Za Par-tay (Pizza Party)

 

…and fly fishing for Silver Salmon on the Italio River

By Guest columnist Dan Sholly

If you don’t play serious Scrabble, you may not know that za is an acceptable word for pizza. Having a homemade za making party can be very rewarding…providing for a wonderful social evening and lots of delicious food. And it’s really simple.
So what does pizza and fly fishing for Silver Salmon and have to do with each other? A few years back a couple of friends and I flew into Yakutat in the southeast corner of Alaska. We hopped on a very small plane with big fat tires and we flew south along the ocean, landing on the beach near the Italio River. We camped there for a week, fly fishing our days away, catching 15 pounders until our arms hurt. Grizzly Bears and wolves were all about us, leaving tell-tale tracks along the stream banks for us to observe each morning. The tracks reminded us that we (man) were ‘number two’ along the Italio…a respect that we always kept in the front of our mind as we plodded through the willows and the woods.
On our return to Austin we stopped off in Anchorage for a couple of days to see old friends and to buy the girls some jewelry from the great shops around town. While there we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Jerry and his wife lived in a beautiful cabin south of Anchorage about 12 miles, on a hillside overlooking Cook Inlet. The view from their porch across the bay into the smoking volcanoes went forever and the sunset was amazing. Our friend had invited about 12 other friends over and he said “we are going to have a pizza making party”. Jerry had constructed a brick oven off to the side of his porch for baking bread and pizzas.
Jerry’s kitchen and dining area opened to a large wooden porch overlooking the bay. The open kitchen had numerous built-in counters which worked well as serving areas. On the counters were bowls of various kinds of meat…including moose, salmon, sausage, and a number of different sauces, cheeses, and vegetables? At one counter was the ‘pizza dough station’. When it was your turn to make a pizza, you took a ball of dough, rolled it out, and placed it on a cornmeal covered pizza paddle. You then proceeded to ‘build’ the pizza of your dreams. Once you completed making your pizza; you walked outside and pushed it into the brick oven. The pizza rolled right off the board with the cornmeal serving sort of like ball bearings. About 12 minutes later the pizza was done. You merely push the pizza paddle under the crust of the pizza and retrieve it out of the oven. Slide it on to a pizza serving pan or large cutting board. Slice it up with a pizza cutter…and voila! The freshest and best tasting pizza you ever made. Share it with your dinner friends and stand by to taste whatever concoction they come up with.
When I returned to Austin I was determined to have a homemade pizza party. Now how do you have a ‘za par-tay’ when you don’t have a wood fired brick pizza oven in your yard? Well…my son and his wife had given me a ‘pizza stone’. While not quite as good as a brick wood fired oven, it works fine.

So what do I need to have a pizza par-tay?

1. A pizza stone – can be purchased at most kitchenware stores
2. Pizza Serving Pan
3. A regular kitchen oven (if you don’t happen to have a wood fired brick oven)
4. Pizza paddle (Baker’s Peel) recommends at least two)
5. Cheese grater and a pizza cutter
6. Pizza dough (see recipe below), mixing bowl, measuring cup…yada, yada, yada
7. Various meats (sausage, pepperoni, salmon, chicken, venison, moose, elk, clams, ham, crab, Canadian bacon… (Whatever you have and like), etc. Meat should be ‘pre-cooked’ prior to putting on pizza.
8. Cheeses – mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta, Romano …etc
9. Sauces – roasted tomato sauce, fresh herb pesto…etc
10. Vegetables/spices – onions, tomatoes, olives, basil, peppers, oregano, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper…etc
Pizza Dough – There are way too many pizza dough recipes to list. Whatever you do, do not buy pre-made dough or a pre-made crust. Making pizza dough and rolling it out is all part of the ‘za par-tay’. It’s a great experience for your guests who have never tried to roll out a semi-round pizza crust.
One of my favorite and old stand-by recipes comes from The Italian Baker…Carol Field.

  • 1¾ tsp dry yeast
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1⅓ cups warm water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour (I substitute some wheat flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Stir yeast and sugar into water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir in oil. Mix flour and salt, one cup at a time into yeast mixture.
Knead dough for about 10 minutes

First Rise

Place dough in lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise…about 45 minutes to one hour.
Punch down on a lightly floured surface.
Divide dough and shape into 2-3 balls. This recipe should make at least two 12 inch pizzas. Make as many batches as you need in order to make pizzas for your party.
Dough balls can be put in plastic wrap and refrigerated until you need them. Take out in time to let them return to room temperature before you are ready to roll into the crust.
Roll out on a floured board. Once you get the dough rolled out to the size and thickness you desire, transfer it to the pizza board (peel) which should be liberally sprinkled with cornmeal.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Put sauce and other ingredients onto the pizza dough…then slip it onto the pre-heated stone in the oven. I always put some cornmeal on the stone also. This helps center the pizza in case you don’t get it straight when you first put it on.
Cook for 10-12 minutes…remove the pizza from the pizza stone with a pizza board and put on a cutting board or pizza serving pan…cut and Eat.

Dessert?
Roll out a pizza dough like you were making a pizza. Put it on the pizza board. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon…and thinly sliced apples. Cook just like a pizza. Serve with ice cream if you want.
Enjoy!

…Having had the great pleasure of being a member of a Za-Par-tay I must admit it is great fun and totally delicious. It is safe to say we all had quite a down home delicious time making and sharing our various pizzas. I expect you will also.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

 

Celebration Deviled Eggs

 

Celebration Deviled Eggs 0Every self-respecting summer celebration worth its salt will have at least one dish of deviled eggs and many more eggs in the kitchen or cooler to replenish the supply. They are a southern delicacy that has been much loved for more years than I can remember and have their origin in Ancient Rome, and more particularly in the form we know today in the 16th century.

When I make deviled eggs I find it hard to get out of the kitchen with a sufficient number because my family and friends steal them as they are filled. Deviled eggs go particularly well with beer, barbeque and boils. We eat them all year long. They make every meal festive and fun. Don’t forget to get yourself a nice deviled egg plate, they come in every color and configuration you can imagine but a plain white or glass one will do, the eggs are the decoration.

Fix up a few and enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 6 large or jumbo eggs, hardboiled
  • 6 tablespoons (or 1/3 rounded cup) mayo
  • ½ – ¾ teaspoon dill relish or finely minced dill pickle
  • A splash of yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt – season to taste
  • Pinch of celery seeds – optional
  • Pinch of turmeric – to give yellow color
  • Splash of Tabasco sauce – to taste
  • Olive slices
  • Boiled shrimp or crawfish tails

Preparation

Peel eggs and slice in half. Carefully (try not to tear white) remove yolks to bowl. Mash egg yolks with fork and add other ingredients except whites. Mix well and season to taste.
Spoon yolk mixture into yolk cavity of egg whites. Plop a small salad shrimp, a fat crawfish tail or an olive slice on each. Chill and serve.
Plan for several per person. Recipe may be doubled or tripled.
Ya’ll have a down home delicious celebration and don’t spare the deviled eggs.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Sweet Pea Salad

 

pea saladSummer is the season of all manner of salads, fresh and crunchy, sweet, vinegary, sauced and everything else your imagination can create. Sweet Pea salad is one that I don’t see very often and yet I find it to be such a unique flavor that I thoroughly enjoy it each time it is served.

Smooth green peas melt on your tongue, with a touch of egg, crunch of celery and hint of red pepper and onion, it is a flavor sensation on your taste buds. It puts a smile on your face and enhances all the dishes that accompany it.

Add Sweet Pea salad to your celebration this holiday and see how well it is received by all. You may want to tuck a copy of the recipe next to it for all those requests you are sure to get.

Makes about 6 cups

  • 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 small red pepper, fresh roasted or canned, cleaned, peeled and diced
  • 2 cans Le Sueur sweet green peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons white or red onion, finely minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup mayo, Hellman’s regular (not salad dressing)
  • Crisp bacon crumbles, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Gently blend with mayo to desired consistency. Chill thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator until read to serve.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Celebrate Memorial Day With Gratitude and Gourmet Hot Dogs

I must confess that Memorial Day in my family was always one of big celebration, barbeque or seafood boils (crab, crawfish and/or shrimp) or picnics. Unfortunately, because we had little contact with anyone in the military we didn’t spend any time memorializing the fine men and women that gave their lives for our country.

Memorial Day should first and foremost be a day of remembrance and a focal point of our coming together to honor those who gave their all, to celebrate their gift of life given so that we the citizenry of the United States can enjoy the freedoms and privileges that were paid for by their sacrifices. The fact that it is a three-day weekend sometimes distracts from the solemnity of the occasion. There is no reason, however, why a holiday cannot include a time out for thanking those who died and this year we plan to do just that. My husband is a Veteran and we will fly our flag, spend a few moments in prayer and be thankful that those who fought and died enabled us to have a country that permits us to live freer than anyone else in the world.
Why don’t you do something similar, maybe even more.
To add to your celebration, I am sharing our family’s favorite gourmet hot dogs. They speak to the kid in all of us. Kinda makes your mouth water doesn’t it? Be safe and have fun!

Ya’ll have a down home delicious Memorial Day honoring our fallen heroes followed by pigging out at the picnic, or on the patio, or wherever your celebration takes place. Please try to remember “portion control” while you are at it, yea, right!

GOURMET HOT DOG EXTRAVAGANZA

Yummy foiled, broiled or a la carte.dogs add class, sass and pizzazz to Memorial Day.

Advanced Preparation

  • Use a substantial bun – not the small flimsy ones
  • Either grill or boil (fully cook) your bun size wieners or sausages before or at time of assembly
  • The better quality frank or sausage you use the better your final product
  • If you plan to broil your assembled dogs, warm your buns and fillings first
  • Gather available condiments and filling ingredients:

Franks
link sausage
Ketchup
mustard
Chili
pickle relish
Cheese
Canned sauerkraut, drained
lettuce
minced raw onions
tomato
jalapeno peppers
butter
tortilla chips
Buffalo sauce thickened with corn starch

Optional: pico de gallo, drained black beans, roasted whole kernel corn, canned fried onion rings, sautéed mushrooms and/or grilled onions and green peppers, thin sliced
Providing paper trays made for a la carte hot dogs, if possible, simplifies serving (a large box at Sam’s is inexpensive)

  • Sam’s has precut aluminum foil sheets at an inexpensive cost.

Foiled Hot Dog Assembly

  • Prepare enough pieces, just large enough to wrap around the dog, for quantity of hot dogs being made – spray inside/dull side lightly with oil at assembly.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. or have hot grill available
  • Place bun on sprayed aluminum foil.
  • Layer ingredients in bun in order listed in recipe
  • Wrap foil around filled bun and close ends
  • Write name of dog on foil with permanent marker
  • Place foil packet directly on grill or heat on sheet pan for 15-20 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven. The longer they are heated the crunchier they become.

Broiled Hot Dog Assembly

  • Preheat oven to broil
  • Using square or 9×13 oven proof bakeware sprayed with oil, line buns in pan.
  • Make one pan or ½ pan of each flavor (2 flavors per pan) filling buns in order listed in recipe except leaving cheese for last.
  • Put pan under broiler and watch carefully so as not to burn dogs.
  • Remove from oven when cheese is melted or filling is hot and serve immediately.

Build your own dog – a la carte assembly

  • Heat all ingredients individually as indicated.
  • Make a separate assembly line for each flavor hot dog with a descriptive name tag close by.
  • As you grill or boil hot dogs, place in one in each bun and allow guests to build their own dog.
  • If necessary, put dogs on grill, on a metal pan, for a moment to heat further or have oven proof saucers or plates available to run their creation under and oven broiler for a moment.
  • Bun
  • Slice of yellow cheese
  • Weiner, boiled or grilled
  • Chili, your favorite canned or homemade
  • Mustard and/or minced onions , sliced jalapenos – optional

Follow foiled or broiled hot dog assembly instructions.

French Onion Hot Dog

  • 1 small white onion per 2 buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Bun
  • Weiner, boiled or grilled
  • Caramelized or grilled onions
  • Canned Fried onions – optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons shredded Mozarella Cheese

Peel and thin slice white onions. Sauté onions in butter with olive oil over medium heat, stirring often, until golden. Lightly salt and pepper. Assemble using foiled, broiled or a la carte instructions.

Rockin’ Reuben Dog

  • Bun
  • 1 slice mozzarella, provolone or Swiss cheese in bottom of bun,
  • Weiner or polish sausage link, boiled or grilled
  • Drizzle top of weiner with thousand island or Russian dressing
  • Canned Sauerkraut, drained

Assemble using foiled or broiled instructions.

Campground Cookout Dog

  • Bun
  • Ranch Style or baked beans, warmed
  • Weiner or Cajun sausage link, grilled or boiled
  • 2+ tablespoons barbeque sauce
  • Longhorn Cheddar Cheese, sliced or shredded
  • Jalapenos and/or yellow mustard, minced onions – optional

Assemble using foiled, broiled or a la carte instructions.

Nacho Mama’s Favorite Hot Dog

  • Bun, split, buttered and toasted
  • Weiner, grilled or boiled
  • Nacho Cheese, hot
  • Diced jalapenos, roasted corn or hot drained black beans and/or pico de gallo – optional

Assemble using foiled or a la carte instructions.

Chile Cheese Franks and Frites

  • Bun
  • Weiner, grilled or boiled
  • Nacho Cheese, heated
  • French fries, fresh
  • More chili and cheese
  • Ketchup and/or jalapenos – optional

Assemble using foiled or a la carte instructions. Build using ingredients in order listed and serve immediately. These are sooo yummy!

Veteran’s Delight

  • Bun
  • Weiner, grilled or boiled
  • BBQ sauce, heated
  • Lite sprinkling of shredded yellow cheese, minced raw onions or French fried onion rings
  • Dill pickle slices and/or chopped Jalapenos – optional

Great foiled, broiled or a la carte. Assemble ingredients in order listed except when broiling add cheese last. Serve immediately.

Big Boys Buffalo Dog

  • Bun
  • Weiner, grilled or boiled
  • Buffalo sauce (thickened with cornstarch and water and heated until thick)
  • Bleu cheese or ranch dressing
  • Fresh French fried onion rings – optional

Best a la carte. Assemble ingredients in order listed and serve immediately.

Mama Mia’s Pizza Dog

  • Bun
  • Weiner or Italian sausage link, fully cooked, grilled or boiled
  • Marinara sauce, heated
  • Sliced black olives
  • Sautéed mushrooms and/or grilled onions and green peppers, thin sliced – optional
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

Foiled, broiled or a la carte. Assemble ingredients in order listed and serve immediately.

General instructions:
For foiled dogs, layer ingredients in bun as listed, wrap in aluminum foil (write name of dog on foil with permanent marker) and heat on sheet pan for 15-20 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven, or place on a heated grill for 15 minutes, with top closed.

If you are at home and don’t want to wrap them in foil then put cheese on dog last and put under broiler until cheese is melted. Make sure all ingredients that need to be hot are heated when you put them on the bun.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Two Mexican Tomato Salsas – Big Tastes in Small Bowls

 

In America, what we commonly refer to as Salsa, the tomato-based spicy sauces of TexMex foods, has now become more favored than ketchup. There are other sauces that fit in the Salsa category that are eaten with chips or used as a sauce in cooking. Our favorites include Easy Hot Tomato Salsa, Fresh Tomato Salsa, Salsa Verde and Spicy Pineapple Cilantro Salsa.
I must admit I am a salsa snob. I prefer fresh and spicy with a nice blend of flavors and am not afraid to ask a restaurant for their recipe if I think it is really good salsa.
For example, my daughter was pregnant and living in Minnesota. She craved the salsa from a local Mexican restaurant. Good mother that I am, I called the owner, asked for the recipe and got it in broken English with quantities for the restaurant. Not to worry, I deciphered it all and came up with a mirror image that satisfied my daughter.
I also birthed one of my own which is now the favorite of our family. It is bright and fresh, easy to make and oh so yummy.
Try both and see which you prefer. Maybe, like me, you like them both and will alternate to keep your tastebuds happy.

Tomato SalsaFresh Spicy Tomato Salsa

Fresh is always best when it comes to tomatoes. This flavor is so good you may want to puree it and use it as a base for TexMex Bloody Mary’s. For a cocktail party, puree well, strain, and add a shot of tequila. Move over Marguerita, there’s a new drink in town!!

Makes 2 cups

  • *10 ounces (1 small can) original Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes or 1 fresh plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons white or red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh, or 1½ teaspoon dried, cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime, optional
  • Additional jalapeno pepper, optional

*Regular petite diced tomatoes plus 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, rinsed and seeded, may be substituted for Rotel tomatoes.

Preparation
Rinse and dry tomatoes. Rinse and dry fresh cilantro with paper towel to remove excess moisture; then mince onion.
Put all ingredients into blender or food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add salt to taste.
Makes about 2 cups; serve chilled.
Optional: If you prefer a fiery salsa add one jalapeno pepper, washed, seeded, and finely minced.

Easy Hot Tomato Salsa

My daughter’s favorite

SERVES 4-6

  • 7 medium roasted plum tomatoes or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1-2 jalapeno, roasted, skin and seeds removed
  • 1½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 1 small onion, roasted or raw, chopped small (or minced)

Preparation
Roast tomatoes and jalapenos under broiler until the skin begins to brown and char, turn over and repeat on other side.

Skin and seed jalapenos. Wash hand thoroughly after handling peppers. Pepper toxins in your eyes may cause serious burns. To begin, only use 1 jalapeno. Discard browned skin from both tomatoes and jalapenos.

Put all in blender or food processor and process until well minced. Taste to see if it needs more jalapeno or salt. If not spicy enough for you, add the other jalapeno and process more. If Salsa is too watery, put in pot and boil down, stirring constantly until it is thickened. Be careful when heating, if it is already spicy before reducing it, you may find it too spicy when it is thickened. Serve warm with chips.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Pineapple Asides with Attitude

Those of us who live close to Mexico are addicted to tomato salsas but we have also discovered the flavor of the Island’s with pineapple. These yummy recipes have taken a special place in our food favorites and add variety as well as excitement to our menus. The flavors are light and delicious, daring you not to fall in love with them. Try something new and surprise your family or guests with one or both of these treats and make a hit with all.

Spicy Pineapple Cilantro Salsa

A Pineapple nut relishDon’t be fooled by the looks of this fruity salsa. Light, sweet and delicious it is a sleeping giant of taste tingling flavor when served as an appetizer with tortilla chips. One chip and you’re hooked, bet you can’t stop eating it.

 

 

Serves 4-6 with chips

  • 1 (20-ounce) can chunk pineapple
  • 2-3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons white sugar
  • ½ cup washed and chopped fresh cilantro (don’t like cilantro, use a little parsley)
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, washed, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil, not olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice, optional
  • ¾-1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice, optional

Preparation
Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse 10 seconds at a time until well crushed and blended. If you prefer a spicier version, add more jalapeno. Want less spice, delete jalapeno and substitute a teaspoon minced green bell pepper.

Add salt to taste. Stir well and set aside until ready to serve. Add lime juice at this time if you prefer. If you prefer more liquid, add pineapple juice and stir well. Makes about 3 cups salsa dip.

Pineapple Nut Relish

The sweetness and crunch of this relish makes it a delicious addition to all menus.

  • 20 ounces fresh or canned chunk pineapple
  • 2-3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2-3 teaspoons white sugar or sugar substitute
  • ½ cup washed and chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: ½ jalapeno pepper, washed, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil, not olive oil
  • ¾-1 teaspoon salt
  • A splash of pineapple juice, optional
  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped nuts, suggest walnuts, pecans or toasted almonds
  • Salt

Preparation
If you don’t want spicy, delete the jalapeno and add a touch of chopped green bell pepper instead.

Drain the juice from pineapple and reserve juice for another recipe. You can use pineapple tidbits in place of chunks, and more or less jalapeno. Do not process the ingredients but toss in large bowl until well mixed. Toss gently to blend. Chill for 1 or more hours for flavors to blend. Add lime juice and nuts just before serving.

Makes 4 side servings.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Sweet Tater’umpkin Trifle

TrifleLet me begin by explaining the name of this dish…it is a combination of Sweet Potato and Pumpkin, and other good stuff. I love Sweet Potato pie but it tends to be dry and I don’t like pumpkin because it tends to be gushy like squash. Sooo, I made a marriage of the two and it is perfection. Make it into a trifle and it is sinfully decadent.
You may ask where in the world this came from. Well, there is a story that is close to my heart. My daughter, Kimberly, who thinks I can do all things called me one day and said she needed a dish for her hubby to take to work for their Thanksgiving meal at work. He is a television weatherman and works all holidays. The plan was that the anchors would each bring a dish and they would share a meal, show the dishes on television and put the recipes up on the website.
Never mind that I had about 24 hours to pull this together for a picky eater daughter. I asked her what she liked, making a few suggestions from recipes I had but none tickled her fancy. Time was awasting so I asked her what she DID like that had to do with Thanksgiving. We came up with sweet potato and pumpkin, pecans and fluffy yummy toppings. I told her to give me a little time to work on it and I would see what I could do. Years ago I had begun the marriage of sweet potato and pumpkin for Thanksgiving for my pies so I decided to do it again. I put that and a few other ideas from some of my favorite desserts together and made a dish of it.
Now the hard part, what to call it. We went through many name ideas. As we went through name ideas I mentioned sweet tater. My husband asked me what in the world was Tater. I asked if he ever had Tater Tots (which I knew he had). Then I explained that Tater is another word for potato and sweet tater because it was sweet potatoes. One thing led to another and wallah, Sweet Tater’umpkin (Sweet Potato Pumpkin) was birthed.
It serves many, and was far beyond my expectations, luscious, delectable, decadent, yummy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, and more. Rather like the textures of a banana split but this is all healthy, in fact you can pass it off as a vegetable. One recipe makes far too much for simply my husband and me, so I packed up the rest of my creative experiment and sent it with my friend Alice for her family celebration. They LOVED IT. By then Kimberly’s had already been devoured at the station and so was missing in action.
Sweet Tater’umpkin is one of those delectable desserts that appeals to most people. Everyone that I know has used the recipe has raved about how they and their guests loved it. The anchors certainly enjoyed it and sent their rave thank you’s to us. If I remember correctly we had decided Kimberly would claim it as her own (it was my gift to her) which was fine because she prepared it for them. It has become one of our family’s favorites.
Because it is so spectacular, but didn’t really show off its decadence enough being prepared in a casserole dishI decided to make it into a trifle. As a trifle you can see the layer after layer of goodness and it sells itself plus makes a beautiful decoration on your table. Decorate the top however you like but I suggest a few pieces of candied sweet potatoes with nuts may be the better choice.
Are you ready? Let’s get going on a dessert that is as unique as it is delicious and is just waiting to grace your table and impress your guests. Bon Apetit!

Serves 10-12 generously
(Recipe can be cut in half)

  • 1 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 2½ cups pecan pieces
  • 16 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 2 cans Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip

Preparation
Wash sweet potatoes and poke 2 holes on either side of potato to keep it from bursting when cooking. Microwave sweet potatoes 20 minutes for large, turn potatoes over after 10 minutes then finish microwaving until soft. Scoop warm potato from skin; measure 1½ – 2 cups potato (discard the rest or enjoy eating while you are cooking).

Crust

  • 1 prepared pie crust (9” x 13”)
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Place pie crust in bottom of casserole baking dish and press pecan pieces evenly into crust. Set aside.

Move oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. while you prepare filling.

Filling

  • 1½ cups sweet potatoes
  • 16 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 2 cans Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 extra large eggs

Put all filling ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well. Pour filling in crust, then place dish in oven and bake minutes at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of filling comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake and dry it out.

While filling is baking, make nut topping.

Nut Topping

  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

When filling is almost finished baking remove pan(s) from oven just long enough to spread nut topping all over top. Move oven rack to next higher level and change oven temperature to 425 degrees. Return baking pan(s) to oven and bake another 5-10 minutes, until topping is brown and crisp. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove pan(s) from oven and turn oven off.

Cool completely on a wire rack; While filling is cooling (several hours), make Cloud Topping.

Cloud Topping

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 ounces Cool Whip

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well blended; stir in Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to put trifle together.
When filling is completely cooled put ½ of filling in bottom of trifle dish, breaking up crust as you remove it from casserole dish. Next, spoon half of the cloud filling on top and spread over all. Gently spoon the remaining filling on top of cloud topping and top with remaining cloud topping. Decorate with candied sweet potatoes and nuts or simply nuts or whatever idea you come up with to make it pretty.
Trust me when I say you will love, love, love this (unless of course you don’t like sweet potato or pumpkin). I freeze it and have it day after day after day.
Fix it for your Mom for Mother’s Day and you will definitely be “her favorite”.
Scoop yourself a bowl of this luscious concoction and have a truly down home delicious dessert that will become one of your favorites.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza