tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Tag: Grampa Jim

Thing One and Thing Two

by tableofcolors

I obviously have never been a little boy and to be truthful I was a little nervous when I was expecting Erik as to how I would cope as a Mom to a boy after our girls. My qualms were unfounded. Such sweethearts my boys are even if they do keep me on my toes both in mind and body. Erik often will have facts and quiz me during the day. I took him grocery shopping the evening before his party so that he could decide which chips and soft drinks we should buy. He decided on “Sahara” chips as it had a picture of a desert on the package. As we walked down an aisle, he would stop to inspect a package of macaroni or some sausage and explain his world to me. He told me about how the Crusaders invaded Jerusalem and quized me to see if I knew what prehistoric species are still living after the “turmoil of the dinosaurs” as he calls it. I fortunately had been pop-quized on the subject before and so I passed. If you do not happen to know that the alligator and gar are both prehistoric…and he went on to explain that from the scales of the gar, indigenous people made arrowheads. FYI

erik and snowmenAs we were in the baking section there was a package that had a picture of macarons. He stopped and very dramatically exclaimed, “This is what I have always wanted for my birthday!” And yes, indeed it would be have been a great idea as his cake was to be a hockey cake and so the macarons colored black could have been little pucks. But my time was running short and so I promised that we would try to remember next year. Fortunately he was perfectly pleased with the melting snowmen.

melting snowmenI happened to have about one pound or half a kilo of gingerbread dough still in the freezer leftover from Christmas. This helped speed things up considerably. You may find the recipe to the gingerbread here. I thawed out the gingerbread dough so that it was still cool but not frozen and rolled it out and made cutouts with a round cookie cutter.

Melting snowmen

24 round cookies (ginger, sugar or a cookie of your choice)
2 egg whites
powdered sugar
12 large marshmallows cut into halves
50 g/1 and 3/4 oz dark chocolate, melted

Buttercream
Basic buttercream (from the book, Maailman Parhaat Kakut by Barbara Maher)
125 g/4.4 oz unsalted butter
250 g/8.8 oz confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp milk or cream to make it more pliable
a few drops of red and yellow food coloring for making the orange noses

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and mix enough powdered sugar with the whites so that the frosting becomes a soft white with some consistency. Make sure that it is not too thick so that ou are able to squeeze through a parchment paper icing bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off.

First make the outline of the puddle for the melting snowman on each cookie. By the time all twentyfour outlines have been made, fill it in with zig zag line of frosting. You do not need to fill in every spot as the frosting will spread out. If needed, use a palet knife or a butter knife to help spread the frosting out. Place the marshmallow where you would like the head to be. Next melt the chocolate and make an icing bag out of parchment paper. Spoon the melted chocolate into it and make button, eyes, a smile, and stick hands.

Next make the buttercream and color it a desired orange. Make another icing bag out of parchment paper or use a plastic bag with the tip cut off, give each snowman a carrot nose and a scarf.

making melting snowman cookiesDuring the first few minutes of the party, the house was quite quiet and I was just beginning to wonder if the next two hours would actually pass in considerable peace. I shouldn’t have wondered. As they warmed up we barely had to come up with party games as they had a fast paced game of indoor tag so that their cheeks were quite rosy from the exercise. Even some of our girls got involved and soon there were about eleven kids zipping about. I know that photos below are not quite in chronological order with the previous post of Elma and represent the next generation when they were children, but I promise that I will get back to Elma and all of the interesting stories that belong to her era. When these photos of my Grampa and his cousins arrived in my inbox, I felt like they could have just as easily walked in my door for a wild game of tag with their irresistable grins. I kind of felt like I had Thing One and Thing Two come over from the Cat and the Hat, but just add in Things Three through Nine to the count.

Anderson cousins

Anderson cousins

“There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Jim and Don

Jim and Don

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” -Willian Shakespeare

 

Anderson cousins

Anderson cousins

And I do believe that they might have like my melted snowman gingerbread cookies just as well as Thing One through Nine did at the party the other night.

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Elma

by tableofcolors

In my last post I started telling the story of the Anderson family. Writing it all down is proving to be an interesting challenge in a pleasant way. First off, everyone has a unique life full of twists and turns, anecdotes and little moments that live on in the memories of family members. But the question is where to start, what to tell and in what order. I have decided that similarly in the way that memories resurface often not following a chronological order, nor will these stories always follow the calendar. I feel extremely lucky that there are so many good quality photographs that have survived. And this is just from one side of the family. I know my Gramma Darlene has photographs and stories from her side of the family as well. Whenever I visit, I walk past the wall of frowning ancestors, as she calls them.

Anderson family about 1900

Anderson family, about 1900

But back to the Anderson family. Their oldest daugher was Elma. As I have understood Elma had a large personality and a big heart and loved children. She never married and perhaps back in her time she might have been called a spinster but today I am sure she would have called herself single. She worked as a stenographer or someone who typed letters and did translation work for the Finnish community. She lived above the store on 238 Humboldt and across the street was the church. I think that the church is beautiful in a very timeless manner. And I keep stopping at the photo as I go through them.

church on humboldtElma seemed to comfortable with who she was. She was not overly concerned with what others thought and I am imagining her to be a free spirit. She was an artist, a poet, told stories to children and listened to their stories in earnest. Although her mother was really quite short, Elma could not be called small. She had generous hips and was on the larger side and was quite athletic, walking, skating and swimming. She smoked in a time when women often did not smoke and I imagine that her office in downtown Minneapolis was filled with the clackety-clack of a typewriter and perhaps sometimes a cloud of smoke since she lived in a time when there were no designated smoking areas. The papers that she would run down to the post office probably had a signature scent that clung to them, that would then arrive in the recepient’s mailbox along with the papers. Really it was not that long ago that not every house had a typewriter or even a camera and now even our grade school kids might have smart phones that have cameras. So much has changed in one hundred years and yet the nature of people stays the same. My perception of the era of Elma, is that it was more proper and society perhaps had, maybe not more rules but different rules that had to be followed. When my Grampa told me that she would walk down to Cedar lake in her swim suit and bath robe I can only imagine that she was breaking some of those unwritten rules. Some would good-naturedly chuckle and smile. She was Elma after all. While I do not want to make implications on anyone, my Isabella keeps coming to mind. I have had people tell me that she is a free spirit with a mission. And she likes to pose just like Elma. But she is only three going on four and so I will let her grow into her own person and decide for herself who she will become.

Elma portraitElma 2

Elma 4

Grampa told me that she had great culinary skills and once when he was a kid their family visited her home. She made them a meal and promised all of the children that the first one to finish their plate would get a prize. Well, Grampa won! And it was a handkerchief that was white with a blue border and white stars. I can just imagine how proud he was with his light blue eyes sparkling, and he claims that he is still good at cleaning his plate. I don’t doubt that statement as they always seems to have delicious food.

Jim Wuollet

Jim Wuollet

I think Elma might have liked these gingerbread muffins. I know that it is past Christmas but I do think the flavors are fulfilling and perfect for any day in the winter.

gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread muffins

0.8 dl/ 1/3 c brown sugar
1 dl/ 1/2 c molasses
0.8 dl/ 1/3 c milk
1 dl/ 1/2 c oil
1 egg
1.8 dl/ 3/4 c apple sauce
just under 6 dl/ 2 and 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (according to taste)
dash cloves
1 tsp salt
100 g /3.5 oz marscapone cheese

A ball of gingerbread about the size of your fist

Frosting

1.5 dl/generous 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 dl/ 1/2 c thick Greek or Turkish yoghurt
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c powdered sugar
gingerbread muffins unbaked

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. In another bowl, lightly whisk all of the wet ingredients and egg together. Make a well in the bowl with dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and divide the batter amongst the 12 muffin tins. Using two spoons make a small well in each muffin and drop in a generous teaspoon of marscapone cheese. Roll out the gingerbread dough and make small cookies. Place one cookie on each dollop of marscapone cheese. Bake at 200 C/390 F for about 15-20 minutes or until a test skewer comes out clean.

Allow to completely cool. For the frosting whip the cream and then fold in the yoghurt and finally the powdered sugar to taste. It should not be too sweet and you should be able to taste the slight sourness of the yoghurt. Spoon a generous spoonful of frosting on each muffin and serve with coffee or tea.

gingerbread muffins 2

 

In age order: Elma, Emil, Ann, Wally, twins: Jean and Julie, and the baby Esther --1903

In age order: Elma, Emil, Ann, Wally, twins: Jean and Julie, and the baby Esther –1903

 

In my kitchen in the bleak mid-winter

by tableofcolors

My kitchen is still full of the remnants of Christmas and New Years. The tree in Finland is traditionally taken down after epiphany and so it will be up for a few more days, perhaps a week. When we put the tree up, our Hugo, who is now a year and a half was in awe and WOW and Hieno (nice) became his new words. In January there are still little angels in my kitchen that that fly like fairies across the house and ocassionally giggle very loud and have a sparkle in the corner of their eyes as they jump off the high stool and do many tricks with considerable grace but not necessarily very angel-like in manner. How I love their company.

angel black and whiteIn my kitchen this month I have been spending some time looking through old photographs and reading and rereading emails from my Grampa. The photographs are treasures and when I spend time in the kitchen cooking or putting away dishes it offers the perfect moment of my very own that no one can really steal, to let the mind and imagination soar back into a different era. How I wished as a kid that it might have been possible to travel in time. I suppose back then I had very romantic notions of the olden days. I have sometimes wondered how I would have actually managed, now that I am used to all of the modern conveniences of life and society.

 

Anderson Store in Minneapolis circa 1906

Anderson Store in Minneapolis circa 1906

Like most immigrant groups, the Finns created their own Finntowns in communities. Minneapolis had one of the larger Finnish populations. What was new to me was that many of the Finns that arrived were looking to homestead land in Cokato, which is about 50 miles West of Minneapolis and used Minneapolis as their big city. This took place in the 1860 to 1880s and if I remember correctly some of the Wuollets had also settled in the Cokato area. The pattern of life that was created was that the men would come into the city to work in brick-yards, sawmills and carpenters as well as other jobs and then return home in regular intervals. After the 1880s many of the children of the homesteaders moved and settled permanently in the city. I referenced the History of Finnish Community pages and it mentioned the grocery of Isaac Anderson on 238 Humboldt Avenue. The picture above is of the shop and was taken in 1906. My great-grandmother is the baby in the arms of great-great-grandma Ida Anderson.

Wedding portrait of Isaac and Ida Anderson

Wedding portrait of Isaac and Ida Anderson

There is an interesting story behind the sirname of Anderson. When Isaac and his brother John Kauvosaari emigrated from Finland the official at the port of entrance asked for their name. They replied with their names and I am assuming that the Finnish name of Kauvosaari was quite difficult to the non-Finnish tongue. The official next asked what their father’s name was and when they replied, Antti Kauvosaari the official gave them a new last name of Anderson.

Humboldt Avenue 238 Minneapolis Anderson store

Anderson store at an earlier date

Inside the Anderson store

Inside the Anderson store

I’m not quite sure exactly the kind of butter-nut bread that they might have been selling, but just a few days ago when we had ice-skating weather I was making a whole-grain bread with spelt and buckwheat. I rolled the dough into a quarter of an inch thick sheet and then drizzled with honey and sprinkled with pecans and dried sour cherries. It tasted wonderful after all of the rich holiday foods and the fresh air and tag that was taking place on the ice.

 

pähkinäleipäplaying tag

Whole-grain bread with sour cherries and pecans
3 dl/1 and 1/4 c warm water
1/2 block of fresh yeast (25 g) or 1/2 sachet of dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
1 dl/ 1/2 c spelt flour
1 dl/ 1/2 c buckwheat flour
about 5 dl/generous 2 c whole-grain bread flour with cracked wheat (8% fiber content)
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c olive oil

bread with sour cherries, pecans, spelt  and buckwheat
Mix the yeast in with the luke warm water. I usually have my fresh yeast frozen as I buy it in bulk and that way there is always some on hand and it doesn’t grow old. I learned the trick from my mother-in-law. I just add the frozen block to the warm water and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes and then add in the honey, salt, buckwheat flour and spelt flour. I used my stand mixer freeing up my hands and allowed for it to knead on the lowest setting. It is better to allow the flours to absorb as much of the water as possible, so haste is not encouraged when adding the flour. Add in little by little the whole grain bread flour. The dough should be soft and may be a little sticky. Allow the stand mixer to knead thoroughly or alternatively you may knead by hand. Add in the oil. If the dough seems much too sticky, add more flour to your liking. Allow to rise until doubled in size.

Spray a bread tin with a non-stick spray and warm the oven to 200 C/390 F. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle the counter with flour and tip the dough on top. Gently roll the dough out and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with the pecans and dried sour cherries. Roll up the dough forming a log and place into the bread tin. Allow to rise once again and back for about 20 or 25 minutes or so that the bottom of the bread has a nice color and sounds a bit hollow when knocked with your knuckle. Enjoy toasted with butter and maybe even a drizzle of honey. Perfect after skating fare.

angel wingsThis post is part of Celia’s monthly In My Kitchen series. Check out her blog for links into the kitchens of bloggers from around the world.

Memories of times passed

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The children were all up today earlier than I was. It must be the anticipation and excitement as tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I remember when I was little my stomach almost hurt on Christmas Eve because of the excitement and my appetite was not at it’s best. Christmas is a time of memories of times spent together as a family and of making new memories for our little ones. On Thanksgiving I called my Grampa Jim and Gramma Darlene. I know that they have gathered pictures and studied the family history on both sides. Grampa has been sending me some photos along with some of their stories. In 2015, I would like to share some of these photos and stories with you along with recipes that have been an inspiration.

Grandma AggieI remember Great Grandma Aggie as a smiling white-haired lady with a quick wit. I remember sampling white chocolate truffles in her little apartment as a little girl around Christmas time, and if I remember correctly she preferred white chocolate. From the left is my great uncle Reino, great aunt Ellen, my grandfather Jim and my great aunt Margaret. This is what reading a storybook looks like in our house as well. Everyone likes to listen to the storybooks, even the babies. Some things never change.

gingerbread icecream moldI have been in a time pinch lately even though I have made the effort to take everything extra off the calendar. Not everything can be taken off the calendar as there are always doctor and dentist appointments and events at the schools that are important for both children and parents. The children had their last day of school this past Saturday. Two of them had Christmas church with their whole school and one had a Christmas program at school. We divided the parents and kids as we had to be in two different destinations at 8.30 am. But now we have slipped into our vacation schedule with no effort. We stay up a little later doing things together. Yesterday the kids decorated the tree. It might not look like something from an interior design magazine as the kids had been making ornaments at home and school during the past few weeks, but it has been decorated with love.

filling the moldOur dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner had been lacking inspiration. Due to the time pinch, it had to simple yet delicious and preferably something that could be done before hand to make things more relaxed on Christmas Eve. I happened upon this recipe on a Finnish blog called Heavenly bakings. It was the perfect recipe for my situation. as it couldn’t be easier and the result was both spectacular and not overly sweet. The traditional Finnish Christmas dinner with the carrot, rutabega, beetroot and potato casserole is quite heavy and so having a little slice of homemade gingerbread icecream seemed inviting.

gingerbread icecreamGingerbread Ice cream

 

4 dl/1.7 c heavy whipping cream
1 can (397 g/304 mk) sweetened condensed milk
8 small gingerbread to be placed on the bottom of the bundt pan
16 cookies roughly chopped/crushed, divided into two (8 cookies make about a generous 1 dl / 1/2 c of cookie crumbs)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
7 smaller cookies for garnish on the sides

Using cling film, line the small bundt pan and place the small gingerbread cookies on the bottom of the pan. Whip the cream until thick and fold in the sweetened condensed milk along with the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Mix in half of the cookies crumbs setting the other half aside.

Spoon the cream mixture into the bundt pan until about 1/3 full. Next add one half of the cookie crumbs that had been set aside. Spoon in more of the cream mixture and then sprinkle the rest of the cookies crumbs. Add the rest of the cream mixture and stick the last cookies along the side in a vertical position.

Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight. Before serving flip over onto a serving plate and remove cling film. Drizzle with caramel sauce.

gingerbread icecream and caramel sauceWishing you a blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas!

holiday card 3gingerbread icecream and caramel sauce 2

Grampa’s Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

by tableofcolors

In Finland the winter is supposed to be snowy and cold. Summers are supposed to full of summer scents (mosquitoes) and birch trees swaying in the wind. It may not always be so hot but it usually is warm. It seems as if the weather is a bit confused. Last winter the American Midwest got an abundance of snow and it seemed that it got all of ours as well. Yesterday I had to pull on my wool socks. Last week it rained sleet here and snowed in northern Finland. Although it didn’t quite match the weather, my first peony bloomed last week in the sleet.

jumping hurdles with hobby horses

The good thing when the weather turns sour is that gives an opportunity to do all of the chores waiting around the house. There is one thing I have learned while in Finland. When the sun shines drop everything else and run outside. It might shine for the next day or perhaps for three weeks if we’re lucky, but one can never know ahead of time! But now the sun had decided on my behalf that the house needed to be cleaned. I definitely agreed that it was in dire need of attention. I had been feeling a bit under the weather and it showed. The windows were full of fingerprints and the walls full of smudges. There were dust bunnies in the corners and laundry all over the place. And so I started.

The children would ocassionally complain that there is nothing to do! To which I would reply that it is completely normal that life is boring at times. I had recently read an article of a well-known Finnish psychologist Jari Sinkkonen, who stated that it is healthy that children experience boredom at times. It is those times that induce them to become creative and practice creative and unstructured play. As a result of their boredom, the kids came up with the most interesting obstacle course of hurdles for hobby horses using kitchen string and soft drink bottles.

Grampa's blueberry muffins 3

In the midst of these partially gray days, I found a surprise in my inbox. I received an email from my Grampa and his Blueberry Sourcream Muffins. They were wonderfully delicious and easy. Our Isabella had two and started helping herself to a third while she still had just little bite left of the second. I think she was rather intrigued with the tulip-shaped paper forms. I used a full-fat sour cream, as the batter has no other source of fat. With a little fat, the muffins store really quite well for a couple of days, if you haven’t eaten them before then.

muffin batter

Grampa’s Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

1 egg, beaten
2.2 dl/1 c (225 g/ 8 oz)sour cream
2 dl/just under 1 c sugar (160 g/5.5 oz)
4 dl/1 and 3/4 c flour (200g /7 oz) flour
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2.2 dl/1 c (90 g/ 3 oz) roughly chopped walnuts
4.5 dl/2 c (200 g/7.5 oz)blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine egg, sour cream and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the flour mixture. Fold in the berries and nuts. Drop into well sprayed muffin tin or paper forms. Bakes at 200 C/ 400 F for 20 minutes or until a golden brown and a test skewer comes out clean.

The batter may be stored in the fridge.
making muffins collage Some of the windows have been washed, walls wiped, floors mopped and laundry gathered. Today as I look out the sun came out and warmed the air a bit and the birches are in their summer glory just across the gravel road and the flower seeds and bulbs I planted this spring are coming up.

Perhaps summer is on its way afterall!

Grampa Jim’s other recipes: Almond Braid, Fresh Fruit Tart , Steam Pudding, Gramma Reeni’s Rhubarb Tart, Cranberry Cake, Cranberry Scones and Banana Cream Pie

Hundreds of dewdrops greet the dawn but only one Mother the wide world over

by tableofcolors

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies in the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over.
–George Cooper

Not many days have passed when we had the chance to spend a little time together and it always pulls the heart strings to leave. But I’m happy for the opportunity that we had even if it felt like too short of a time.

Mummu and Hugo 2Special memories and hugs to treasure in the heart for those rainy days that sometimes occur in life.

Gramma and I 2To share and cherish the happy moments.

popover collagePerhaps you will be having Grampa’s popovers for breakfast on Sunday, straight from the oven.

IMG_2242Grampa’s Popovers

3.5 dl/1.5 c warm milk
3 eggs
3.5 d/ 1.5 c (170 g/6 oz) flour
3/4 tsp salt

Place the milk in the microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, whisking each time. Add flour and salt and whisk well. Pour into six sprayed and preheated popover pans. A muffin tin with twelve works just as well for smaller popovers. Bake at 200 C/400 F for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Filling options

Just plain butter and maybe a little good quality jam, dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, peanut butter, sliced bananas and roughly chopped walnuts…brie cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and parsley, turkey slices and muenster cheese and arugula. The list could go on. Use your imagination.

Happy Mother’s day!

I decided to add a new little popover recipe to this post. In the comments, Carol asked about a gluten-free version and since I happened to have all the ingredients and a slower-paced day on hand I was intrigued to try. I made two versions and the second version turned out better. I must say that I really liked the flavor and texture even if they did not rise quite as high as the traditional recipe. Our first grader consumed three when she came home from school for snack, so I dare to say the experiment was a success. I divided my recipe into twelve muffin tins. So if you do not own a popover pan, no worries!

A few things to note: The gluten-free flour has more starch in it and easily becomes much thicker in consistency and so I reduced the amount of flour in ratio to milk. Lower the temperature of your oven about 20 degrees and for this recipe the bake time was reduced about ten minutes.

Gluten-Free Popovers

3.5 dl/ 1.5 c warm milk
3 eggs
2.2 dl/1 c (130g/4.6 oz) gluten-free flour
3/4 tsp salt

Place the milk in the microwave for about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, whisking each time. Add flour and salt. Whisk. Pour into 6 sprayed popover pans or muffin pan of twelve. Bake at 175 C/375 F for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
gluten-free popovers
mother's day cards

Steam Pudding and make-believe snow

by tableofcolors

Today it was snowing the kind of snow you see in store displays. They were large, fluffy clumps of flakes that slowly floated down. Occassionally the sun would peak through the clouds and everything glistened. I was shoveling snow as the kids played. And so when the sun came out I ran inside to get the camera. I really tried to run fast but each time when I came outside the light had shifted just a bit.

little hunter2make believe snow

Even the trees had a frosting of powdered sugar.

powdered sugar trees

Since the day was a stay-at-home sort of day and with Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out a family recipe received from my Grampa Jim. Ever since I was small we would gather at my grandparents’ on Christmas day and after dinner we would make music and then we would have dessert which included Gramma’s Steam Pudding. To me it seems as if the Steamed Pudding might be of English tradition. Fitting it would be since in my Gramma’s family tree there is English heritage that traces back to the Revolutionary War and even earlier.

Gramma and GrampaSteam Pudding

2.4 dl/1 c molasses

2.4 dl/1 c hot water
85 g/ 6 tbsp melted butter
2 egg yolks
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp soda

2 cups flour

2 egg whites beaten to firm peak

Pour the hot water into the molasses, add salt and soda, butter and egg yolks and then mix.
Add flour and fold into the molasses mixture.
Fold beaten egg whites into the batter.
steam pudding batterPour batter into greased molds in a steamer and cover. Cook over hot water at medium heat for 90 minutes. Do NOT lift cover before time is up.

After the 90 minutes are up, stick a test skewer and if if comes clean your pudding is done.
I used my double boiler for the cake since I did not have molds for the steamer. My cook time was somewhat longer since the cake did not have the hole in the middle that many molds have.

Serve in slices with generous servings of sauce.

steam pudding1Sauce

2 pasteurized eggs

140 g/10 tbsp melted butter
8 dl/3 and 1/2 c powdered sugar
0,5 l/1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the cream with the vanilla and a generous 2 dl/1 cup of the powdered sugar and set aside. Beat the eggs and half of the remaining powdered sugar, add the melted butter and mix. Fold the egg mixture into the whipped cream, add the remainder of the powdered sugar and refrigerate.

steam pudding2As the children trickled in from the outdoors and school the cake continued to grow smaller and smaller.

little hunter

Gramma Reeni’s Rhubarb Tart

by tableofcolors

Last weekend we enjoyed this Gramma Reeni’s rhubarb tart not once but twice. Earlier in the week my Grampa Jim sent me the recipe and some photos to go with it. You could call this tart a family heirloom. It is from my Great Grandma Irene, or as we called her, Gramma Reeni. She used to live in a quaint small white house near Rochester, Minnesota. Not far away was the store that her husband held. Outside the house were her flowers and the lawn that she cut with a push mower.

We celebrated my sister’s 30th birthday with the tart and everyone liked it so much that it disappeared quite quickly. For Sunday I made a new tart and it was enjoyed just as quickly. We have eaten this tart every year during rhubarb season, so you could say that it is a taste from childhood. But since I had moved to Finland I had not had it and after a break of thirteen years, it was nice to receive this recipe.

DSC04233 copy-1

Rhubarb Tart

2.4 dl/1 c flour

5 tbsp powdered sugar

110 g/4 oz/ 1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

Blend flour, salt and sugar. Add softened butter and work together to make a pastry. Press pastry into a papered 20 cm/8 inches spring form pan. Bake pastry for 15 minutes in a convection oven at 160 C/330 F.  (or 180 C/350 F if using a traditional oven.)

rhubarb

2 eggs

3.5 dl/1 and 1/2 c sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1.2 dl/ 1/2 c flour

5.3 dl/ 2 and 1/4 c chopped rhubarb

rhubarb mixture

Beat eggs well, add sugar and salt a little at a time, beat well and add flour and mix. Fold in the rhubarb, then pour the rhubarb mixture onto the baked pastry shell. Top the tart with 0.8 dl/ 1/3 cup of walnut pieces and 0.6 dl/ 1/4 cups of brown sugar sprinkled over the tart. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a convection oven 160 C/330 F. (or 180 C/350 F if using a traditional oven.)

tartServe with vanilla ice cream.

Links to other recipes from Grampa Jim: Almond Braid, Fresh Fruit Tart, Cranberry Cake, Cranberry walnut scones

Grampa’s Banana Cream Pie and a Gluten-free version

by tableofcolors

During one of their trips to Finland, Grampa taught me how to make Banana Cream Pie. It is one of those recipes that I know by heart. I’m not sure if I have the actual written version anymore. It has been a well-loved recipe that has been made many, many times. This past weekend we finally celebrated the birthday of our two year-old Isabella whose actual birthday was in April and since my husband has a birthday in May this treat doubled up for both of them. It has been my husband’s favorite for years.
two years old
Since I am usually baking or cooking for a crowd, I made a double batch and made the pie crust in a 9×13” or 22×33 cm pan. I then slipped the crust out of the pan and placed it on a larger sheet for serving. Due to the straight sides of the pan, the sides did not stay up and folded over making the edges a bit thick. Since it does not have the traditional sides of a pie, the filling tended to spill over a bit. The most important thing was that the flavor was just as great as with a standard round pie. The recipe below is for a standard round pie.

Banana Cream Pie

Crust
3 dl/1.3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
115 g/4 oz cold butter cut into cubes
1 1/2 tbsp cold lemon juice
2-3 tbsp ice cold water

I usually use my Kitchen aid and the flat beater for making the crust. You can definitely make it by hand as well. I mix the butter, salt and flour together so that it forms a crumbly mixture and then add in the lemon juice and water and mix just enough so that it can form a ball. After rolling out the dough and placing it in the pie tin, prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate it for about 20-30 minutes. This minimizes the shrinkage of the crust during baking. Bake the crust at 225 C/435 F for about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.

Custard filling

The custard should be made well in advance so that it has a chance to chill properly. Make it the morning of or even the day before and refrigerate.

6 dl/2.5 c milk
1 1/2 dl/0.6 c sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
4 tbsp corn starch
1-2 tbsp water
30 g/1 oz butter
dash of salt
custard
Place the milk, sugar and one slitted vanilla bean in a heavy bottomed saucepan and allow to come to a boil. The sugar insures that the milk will not burn to the bottom. Allow to boil for a few minutes so that it has slightly condensed. Remove the vanilla bean. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and water so that it forms a smooth paste. With a heat resistant cup take about 2.5 dl/1 cup of the boiling milk and mix it with the egg yolk mixture. Turn the heat on the boiling milk to low. Whisk half of the egg yolk-milk mixture with the boiling milk. Whisk constantly. After it has been incorporated, add the second half. This step insures that a smooth custard is formed that does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Allow for the custard to boil for a minute or two so that it thickens, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and salt.
After is has cooled somewhat, place cling film directly on the custard. This prevents a skin from forming on the custard while it cools. After it has cooled to lukewarm, chill in the refrigerator.

Slice 2-3 ripe bananas on the pie crust and whip 2 dl/0.8 cups of heavy cream.
sliced bananas
Next spoon the chilled custard on the sliced bananas. Spoon the whipped cream on the custard and garnish with coconut or a dash of cinnamon.
banana cream pie
For a gluten-free version, omit the crust and spoon the custard into a glass single-serving bowl. Slice a half of a banana on the custard and garnish with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
gluten free

bella

Taste tester

Taste tester

Links to Grampa’s previous recipes: Almond Braid, Fresh Fruit Tart, Cranberry Cake and Cranberry Walnut Scones

Cranberry Cake

by tableofcolors

Last night our literature club came over to our house. We get together once a month on a Friday evening after 8 pm. The reason for the late hour is that most of the children have settled down for the evening and the hustle and bustle of the work week has come to an end and we will have a few hours of peace and quiet, laughter and discussion. We have so much fun that it is often hard to decide when to go home and catch a few hours of sleep. Last night was no exception, thank you to all who made it over. Our book this time was Suvi Kinoksen seitsemän enoa by Jukka Parkkinen. It tells about a little girl that becomes an orphan at the age of six months and her seven uncles who raise her. Most of the uncles are PhD’s and have no experience with little ones and so they get their knowledge from books. The book had me giggling so hard that I had to read a few excerpts to my husband who was wondering what could be so funny.

I decided to serve Cranberry Cake at our get together. The recipe was sent to me by my Gramma and Grampa. As a child we would celebrate a Finnish Christmas on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we would have an American Christmas at my Grandparents’. This Cranberry Cake was part of our traditional Christmas Day and since we are still in the heart of winter with more snow falling almost daily, I thought that this cake is cozy and matches the mood of late night literary discussions.

Cranberry Cake with Sauce
cranberry cake with sauce
4.7 dl/ 2 c all purpose flour
2.4 dl/1 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2.4 dl/1 c milk
45 g/3 tbsp (1.5 oz) melted butter

4.7 dl/2 c cranberries (frozen berries are fine)

Blend dry ingredients.
dry ingredients
Add milk and butter and mix. Do not over mix. Add the cranberries.
batter with cranberries
Place batter in a 23 cm/9 inch papered cake pan. A bundt pan works fine as well. Bake at 175 C/350 F for 45 minutes
DSC03657

The sauce is an essential part of the cake and is easy to make.
Sauce:
1.2 dl/ 1/2 c butter
2.4 dl/ 1 c sugar
1.8 dl/ 3/4 c half and half or cream

In a sauce pan melt butter, add sugar and cream.
Bring to boil and allow to simmer on low heat while stirring for ten minutes.
Serve sauce warm over each slice of cake.
DSC03659

greenery

Here are the previous links to recipes from Grampa Jim: Fresh fruit tart, Almond Braid, Cranberry Walnut Scones