Peaches and Cream Cake

Peaches and Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry
This recipe is one of those that’s been around forever under one name or another. It was given to me by one of the nurses at work. She’s been making it for years and she said it’s always a hit at her house. I’m glad I got the recipe from her because it was a hit with my family, too, though I did tweak it a little (as always). I increased the peaches, cut down on the sugar, and added vanilla extract. I can tell it’s going to become a favorite at our family get-togethers and at potlucks, too. This one is a definite keeper!
Peaches and Cream Cake | Pinky's Pantry

PEACHES AND CREAM CAKE

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. each) cook & serve vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large (29 oz. each) cans sliced peaches
  • 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. peach syrup from can
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling on top (recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
  2. Drain both cans of peaches, reserving 6 tablespoons of syrup for later.
  3. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla puddings together.
  4. Add milk, butter, and eggs.
  5. Beat together with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Spread in prepared baking dish.
  7. Arrange peach slices to cover top of batter.
  8. Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
  9. Add sugar, peach syrup, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined.
  10. Spoon over peaches, then smooth with a spatula.
  11. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over cream cheese mixture.
  12. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
NOTE:  To make cinnamon sugar, the ratio is 1/4 cup sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Store in an airtight container. For this recipe, you’ll probably only sprinkle about a couple of tablespoons or so over the top.
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Yogurt Cream and Berry Parfaits

Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's PantryYesterday was the 4th of July. We went over to my sister Helen’s house for a barbecue. My aunt Miriam and her beau were coming over, as well as my uncle Manny, his lovely wife Melissa, and their two beautiful daughters, Sierra and Aspen. We hadn’t seen them in years so we were all looking forward to the festivities. Manny’s my uncle but he’s younger than I am. His sister, Miriam, is my age. How, you ask? Well, my grandfather was married three times and had a total of 13 children. My Mom was child #2 by his first wife. Manny and Miriam are children #11 and 12 by his third wife. Hence the huge generation gap, and that explains why I have an aunt and uncle my age and younger.

Anyway, I wanted to make something red-white-and-blue to take to the barbecue for dessert so decided that yogurt cream parfaits would be good. They’re refreshingly cool on a hot summer day. I put them in mini champagne flutes and thought they looked absolutely adorable.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry
I whipped up 30 of the little confections the day before the barbecue and had them chilling in the fridge all neatly lined up on a wooden tray like patriotic little soldiers. When we were finally ready to leave for Helen’s house the next day, I painstakingly pulled the tray out of the fridge and walked ever so slowly towards the front door, carefully balancing the tray in my two hands. I have no idea how but to my utter distress, right when I reached the door, one of the little flutes began to teeter precariously on the tray. I watched in horror as almost in slow motion, it toppled over and hit the one next to it and one by one they all began toppling over like dominoes! I screamed as I juggled the tray in a futile effort to stop the disaster which only served to make matters worse! Some of the desserts crashed to the floor while others flung their contents onto my chest and down to my feet. Nooooooo!!!

Old Goat comes running over and sees me standing there in the middle of a huge mess of red, white and blue, with yogurt cream splashed on my nose and running down my pretty blue blouse. “What are you doing?” he asked perplexed as he took the tray from my stunned hands. I took one look at him and burst into tears as I ran upstairs to our bedroom. All my hard work of the day before, gone in about 5 seconds!

I washed up and changed my shirt, then went back downstairs to find that my sweet Old Goat had mopped up the floor, and with the help of No. 1’s girlfriend, was trying to salvage and wipe clean the flutes that had just tipped over but remained safely on the tray. So, long story short, they managed to rescue about a dozen of the 30 desserts. They looked a little worse for wear, but we brought them to Helen’s house anyway.
Yogurt Cream Berry Parfait | Pinky's Pantry

YOGURT CREAM & BERRY PARFAITS

  • 1 cup plain, honey, or vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. or ¼ cup sugar
  • strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
  • blueberries, washed and dried
  • extra sugar (optional)
  1. Chop strawberries into small pieces. If strawberries aren’t sweet, sprinkle a little extra sugar over them, toss together and set aside.
  2. Place greek yogurt and whipping cream in bowl of electric mixer.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Add sugar and beat until well combined.
  5. In little flutes or parfait glasses, layer yogurt cream, strawberries, more yogurt cream, blueberries, and end with yogurt cream.
  6. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

NOTE:  If desired, you can garnish the top of each parfait with a blueberry, a small strawberry, some finely chopped almonds, or a sprinkling of granola.

Banana Cream Pudding

Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry
When “Walking Dead” season starts, we have dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s house every Sunday night. Helen, Anthony, Old Goat Honey, and I are huge fans of “The Walking Dead.” Unlike Helen, Anthony, and Old Goat, however, I never liked zombie movies. In fact, I don’t really like horror movies at all! At least not the gory ones. I made the mistake of watching “Friday the 13th” once when I was younger (if you can call peeking between my fingers “watching”) and I had nightmares for weeks afterwards! But for some reason, “The Walking Dead” has drawn me in just like thousands of other fans. So during the season, Old Goat and I trek faithfully over to Helen and Anthony’s house every Sunday where we all have dinner and then sit down to watch the show together.

Dinner preparations are usually a combination affair. Helen makes some of the dishes and I make the others. This Sunday, I offered to be in charge of the entrée and the dessert. Since I was going to be making the main entrée, I thought I should do something simple for dessert. I used to make this banana pudding for my kids all the time when they were little. It’s one of those dishes on my list of “Comfort Foods.” And what could be more fitting when you’re watching a scary movie than a comfort food dish?
Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

BANANA CREAM PUDDING

  • 1½ cups cold water
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box (5.7 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box Lorna Doone shortbread cookies or vanilla wafers
  • 6-8 bananas, sliced (depends on how big your bananas are)
  1. Mix together the water, condensed milk, and pudding mix until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes or until it sets up.
  3. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  4. Working in thirds, fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well incorporated.
  5. In a trifle bowl, layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, and pudding mixture; continue until you’ve used up all the pudding mixture.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. If desired, sprinkle some crumbled cookies and add some fresh banana slices on top for garnish right before you serve.

Banana Cream Pudding | Pinky's Pantry

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry
Jackie was my classmate in school from the time we were in kindergarten all the way through high school. We hit it off right away and became fast friends. On one of my visits to her house (I think we were only in the 5th grade then), her mom served us some cream puffs and I absolutely loved them. Even at that tender age, I was interested in cooking. I asked for the recipe which Jackie wrote out on an index card for me. To this day, I still use that same recipe carefully handwritten on that old, now yellowed index card.

Over the years, I’ve kept the ingredients true to the original recipe, but I’ve changed the procedure a bit for baking them. For instance, the original recipe called for baking the puffs for 20 minutes, then turning the oven off and letting them sit for 10 minutes in the turned off oven with the oven door slightly ajar. I just bake them for about 25 minutes straight and then I’m done.
Cream Puffs | Pinky's PantryCream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry
Cream puffs are a wonderful French invention. Known as “pâte à choux” in France, they are amazing in their versatility and swing from sweet to savory with a simple switch of the filling. They can be filled with custard, pastry cream, whipped cream, or ice cream, or for a savory appetizer or brunch dish, fill them with chicken salad, curried shrimp, tuna or crab salad, creamed turkey, or whatever your heart desires.
Cream Puffs | Pinky's Pantry

CREAM PUFFS

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line two cookie sheets with silpat silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a rolling boil.
  3. Add flour all at once, keeping pan on the heat, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Remove pan from heat and still using wooden spoon, beat in eggs, one at a time, until all eggs are well blended. If you want, you can use a hand mixer for this step.
  5. Spoon or pipe onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Depending on how small or large you make them, you should get between 16-24 puffs.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until medium golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool completely; then fill with desired filling.

Baked Creamy Chicken and Potatoes

Baked Creamy Chicken and Potatoes | Pinky's PantryMy oldest daughter, Yissi, is going away to college. For one of her last meals, she asked that I make Baked Creamy Chicken and Potatoes. This is one of those recipes that I stumbled upon by chance years ago on the internet. I had some chicken thighs but couldn’t decide what to do with them. A random search on the net turned up this recipe which I decided to try and boy am I glad I did. My family loved it! I’ve made it several times since then. It fast became one of Yissi’s favorite dishes.

I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs just because they’re easy. I’ve also made this recipe several times without the parsley and it works just fine. You could also probably substitute real cheddar cheese for the Velveeta if you wanted to. The recipe is pretty versatile. Casa Veneracion, the blog this recipe came from, has quite a lot of yummy-looking recipes. Go check it out when you have time. I’m sure glad I did. This recipe was a great find.

BAKED CREAMY CHICKEN AND POTATOES
(adapted from Casa Veneracion)

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 medium-size potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup grated Velveeta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • butter or margarine for frying
  1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut into wedges. I used red skinned potatoes so I wouldn’t have to bother peeling them.
  3. Peel the onion, cut into halves and slice into thin wedges.
  4. Melt the butter or margarine in a saute pan. When hot, brown the chicken thighs, turning them for even browning. Transfer the browned chicken to a baking pan.
    NOTE:  The chicken thighs don’t need to be cooked through at this point.
    Just brown the outside and transfer them to the baking pan.
  5. Brown the potato wedges in the same pan you fried the chicken in; then add the cooked potatoes on top of the cooked chicken in the baking pan.
  6. Saute the sliced onion and scatter on top of the chicken and potatoes.
  7. Pour the cream over the chicken, potatoes and onions. You may season with more salt and pepper at this point.
  8. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, if using.
  9. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, piercing it with a fork in a few places to create steam vents.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350o oven for 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of the chicken thighs.
  11. Take the baking pan out of the oven and remove the foil, being careful not to burn your fingers.
  12. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the cooked chicken and potatoes.
  13. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.

Coffee Cream Sauce

Coffee Cream Sauce | Pinky's Pantry
I created this sauce to serve with my Coffee Panna Cotta but it could be used as a sauce for ice cream, chocolate soufflé, pound cake, or anything else you might want to serve with a dessert sauce. I cook it just until it’s heated through and the cream cheese is completely melted. If it comes to a boil, take it off the heat. I wouldn’t let it cook for too long or it might become too thick to pour.

COFFEE CREAM SAUCE

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 8-oz. box cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. instant espresso or coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp. butter or margarine
  1. Place all ingredients except the butter into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wire whisk, until mixture is smooth and well blended. You don’t need to bring it to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
  4. Cool completely before serving.

NOTE:  You can store this sauce for up to a week in the refrigerator but it will thicken when it’s chilled. To use, warm it for 30 seconds or so in the microwave. If it’s still too thick, stir in a little cream or milk until it reaches a pourable consistency.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcake | Pinky's Pantry
I picked up some lovely end-of-season strawberries at the Farmers Market yesterday so decided to make Strawberry Shortcakes. After all, who doesn’t love Strawberry Shortcakes? It’s a timeless, classic American dessert that was invented in the late 19th century and hasn’t lost any of its appeal since then. I’ll admit, it’s not a dessert that I grew up eating in the Philippines. However, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with it shortly after we moved to the US. The toasty outside and tender inside of the shortcakes, the sweet strawberries swimming in their own syrupy juice, the billowy, lightly-sweetened whipped cream, all combine to make a delicious dessert that leaves you wanting to lick every last bit off your plate.

I’ve seen it made in different ways, from a version that layers yellow cake with strawberries and cream, to Paula Deen’s version which uses angel food cake and which, though delicious, to my mind is actually a trifle. I’m of the old school that believes classic American Strawberry Shortcakes should be made with biscuits. They’re called shortcakes because the butter (or shortening) in the dough makes them tender like cake. They really aren’t hard to make and the individual desserts look so impressive on the plate. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious. Yep…… I licked my plate clean.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

Strawberries:

  • 4-6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/3 cup sugar (use more or less depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
  1. Cut the strawberries in half and place them in a bowl.
  2. Stir the sugar into the strawberries, adding more or less as needed.
  3. Let the bowl of strawberries sit covered in the refrigerator to release their juices while you prepare the biscuits.

NOTE:  If you want the strawberry juices to form a thicker sauce, you could mash up to a third of the strawberries with a potato masher. I opted for a thinner sauce and left all my strawberry halves as is.

Biscuits:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups cream (can substitute buttermilk, half-and-half, or milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • a little extra cream for brushing over top of biscuits
  • sanding sugar for sprinkling over biscuits
  1. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles pea-size crumbs.
  4. Stir the vanilla into the cream.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream.
  6. Mix with a fork until the dough just comes together.
  7. Gather the dough and gently knead 4 or 5 times. If the dough seems dry, add more cream, a teaspoon at a time, until evenly moistened.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a 3/4 to 1-inch thick square.
  9. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400°F.
  10. Take dough out of refrigerator and cut into 9 squares. Use a sharp knife dipped in flour and cut straight down without dragging the knife back and forth.
  11. Separate the squares leaving a 1 to 2 inch space between each.
  12. Brush tops with a little of the extra cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  13. Bake about 15 minutes or until tops are light brown.
  14. Set biscuits aside while you make the whipped cream.

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  1. Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until it begins to thicken.
  2. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cream and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
  3. Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble:

  1. Slice the shortcakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
  2. Place the shortcake bottoms onto 9 dessert plates.
  3. Spoon some fresh strawberries with their juice over each shortcake.
  4. Top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
  5. Place the shortcake tops over the whipped cream.
  6. Spoon more strawberries and whipped cream over the shortcake tops.
  7. Place a little strawberry half over the whipped cream to decorate.