A Very Basic Pancake Recipe

IMG_8829Pancakes are usually made when we have the time to linger over breakfast (a rarity on a farm), have houseguests, or if it just happens to be a rainy Saturday. We’ll make extra, to be enjoyed cold with a bit of jam, as a mid-afternoon treat. My pleasure in making these is the fact that they are so very basic. Eggs, milk, flour. They are never too thick, or gummy, just completely enjoyable. No leavening agent required, as the eggs do the work.

Next time you awake to a lazy, rainy morning, give them a try with a knob of butter and a drizzle of real maple syrup. Continue reading

Basic Freezer Cookies (Blueberry & Pumpkin Seed Version)

IMG_5367These are excellent cookies to have on hand in your freezer.  They are easy to make, and quick to bake.  We used to make them every Christmas with nuts and cherries, and there is something so wonderful about their simplicity.  So often during the holidays we work to create little masterpieces, so it is lovely to be able to whip up something so good, so easily!  Actually, you could make them today, and bake them Christmas Eve! No muss, no fuss.

For this version, I’ve used dried blueberries, raw pumpkin seeds, and ground flax.  Five other versions follow the recipe.  But this is the type of cookie that does well with experitmentation, so let your creative juices flow! Continue reading

Basic Pastry

IMG_4729Making a good pastry is one of life’s simple tasks.  The trick is it not to overthink it, or overwork it.  It is made from the most basic of ingredients: flour, fat, water & salt.  These can be enhanced with a bit of sugar & vinegar, but essentially that’s all that goes in a great pastry.  The sugar is to sweeten it, while the vinegar helps to keep the gluten in check. The acid in the vinegar helps to keep the gluten from overdeveloping, which helps to create a tender, flaky crust.  However the most important keys to achieving a flaky crust are to use cold fats, and to not overwork the dough.

Measure your fats by weight, and you’ll get a better product.  Allow for 7 oz. of combined fats per two-crust pie.  You can vary the fats as long as you stick to the correct weight ratio.  I prefer a mix of shortening & butter.  Remember if using lard that your pie will not be vegetarian if that’s a concern.

When baking pies, make your pastry first, let it set covered in the fridge for at least an hour (or up to a day) while you prepare your fruit. Continue reading