Queijadas de Feijão/Bean Tarts

img_4802I must confess…I have a problem…I collect cookbooks.  I haven’t counted them in a while, and I’m afraid to see how many I own.  Spanish, Portuguese, Azorean, canning, Dutch oven, the list goes on and on!  Those are the actual books… I’m not counting the e-books I have on my iPad! I have one Azorean cookbook, Food of the Azores Islands, by Deolinda Maria Avila, that  has some wonderful recipes including this bean tart.   I am always looking for bean dishes for the California Beans Bean Sack blog I write, and I found this wonderful queijadas recipe that uses beans.  We had something similar at Tasca restaurant in Sao Miguel in the Azores.  This recipe takes a while, but it is well worth the time.

img_4814Queijadas de Feijão
Bean Tarts

adapted from Food of the Azores Islands

Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups bean puree
1/2 Tablespoon butter
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 cup ground almonds or almond flour

Instructions:
Soak 1 cup of white beans overnight in water. Drain and rinse beans. Put in a small saucepan with water to just cover and cook until softened. Drain beans. Put beans in a food processor and puree. Measure out 1 1/3 cups.
Bring sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan to pearl stage. Add bean puree and ground almonds to sugar mixture, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool a little. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix very fast so the yolks don’t coagulate. Butter and line tart tins or muffin tins with a pastry of your choice. Fill with the bean mixture about half full. If using individual tins place them on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from tins and cool. Makes about 20-24.

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Pearl stage
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Place pastry in tin
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Pastry in tin
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Fill 1/2 full
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Perfectly golden!

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French Pear Pie

When I was first married I met a great group of women in a club called Patte Kake. Patte Kake was an auxillary of the Children’s Home Society of California.  I had known quite a few of the women in the group, some from childhood, but  a few of the others were new brides that had moved into the area.  We were all in our 20’s and 30’s and used to meet at a different members house every month.  We always had beverages and desserts, some fancier than others but always homemade.   Most of the women where either married to farmers or their spouse was connected in some way to agriculture.  Some of the women I met in this group are still my dearest friends and I love them like sisters.

One of the fundraisers we had for Patte Kake was a cookbook that was made up of recipes from the members past and present.  It was a wonderful little book and after 35 years the one I have is well worn.   You can always tell the most used recipes in a cookbook, they are the ones with stains on the pages or the ones where the book opens up to the most used page.

Original Cookbook
Original Cookbook
Pear Pie Recipes
Pear Pie Recipes, definitely a used page..notice all the stains!
Pastry for Pie recipe notice the worn pages!
Pastry for Pie recipe
notice the worn pages!

Theresa was a childhood friend that invited me to join Patte Kake. Theresa was a fabulous cook.  Whatever came out of Theresa’s kitchen was always delicious.   I first had this French Pear Pie at Theresa’s house. I usually don’t like fruit pies, but I love this one.  It was originally from Theresa’s Aunt Amelia another fabulous cook!  My neighbor brought over a bag of fresh pears yesterday and it made me think of Theresa and her pear pie.  I haven’t made the pie since Theresa passed away and when I made the pie today my husband said it was the best one I have ever made.  I think Theresa was a little angel on my shoulder guiding me today.

French Pear Pie

4 or more fresh pears peeled and sliced

9 inch unbaked pie crust

3 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate

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Put pears into crust-sprinkle with orange juice concentrate.

PearPie2Mix together the following and crumble over the pears.

1/2 cup granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup butter

PearPie3Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

It’s great served with whipped cream!

The pie crust I use is one that I have used since I got my Cuisinart food processor over 35 years ago.  The recipe came from a booklet that was in the Cuisinart box.

Pastry for Pies

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 stick (4oz.) cold butter

1 tsp. salt (less if you use salted butter)

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (optional)

1/4 cup ice water

Use steel knife of food processor.  Cut butter into 7 or 8 pieces.  Put all ingredients (except water) in work bowl of processor.  Process til mix has consistency of coarse meal. (5-10 seconds)  In 20 to 50 seconds a ball of dough will form above the blade.

Use immediately or chill, if desired.

Basque Wine Cake

This cake is so simple, delicious and might I say, addicting.  Make sure you have plenty of people to eat this after you bake it, because if you don’t I can guarantee you will eat almost all of it yourself.  It’s kind of like when you make homemade bread and it’s hot out of the oven and before you know it half the loaf is gone with 1/2 a stick of butter! Not that has ever happened to me!  This cake freezes well and is a wonderful cake to take to a new neighbor or anytime you want to give someone something home baked.

Our Basque club makes this a lot for our food booths at the county fair and two other events.  It’s always a favorite with the customers.

  In the summer I like to serve it with sliced fresh freestone peaches and top the peaches with real whipped cream that has a touch of ground cinnamon.

Ingredients for Wine Cake
Ingredients for Wine Cake

Basque Wine Cake

1 package yellow cake mix with pudding in it
4 eggs
1 cup white wine
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients.  Pour into greased Bundt pan.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven, turn out onto a plate and immediately pour glaze over hot cake.

Glaze:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup red wine
dash of cinnamon

Mix well, adjusting sugar and wine amounts to get a heavy syrup.

Note:
You can use nutmeg instead of cinnamon.
You can also use spice cake mix or chocolate cake mix with red wine.  You can use red wine with the yellow cake mix, but it makes the cake a greenish color.

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Finished cake.

IMG_4568Wrapped and unwrapped cakes for my husbands customer appreciation dinner.

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Goodness

My husbands  amuma (grandmother) used to make oatmeal cookies with dried apricots that the family sun-dried themselves from their orchard.  The best ones to dry are the ones that are over ripe…they aren’t pretty like the ones you see in the store, but they are a lot sweeter.  His amuma used to cut them in little pieces the size of raisins. We have a friend that his families business  makes the most delicious dried fruit and they have a product called Bakers Fruit Medley www.trainafood.com.  The medley is a blend of sun-dried pear, peaches, nectarines, apricots, golden and dark raisins and dried cranberries.  The pears, peaches, nectarines and apricots are cut into the size like amuma used to do with the apricots.  The Traina family are the growers, dryers and processors of the fruit.  Not only is it great in oatmeal cookies, I also use it in oatmeal for breakfast and in granola.

For the oatmeal I prefer is Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Oatmeal from Seattle, Washington.  Their website is www.snoqualmiefallsstore.com.  I like the consistency and the texture of the oatmeal.  You can use any brand you prefer.

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks),butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups oatmeal (NOT quick oats)

1 cup fruit medley or 1 cup raisins

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Snoqualmie Oatmeal IMG_3713

I keep a slice of bread in with my brown sugar to keep it soft. I change it out every so often as it gets hard.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla on low-speed til smooth.IMG_3716

Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside about 1/4 cup and stir in the rest with the creamed mixture.IMG_3717

Mix together the oatmeal and the dried fruit. IMG_3718

Add the reserved 1/4 cup of flour mixture to the oatmeal and dried fruit.  This keeps the fruit from clumping together when you mix it in.

Add oatmeal and dried fruit mixture to the creamed mixture and continue to stir until blended.

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I use an ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.  If you don’t have an ice cream scoop use a tablespoon.

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Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen cookies.IMG_3730

Grab a glass of cold milk and enjoy the cookies!

The easy way out.

I needed to make dessert for our Basque club member dinner and I didn’t have a lot of time to spend making the dessert. I chose to make gateau Basque because I could make part of it the day before and keep it in the frig.  There are as many different versions of gateau as there are paellas.  Gateau is from the French side of the Basque Country.   I was fortunate to have tasted some wonderful gateau when I visited St. Jean de Luc in France a few years ago.   One of my friends told me that this gateau reminded him of his mothers! Best compliment ever.   This gateau Basque is adapted from the cookbook Recipes from Basque Restaurants of the West by Clara Salaverria Perkins printed in 1995.  It isn’t a really traditional Gateau Basque…it’s the easy version.  Instead of making the filling  from scratch this recipe uses Jello Cook and Serve pudding mix.

Gateau Basque

Crust

1 cup  butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks

grated rind of 1 large lemon

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Filling

1 1/2  (4.9 oz.) package Jello Cook and Serve vanilla pudding (Do not use Instant pudding!)

3 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons cold water for egg wash.

Crust
Cream butter and gradually add sugar.  Sift flour and baking powder.  Beat egg, egg yolks and almond extract.  Add lemon rind.  Add eggs mixture alternately with the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture.  Mix well.  Place this dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Filling

Combine the milk and pudding mix in a medium saucepan and still constantly until it comes to a boil.  Cook just a little while longer.  Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.  Put pudding in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.

Roll out 1/2 of dough the same as you would a thick pie crust.  Press it into a 9 inch springform pan.  Pour cooked pudding into the crust.  Roll out the other 1/2 of the dough and put on top of the pudding.  Trim the edges and fold over the edges to seal.  Brush with the egg wash.  (The pudding expands during the baking process and and it will spill over the top if the edges aren’t sealed properly.)

Score the top of the gateau by carefully making diamond designs with the blunt side of a knife.

Bake gateau in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until it becomes a golden brown.

Note: Do not store it in the refrigerator or put plastic wrap on the gateau after baking.  If you do the top will get soggy.

Cream butter.

Gradually add sugar.

Sift flour and baking powder together in separate bowl.

In another bowl beat the egg, egg yolks and almond extract.

Add lemon rind to beaten egg mixture.

Add eggs alternately with the flour to the creamed butter mixture.  Mix well.

Place plastic wrap on counter and put half of dough on plastic.

Flatten and wrap both halves of the dough the same way.  Put in refrigerator to chill overnight.

(This dough can be made ahead and kept in the freezer until you need to use it. You can make a couple of batches to have on hand.)

Combine the pudding and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Cook just a few minutes longer. Stir in the almond extract.

Put the pudding in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill.

Roll out 1/2 of the dough as you would a thick pie crust.

Fold the dough in half and then again in half.

Place the dough in a 9 inch springform pan.  You can use a 9 inch pie plate, but I like the springform pan.

Press the crust into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.

Put the filling into the crust.

Roll out the other half of the dough and lay it on top of the filling.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  I used to fuss over this part wanting it to be perfect, but I learned that when it is baking if evens out. Trim the excess from the edge and fold over.

Beat 1 large egg with 2 Tablespoons cold water for the egg wash.

Brush the egg wash down the sides of the dough to form a seal.  Brush the top with the egg wash also.

Lightly score the top crust with the back of a knife.  You don’t want to go through the dough.

Gateau Basque before baking.

Finished!

If you have leftover dough from roll it out and put it either on a cookie sheet or in a pie plate.

Roll out, score and cut the dough as you would a shortbread cookie dough.  Dust lightly with bakers sugar and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.