Thursday, July 30, 2015

Caramelized Pear Cake

     When I saw this recipe for Caramelized Pear Cake from a 2000 edition of Bon Appetit, I rushed right out to get what I needed to make it in my dutch oven.  I would definitely categorize this cake as cook-off worthy, it's not only visually impressive but the aroma of ginger and cinnamon makes you positively heady. 
     First I mixed the batter, lit my coals, then quickly peeled and arranged the pears for the topping.  You may want to slice and place them with more precision than I did, especially if you're trying to impress the judges.  The cake baked in my 10 inch oven with 10 briquettes in a ring around the bottom, 16 in a ring around the edge of the lid with 6 spaced evenly in the center.  After 20 minutes I removed 2 of the center coals and in exactly 40 minutes my tester came out clean and the cake was done. 
     Once you have your ingredients organized, it's really not that difficult to make and infinitely better than a packaged mix.  One of the absolute best recipes I've made so far in my dutch oven, the cake is so moist and with a hint of ginger, cinnamon and orange, topped with sweetened fresh pears, it's a definite blue ribbon winner.

Caramelized Pear Cake

6 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced
Cake batter
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tblsp minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 cup grated peeled Bosc pears (about 2 medium)

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Pour melted butter into prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar.
     Arrange sliced pears in flower design atop sugar, cutting some pieces to fit center if necessary.
     Whisk flour, 2/3 cup sugar, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda and salt in medium bowl until well combined.
     Whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and orange peel in large bowl to blend.
     Mix in grated pears.
     Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.
     Carefully pour batter over pears in dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean.
     Cool cake in dutch oven for 30 minutes.
     Carefully lift cake out of oven using parchment paper and invert onto plate.
     Serve warm.

Arrange pear slices over melted butter and brown sugar

Carefully pour batter over topping

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean

Parchment is a must for removing the cake

Bound to impress the judges or anyone else who tries a slice

Friday, July 17, 2015

Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake


     If you liked playing with Play-Doh and Silly Putty as a child you are going to enjoy making this Pillsbury Bake Off winning recipe.  The fun part is mashing each cinnamon roll with the palm of your hand then rolling it around the filling.  I would suggest only putting a small amount of filling in each roll, folding the sides over one another then pinching and twisting the ends so each bundle is completely sealed.  I followed the original recipe and thinned the icing with a little lemon juice, pouring it over the coffee cake like a glaze, but would recommend using the thick icing right out of the package. 
     Once you master the art of shaping the dough, the possibilities of using different fillings are endless.  A mixture of crumbled bacon, softened butter, brown sugar and a little maple syrup immediately comes to mind.  Any canned pie filling would be good as well and very convenient for camping.  Just remember to add the filling sparingly and you can't go wrong.
      In my 10 inch dutch oven, the cake baked for 22 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom, 14 placed in a ring around the outside of the lid with 4 briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  I would advise lighting your coals halfway through the assembling process, if you let the raw dough sit for too long before baking it will start to rise and unseal. 

Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake
1 medium lemon
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup blueberry preserves
2 tsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 12.5 oz cans Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls (not Grands)
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     In medium bowl, grate 1 teaspoon zest from the lemon.
     Mix 2 tablespoons of the blueberries with the lemon zest, mashing berries slightly with fork.
     Stir in preserves, remaining blueberries and butter; set aside.
     Separate rolls from both cans; reserve icing.
     On parchment paper, press rolls, cinnamon side down, into 3 to 4 inch rounds.
     Spoon about 1 tablespoon blueberry mixture in center of each round.
     Fold dough over filling, pressing edges to seal.
     Place filled rolls in pan, seam side up in spoke fashion with two in the center.
     In small bowl, lightly beat egg with wire whisk; brush over rolls.
     Bake 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until center is deep golden brown.
     Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from oven and frosting with icing.
     Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Place stuffed cinnamon rolls side by side in
parchment lined oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes

Glaze or frost with icing while still warm

A fun and yummy coffee cake that kids
 of all ages will enjoy making

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tex Mex Creamy Chicken Casserole

     I found this little gem of a recipe on the Country Crock website.  It's cheesy, flavored with lots of corn and chilies and can be assembled in a matter of minutes.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, it baked for a total of 35 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven with 18 on the lid.  Garnish with sour cream, more cilantro and even chopped scallions for a filling, one pot camper's gourmet dinner. 

Tex Mex Creamy Chicken Casserole
1/4 cup butter OR margarine, melted
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 14.75 oz can creamed corn
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Ro-Tel)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
3 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro
8 corn tortillas

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Combine melted butter, chicken, corn, tomatoes, 3/4 cup cheese and cilantro in large bowl.
     Layer 4 tortillas in bottom of dutch oven, cut several of the tortillas in half if necessary to fit oven.
     Top with half of the chicken mixture.
     Repeat layer with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
     Sprinkle with remaining cheese and continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
     Top with sour cream and more cilantro if desired.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Layer corn tortillas and chicken mixture in well
oiled dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes then top with cheese

Bake for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese has melted

A new campground classic