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Cooking from Helen Witty's Cookbooks

Please use this thread to report and share recipes from any of Helen Witty's books which include:

Fancy Pantry
The Good Stuff Cookbook
Better Than Store Bought
Mrs. Witty's Monster Cookies
Mrs. Witty's Home-Style Menu Cookbook

Below you will find a number of recipes from FANCY PANTRY.

Blueberry Relish http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/8849...
Cold-Pickled Cornichons http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-2...
Sour cherry preserves with cherry brandy or Amaretto http://tinyurl.com/k6u48ck
Corn meal & buttermilk slicing loaves http://tinyurl.com/k6u48ck
Ginger marmalade http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/lo...
Pear Honey http://walnutspinney.blogspot.com/200...
Miniature Ginger Pound Cakes http://articles.chicagotribune.com/19...
Tomato Figs http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread...
Mushroom Ketchup http://homecooking.about.com/od/condi...
Peach or nectarine jam with brown sugar & rum http://thekeytothegate.blogspot.com/2...
Blueberry or Huckleberry Raisins http://www.berryheavenusa.com/more-gr...
Peach Ratafia http://janelear.com/wordpress/?p=3560
Hot and Spicy Banana Ketchup http://www.recipecottage.com/preservi...
Cranberry Ketchup http://www.recipecottage.com/preservi...
Seedless BlackBerry Jam https://sites.google.com/site/scrambl...
Raspberry Vinegar http://www.melindalee.com/recipes/fru...
Potted Mushrooms http://www.lindystoast.com/2005/12/mu...
Mango and Tamarind Chutney http://www.ivu.org/recipes/indian-chu...
Fromage Blanc http://www.slowfoodies.zzn.com/zlog/w...
Green and Red Tomato Salsa http://bangordailynews.com/2009/10/16...
Tart Pickled Cherries in the French Style http://www.knoxgardner.com/2011/frenc...
Concord Grape Ketchup http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment...
Quince Marmaladehttp://200birdies.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/quince-marmalade-and-quince-jelly/
Wimpy’s delight, a hamburger relish http://www.recipecircus.com/recipes/g...
Peerless Red Raspberry Jam http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs....
Green Tomato, Apple & Pear Mincemeat http://theslowcook.blogspot.com/2008/...
Plum and Blueberry Compote in Calvados Syrup http://www.laundryetc.co.uk/2010/09/1...
Fresh Herb Jelly http://www.chitterlings.com/03oct02pa...
Strawberry Preserves http://healthybynatureblog.blogspot.c...
Mushroom Essence http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/114258/...

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    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      I will only add that BigSal has this job until the end of time because no one will volunteer :)

    2. A heads up. Because the Ginger Marmalade in "Fancy Pantry" is one of my favorite recipes in the book, one I've made a number of times, I checked the ingredients list in the book against the link above. The link calls for "1 to 1-1/2 pounds of fresh ginger"; the book calls for "1/2 pound unblemished stem ginger (young pink-tinged ginger) or 1 to 1-1/4 pounds mature ginger." I try hard to find stem ginger for this recipe because you can use all of it. The reason you need so much more mature ginger is that you use only the tender outer layer and discard the inner part with lots of fiber.

      As we on COTM have discovered often, links to recipes may be adapted or use shortcuts. It's great to have these links, and BigSal did a yeoman's job of pulling them together, but it never hurts to check the original source, or to ask one of us with the book to do so. Hereby volunteering such a service.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        What do you make with the ginger marmalade Joan? I often see stem ginger at my local farmer's market, but never knew what to do with it. I'm intrigued.

        1. re: dkennedy

          I am seriously envious. I have so much trouble finding stem ginger. I can sometimes find it in Chinatown, but only in certain shops and during a very limited season.

          I usually just slather the marmalade along with copious amounts of butter on some kind of bread product. But I've also used it as a substitute for the kumquat marmalade in the recipe for "Toasted Pain d'Epice with Kumquat Marmalade Butter" from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" and have mixed it with soy sauce and used it as a marinade or glaze for roasted duck breasts.

      2. Ham Scalloped with Potatoes la Jacques pg 157 Homestyle Menu Cookbook -- a delightfully cozy and substantial comfort food we make any time we have ham. The flavors meld and melt in your mouth. Perfect for a rainy fall or winter evening.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maxie

          How do you like this book? I was curious about it when I went on my Witty buying binge a few days ago...

          1. re: meatn3

            I got it as a gift many years ago -- it isn't a book I would have picked out myself. I've only used a few recipes -- they've been good, just not my style. I love the ham and potatoes!

        2. Thank you BigSal! You're doing double duty. I hope to make use of this thread for holiday gifts, as soon as my book arrives.

          1. Wow! BigSal you go above and beyond! Many thanks for the great service you are providing.

            1. LEMON CURD Fancy Pantry p. 301-302

              1 1/2T grated lemon zest
              1/2C strained lemon juice
              1/2C + 2T unsalted butter
              pinch of salt
              4 egg yolks
              1 egg
              1 1/4C sugar

              Beat egg yolks and egg at high speed until foamy; gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is pale, fluffy and very thick, about 5 min.
              Put everything into a bowl set over boiling water and cook whisking constantly until it thickens and is steaming hot, about 10 min.
              Pour curd through fine-meshed strainer into dry sterilized jars, cool and seal with sterilized lids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

              You can substitute limes for lemons to make lime curd but I have not done it.

              I made this curd many-many times and it is my all time favourite. I posted this recipe on voting thread before BigSal started this thread, so just copy/pasted it here.

              31 Replies
              1. re: herby

                That is my standard Lemon Curd recipe too. I think it tastes like a "classic" lemon curd, well balanced.

                1. re: herby

                  I have a bag of Myers lemons. Do you think they would work well or do you think the tartness of regular lemons is best in this application?

                  1. re: meatn3

                    I also have a bag of Meyer lemons and wanted to make this curd but remember reading somewhere that you halve the sugar if you use Meyer as opposed to regular lemons. Do not remember where I saw it for the life of me! I would be uncomfortable cutting sugar by halve in this recipe - not sure if it would set properly, etc. So, I am going to make the curd with regular lemons.

                    1. re: herby


                      Good to know. I've never made curd so I have no reference point at all. Looking at the directions I'm inclined to agree that cutting the sugar could lead to ruin!

                    2. re: meatn3

                      If you want a great recipe for lemon curd from Meyer lemons, look no further: http://kitchenmusings.com/tag/kate-zu...

                      And just fyi, the curd freezes very well. I always make at least 4 pints of it when I can get Meyers and use it in innumerable ways all the rest of the year.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Thank you!

                        Comparing the recipes the Meyer's has less sugar (1/2 c. + 4 Tb.), more egg yolk (6 total) and 2 Tb. less butter. That ratio may be helpful in following the tip Herby had come across.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Thank you Joan! I am going to use some of my Meyers to make this curd. The recipe says to cool to warm before whisking in the butter - do you do this and then pour into jars and freeze?

                          1. re: herby

                            Yes. After the butter is incorporated, I pour it into jars, refrigerate them overnight so the curd is completely cooled, press plastic wrap directly onto the top of the curd to prevent the formation of any ice crystals, then freeze.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Thank you again :) Run out of eggs; as soon as I make it to the grocery store I'll be in the kitchen making curd. Maybe not until the weekend but soon anyway.

                          2. re: JoanN

                            Joan, I made this recipe a couple of days ago and the curd is sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. I only tasted it while still relatively hot - didn't wait for it to cool down and stirred the butter into the hot one. I do not think any harm was down and it looks like my jars sealed - I didn't process.

                            While I was making it I realize that the recipe is almost identical to Witty's - she uses more egg yolks and less butter which is sort of sub each other. The technique is different. Now I am confident enough to make Witty's recipe as written subbing Meyer for regular lemons since I still have a pile left.

                            What else to make with Meyer lemons? I already have two jars of preserved and do not need more. A jam?

                            1. re: herby

                              Meyers are perfect for Moroccan preserved lemons! They are quite easy and last for a very long time.

                              Ooops -or was that what you meant by preserved?


                              1. re: meatn3

                                Yes, that's what I mean :) Any other ideas?

                                1. re: herby

                                  Meyer lemons go well in marmalade, or candied lemon slices, or preserved in syrup. And because I've been looking lately at flavored salts, I imagine a Meyer lemon salt would be lovely. I think Meyers are too sweet and orangey for some lemon recipes, but they can wow when used to their best advantage. A Meyer lemon cordial could be great.

                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                    There's a Ginger Daiquiri in "The Essential NYTimes Cookbook" that calls for Meyer lemon juice. I haven't tried it, but stumbled across it recently when I was looking for proportions for a ginger simple syrup.

                                  2. re: herby

                                    No specific recipes but I add them to the mix of dried fruit when making a stewed compote. I also like them sliced and roasted with fish.

                                2. re: herby

                                  Meyer Lemon Salsa from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” and another salsa with green olives from the same book—both superb with fish, especially halibut. Chez Panisse Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie from “The Essential NYTimes Cookbook.” There’s a Meyer lemon vinaigrette I like in “Ad Hoc at Home” that calls for canola oil, but I substitute grapeseed oil. Meyer Lemon Marmalade from “Dolce Italiano.”

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Many thanks to both of you, LN and JoanN! Of all books that you mentioned I only have Sunder Suppers and the salsa sounds delicious. Love the idea of vinaigrette. Union Square has a recipe for just lemon vinaigrette but because his name is Danny Meyer, it pops up on EYB search - funny :) Tart and sweet has Meyer lemon, honey and orange blossom jam recipe that sounds very nice too.

                                    And lastly I would love to make flavoured salt but have no clue how. LN, kindly share recipe or just instructions/proportions of how you make yours. I assume you add one lemon to 1/2 lb of salt, mix and let dry (in the low oven?), store.

                                    1. re: herby

                                      Here is a recipe for Meyer lemon salt. About halfway down the page, just before the comments, there are links to Meyer lemon sugar and some other Meyer lemon recipes. I haven't tried any of them, but they look fun and tasty.


                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                        Thank you for the link, LN! I'll make the salt and will have a good look at the other recipes. Now I am wondering if I should use all zest to make salt, juice the lemons, make vinaigrette with some juice and freeze the rest in an ice-cube tray.

                                        1. re: herby

                                          This may be common practice, well-known already, but FWIW it's very handy indeed to juice fresh lemons and limes when abundant, and freeze in ice-cube trays. It keeps for up to a couple of years, tightly sealed in ziploc freezer bags.

                                          I got into this habit years ago (friends and neighbors have very productive trees, and the fruit could even go to waste otherwise) and am never without good citrus juices, not just for drinks but sauces and any other cooking. (When I was a kid we occasionally used RealLemon or other such commercial juices, but they've all been cooked, and lost vital nuances.)

                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                            Thank you! Great to know that you do it successfully. I also overbought limes for some reason and will now juice and freeze along with lemons. Do you freese zest too? I find that zest adds a lot to flavour of foods and very different from juice.

                                            1. re: herby

                                              No I have not frozen zest, I use it less often and have only used fresh fruit for that.

                                              A good fraction of the frozen juices end up as intense lemonades or limeades, sweetened with the corresponding fruit syrups from a French brand (Monin) helpfully vended by the bottle at a local coffee house.

                                              A detail: to freeze _lemon_ juice ready for immediate use, it's helpful to strain out obvious seeds, but doing so can also strain out pulp, so there's a trade-off. I use various reamers to juice citrus in quantity (two manual, one electric) -- I also have the hinged bar-type squuezers, but I find reamers give better control and more thorough extraction. It turns out some reamers pass the juice through holes of about the right size to catch the substantial seeds. They let through the microscopic seeds (which aren't a problem if they end up in finished food), and they also let through enough of the pulp that it doesn't seem wasted. Other pulp will gather in the reamer and can be salvaged and picked through easily enough, once some has accumulated.

                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                I do not care for pulp in my juice and usually strain it before using. I have a real wooden rimmer for when it is just a lemon that I want to juice and an electric juicer that I use for larger quantity.

                                              2. re: herby

                                                I've had success freezing both zest and peels from citrus fruits. I usually do it only if I know I'm going to need it fairly soon. Not only does it lose some intensity of flavor after a couple of months, but it tends to get lost--at least, in my freezer.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Good to know - I am thinking about cutting very thin peels and freezing them and not true zest. The little bag will get lost in my freezer too, no doubt, but it will be on the inventory spreadsheet :)

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    " but it will be on the inventory spreadsheet :)"

                                                    Admirably high-tech. I still use a notebook for my home freezers. At least it's never "down." :-)

                                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                                      I update and print-out the spreadsheet; keep it on the fridge wall along with a pen to cross out and add items and when it looks messy I start all over :)

                                                    2. re: herby

                                                      Another nice way to keep and preserve the peels if you will be juicing the lemons and freezing the juice is to candy the peels. I've recently embraced a method in David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert, which is relatively simple (but does use a candy thermometer), and gives delicious results. Here, it is paraphrased by buttertart: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9263...

                                            2. re: L.Nightshade

                                              Interesting idea for the salt!

                                              I'm not sure of the need to dry in the oven except for a quick result. (My thought process) It seems that simply mixing the fresh zest with the salt - like making flavored sugars with scented geraniums - would work. After the zest has dried in the salt the mix could be wizzed in the processor. I think it could have more flavor this way. Or am I missing something that the oven drying adds?

                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                I like this idea! Guess, mold might be a problem but salt is a preservative, so, maybe not?

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  I think the salt would inhibit mold, especially if the fruit was well scrubbed. To my mind it seems that heat would have a negative affect on the volatile oils. The salt would soak them up!

                                                  Plus....one less pan to wash!


                                3. Cranberry Cordial, page 281, Fancy Pantry.

                                  Finally got around to making this today. It's supposed to mature for a month, so I'll either be giving it out late, or I'll decant it earlier.

                                  Very simple just chopped cranberries, orange zest (or tangerine rind, I used orange), sugar, cloves, allspice and vodka. I used less sugar than called for, as I tend to like a little bitter with my sweet, and simple syrup could be added later if necessary. I'll report back when it comes time to taste.