Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Pineapple Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

She doesn’t use pecans normally and asked if there’s another recipe that would use more of the pecans, since they come in a fair-sized bag.
No Problem.

Ma had a recipe for a Pineapple Cake that had a Coconut Pecan Topping.

Pineapple and coconut were popular in the United States in the 1950s.
That was because Hawaii was becoming the 50th State.
So Ma saw this recipe in the newspaper, made it and we enjoyed it.
A good recipe is a good recipe.
Even if it is over 50 years old!


As with the coffee cake, if you don’t have pecans then chopped walnuts or almonds also works in the topping recipe.

After pouring the topping over the cake, some folks like to run the cake under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the coconut a bit.
If you do this, keep an eye on it so the coconut browns and doesn't burn.

You can use this coconut topping over a chocolate cake and call it German chocolate.
No, Germany wasn’t planning to become a state!

                        Pineapple Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9×13 inch pan

In a large mixer bowl combine
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix well at medium speed, about 5 minutes.
Scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, stir in
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can crushed pineapple
Spread the cake batter in the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 minutes.
The cake’s centre should spring back. 


For the Coconut Topping

In a large pot place
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup butter
5 ounces evaporated milk
1 Cup pecans, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 Cups coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring to a boil.
While stirring, allow to boil for 6 minutes.

While the cake is still warm pour the topping over the cake and spread it evenly with a heatproof spatula.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Autumn inspires ups to make substantial meals.
And solid meals inspire us to make real desserts.
No… Jello with banana slices won’t do.
Really, summer's gone.

Ma had a recipe for a coffee cake that is good enough for holiday family gatherings.
But it’s also easy enough to make for a regular Autumn dinner.
Or any family dinner.


Not a regular user of sour cream?  Worried about the fat?
Sour cream also comes in low fat form, and that will work in this recipe.

Don’t have pecans? Chopped walnuts or almonds also works in the recipe.

                        Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Coffee Cake

For the Cinnamon Swirl
In a small bowl mix together 
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Set aside.

For the Crumb Topping
In a small bowl mix together 
3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 Cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 Cup margarine, softened
Mix until everything is in pea-sized pieces.
Set aside.

For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9×13 inch pan

In a medium bowl combine
3 1/2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat at medium speed
1/2 Cup margarine, softened
3 ounces oil
2 Cups sugar
Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add, one at a time
4 large eggs
Scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, beat well after each addition.
2 Cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix in just until done.
Stir in the flour mixture.

Spread evenly half of the cake batter in the prepared 9×13 baking pan.
Sprinkle the cinnamon swirl over top.
Spread the remaining batter evenly over the cinnamon mixture.
Sprinkle the crumb topping over the entire cake.

Bake for 60 minutes.
The cake should be a deep golden brown.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Place the pan on a wire rack.
Let the cake cool completely.

Another good recipe for family gatherings is 
Yes, it has booze in it.
Yes... it helps at family gatherings.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Anna Sultana’s Rigatoni Pizzaiola (Rigatoni, Pizzamaker's Style)

There was a frost warning last night.
Some folks pulled out spare blankets and tucked in their plants.
Others figured the weather is just going to get worse and pulled up everything that would be at risk.

If you’re a puller, you now have a produce department’s worth of veggies in your basement.
Okay… It's time to cook some for dinner.
Ma’s Rigatoni Pizzaiola would be perfect for using some of the tomatoes.

Don’t get excited about the Pizzaiola part.
Pizzaiola means Pizzamaker's Style.
Don't confuse the kids.
It just means covering something with tomato sauce and cheese.

I explained what to do on the post Carmela Soprano’s Bistecca Pizzaiola.
Pizzaiola also works with fish, as in Carmela Soprano's Baccala Pizzaiola.
And with potatoes - try Carmela Soprano's Patate Alla Pizzaiola.

Rigatoni is a large elbow macaroni, cut in 3 inch lengths.
That's a fair sized chunk of starch.
It can hold its own with the cheese and tomatoes.
Don’t have rigatoni, but do have ziti or penne?  No problem. 
Even elbow macaroni will do in this recipe.

Only cooking for two and don’t want leftover rigatoni?
Carmela had two recipes using rigatoni:
Carmela Soprano's Rigatoni with Broccoli


About the seasonings - make it as spicy or mild as the family likes.
Prefer grated Romano cheese?  No problem.

You’ll need 4 Cups of tomato sauce.
Just remember it takes about 2 1/2 hours to make.
But it can be prepared the day before.

                        Rigatoni Pizzaiola

Serves 6

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1 pound rigatoni
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta.


Preheat oven to 375º

Place in a 9 x 13 inch pan
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
Sprinkle over the tomatoes
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bake for 35 minutes.
Remove half of the tomatoes and set aside.

Over the tomatoes place
2 Cups tomato sauce

Place the pasta over the tomatoes in the pan.

Over the pasta place
1 Cup tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 400º

Sprinkle over the sauce
1/2 Cup olives, sliced
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 Cup tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon oregano
the remaining half of the baked tomatoes
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with a green vegetable, such as Ma’s green bean salad.
Oh, some nice crusty bread would be good, too.