Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dancing Brunch Casserole

 Floyd Virginia Monthly Contra Dance

 Holiday Delight West Virginia

Tennessee Easter Contra Dance

Some contra dances have pot lucks. Long ago in Logan Utah we had a pot luck at the Contra dance. Kay F. brought the most wonderful casserole. I have been baking the "dancing casserole" ever since.

Dancing Brunch Casserole

1/2 cup butter
10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Blenderize all the above

2 cups cottage cheese
4 cups shredded jack (or mixture of cheeses)
2  4oz cans green chilies

Bake in a greased 9 X 13 pan at 350 until puffy, brown, and firm in the center about 35 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

ABC Chocolate Eclair HooDoos

A recent trip to Goblin Valley created a desire in the kitchen to recreate the hoodoos. This is a spectacular landscape in Southern Utah near the San Rafael Swell that makes you feel like you are on a completely different planet.

I piped the Pate a Choux into what I hope will look like the landscape we adventured in.

Can you find me? We hiked to the Goblin's Lair, Molley's Castle, and to 3 different Goblin Valleys.

Looking ready to fill with the pastry cream and chocolate glaze.

Created Eclair Hoodoo!!

My girls on the hoodoos.

       My Grandma Bubbles use to make eclairs on special occasions. She used jello pudding mix as the cream and I never really liked that. When I worked in the Koditori in high school, I had amazing pastries and became really picky when it came to Eclairs and Napoleons.
      We also had to have a taste test and went to 2 local restaurants to get eclairs. I really liked the homemade better. The store bought ones were way to sweet and more about sugar then other flavors. I used a different pastry cream recipe then my fellow bakers.
       My fellow ABC bakers have worked wonders with this recipe. They used a chocolate filling. In the King Arthur Flour cookbook they suggest other pastry cream flavor options: butterscotch, caramel, orange, peanut butter pastry cream. I never really thought about doing a different flavor since vanilla is so traditional. I did do things differently but my changes are in the following recipe.

Eclairs adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pate a Choux (Puff Pastry)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 large eggs

Vanilla éclair filling (Pastry Cream not King Arthur Flour recipe)

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 cups whole milk (divided)
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter

Chocolate Glaze

  • 8oz chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TB heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 TB corn syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.
  4. Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It'll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. The temperature should be below 125°F.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; it'll look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.
  7. Using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop, or a level muffin scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds. Space the mounds about 3" apart, to allow for expansion. For éclairs, pipe the batter into 5" logs about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter.
  8. Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until pastries are a medium golden brown. Turn off oven, open the door a crack, and leave pastry inside to cool for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pastries from the oven and cool completely. When they're cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy. 
  10. To make the Pastry Cream: Combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the sugar in the mixing bowl, then stir in 1/2 cup of the milk. Blend the yolks into the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. 
  11. Prepare and ice bath. Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups milk with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt and bring to boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Temper egg mixture by gradually adding hot milk mixture into the eggs,whisking constantly. Add remaining milk to eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over med heat using a whisk until the whisk leaves a trail (about 5-7 minutes). Stir in vanilla and butter. Cool in ice bath. Stirring occasionally until the pastry cream is cool, about 30 minutes. 
  12.  Spoon the cooled filling into the éclair shells.
  13. To make the Glaze, place the syrup and cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup.
  14.  Heat over low heat (or in the microwave) until the cream is very hot. 
  15.  Remove from the heat and add chocolate. Let rest 2-3 minutes. Stir until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Spoon over the éclairs, spreading to the edges. Serve immediately.