Category Archives: Recipes

From Hawaii with Love: Coconut Apple Pie

I didn’t intend to write about food again this week, but after I published a chess pie recipe last week, and mentioned my recipe for an apple pie with a coconut topping, I received requests for it. This one goes back to Ron’s and my Hawaiian honeymoon in the mid 1970’s. His Uncle Al, a boy from the dusty, dry, isolated town of Abilene, Texas went to Honolulu during the second world war, married a Japanese girl and settled down there where they raised four children in a small cottage in St Louis Heights. From their cottage one had a sweeping view down to the endless blue Pacific. One look at that view and I knew why Uncle Al never returned to the mainland. Abilene? Or Honolulu? Not a hard choice.

coconut gives an added twist to apple pie

coconut gives an added twist to apple pie

When Ron and I arrived in Hawaii for our honeymoon, we visited Uncle Al and his wife ( also named Dorothy, though she went by “Dottie”) and in the  lovely Hawaiian tradition of “aloha” they showered us with gifts. One was a set of place mats, each of which featured a Hawaiian recipe. This recipe for coconut apple pie was the one that became a tradition at our house and a favorite with my landlocked  in-laws. I hope you enjoy it. You will need:

One 9 inch deep dish  unbaked pie shell in a glass pie pan

6 cups fresh apples, peeled, cored,  and thinly sliced

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the butter and toss gently so that all the apples slices are evenly coated.  Add the mixture to the pie shell and then dot the butter evenly over the top.

Cut a circle of  double thickness of aluminum foil large enough to cover the filling. Press this foil gently over the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes. While it’s baking make the Hawaiian topping:

Combine 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut ( I use Baker’s) with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 beaten egg.
After 30 minutes, take the pie from the oven and remove the foil. Spread the coconut topping evenly over the apple filling. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the coconut is slightly browned all over. Watch it so that it doesn’t burn! If the edges of the pie crust start to get too brown, cover with strips of foil for the last few minutes of baking.

Cool on a wire rack for at least two hours before serving.


Juanita’s Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so last weekend I went looking for my favorite lava cake recipe to bake for the Dear Hubs. Evidently I’ve lost it. But I found the recipe for my mother-in-law’s delicious cream cheese pound cake. This cake is wonderfully buttery and dense, with a hint of almond. It tastes great served plain, or with berries and whipped cream, or chocolate sauce if you want to dress it up a little more.  It’s so rich you can have just a thin slice with a cup of tea and feel satisfied.

34388Here’s the recipe:

3 sticks butter at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese at room temp

3 cups granulated sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups cake flour ( sift it twice after measuring to improve the cake’s texture)

pinch of salt

teaspoon of vanilla extract

teaspoon of almond extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Cream the butter and cream cheese and gradually add the sugar, mixing  until  fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually add the flour and mix thoroughly. Add the salt and extracts. Mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air pockets in the batter. Bake for about 90 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove to a wire cake rack and let it finish cooling. Serve plain or with berries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce or ice cream.

If you make this for YOUR Valentine, come back here and let me know how he  likes it.  Happy baking.


Just Like Grandma Used To Make

My brother Dale and I have been obsessed with conversations about food lately, mostly because we are watching our weight and trying to make healthier meals. It’s a real challenge to two Southern cooks who enjoy the foods our grandmothers used to make. My brother loves bread–biscuits, cornbread, yeast rolls that have to be left to rise, and then punched down to rise a second time before baking. He doesn’t care as much for desserts.

Granny’s tea cakes, warm and smelling of vanilla. Yum.

But I do. I still remember my grandmother’s banana pudding. Today, most cooks start with an instant pudding, but a real Southern banana pudding begins with a custard cooked over a double boiler, cooled, and layered with meringue  and Nilla vanilla wafers. I have never looked up the calorie count. It would be way too scary. I haven’t made banana pudding in a while, but this week I had a hankering for another of my granny’s recipes, and luckily it’s one with fewer calories.

Remember tea cakes? When I was a kid my mother made them using  Granny’s recipe and had them waiting–still warm from the oven,  when I got home from school. Baking tea cakes made the whole house smell like vanilla. Maybe that’s why vanilla is still one of my favorite scents and my favorite flavor of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Anyway, they are easy to make and quick to bake, so I thought I’d share the recipe.

GRANNY’S TEA CAKES:   Preheat the oven to 350. Cream one cup of butter and one cup of sugar till light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add one teaspoon vanilla. Then mix in 3 and a half cups of self rising flour, a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  If you have to wait for one batch to bake before putting in a second batch, cover the second batch with a damp tea towel so the dough won’t dry out.

These are so good served warm with milk or a cup of hot tea.

Do you have a favorite “granny recipe” to share?  I’d love to know what foods bring back good memories for you.

Southern Food….Seriously!

If you spend much time down here, you’ll soon discover how seriously we Southern women take our food. Just last week, my sister and I argued the merits of adding cocoa powder to pecan pie filling. Mom insists that  chicken must be soaked in ice water, dried,  battered and double-dipped in flour and then fried in a cast-iron skillet. The best potatoes for mashing are the golden skinned ones, but the red skinned ones make better potato salad. Mention virtually any southern dish–whether it’s collard greens or sweet potato casserole or divinity candy, and you’ll get all sorts of opinions on how to prepare it.

You can win this Southern Foodie cookbook in today’s 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.

If you love Southern cooking or if you’re just curious about how we do things south of the Mason-Dixon, enter to win a copy of The Southern Foodie Cookbook from Thomas Nelson Publishers, today’s 12 Days of Christmas prize. The cookbook contains recipes, of course, but also the background on numerous Southern dishes and the cooks who prepare them. And a list of the best places to eat around the South. Just click here to enter: Good luck, and good eating!