Brie Topped with Cranberry Marmalade

Here’s a great appetizer!  It takes a wee bit of work, but is well worth it when you have guests you want to impress.


1 12″ wheel of brie

3 C. fresh cranberries (or 2 C. dried cranberries)

½ – ¾ C. brown sugar

1/3 C. dried currants

1/3 C. water

1/8 tsp. dry mustard

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/8 tsp. ginger

Cook cranberries over medium heat until they pop. Bring to room temperature.  Take skin off top of brie, but leave ¼” around the edge. Leave all skin on the sides. Put cooled marmalade on top.  Bake @ 180°C until cheese melts, ~ 15 minutes. Serve warm with apple & pear slices & crackers.


English Cream Tea

Tea is a tradition in the UK, and Cream Tea takes the cake, so to speak.  It’s a scrumptious combination of scones served with clotted cream and jam, with – naturally – a good pot of tea to make it perfection.  Clotted cream doesn’t necessarily sound very appealing for those not yet in the know; but I’ll tell you that it’s worth every bite.  It’s also called clouted cream, or Devonshire cream; the word clot or clout most likely came into English through a Germanic tongue, as it is related to Kloot in Dutch, and Klotz in German, both meaning “lump, block”.  The cream is hold-your-knife-stiff thick, but if you can’t find it where you live, have no fear, there’s a substitute you can make quite easily.   So, without further ado:

English SconesCream Tea Flipped

1 Tbs. softened butter

2 ½ C. self rising flour

1 Tbs. sugar

½ tsp. salt

3 Tbs. butter, cut into ¼ inch bits & thoroughly chilled

1 egg

½ C. milk

¼ C. dried currants (optional)

Grease a large baking sheet with the butter, or line with baking paper, & set aside. In a large chilled mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt & butter. Rub the flower & lard together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like flakes of coarse meal. Beat the eggs until it froths & set 1 Tbs. of it aside in a small dish. Beat the milk into the remaining egg & add to the flour mixture (along with the currants, if used). Mix gently until the dough can be made into a ball. On a lightly flowered surface roll the dough, handling it as little as possible, to ¼ inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or rim of a glass, cut into 2 inch rounds. Re-roll & do the same with the scraps. Place rounds about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet & brush lightly with the reserved beaten egg. Bake in the middle of a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Great when served warm & fresh.  Absolute heaven when served with clotted cream & jam.

Clotted Cream Substitute Recipes

1 C. heavy (whipping) cream

¼ C. confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. vanilla extract



1 C. heavy whipping cream

½ C. mascarpone



¼ C. softened cream cheese

1 heaping Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

The directions are the same for all three cream recipes: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl & beat with a mixer until stiff. Refrigerate until ready to use. Best when prepared & served the same day.

I prefer the second recipe, no additional sugar or flavourings, but you can experiment with all three.  I wouldn’t deprive you of the cook’s obligation to try recipes from every angle.  Possibly several times.  Just to make sure.

Serve with jam, a pot (or cup) of hot tea (make mine Earl Grey, please), and moan with pleasure.


German Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Pie)

I was recently in Berlin for a few days (please read my thoughts on that topic at my other blog), so I thought I’d share a German recipe today.  Guten Appetit!

GERMAN ZWEIBELKUCHEN (ONION PIE)  schwarzwaelder-schinken

4 thick slices of bacon, diced [Bacon will suffice, though Germans use Schwarzwälderschinken (see photo), a type of thick raw-smoked ham, finely diced]
2 C. peeled & chopped yellow onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 C. sour cream
1 Tbs. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 9″ pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400°F. Saute bacon and then drain most of the fat from the pan. Add the onions & saute until clear, not brown. Set aside.  Beat the eggs & sour cream together in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the flour over the top & beat it in. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Prick the bottom of the pie shell several times with a fork and then spread the onions & bacon over the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) & bake for another 15 minutes or until pie is nicely browned. Serve hot!