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It took me almost 40 years to master the technique, but I finally got it right.

According to my grandmother, a good sugar cream pie has two layers. The top should be a light custard. The second layer needs to be rich and even a little syrupy.The result is a totally decadent blend of flavor and texture.

When my grandparents owned the Wawasee Restaurant during the ’40s (which is before I was born), my grandmother’s “old-fashioned cream” pie was the signature dessert. She also served it at family gatherings; as did my mother. When I was a new bride, this was the first recipe I copied into the blank pages of my brand-new cookbook.

It was and always will be my favorite pie.

Although sugar cream pie is associated with the Amish, the recipe has been traced back to 1816, the year Indiana became a state and long before the Amish came to this area.  Virtually unheard of outside of  Indiana, Sugar Cream pie officially became Indiana’s State Pie on January 23, 2009.

I definitely believe Sugar Cream pie is more than worthy of the honor.  

But, I think there is an over-abundance of gloppy (where you can really taste the flour) custard pies being passed off as Hoosier Sugar Creams. Basically,they are custard pies–only with a LOT of flour substituted for the eggs. They don’t do the dessert justice.

If the recipe sounds a bit artery-clogging, my mother makes her pie with 2% milk instead of cream. It is still wonderful.

Enjoy!

REAL HOOSIER CREAM SUGAR PIE

¼ Cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 generous tablespoon butter

1 egg yolk

2 heaping tablespoons flour

1 pinch salt”

Milk or Cream (1-1 ½ cups…enough to fill pie shell) Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Mix brown and white sugar with flour. Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture over pie crust. Beat egg yolk with milk. Fill pie shell. Take a spoon and swirl it through the milk mixture a couple of times. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Bake at 410 degrees for 10 minutes.Then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The filling should be bubbling. The center should still jiggle. Be careful not to overcook or the filling will not set.

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These bar cookies are not only delicious, they are FOOLPROOF. The recipe is my daughter’s. When she was a teenager she liked to bake and made these cookies often.

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DH’s grandmother Helen’s Dream Cake recipe from her hand-written cookbook. The recipe is similar to my daughter’s bar cookie recipe.

OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY BAR COOKIES

Crust:

½ cup butter

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup sifted flour

Filling:

2 eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

1 can (3 ½ oz.) coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter, sugar and flour until smooth. Pat into bottom of 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool.

To make filling: beat eggs until light; gradually add sugar. Add vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add coconut and nuts. Spread evenly over crust and bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.

Cut into bars while still warm.

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The crust is patted down on the bottom of the pan, baked and ready for my “flourless filling”.

“Noooo,” I shrieked like a shrew. 

My poor husband was trying to help. But, he was instead further ruining the treats I was making for him.

I didn’t realize until AFTER I spread  the filling over my cooled cookie crust that I had forgotten to include flour in the filling.

DH said it was not a problem, he could stir the flour in with a fork. I was afraid the fragile crust might break up and get in the filling…my daughter’s recipe specifically called for a crust.

But, DH seemed confident, so  I sprinkled about a tablespoon of flour over the cookies.  DH got a fork and started stirring. Vigorously, he stirred the crust right INTO the filling.

Which was reason I made enough noise to scare our animals out of the kitchen.

My scream also stopped DH from doing more cookie damage.

I put the cookies in the oven and hoped for the best. 

Fortunately, the best was fantastic. The cookies were wonderful.

The recipe is FOOLPROOF.

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Tonight we had baked spaghetti with garlic bread.

DH wanted baked spaghetti.

I’d never heard of it. It sounded kind of dry. I thought the pasta underneath might end up mushy and overcooked.

“No,” said DH, “it’s wonderful. The pasta absorbs the sauce and makes it really flavorful. I really like it.”

So, when I found Imagineannie’s meatloaf and baked spaghetti “planned over” dinners I thought I would give both recipes a try. I am glad I did. DH was right. It WAS wonderful. Plus I not only used up the meatloaf from the night before, DH and I were thrilled to be eating leftovers. 

I will definitely be making both the meatloaf and baked spaghetti again.

Here is the link to Imagineannie’s “planned over” recipes:
http://imagineannie.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/planned-overs-the-transformers-of-the-kitchen/

 You can use any spaghetti sauce for baked spaghetti. I used homemade sauce from my freezer. Here’s my recipe and method for sauce from garden tomatoes:

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/homemade-spaghetti-sauce-with-garden-tomatoes-herbs-homemade-meatballs-how-to-peel-tomatoes-dhs-gardening-secret/ 

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Our neighborhood grocery has hitching posts and shelter for horses.

This is one of my favorite recipes. Perfect for special holidays, it looks and tastes wonderful. It is easy to make too.

I have also included my pie crust recipe.

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My, oh my…this pie is SO GOOD!

Amish Sour Cream Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Topping

FILLING:

Mix:

2/3 cup sugar

2 tblsp. flour

1/4 tsp salt

ADD:

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

Stir in 3 cups of apples. If apples are not tart add 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice to apples before adding them to the sour cream mixture.

Put filling into unbaked pie and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with Brown Sugar Crumb topping. Bake for an additional 20 more minutes.

BROWN SUGAR CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients until they become course and crumbly.

COOL PIE FOR AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

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Be sure to cool for an hour before serving.

PERFECT PIE CRUST

Mix together

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Meadow)

1 tsp salt

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Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture with a fork until it is cumbly. Don’t worry about overmixing at this stage.

 Cut in with fork :

 2/3 cup chilled lard or shortening (I use Crisco)

2 tbsp. chilled butter

Sprinkle dough with:

4 tbsp. water

Blend the water lightly into the dough. You may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to hold the ingredients together. You may add up to 1 more tablespoon of water if needed.

Gather the dough up  into two balls. Chill until ready to roll out.

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Once you have sprinkled your dough with water, mix and handle the dough as little as possible. This crust has been rolled out and is ready to be crimped.

STILL LOOKING FOR APPLE RECIPES? The Rocky Road of Love has an Apple Cake said to be so rich, moist and full of tangy apples you can have it for breakfast, the next day: http://rockyroadoflove.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/fresh-apple-cake/#comment-939

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Looking for Holiday Recipes? Be sure to visit Overwhelmed With Joy’s 2nd Edition of, “Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style”  at:

http://overwhelmedwithjoy.blogspot.com/

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hottie_33.jpg My “look” was a combination of Cher, Cleopatra and Morticia from the Adam’s Family. It took hours to get it right.

I was fifteen. It was my birthday and I was going on a “real” dinner date. 

It was also the first time I ate at a restaurant where  the person behind the counter didn’t ask if I wanted fries along with with the main course.

I’d spent hours getting ready.

My eyes were sexily ringed like Cleopatra’s. My lips were heavily coated in peppermint pink for maximum kissability. My dress was maroon with an empire waist and mini skirt. My shoes were clogs with big silver buckles. I’d poured “My Sin” by Lanvin over my pulse points every time I couldn’t smell myself.  And my long ironed hair hung down past my shoulders, like Morticia’s from the Adam’s family. Except, in my mind,  it was swinging from side to side like Cher’s did when she strutted onstage.

hottie1.jpg My, fried from being ironed, dark hair was my pride and joy. In humid weather curls still managed to sneak out.

Only “he” was 15 minutes late. Which cause me to overcomb and  flatten the top part of the hair I’d teased to perfection. My stomach was in knots.

But, I had only to smell his English Leather cologne that filled my parents front room and see his sporty, Madras plaid jacket to forget his breach. It was a wonderful start to an evening I expected to get better.

I wasn’t disappointed.

“He” took me to the M&M, a restaurant with early American maple tables, waitresses with red checked aprons and paper napkins. I’d never before had shrimp and saw the listing of breaded popcorn shrimp on the menu as proof I was in a top-rated place. Molded jello desserts on the buffet table were further evidence of sophistication.

“He” gave me a necklace with a single pearl for my birthday and his class ring. 

me_young21.jpg The pearl necklace is featured prominantly in this picture.

I had a boyfriend. 

With a ring to wear on a chain conspiciously around my neck or to cover with mohair and brush with a toothbrush in study hall, I was no longer an “unwanted”. I had a name to write over and over across my notebooks. And a “him” with wonderfully cute bad habits to complain about to those nearest and dearest.

 I will never forget that birthday. The M&M has been long gone. But, I do have a recipe that accurately replicates the cucumber mousse served on The M&M’s buffet.

It was and is still a favorite side dish.

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We have cucumbers and tomatoes in abundance. Using them up in different ways is a challenge.

CUCUMBER MOUSSE

  • 1 package lime-flavored gelatin
  • 3/4 c hot water
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1 T grated onion
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 cup cucumber, pared, seeded, lightly salted and chopped
  • Dissolve gelatin in water. Add lemon juice and onion. Chill until almost set. Stir in sour cream and cucumbers. Fill a wet mold with mixture and chill thoroughly. When set, invert onto a platter and garnish.

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    Cucumber mousse topped with a little mayonaise and served over lettuce makes a refreshing and different side salad.

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    Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden have become part of our kitchen decor.

    Horse manure!

    DH brags about the power of his horse manure compost as if he invented it and got a nobel prize for the invention. “George Washington swore the secret to good farming was horse manure,” says DH.

    “You just wait,” he said last summer, “George Washington knew his stuff, you’ll see.”

    We added dried manure to our compost pile of grass clippings and shredded leaves last fall. This spring DH tilled it into our garden. Then we used more grass clippings and shredded leaves for mulch on top.

    I was hoping the mulch would prevent unwanted plants from popping up, resulting in a no till, weedless garden. That didn’t happen. We had weeds. But, DH was so right about horse manure producing garden miracles. Our one cucumber plant has produced 60 cucumbers…so far.

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    Our onions shortly before they were pulled up and cured.

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    The first watermelons we found. There are at least 15 on that plant now.

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    An 11 pound zuchini that came from a volunteer plant on our compost pile. We didn’t find it until it had grown to this size.

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    A basket full of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had no idea potatoes could be so good.

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    Browning the meatballs and simmering the tomato basil sauce.

    Dinner tonight featured home grown tomatoes and basil.

    MY MEATBALLS

    Soak in milk, water or stock;

    1 slice of bread, 1 inch thick

     Beat:

    2 eggs

    Add eggs to:

    1 1/2 lb. ground meat/I used ribeye

    Saute until golden brown:

    1/4 cup finely chopped onion

    Add to the meat. Wring the liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the meat and then add:

    3 tablespoons chopped parsley

    1 1/4 tsp. salt

    1/4 tsp. paprika

    1/2 chopped clove garlic

    3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

    1/4 tsp. oregano/I’ve used Italian Herbs

    Mix and form into balls. Brown lightly in:

    2 tablespoons butter

     Cover your frying pan and simmer on low until the meatballs for 1/2 or until the meatballs are firm and no longer pink in the middle.

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    Cooking down the sauce.

    SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND BASIL
    6 peeled, seeded and cut up tomatoes
    2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
     garlic, minced to taste or pinch of garlic powder
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    2 tablespoons fresh basil (more or less to taste)

    DIRECTIONS
    In a large skillet or saucepan combine the tomatoes,  tomato
    sauce, garlic, sugar and basil. (Other herbs may be added. I really like basil and prefer just that with tomatoes.) Stir all together and simmer over low heat until thickened. More sugar and a tablespoon of butter may be added if the sauce is too acidic. Flour (1 to 2 tablespoons) may be added if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

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    Homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over meatballs & spaghetti. It was sooooooo good!

    HOW TO PEEL TOMATOES

    Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)

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    then….

    Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

     

     

    This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce…not very pleasant.

     

     

     

     

    After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. 

    Now you need to remove the seeds and excess water. Wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do.

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    Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time!

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    Skipper being led to the riding enclosure by DH’s nephew.

    Skipper reared today.

    I’ve had him for almost 3 years and he’s been a dream. He is 15 years old. A former child’s 4-H pleasure champion with perfect gaits, he’s child safe and has good sense. Or at least that’s what I thought. 

    My other horse, Summer, is six. She’s flighty and nervous. She loves DH, tolerates me and is wary of everyone else. I also saw her buck like a bronc soon after I got her. 

    A birthday present from DH the first year we were married, she was by far, my best birthday present ever. Perfectly proportioned, with a tiny head and ears, intelligent alert eyes and a typical quarter horse rump, Summer is a gorgeous bay. Her red coat gleams, her muzzle sock, mane and tail are coaly black. Her eyes are are exotically rimmed in black. I fell in love immediately. However, it was soon apparent that she needed work. She didn’t neck rein. She was nervous and spooked easily.  She stomped her feet, turned her rear toward me in the stall, crowded people, used them for scratching posts and worse sometimes flattened her ears and threatened if approached. 

    blog-pictures-5-020.jpg  Summer & I.

    I hired a horsetrainer who said she had an attitude problem and took her off to his farm for two months of schooling. That’s where I saw her buck. DH and I were at the trainers  watching her being schooled. The trainer was showing us what they’d been working on. Summer saw us by the fence and decided she’d had enough training. She bucked. She bucked as viciously and hard as any rodeo horse being spurred and abused. The trainer, whose hobby is rodeo contesting, stayed on. He got her calmed down, rode her until she was tired and then I forced myself to get on her back and rode her around the ring as instructed. I pretended to be calm because I didn’t want to show misgivings and hurt the trainer’s feelings. Or appear anything but thrilled with my birthday present. But, I was afraid.

    Summer graduated from Training School and returned home. But our relationship was changed. Because I knew if she ever bucked that hard with me, I’d be a goner.

    Today DH’s family joined us on the farm for a barbeque and DH’s nephews wanted to ride the horses. Marc, is an experienced rider and he rides Summer on every visit. I think he likes knowing of her wicked past and knowing he is skilled enough to deal with it.

    Steven rode Skipper, formerly known as the “one anybody can ride”.

    Steven was holding Skipper to a walk and Summer got ahead. Which wouldn’t have been a huge problem except Marc wanted to go faster and Steven still wanted to walk. That’s when disaster struck. Skipper wanted to run too. He reared and did some wimpy bucks. There was no danger of Steven being thrown. But, he was nervous and done riding.

    Steven got off. Now Skipper was proud as punch. Nostrils flaring, he pranced when I lugged myself up into the saddle cursing (in my head) that I was wearing my too tight skinny jeans.  But, no way was I going to reward him for his antics. Skinny jeans and hot sun notwithstanding, we were going to walk, trot and canter around the enclosure until Skipper didn’t care which horse was first.

    And we did.

    Summer, I am proud to say, was a perfect lady the whole time.

    blog-pictures-5-021.jpg Summer talks & gives kisses.

    For dinner we had grilled pork chops, pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with sour cream, green beens from the garden, sweet corn from Mrs. Weaver’s vegetable stand, coleslaw (from the grocery deli) and cherry pie (from our farmer’s market).

    dsc00320.jpg Getting the cucumbers and onions ready.

    SOUR CREAM CUCUMBERS

    Sour cream cucumbers are a popular dish at midwest family gatherings. They always make me think of summer and my mother’s garden.

    2 large cucumbers peeled and sliced

    1 onion sliced into rings

    3/4 cup sour cream

    3 tablespoons cider vinegar

    2 tablespoons sugar

    salt and pepper to taste

    In a bowl combine the cucumber and onion. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers. Mix well. Chill.

     UPDATE: Rockyroadoflove has suggested an old southern method to make these cucumbers more crisp and flavorful. She uses salted ice water and says it works wonders for cucumbers. My cucumbers were good as they were, but I think Rockyroadoflove’s technique will make them even better.

    Rockyroadoflove’s cucumber article is here:
    http://rockyroadoflove.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/marinated-cucumbers-in-sour-cream/

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    Sour cream cucumbers with mixed herbs sprinkled over them.

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    Pasta salad with fresh tomatoes and creamy parmesan dressing.

    I cheated with my pasta and used a box of Betty Crocker’s Suddenly Pasta mix. I followed the directions on the box and then added fresh, lightly salted cut up tomatoes. I sprinkled herbs over them also, hoping they would look more homemade.

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    The green beans are snapped and ready and the corn is being shucked.

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    DH’s grandmother’s cookbook.

    Does anyone know what the second ingredient is in the chocolate pudding recipe?

    I guessed sugar.

    DH thinks the word is Snickers.

    DH’s guess is supported by the correct spelling of the word sugar in the vanilla sauce recipe on the opposite page. But, I am still skeptical.

    DH talks a lot about what a good cook his Grandmother Helen was. So I wanted to do something special for him and to make him something from her cookbook. 

    Only I wasn’t sure about the recipe’s second ingredient.

    DH was. 

    Once I asked for his help and showed him the cookbook he had a craving for Snicker pudding. He offered to run down to the closest convenience store.

    There is no way I would ever turn down an opportunity to get Snickers bars into our house. I agreed to make the pudding if DH would get the candy.

    Six cups of milk sounded like too much pudding for two people so I halved the recipe. We still had two day’s worth of dessert. It was good. DH loved it.

    (I did decrease the cornstarch to  1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup and the pudding was still thick. I also added some sugar along with the snickers.)

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    Preparations for Snicker bar pudding.

     DH’s Grandmother’s Chocolate Snicker Pudding

    Mix in a saucepan:

    2 cut up Snicker’s bars

    1/4 cup cornstarch

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup cocoa

    pinch of salt

    Slowly add 3 cups of milk, stirring the whole time. Bring to a boil.

    dsc00260.jpg The pudding is done and in the bowl.

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     According to my husband this was the best peach pie, ever.

    I made changes in the recipe because the peaches were so juicy. I also wanted my top crust to stay crispy. So, I mixed 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of sugar. I put the sugar/flour mixture over the filling before dotting with butter and adding the top crust. (Don’t worry the top mixture of sugar and flour will cook into the pie. And, it will keep your top crust from becoming soggy.)

    PEACH PIE FILLING:

     5 to 6 cups of peaches

    1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar (I used 2/3 cup of white)

    1/8 tsp. salt

    1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    1/8 tsp. nutmeg

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Dot with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter

    DIRECTIONS: Bake the pie in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. The middle should be bubbling.

    dsc00223.jpg How to peel peaches: dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice. The skins will easily slide off.

    Healingmagichands of  http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/, kindly added it is important to make sure the peaches are ripe before peeling. Otherwise the peels may not slip off.

    Thanks for your help, Healingmagichands!

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    Peaches ripening in a sunny window.

    After a couple of days in a sunny window the peaches, saved from the beetles, were ripe and ready. I had enough to make a peach cobbler and a peach pie, plus some for the freezer. 

    I love peach pies, crisps and cobblers, BUT with freshly ripened organic ones, this dessert is one of my favorites. Especially topped with vanilla ice cream.

    dsc00224.jpg Getting ready to make peach cobbler.

    SOUTHERN PEACH COBBLER FOR TWO

    (Can be doubled)

    FILLING:

    2 cups peaches

    1/2 tsp. lemon juice

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    1 tsp. cornstarch

    TOPPING:

    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

    2 tsp. sugar

    1/4 tsp. baking powder

    Pinch of salt

    Pinch of cinnamon

    Pinch of nutmeg

    1 tablespoon butter cut into pieces

    2 tablespoons whipping cream

    dsc00227.jpg DIRECTIONS:

    Grease small casserole dish with butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel & cut up peaches. Mix peaches and lemon juice. Mix cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon with peaches and put peaches into greased casserole dish.

     In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the cream and toss with flour mixture just until the dough is combined.

     Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead a few times to smooth it. Then roll it out into the shape of the casserole dish. Place the dough over the filling and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling. 25 to 30 minutes.

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     The cobbler is ready to eat.

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