English Muffin Bread


This recipe certainly piqued my interest.

If the results for this English Muffin Bread proved to be as good as the accompanying  picture it would certainly replace the need for store bought English Muffins.

After comparing several recipes each containing different measurements, ingredients and even methods of preparation this was the only one I came across with a one loaf yield instead of two.  As always, trying a new recipe is somewhat experimental so making one loaf instead of two just made more sense at the time.

Who can possibly know how delicious this bread is unless one tries it!  I can’t express in words how good it is.  It will be very hard to eat a store bought English Muffin after this, there’s just no comparison.

I count it as a successful experiment… should have made two!

English Muffin Bread

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons cornmeal

  1. Combine 1 cup flour with the yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Add the cup of warm water and beat with mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes. (Make sure to beat for the entire 3 minutes.)
  3. Add remaining flour a little at at time until unable to continue using mixer then continue mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.  (Amount of remaining flour needed may be slightly more or less depending on the moisture content of flour.  Dough should be soft,  pliable, and slightly sticky.)
  4. Coat a 8 x 41/2 loaf pan with butter then dust heavily with cornmeal.
  5. Place dough on a floured board and shape into a rough loaf shape.
  6. Place the loaf in the loaf pan and cover with a damp paper towel, allow to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Sprinkle top of loaf with cornmeal and bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. (If loaf top begins to brown too much by 30 minutes cover with foil to reduce over browning.
  8. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Mix together flour, sugar, yeast and salt.


Add cup of warm water.


With mixer beat a full 3 minutes.


Beat until no longer possible to use mixer.


Stir in remaining flour.


Stir in only enough of the remaining flour to make a pliable, soft, slightly sticky dough.


Butter and heavily dust 8 x 41/2 inch loaf pan with cornmeal.


Form dough into a rough loaf on a floured surface.


Place dough into loaf pan.


Cover with second inverted loaf pan or something that will not stick to surface of loaf.


Allow to rise 1 hour.  Sprinkle top of loaf with cornmeal.


Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool completely before slicing.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Instead of covering rising loaf with a damp paper towel I inverted another loaf pan over the loaf . (I had a strong feeling the towel could stick to the loaf, actually I’m pretty sure it would have.)
  • Bread toasts up amazingly well enhancing both texture and taste.

Raggedy Andy


Well here you are Raggedy Andy,  if it was up to me you would not have come into this world.

After making three Raggedy Anne dolls, one Pirate Pete and one Lucia I thought to be all done.  The pattern has become a little worse for wear and the thought of setting in sleeves to a very tiny little outfit is something I’d rather not think about.

One day while helping me tidy up the sewing room my granddaughter came across the pattern envelope for Raggedy Anne and Andy.  After examining it very carefully she pointed to the image of Andy and asked if he was Anne’s cousin.  I agreed with her thinking she was just curious.  And that’s where the story begins!

“Nonna can you make one for me?”

Well I didn’t say yes but I didn’t really say no either and hoped her fascination with Anne’s cousin would pass.  Lack of  appropriate material for Andy’s outfit did not deter her.  Each time I saw Reagan she would ask if Raggedy Andy was finished yet.

What could a nonna do?

So one day we took a trip to the material store where Reagan helped choose the material and coordinating thread. She was adamant about  black shoes for Andy perhaps fearing  he would end up with blue shoes like Lucia.

That’s just about when the all questions began… and a whole new world of discovery!


This is material…FINALLY!


What’s a pattern nonna?

photo 1

What are pins nonna?

photo 4

Let’s pin on the body Reagan….The body nonna?


What’s stuffing nonna?


Keep winding that yarn Reagan, I promise it will be his hair.


So how did you do that nonna?


Funny girl!!

The best part of this story is that she was willing to wrap Andy up and give him to her little sister Reese for her birthday!

I might add…reluctantly at first!


Apple Pie Scones


This post was intended to be about a new recipe for Cinnamon Bun Scones.  Turns out the results were disappointing.

I should have trusted my instincts after suspecting the flour measurement in the recipe to be excessive which indeed proved to be the case.

Still interested in the idea of a Cinnamon Bun Scone I decided to go back to a tried and true recipe instead.  The recipe for Raspberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Scones came to mind as the dough in this recipe is also rolled up cinnamon bun style and holds a delicious filling.

It seems my scones became a little more than Cinnamon Bun Scones ending up with more than a sugar and cinnamon filling.  The addition of apples first started out as just an idea which turned out to be a very good one!

If you enjoy a really good scone and love apple pie it doesn’t get any better than this!

Apple Pie Scones


2 to 3 medium apples

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Chop apples to about 1/4 inch dice and place in a sauce pan with water.
  2. Gently simmer until they begin to soften.
  3. Thoroughly mix together sugar, corn starch and cinnamon then add to apples stirring constantly until thickened.
  4. Set mixture aside to cool.


1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 cups flour

1/2 cup caster sugar (aka superfine or fruit sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch baking soda

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the cold butter and with a pastry cutter mix it into the flour mixture.
  3. Mix together milk and yogurt.
  4. Add to butter/flour mixture and stir until the dough begins to come together.
  5. With palm press mixture down then fold over and press down again, repeat until most of the dough has come together.
  6. Place a piece of plastic wrap on counter and sprinkle with flour, place dough on plastic wrap and shape into a rough rectangle.
  7. Add a little flour on the top of dough and place another piece of plastic wrap on top.
  8. With rolling pin roll into a 8 X 11 inch rectangle.
  9. Remove top plastic wrap and spread apple filling over dough.
  10. Using bottom plastic wrap to help, roll dough as tight as possible to form a log shape.
  11. Twist the ends tightening the roll.
  12. Unwrap the plastic wrap and cut into 8 slices.
  13. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and brush with a little cream or milk.
  14.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.
  15. Cool on rack and lightly dust with a little confectioner’s sugar.

















Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • I omitted the milk and used a full cup of 3% yogurt instead.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Loaf


It’s not that there was any need for yet another Zucchini Bread recipe.  Five very good variations and two more still to try out for the first time should be enough recipes sitting in my collection.

It’s just that the picture of this particular loaf did not fit the image of any zucchini bread I have ever made.

Darker in colour, denser and studded with chocolate, nuts or even a variety of different fruit are the zucchini breads I know and love.

This one has none of those qualities.  Very soft white in colour,  fine, cake like crumb, ever so delicate flecks of grated zucchini and the bright taste of lemon makes this zucchini bread distinctly different.

Just like the Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread posted a few weeks ago this recipe also has three ingredients that have never gone into any of my zucchini breads before.

Cake flour, lemon and  buttermilk, quite the combination that produces a very different but equally delicious zucchini loaf.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Loaf

2 cups cake and pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup buttermilk

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium )


1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon milk

  1. Grate zucchini.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl, set aside
  3. Beat eggs, add oil and sugar until well blended then add lemon juice, buttermilk and lemon zest.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients then fold in zucchini.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 9×5 or 11×4 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and tester inserted into the middle of loaf comes out clean.
  6. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove and  place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. While still slightly warm mix glaze ingredients and spoon over loaf.
  8. Allow glaze to set before cutting and serving.
f 2

Grate enough zucchini to measure 1 cup.

f 1

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder.

f 3

Beat together eggs, sugar and oil .

f 4

Beat in buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest.

f 5

Stir in dry ingredients.

f 6

Fold in grated zucchini.

f 7

Place batter in a greased 9×5 or 11×4 inch loaf pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to45 minutes or until tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

f 8

For glaze, mix together confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and milk.

f 10

Spoon glaze onto still slightly warm loaf.


Allow glaze to set before slicing.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Quantity of glaze seems to be a little too much for this loaf, half the amount is perfect. (1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons milk)

Chicken Spiedini


While searching for a different but simple way to prepare chicken breast I came across this very interesting recipe.

There’s no shortage of recipes when it comes to chicken of course but ending up with something juicy and tender when it comes to the breast portion can be a challenge.

I’ve had very good chicken spiedini and some much less than good.  Although having doubts about the success of this recipe, especially the part about grilling them on the barbecue rolled in all those bread crumbs I just had to give them a try.

Turns out they are the best chicken spiedini I’ve ever tasted!  Certainly different but juicy, tender and tasty.

These take no more than ten minutes on the grill, just enough time to cook through and release the flavours of garlic, cheese and lemon zest.

About the bread crumbs…I wondered about those as well.   It seems they do a great job of capturing all those juices that would otherwise be lost in the grill.

Chicken Spiedini

4 boned chicken breasts

2/3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste if using plain bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated cheese

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. With knife slice through breast lengthwise  but not right through. (butterfly)  This will give you a larger surface to work with when preparing the spiedini.
  2. If using wooden skewers allow to soak in water for at least an hour.
  3. Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound with mallet until very thin, about 1/8 inch.
  4. Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic in a shallow dish.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste if using plain bread crumbs.
  6. In another shallow dish mix together olive oil, melted butter and lemon zest.
  7. Dip chicken pieces into oil butter mixture then coat with crumb mixture.
  8. Tightly roll up, cut into 1 inch pieces and thread on skewer.  If using wooden skewers soak them in water for an hour or so before .
  9. Repeat with remaining chicken slices.
  10. Grill on a preheated, lightly oiled barbecue grid on medium hot, closed cover approximately 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise not cutting right through, open then place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.   Gently pound with mallet to about 1/8 inch thickness.


Proceed with remaining chicken breasts.


Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley.


Mix together oil, melted butter and lemon zest


Dip chicken breast in oil and butter mixture then in bread crumb mixture.


Starting at longer end roll tightly.


Cut into 1 inch slices.


Place chicken on skewers which have been previously soaked in water.


Proceed with remaining chicken.


Grill on medium hot heat on a closed grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.


Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Don’t stray too far from the barbecue when grilling these, they cook up quite fast so plan to spend those 10 minutes or less on them with total devotion.

Polpettone al Sugo


Polpettone translates into “large meatball” in English .  If one is not familiar with how polpettone actually looks, visions of a mega meatball sitting on a plate may readily come to mind.

Shaping the meat into a loaf works best for even cooking and  easy slicing to say nothing of the wonders it does for presentation. As children we always regarded it as Italian meatloaf when my mother made it “al sugo” or in tomato sauce.

Ham and cheese, the traditional choice are layered on a flattened meatball mixture, rolled up and seared until golden.  It’s then added to a simmering pot of fragrant tomato sauce until cooked through.

Although it was not customary for my mother to add a row of whole hard boiled eggs in the center of the loaf it is totally permitted and looks very interesting when sliced.  I just may give it a try sometime!

When you feel you’ve made one meatball too many, polpettone is a good alternative.

It’s usually served as part of a second course with a fresh crisp salad on the side.  That would be right after the first course pasta dish covered with that delicious tomato sauce which has taken on all the flavour of that tasty meat loaf.

Leftovers?  Polpettone takes a meatball sub to the next level!

Polpettone al Sugo

These listed quantities of ingredients are just a guideline and don’t have to be exact.  If you already have a favourite meatball recipe feel free to use it.

I like to make 2 smaller polpettone out of this recipe instead of one larger one,  it’s just a matter of preference.

1 ½ pounds ground pork or a combination of your favourite meat

1 egg, beaten

½ cup grated cheese

1 slice soft, white or whole wheat bread, coarsely grated moistened with 2 to 3 tablespoons milk.

about 2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

enough thinly sliced ham to cover surface of meat mixture

extra cheese, parsley, pepper and salt to sprinkle onto center of loaf

  1. Mix together ground meat, egg, cheese, moistened bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper until well blended.
  2. On a piece of plastic wrap, flatten mixture with hands into a rectangle to about ¾ inch thickness.
  3. Place a layer of ham over the meat mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheese, pepper and minced Italian parsley.  Depending on saltiness of the ham salt may not be required.
  5. Starting at short end of meat, roll into a log, close off ends.
  6. Tightly roll log in the plastic wrap and secure the ends. Refrigerate until ready to use, can also be made the day before.
  7. Heat skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil and sear rolling it around until all sides are golden.
  8. Add to favourite tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through, this depends on size of polpettone approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Remove from sauce, let rest for a few minutes, slice and serve.
  10. Serve tomato sauce over pasta.

Place ground meat, cheese, softened bread crumbs, Italian parsley, egg, salt and pepper into a bowl.


Mix ingredients well.


Place mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and with hand flatten into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.


Layer ham then sprinkle with cheese, Italian parsley and pepper to taste.  Depending on saltiness of ham additional salt may not be required.


Starting at short end and using the plastic wrap to guide, roll into a loaf shape.


Seal ends to contain the filling.


Roll tightly in plastic wrap, twist ends closed.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Can also be made the day before.


Sear loaf in a lightly oiled skillet making sure to brown all sides.


Add to simmering tomato sauce until cooked through.  Two smaller loaves made from this recipe cooked for about 50 minutes.



Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The addition of the moistened soft bread in milk ensures a moist, softer loaf.
  • Use favourite cheese, Parmiggiano Reggiano or Peccorino works well.  A layer of mozzarella along with the grated cheese is also an option but make sure to seal the loaf well so the mozzarella doesn’t escape.
  •  Black Forest Ham works well in this recipe but any favourite ham thinly sliced will do.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Loaf


What do you do with some left over cream cheese from a previous recipe?

You finally make that Strawberry Cream Cheese Loaf you’ve been wanting to make for a while but didn’t want open a new package of cream cheese and end up with leftovers.

Quite delicious, this delicate, fine textured quick bread is studded with ripe strawberries and pecans if you please.

This recipe certainly lends itself to a choice of various fruit.  Raspberries, blueberries or even peaches could be very good alternatives although strawberries will be hard to beat.

The recipe instructions suggest allowing the loaf to mellow for a day before eating but it’s not the easiest thing to do!

The decision to bake three smaller instead of one larger loaf worked out very well.  One to enjoy right away, one to give away and one to mellow.

At least one loaf got to mellow!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 ounces cream cheese, softened (a little less than half an 8 ounce package)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup half and half or milk

1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. With electric mixture cream together butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mix in vanilla.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients.
  5. Add half and half or milk and stir gently just until blended.
  6. Place chopped strawberries into a fine meshed sieve and dust with flour, shake off excess.
  7. Gently fold strawberries into batter, add chopped pecans if using.
  8. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan or three 3 x 5 1/2 inch small pans.
  9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean.  The three small loaves take about 40 minutes baking time.
  10. Cool 5 minutes in pans then remove to wire rack and cool completely.
  11. Mellow one day before serving.

Chop enough strawberries to equal 1 1/2 cups.


Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.


Cream together sugar, butter and cream cheese.


Beat in vanilla and eggs one at a time.


Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients just until mixed.


Add half and half or milk stirring just to blend, don’t over mix.


Place chopped strawberries into a fine mesh sieve, dust with flour shaking off excess.


Gently fold in strawberries and pecans if using.


Place batter into greased and floured 9×5 inch loaf pan or three 3 x 5 1/2 small pans.


Cool in pans 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on wire rack.


Notes, Tips and Suggestions

More leftover cream cheese? Try these delicious muffins.



Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread


There are so many variations of banana bread, I think enough to keep most over ripe bananas from their worst fate…the compost.

Already having a few very good recipes I’m only on the lookout for new ones that are a little different.

If coconut oil, maple syrup and whole wheat pastry flour are  ingredients found in your favourite recipe for banana bread then you have beaten me to this recipe.  These three ingredients were different enough for me to give it a try.

After tasting this banana bread before baking it myself,  I found the flavour and moistness to be exceptional and absolutely good enough to join my “best banana bread ever” recipe collection.

Although I felt very comfortable using these new ingredients a few changes have been made to the method of preparation which in my opinion simplify the steps.

This banana bread is good enough to be called dessert!

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1/3 cup coconut oil, measure then melt (or good quality vegetable oil)

½ cup honey or maple syrup

2 eggs

¼ cup milk or water

2 ½ medium or 2 large, very ripe bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or regular whole wheat)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Optional: ½ cup add ins like chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, etc.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and grease a 9×5 or 11×4 inch pan.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  If using regular whole wheat flour don’t sift, use a whisk instead to mix dry ingredients together.  Regular whole wheat flour will not pass completely through sieve.
  3. Beat together maple syrup or honey, eggs, vanilla, milk and oil, beat in mashed bananas.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until blended.
  5. Gently fold in nuts, raisins, chocolate chips or any other add ins.
  6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Sift together whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. If using regular whole wheat whisk dry ingredients together instead.


Place eggs, oil, vanilla, maple syrup or honey and milk into a bowl and blend together.


Beat in mashed bananas.


Gently mix in dry ingredients just until well mixed.


Fold in nuts, chocolate, etc. if using.


Pour batter into a greased 9×5 or 11×4 inch loaf pan and bake in preheated 325 degree F. oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean.


Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Haven’t tried making this loaf with honey but maple syrup works very well.
  • The lower protein content in whole wheat pastry flour gives a more tender crumb.  Using regular whole wheat will give a denser loaf.
  • Seems whole wheat pastry flour is not available prepackaged in grocery stores but can be found in bulk food stores.

More “best ever banana bread recipes…”

Pineapple Banana Bread

p loaf1


Chocolate Marble Banana Bread


Banana Bread


Nonna’s Kitchen


Nonna’s kitchen is a magical place, it’s more than where she cooks and washes the dishes.

It’s a place where a bundle of multi-coloured spatulas become a bouquet of beautiful flowers and the apron hanging on the dish cloth rack becomes a superhero cape.

It’s a place where words from the page of a cook book become cookie dough and then the fun begins!

It’s where plastic bowls and wooden spoons whip up the lightest, tastiest, imaginary cookies and cakes where nonno and nonna can indulge in as much as they want without gaining an ounce.

Pasta time is anytime in nonna’s kitchen and the homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer drawer never runs out.

It’s a room where every bottom drawer and cupboard holds a surprise and where only the imagination can wander into the top ones.

The kitchen table becomes the best place to hide under in a game of hide and seek.  Nonno never, ever finds us but when the top is set with plates and glasses it’s for sure that something delicious will magically appear.

At the table is the only place we are asked to be silent for a little while, hold hands, close our eyes and be thankful for our family and what we’re about to eat.  We sit in our special places, eat together and talk about anything we please!

The kitchen is nonna’s favourite room and we are always welcome in it!

There’s a picture frame hanging on the kitchen wall but we can’t read it yet, maybe you can?


A quick update on No Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

There hasn’t been a loaf of store bought bread in the house since the first time I made this bread.  It’s hard to take credit for making this truly delicious bread because of the ease in making it.  Everyone who tries it loves it and can’t stop eating it!

It freezes wonderfully, the crust never falls off when defrosting and it doesn’t have to be warmed up to bring back that fresh baked texture and taste.

I have however made a few more changes to the recipe posted earlier which has made it even better and here they are…

*How timely for an enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven to come on sale! I took advantage of the great price and invested in one. I must say that it has been one of the best cooking pot purchases I have ever made.  If you’re serious about baking this bread it’s worth getting one.  It conducts heat amazingly well, to the point that it becomes unnecessary to remove the lid for the last minutes of baking to brown the top.  It also improves on the quality of the crust and rise of the bread.

*A suggestion from my husband to use spring instead of tap water has made a remarkable difference in the taste. (He is one of those people who just can’t stop eating this bread… not sure if that’s a good thing.)

*Lastly, Bread Flour is the way to go for this loaf. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose which adds strength to the bread enabling the loaves to rise higher.

*Oops, almost forgot, I replaced the regular salt with 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt…perfect!

Meet Rosetta!!  (Yes, I named the pot.)

dutch oven

Strawberry Flan


Fruit flans remind me of summer, a perfect, light, fruity dessert to end the perfect summer meal.

Not sure why I decided to pull out the flan pan in the middle of February, perhaps the record breaking high temperatures of the week had something to do with it.

I haven’t made a fruit flan in quite some time and don’t particularly have any memories of the last one I made but memories of a different kind came to mind while making this one.

The original shipping box still holds the flan pan but it’s the box that holds the memories for me.

The July 1975 post mark on the box, sixty five cent postage and outrageously expensive cost of two dollars and sixty five cents for the pan itself took me back to a simpler time, a time when the prospect of a new cake pan coming through the mail was very exciting and of course the choice of harvest gold colour coordinated with the harvest Bundt pan I had ordered months before.

I did say simpler times right?

I chose a simple pastry cream recipe to fill the flan and that brought back memories of an even simpler time in my life. This recipe took me back in time to my mother’s kitchen in our very first house, a quaint little corner bungalow surrounded by hedges and a white picket fence.  Occasionally she would make a custard like treat for us from the same ingredients, milk, egg yolks, sugar and a little flour to thicken.  A thin strip of lemon zest was always added for a subtle essence of lemon.

How delicious!  We enjoyed those little bowls full while they were still slightly warm.  Who knew we were eating pastry cream!

Back to the present!

Much to my amazement my harvest gold flan pan is now considered a “vintage collectable” and selling for a little more than the $2.65 I paid for it.

Think I’ll hold on to mine… and the box too!

Flan Sponge Shell

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons butter melted and cooled

1/4 cup milk

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch (26 cm) flan or tart pan.
  2. In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  3. In another bowl beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thickened and turns a pale yellow.
  4. Add melted butter .
  5. Add dry ingredients slowly until well combined and batter becomes is smooth and creamy.  If the batter seems to thick add more milk a teaspoon at a time.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake rest for 2 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

Pastry Cream

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces

  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt.
  2. Add in the milk whisking constantly over medium heat until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of creamy salad dressing, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, whisk in vanilla and butter a few pieces at a time until melted and smooth.
  4. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
  5. Optional but whipping 1/2 cup of 35% cream and folding it into the cold pastry cream makes it silky and light.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Let’s make the flan shell…


Place eggs, sugar and salt into a bowl.


Beat until mixture has thickened and turns a pale yellow.


Add milk and butter then add flour mixture until well combined and creamy.


Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time if batter is too thick.


Grease and flour 10 inch flan or tart pan.


Add batter into pan.


Bake for about 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Allow to rest in pan for 2 to 3 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Lets Make the pastry cream…


In a medium saucepan add egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt.


Whisk together over medium heat.


Add milk whisking constantly.


Whisk until mixture is the consistency of a creamy salad dressing.


Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.  Whisk in vanilla and butter one piece at a time until well blended.


Place a sheet of plastic directly over surface to prevent skin from forming.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.


For a lighter filling whip 1/2 cup of 35% cream (no sugar) and fold into pastry cream.


Pastry cream will become light, smooth and silky.

Let’s put it together…


Fill flan shell with pastry cream.


Arrange strawberry slices in rows around flan to completely cover the top.


For a quick glaze to finish off the top and keep the strawberries moist and shiny melt 2 tablespoons light coloured jelly (like apricot), with a teaspoon of water.  Cool and brush over strawberries.


Refrigerate and allow to set for at least couple of hours before serving.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Make a mixed fruit flan by adding a mix of fruit like kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and grapes to the strawberries.
  • Make a quick fruit flan (not from scratch) using half the batter from a regular size vanilla cake mix to make shell and fill with one package vanilla instant pudding. Use remaining cake batter to make cupcakes.

So, here’s my Vintage Collectable!