls for our holiday feasts - making this recipe always brings back good memories of him.  This is his recipe, from his handwritten note to me. The suggestion with the addition of herbs, is one I’ve made up since. 

Raymond’s Dinner Rolls

Makes one dozen rolls, or 1 1/2 lbs. bread machine dough.

1 cup + 2 Tbs. warm water 
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teas. salt
1 Tbs. dry yeast

For whole wheat, use two cups of white flour and 1 1/2 cups wheat. Add 1 Tbs. honey and use brown sugar instead of white.

Take dough out of bread machine after dough cycle is complete. Divide into three logs and cut each into four slices. Roll each into ball. Place on PAM coated sheet and allow to rise until doubled (45 to 60 minutes). You may brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake at 375 degrees until brown (12 to 18 minutes).

Herb Rolls: If you desire herb rolls, delete the honey and use white sugar and white flour (you may stick to whole wheat if you prefer).  I add 1 1/2 teas. each oregano, basil and rosemary - you may also add crushed garlic with a little garlic powder and onion powder if you like or chives.

Dessert Recipe in honor of Nana

My father and his family were native Californians, while my mother and her half of my relatives are from New South Wales, Australia. The following recipe has become a favorite with all my family, including the date haters. The dates become so much a part of the cake they are not noticeable. They just add to the moisture and pure addictiveness of this great recipe. 

For a long time, this elegant dessert has been very common in Australia. Recently I was surprised at work to see a Wensleydale cheese called Sticky Date Pudding as it still is rarely seen in any form the U.S.

Australian Sticky Date Pudding

1/2 cup butter, room temperature, cut into eight pieces
1 1/4 cup chopped dates
1 teas. baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 3/4 teas. baking powder
Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs. packed brown sugar
1/2 teas. vanilla

Prepare cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray PAM in a smallish Pyrex rectangular baking dish. Place dates in about 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 3 minutes then add baking soda (the mixture will foam) and remove from heat. 

In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and eggs. Gently mix in flour, salt and vanilla. Slowly stir in the baking powder and 1/4 cup of liquid from cooking the dates. Mixture should resemble thick pancake batter. Drain off remainder (use small strainer) of date liquid and discard. Stir in dates. Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes then check to see if done in center.
To prepare caramel sauce: Combine butter, whipping cream, brown sugar and vanilla in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer three minutes.
To serve: Drizzle some of the sauce over the cake as it is cooling. Serve the rest of the sauce separately.

I prepare the plates and bring them to the table. Warm the leftover caramel sauce and drizzle over each piece of cake. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I serve this dessert on emerald green glass plates, so, for a beautiful touch, shake some powdered sugar over each plate - it looks like snow! Use any darker color plate to do this. I keep a shaker full of powdered sugar for other dessert finishes, too.

In the future, I’ll write more about my mother and her lovable Aussie personality, and the strange (for here) sandwiches I brought to school for lunch.

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