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We occupy ourselves with holiday preparations — or with dreaming of celebrations not yet visible on the far horizon.

Such a dreamer is Hungry Husband, who looked around his kitchen and discovered "rinds of Parmesan, grated almost to the end. Somewhere I heard there is a use for these in recipes. What do I do?"

And remembering Christmases past, he also asked for a reliable old-fashioned baked custard, and for homemade eggnog that is adaptable to a dairy-free facsimile.

 

SPOON ROLLS

Barbara Mann offered this timely roll recipe, "my favorite yeast recipe, in the 'Cooking With Jack' cookbook. They are served in Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House in Lynchburg, Tennessee."

Southern Spoon Rolls

1 package active dry yeast

2 cups warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

4 cups self-rising flour

Grease 24 muffin cups. Combine yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl, and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in the sugar, butter and egg. Add the flour, stirring vigorously until a soft dough forms, about 2 minutes. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the dough overnight and then bake the rolls the next day. Or loosely cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rest on the countertop for about 20 minutes.

Drop by spoonfuls in muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: I have found this dough will last 3 to 4 days. It separates a bit, but stir it up and make as many muffins as you need. I only make about 6 at a time.

 

COCONUT CAKE

Carolyn Towns found the coconut cake you sought and can verify it as fabulous.

"This recipe came from a self-published cookbook by my friend Joanne Everett. Joanne was the longtime media specialist at Lakeside Elementary." The two cake recipes that follow were made famous by Nell Barger, retired secretary at Lakeside Academy.

The Coco Casa in the first title refers to canned cream of coconut. Ms. Barger's recipe also has a chocolate version. Read on to find it.

And Ginny Minninger sent an almost-identical version from her home in Hixson. Her grandson Max baked it for her birthday, which of course makes this "poke cake" a treasure for her.

Coco Casa Coconut Cake

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup Coco Casa cream of coconut

1 medium carton Cool Whip

1 (8-ounce) can flaked coconut

Mix and bake cake according to package directions in a 9- by 13-inch pan. While cake is hot, pierce holes in cake with a small spoon handle. Pour the condensed milk over cake, and let it absorb into cake. Pour cream of coconut over, and let it absorb. When cool, spread top with Cool Whip; sprinkle with can of coconut. Chill cake overnight in the refrigerator. Do not cut cake before this step.

This one's a variation on the Coca Casa Cake above.

Nell Barger's Special Chocolate Cake

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can Hershey's chocolate syrup

1 medium carton Cool Whip

8 ounces chopped pecans

Mix and bake cake according to package directions in a 9- by 13-inch pan. While cake is hot, pierce holes in cake with a small spoon handle. Pour the condensed milk over the cake, and let it absorb into cake. Pour chocolate syrup over, and let it absorb. When cool, spread top with Cool Whip; sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill cake overnight in the refrigerator; do not cut cake before this step.

 

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

Just in time for your prime rib feast, Mary Lynn Wilson sent Yorkshire pudding that "turned out perfectly last Christmas. I used popover pans because I love the shape of individual puddings, but my British in-laws always baked theirs in layer cake pans and served them in wedges." This recipe came from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

The Best Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Yorkshire puddings are designed to rise tall and light with a crisp shell and a lightly chewy center; they come out even better if made in advance. Letting the batter rest at room temperature helps it rise taller as it bakes.

Recipe makes 2 skillet-size, 8 popover-size, 12 muffin-size or 24 mini muffin-size puddings.

4 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

6 ounces (3/4 cup) whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water

About 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

About 1/2 cup beef drippings, lard, shortening or vegetable oil

Combine eggs, flour, milk, water and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, for best results, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate batter overnight or for up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator while you heat the oven.

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Divide drippings (or other fat) evenly between 2 (8-inch) cast iron or oven-safe nonstick skillets, 2 (6-well) popover tins, 1 (12-well) standard muffin tin or 1 (24-well) mini muffin tin. Heat in the oven until the fat is smoking hot, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pans or tins to a heatproof surface (such as an aluminum baking sheet on your stovetop), and divide the batter evenly between every well (or between the 2 pans if using pans). The wells should be filled between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way (if using pans, they should be filled about 1/4 of the way). Immediately return to oven. Bake until the Yorkshire puddings have just about quadrupled in volume, are deep brown all over, crisp to the touch and sound hollow when tapped. Smaller ones will take about 15 minutes, popover- or skillet-size ones will take around 25 minutes.

Serve immediately, or cool completely, transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a hot toaster oven before serving.

 

APPLE PIE

Roseann Strazinsky's apple pie has an unusual but also logical ingredient, butterscotch pie filling. And the simple base requires no crusty expertise.

I-Hate -To-Make-Crust Apple Pie

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup quick minute oats

In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients, stirring until well blended. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pan. Do not press onto rim.

Filling:

5 cups thin-sliced apples

1 package (4-serving size) regular butterscotch pie and pudding filling mix (not instant)

Toss apples with pudding mix to coat thoroughly. Pour into crust.

Topping:

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup quick minute oats

3 tablespoons soft butter or margarine

Combine flour, brown sugar and oats. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until apples are tender. This recipe makes 1 (9-inch) pie.

Today has been all baking; who knows what delicious variety is ahead? Please come back next week, at 2020's finale, to read for yourself. We can guarantee that you will find a sheet cake or two, tested and approved by Martha Eaves' forebears for almost a century. So perhaps you would want to send some treasures from your family's culinary lineage.

 

REQUESTS

* Uses for Parmesan rinds

* Old-fashioned baked custard

* Dairy-free homemade eggnog

 

TO REACH US

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

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Jane Henegar
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