I hope your holidays were as joyful as mine, filled with family fun, friends and food! (Please excuse the alliteration.) I gleaned several new recipes which I will ultimately share. But let me back up to October and our Historical Society’s Harvest Pie Contest. Since I had literally left the country, our contest winners got lost in the shuffle and I want to set that right — especially since we want to encourage even more entries in the coming year’s event!
We are always amazed with the desserts our local home bakers produce and, as the tasting begins, there are long lines of people eager to sample five good-sized slivers. We plan to streamline the operation, even though folks were good-natured about waiting for everyone to make their selections.
This year, little Bennjamen Murdoch won again with the pies he baked with his grandmother, Bubby (Lesli) Murdoch. I can personally attest that each year they choose what to enter, and Benjammen prepares the crust and filling, and works at the stove with Bubby’s supervision. The pie servers have also noticed how discriminating he is as he chooses which other pies he will sample at the festival.
All entries are anonymous and I have never noticed a “rooting section” for anyone. Yet the Murdoch’s unique creations consistently are winners. This year, they garnered a $100 gift certificate for Robin’s Restaurant, for just a $10 entry fee and the cost of ingredients.
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You, too, can be a winner if you try. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s Bennjamen’s ...
Very Raspberry Pie
1 9-inch graham cracker crust
6 cups fresh raspberries + 1/2 cup, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipped topping
1 cup powdered sugar
Fresh mint, optional
Mash about two cups raspberries (available at Costco) to measure one cup; place in a small saucepan and add sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil and stir constantly about two minutes. Strain to remove seeds, if desired. Cool to room temp, about 20 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese, whipped topping, powdered sugar and 1/2 cup raspberries in a small bowl. Spread in the bottom of the crust. Top with remaining four cups of berries, and pour cooled raspberry sauce over the top. Refrigerate until set, about three hours. Garnish with mint, if desired. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
For more fun with kids, try these magic cookies which daughter-in-law Chika made:
1 pkg. regular marshmallows
Fresh pecans, or assorted salted nuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place 12-16 marshmallows about an inch apart; bake about 10 minutes until melted. Remove from oven, and place a nut in each center. Return to oven about another 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove and allow to cool before peeling off the parchment. Make one pan at a time; store in an airtight tin.
We “played with our food” and varied in these ways: Substitute chocolate or strawberry marshmallows — I found the latter in a Mexican grocery store. Vary the nuts with spiced ones, or add on a chocolate chunk.