Happy Nutty Pi Day!!

Dear Liza,

Did you know that March 14th is a special day for MATH? It’s Pi Day! Since the number Pi (which is useful for figuring out the area and circumference of a circle and lots of other things) is usually rounded to 3.14, March 14 is a day of celebration for all things Math and PIE.

This year, instead of going out for pie, I made one. Actually, I made a bunch of little blueberry tarts. And since Auntie Bridgett has some problems with gluten, I made my first ever nut-based pie crust.

I used the Basic Nut Pie Crust recipe from the FOOD52 website. It is very simple, just ground walnuts, a little sugar and salt, and some butter and egg white to hold it together.

When all the ingredients were mixed together, it was a nutty, delicious sort of play dough!

I sprayed muffin tins with baking spray, then used my wet fingers to smush the dough into a crust in each tin, and baked them at 325F until they were all light brown and smelling delicious. Then I went hunting for a recipe for the filling.

I decided on the Allrecipes site, and found their recipe designed to be used with frozen berries. The filling thickened quickly and I spooned it into the cool tart shells. The recipe calls for baking the tarts for 30 minutes, but after just 10, the crusts were getting too brown, so I pulled them out.

Once the tarts had cooled, I put them in the fridge to wait until after dinner. I served them with some yummy yogurt, and from the look on Bridgett’s face, I’d say they were a success.

I love trying new recipes, especially when they turn out so delicious!


Grandma Judy

Christmas Treats from TV Chefs

Dear Liza,

Christmas is a time for sweets, for sure. The Great British Bake Off, along with other fine chefs, have nudged me into new territory.

This year I made my first boiled Christmas pudding! Friend Jofish Kaye gave me my first taste years ago, and chef Jamie Oliver walked me through the process via YouTube this week. You can find Jamie’s YouTube directions here. https://youtu.be/w96fi9SqYpU

It will sit in the fridge, wrapped up tight and soaking up a bit of whiskey, until Christmas.

Last year, I also made the fancy sort of braided loaf that Paul Hollywood expects his bakers to create. With the help of a YouTube baker named Bincy, I made this lovely (and delicious!) thing! Her very detailed YouTube directions are here:

Auntie Bridgett’s favorite Bake Off chef is Nancy Birkewhistle, whose mince pie we so enjoyed last year that I am making it again.

I hope you get inspired to make some yummies for Christmas! Remember, even the ‘failures’ are delicious.


Grandma Judy

First Meringues!

Dear Liza,

Watching all theGreat British Baking Shows in re-runs gets me inspired, I hunted up a new recipe online and gave it a go. I found a yellow cake recipe, with eight (8!) egg yolks and I figured I could add some cocoa into some of the batter and it would be a fine marble cake.

Well, between several false starts (like forgetting to put the sugar in at the right time) and chocolate batter that was like concrete, it was a terrible cake. It is, however, a cake. So I ate it, though I didn’t ask anyone else to.

All this lead to eight homeless egg whites in the fridge. So, what else was I to do but try my hand at meringues?

Eight egg whites and half a teaspoon of salt, whipped to soft peaks, can welcome a cup of white sugar a bit at a time, and then a touch of vanilla and food coloring. Whip for ten minutes, tops, and you have lovely, sturdy, pink meringue! I was stunned.

I got the piping bag and made a few different shapes to see what was most successful. Baked at 120 F for an hour and a half, then left on the sheets to cool in the oven, they were ready to eat. Tiny kisses were easiest get off the sheets, and tight spirals were mostly successful.

More fragile shapes shattered and got eaten on the spot, but little kisses and swirls were bagged up for neighborly gifting.

I love kitchen experiments. Even the failures are usually delicious.


Grandma Judy