Monday, March 14, 2011


Just around the corner:  the Ides of March and St. Patrick's day. Party on my dudes and dudettes!!! Éirinn go Brách!

These Irish hand pies have a definite St. Patrick's Day flavour: potatoes, cabbage and beef! A little bit of stew tucked inside a pastry crust. Can't go wrong with that.  

I'm not ashamed to admit that I made them with store-bought pie crust. Easy! 

  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 onion chopped
  3. 1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
  4. 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
  5. 1 pound good quality ground beef
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  10. 2 cups low sodium beef broth, divided
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. All purpose flour for rolling
  13. 2 pie crusts (9 inches each), homemade or store-bought
  14. 1 egg beaten, to be used as egg wash.

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • Bring 1 cup of beef broth to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until they are soft and then mash them, incorporating the left over broth in which they boiled. Set them aside to cool.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and add the onions. Cook them for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat until it's no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cabbage, and cook, stirring, until the cabbage begins to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley and the beef broth.
  • Cover, and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Lightly mash the mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, mix with the potatoes and set aside until completely cooled.
  • When the beef mixture has cooled, prepare the crust: On a lightly floured work surface, roll each crust into a 14-inch square. Cut each into 4 equal squares.
  • Place 1/2 cup of filling on one half of each square, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the filling. Brush the borders of the crust with water and fold the dough over the filling to enclose. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. With a paring knife cut 3 small vents in each pie.
  • Brush the top of the pies with the egg wash.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray. Transfer the pies onto the baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  • The nice thing about these pies is that they can be frozen.
    To freeze, arrange the unbaked pies on a baking sheet and freeze them until firm, about 1 hour. Then wrap each pie in foil, and place it in a resealable plastic bag. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To bake from frozen, the baking time should be increased by about another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Large, crisp, crumbly crumbs in the form of a cake is what we all enjoyed for dessert today.  I found the recipe in the March 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and it's one good recipe.
If you have one pound of butter just hanging around your house, why not put it to use in making this cake. Yes, it requires one pound of butter, more or less. That's why it's so good, I guess. However, because of the amount of butter needed, I had reservations at first about baking this cake.  However, a friend at work made it and raved about it.  So I thought I would give it a try too, and I am so glad I did. It is absolutely wonderful!!! It's very moist, fluffy and delicious. Most of the butter goes on the crumb topping, and there is a lot of crumb topping. I followed the recipe exactly as written (more or less), but I think, just maybe, next time I make the cake I might cut the ingredients of the crumb topping by half. Believe me, this cake is going in my regular cake repertoire.

For the crust topping
3 & 1/2 cups flour (King Arthur is best)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
For the cake
1 &1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan.
2 & 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 pint blueberries
1 cup store-bought blueberry preserves
confectioner's sugar for dusting
  • Make the crumb topping: Mix the flour, sugars, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix them well. Then pour warm melted butter over the mixture and mix using your hands until medium to large clumps form.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F, and make the cake:
  • Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat another 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time, then add the vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until combined. Don't over-beat.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Mix the blueberries with the blueberry jam and spread them over the batter.

  • Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the cake.
  • Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool about 15 minutes and then dust with the confectioner's sugar (which I forgot to do).
  • Serve, and believe me, you will enjoy it!