Well, we survived the holiday season! As you can tell from my lack of posts, it’s been a busy one. I thought for my first post of the new year I’d share some recipes I found over the holidays.

I was looking for a “real” crueler, which is a type of doughnut that has an eggy cake rather than a raised cake. Turns out what I wanted was a French crueler, which is made from pate a choux. I haven’t got it quite right; I suspect that the texture I’m looking for inside happens when you bake the dough, not fry it, but I learned how to make beignets. It seems every culinary tradition has some kind of fried dough; this one is French.

Pate a Choux is the pastry dough used to make cream puff and eclair casings. I’ve seen it worked with when I was in catering, but I’ve never made it. It was remarkably easy, just follow the directions meticulously. I found a dandy visual guide at Culinary Alchemy. The recipe is from Foodista.


Oil for frying
1 cup flour
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup water or milk
1/3 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs at room temperature

In a large heavy skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 3 inches oil to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar and nutmeg, set aside. In medium saucepan heat water or milk, butter and salt over medium heat until boiling and butter is melted. Add vanilla, then add flour mixture all at once. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a ball. Continue stirring a few minutes more to dry. Remove from heat and beat until slightly cooled. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Using 2 spoons, shape a generous tablespoon dough into an oblong and drop into hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 at a time, turning beignets as they rise to the surface. Fry 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle immediately with sifted confectioners’ sugar. Repeat with remaining batter.

Because of my current bagel obsession, I have been following LoveMyPhilly on Twitter. I discovered Philly’s Cheesecake Customizer that way, the results from which inspired this recipe. I started by making peach pie filling (I halved the recipe) out of those canned peaches.

Peach Walnut Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar

Cheesecake batter:
2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup peach pie filling
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup peach pie filling
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with the ends extending well over the sides. Mix crust ingredients; press firmly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until just blended. Fold in sour cream. Stir in pie filling and nuts. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and top with remaining pie filling.

Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Last but not least, a really simple brunchy-type thing that we had the day after Christmas and there wasn’t a single crumb left. This is easily adaptable: I’ve made it with sausage crumbles and pepperjack cheese and I think smoked ham and asiago cheese would work well too. Here’s the original recipe from Grouprecipes.

Bacon-Cheese Pull-Aparts

1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 2.1 oz package precooked bacon, cut into small pieces
3 oz (3/4c) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

Heat oven to 350F. Spray an 11×7 or 12×8 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl beat tge egg and milk until smooth. Separate the biscuits into individuals and cut each one into quarters. Gently stir the biscuit pieces into the egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish, arranging the biscuit pieces in a single layer.

Bake at 350F for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.