Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cranberry Pear Pie
Taste of Home magazine
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
5 cups sliced peeled fresh pears
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Directions: Line a 9-in. pie plate with pastry; trim and flute edges. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, syrup and butter until smooth. Add the pears and cranberries; toss to coat. Spoon into crust. For topping, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over filling. Cover edges of crust loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°. Remove foil; bake 35-40 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake
Source: Southern Living

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (9-ounce) package yellow cake mix*
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring (I always use way less)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
Garnishes: 6 (5-inch) red and white peppermint candy canes, crushed;
12 (5-inch) green candy canes, broken;
12 round peppermint candies

BEAT first 4 ingredients according to cake mix package directions.
BEAT yellow cake mix and next 6 ingredients according to package directions.
Spoon red batter alternately with white batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Swirl batter gently with a knife.
BAKE at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

SPREAD Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. (Cake may be chilled up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month.) Garnish, if desired.

Serve within 2 hours.
*Substitute 1 3/4 cups yellow cake mix. NOTE: If cake is frozen, thaw completely before garnishing to prevent crushed candy from running. Do not refrigerate after garnishing.

MAKE-AHEAD GAME PLAN: Up to 1 month ahead: Prepare cake layers and frost with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting. Freeze in a plastic airtight cake dome.
Day to Serve: Thaw cake and add decorations.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
For Quick Peppermint Frosting: stir together 3 (16-ounce) containers ready-to-spread cream cheese frosting and 2 teaspoons peppermint extract.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine
1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract*

BEAT cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add extract, beating until blended.
* Substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

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