Posts Tagged ‘Easter brunch recipes’

When people immigrate to a new country, they often carry with them reminders of their homeland and a few cherished belongings. Old family recipes are both  – cherished and reminders of home. Mary Cannici says of her grandmother’s special cake recipe, “This recipe immigrated to this country from Sicily when Nonna was a little girl and her family came to Ellis Island.” The cake is a wonderful combination of a creamy ricotta cake and an egg-rich pudding. Farina, a finely ground cereal grain with a mild taste, is used as the thickening agent. Serve this versatile and easy-to-make cake with fresh seasonal fruit and you have the perfect dessert for brunch or dinner! Easter and Mother’s Day are just around the corner!

Nonna’s Breakfast and Dessert Farina Cake
Recipe by Mary Cannici

4 cups whole milk
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup farina
16 ounces (2 cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
2. Bring milk, sugar, and butter to simmer in large saucepan and cook, stirring often, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Slowly whisk in farina until smooth.
4. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in ricotta and vanilla.
5. Let mixture cool slightly, then stir in beaten eggs until combined.
6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then serve warm.

Serves 15 to 18

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Farina can usually be found in stores that carry natural foods. Sprouts, Whole Foods, and health food stores often carry farina in the bulk bin section. Cream of Wheat is made from farina.

2. Be careful not to add too much of the farina at one time. Add small amounts of it slowly, stirring constantly, to prevent lumps from forming.

3. Although the egg custard flavor is more pronounced when the cake is served warm (after the 10-minute cooling period), it is trickier to serve warm since the texture is like a rough custard. After the cake sits for a while, it firms up and can be cut into squares.


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Scones are harbingers of happiness to me – they always remind me of Carmel and of my mom. As a child I spent many a lazy-crazy family vacation in the Monterey Bay area. Those carefree days of summer were all a kid could ever ask for. Dad would pack up the family Buick and drive leisurely down the coast while we all sang “On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed . . . . !” As we pulled into the parking lot of our ultimate vacation resort – a Travel Lodge motel – my sister and I would debate on what to do first. Invariably, within five minutes of our arrival, we would don our chic bathing suits, our “stylish” Playtex swim caps, and a pair of rubber zories and run outside to the pool. Esther Williams we weren’t, but we didn’t care! The following day always brought the promise of a visit to Carmel. Window shopping in Carmel was a favorite pastime and after passing pastry shop window after pastry shop window, my mom would finally select one to go into and would treat us to anything in the shop. My sister would pick her usual favorite and my mom would always get a giant scone studded with currants for herself. She’d pick off pieces and study the crusty exterior and the tender interior before she put them in her mouth. Then she’d say, “These are almost as good as the ones Eppler’s sells in the City.” And what did I always choose for my treat from the bakery? A scone, just like my mom, of course!

Scones are not difficult to make and require ingredients most of us have at home. But sometimes when we’re in a hurry, convenience wins out and that’s okay. Here’s a recipe for quick scones that utilizes a baking mix. This recipe calls for dried cranberries and currants, but there are a myriad of other flavorful ingredients that could be substituted. Other dried fruit, such as cherries, raisins, blueberries, and apricots, work nicely, as well as, white and dark chocolate chips, lavender flowers, and lemon or orange zest.

Devonshire cream is a nice accompaniment to hot scones, but it’s not easily found. Below is a recipe for a mock Devonshire cream that’s rich and simple to make.

With Easter and Mother’s Day just ahead, you’ll want to try these simply delicious recipes!

Quick Cream Scones and Mock Devonshire Cream:
Adapted from a recipe by Ana Robello

3 cups baking mix, such as Bisquick
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted for brushing on

Mock Devonshire Cream:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half

Directions for Scones
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Mix the first six scone ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drop 2-1/2-inch mounds onto 2 nonstick, greased, or parchment-covered cookie sheets.
3. Brush tops of scones with melted butter.
4. Bake until lightly golden, 8-11 minutes.

Makes 16 scones.

Directions for Mock Devonshire Cream
1. Beat all ingredients together in a medium bowl with hand-mixer.
2. Transfer to a serving dish.
3. Refrigerate any unused portions.

Makes 2 cups

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Separate the sticky dried fruit by tossing them in the baking mix before adding the other ingredients.

2. Because I wanted my scones to be heart-shaped, I put some Bisquick/flour on a pastry board and kneaded the dough a little bit. Then I rolled the dough out and used a cookie cutter to cut out the hearts.

3. Because the oven temperature is high and because the tops of the scones are brushed with butter, keep an on on the scones as they bake. If you find them turning brown before they are fully baked, turn down the temperature by about 25 degrees.

4. These scones are on the sweeter side. You can always decrease the amount of sugar.

4. The Mock Devonshire Cream can be spooned into a pastry bag and be piped into little serving dishes. If you don’t have a pastry bag, just snip off the corner of a Ziploc-type bag and attach your decorating tip to that instead.


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