Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lucky Leaf Pot-A-Cakes

I admit to being a baker who uses canned pie filling. It's not anything I'm ashamed of, on the contrary, I think it makes me a smarter baker. While fresh cherry pie is lovely, pitting cherries is not, and while fresh blueberries are the bomb, some days I just need them ready to go. I will admit that using apple pie filling from a can is something you'll almost never see me do, but I've slipped there on occasion, too.

Lucky Leaf recently sent along a few recipes for me to try along with cans of their pie fillings to make them with. The first was a clear winner in our house. Lucky Leaf Pot-A-Cakes was the Grand-Prize Winner of the Lucky Leaf Blue Ribbon Recipe challenge, submitted by Gloria Herdman of Pomeroy, Ohio. A combination of streusel bread, blueberry pie filling and cheesecake, they were absolutely yummy.



1 21-ounce can LUCKY LEAF ® Premium Blueberry Pie Filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 4-serving size package (3.4 ounces) French vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
1 17.4- to 18.3-ounce package cinnamon streusel quick bread mix
2/3 cup water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide pie filling among eight 10-ounce custard cups or ramekins (for one dish recipe see below). Set cups on a large baking sheet; set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in pudding mix. Gradually beat in whipping cream until well combined (mixture will be thick). Spoon evenly over pie filling in cups.
3. In another large bowl combine quick bread mix, water, eggs, and oil. Stir until combined but slightly lumpy. Spoon 1/4 cup of the batter over the cream cheese mixture in each cup. Sprinkle evenly with all but 1/4 cup of the packaged streusel mixture. Spoon remaining batter over the streusel (batter won't cover the streusel layer). Sprinkle with reserved streusel. (Note: Cups will be full.)
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into top portion comes out clean. Cool slightly. If desired, drizzle tops of cakes with icing* before serving. Serve warm.

*Icing: If your quick bread does not contain an icing packet, in a small bowl combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make drizzling consistency.

One Dish Method: Prepare batters as above. Spread pie filling in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Dollop pudding mixture atop. Spoon on about 1/2 of the batter and sprinkle with all but 1/4 cup of the streusel. Spoon on remaining batter and sprinkle with reserved streusel. Bake in a 350°F for 40 minutes. Cool slightly and drizzle with icing.

Servings: 8

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Lucky Leaf products provided free of charge. This post and resulting opinions are my own and have not be influenced by free product.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Dulce de Leche

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Dulce de Leche
Leftovers are a fact of life, especially during the holidays. I'm a straight-up kind of girl when it comes to them so it's rare that I make anything different from a leftover holiday food. This cake, though, is something I'd make extra sweet potatoes for any day.

When this was done, still warm from the oven and topped with thick dulce de leche, the result was something that can really only be described as foodgasmic. There were no words for just how good that cake was. I made it again with the same delicious results and expect it to stand the test of time here.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Dulce de Leche
Serves: 12
Printable Recipe


2 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup unsalted butter - softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unpacked light brown sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 cups prepared dulce de leche

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.
2. Mix together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add sweet potatoes, vanilla, eggs and milk and stir until smooth.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice and add to wet ingredients slowly. Batter will be thick.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
5. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a clean serving platter.
6. Heat dulce de leche until smooth and warm and serve over slices of cake.

*Notes: If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on-hand you can use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cloves.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Have you ever seen Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub in Big Night? If not, and you are anywhere near a serious foodie, or even just a fan of either actor, you must watch it. The story is that of 3 brothers who own a flailing restaurant and are in need of financial assistance. Their search for funding leads them to believe they will be serving a famous musician at their restaurant and they plan a 'big night' with an even bigger meal for the musician and the friends they've invited.

The pièce de résistance of the huge meal is Timpano. Watch here:

I scoured the web and found Stanley Tucci's mama's recipe for Timpano and tackled it over three day's time. It was just as good as the guests in the clip make it out to be. I had children making noises that rivaled the dinner scene from What About Bob? It really is that good.

I won't share the recipe here, but it can be found in Cucina & Famiglia: Two Italian Families Share Their Stories, Recipes, And Traditions by Joan T. Tucci, Gianni Scappin and Mimi S. Taf

Here, however, is the building of a Timpano:

You need a very large pan. The usual is a 14-inch enamel coated basin, but I have a 6.9 quart caldero on hand from IMUSA which I used. The end result doesn't look the same on the outside, but I promise it tastes just as good.

Adding pasta tossed with Ragu Tucci to the first layer.

TimpanoLayering salami, provolone, hard-boiled eggs, Romano cheese and tiny meatballs to the layer.

More Ragu to top the first layer. Repeat.

Top the second layer with a last layer of just pasta and Ragu before closing up and baking.

The baked Timpano. Mine looks more disc-like than drum-like, so if you can get the right pan, do so.

TimpanoOne HUGE slice of Timpano. This serves up to 16 very easily. Be prepared for leftovers if you don't have a crowd to feed.