Rhubarb Anyone?

I’ll be honest, I had no idea that rhubarb had such an extensive history. Living in Lancaster County, I know that there are entire festivals and days dedicated to this mysterious plant. There are recipe contests and pie eating contests and parades with rhubarb characters leading the way. Kitchen Kettle Village has the world’s only rhubarb race-car derby at their festival in May! But did you know that rhubarb originally was cultivated in Ancient China (way back in 2700 BC) for its medicinal, purgative qualities? And while there are many varieties of rhubarb available all over the world, it is said that true rhubarb (the kind with the purgative elements) are only grown in a mountainous region of China called Kansu. Interesting!

We thought we’d share a Rhubarb Custard Pie recipe that is available in our Miller’s and Plain & Fancy Cookbook. While it isn’t something we serve at our restaurants any longer, it’s a wonderful recipe that we think you’ll enjoy.

Pie Ingredients:

  • 3 cups diced pink rhubarb (1/4 inch slices)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or orange juice
  • 1 – 9″ unbaked pie shell

Pie Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup pastry flour and 1 1/4 cup cake flour OR 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour total

Directions:

Arrange rhubarb in pie shell. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon & salt. Add eggs and lemon (or orange) juice. Stir until a smooth paste is formed. Pour over rhubarb. Top with pie crumb topping (directions below). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

Directions for Crumb Topping:

Put all ingredients in bowl of food processor with steel knife. Process in short 2 second bursts until coarse crumbs are formed. Note: Over processing will cause loss of crumb-like topping.

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Miller’s Baked Apples

As an employee of Miller’s, I get the privilege of eating our food often. I most definitely have a sweet tooth, but sometimes after a big meal, cake or pie is just too much. That’s when I head for the Baked Apples. Part of me likes to think I’m doing something “good” for myself by eating an apple for dessert. Another part of me laughs at my reasoning. Either way, they’re delicious, and hard to pass up. Top them with whipped cream or ice cream and they’re something you’ll find yourself craving long after you’ve left.

Ingredients: (makes 6 apples)

  • 6 Apples, whole, peeled and cored
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon & 1 cup sugar, mixed
  • 12 Tbsp melted butter (optional – The baked apples on our Smorgasbord do not have butter in them)

Directions:

Roll apples with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place apples into baking dish. Drizzle apples with the melted butter. Stuff apples with 2 Tbsp of filling (optional – see below) Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Optional filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Directions:

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon & water in heavy skillet and heat until almost boiling. Add pecans, almonds, raisins & cranberries. Cook for 6 minutes.

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“As American As Apple Pie”

It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that Apple Pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. Long before that, dating back to 1381, the English were making their version of what we now call Apple Pie. Because sugar was not easily or readily available in the 14th century, most recipes were made without sugar, and instead made with “good spices”, figs, raisins and pears. Check out the image below, depicting a 14th century “recipe” for Apple Pie.

Luckily for us, Apple Pie has become an American staple and can be found in most bakeries across the USA. There are a wide variety of recipes available to make at home as well, with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchens! Here’s a recipe for our version of Apple Pie that we hope you’ll try at home! And if you just don’t feel like baking, we always serve it fresh right here at Miller’s!

Pie Crust for Miller’s Gourmet Apple Pie

  • 2 cups pastry flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water

Place all ingredients, except water, in bowl of food processor with steel knife. Process 10 seconds or until course crumbs are formed. With food processor running, add water. Stop machine when dough ball is formed. Yields pastry for 2 – 9″ pie shells.

*To make without food processor : Use pastry blender or large fork to work all ingredients except water into coarse crumbs. Add water by tablespoon until dough is formed. Do not over blend.

Pie Filling for Miller’s Gourmet Apple Pie

  • 3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup for top crust
  • 2 Tbsp instant tapioca
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples (preferably Rome or Delicious)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 Tbsp water

Mix sugar, tapioca and cinnamon. Toss the apples, raisins, cranberries and pecans in the sugar mixture. Mound into pie shell and dot with butter before putting top crust on. Brush top crust with beaten egg mixture and sprinkle top crust with sugar. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 1 hour. Enjoy! (We like ours with vanilla ice cream!)

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Truly Bizarre!

I’m sure most of you have heard of Andrew Zimmerman and his Bizarre Foods show on the Travel Channel. He’s sampled some of the worlds most unique and strange “foods” and come away smiling. We salute him.

Here in Lancaster, PA we have some of our very own “Bizarre” food items. At our Plain & Fancy Farm we offer a fascinating demonstration on the “Bizarre Foods of Lancaster County”. This 60 minute demo is available to large groups (20+ people) and takes you through some interesting Lancaster culinary history and we DARE you to try some truly unique items. Check out our video clip highlighting one daring group’s demo experience! Visit our website to contact our Group Sales Department for more information! We’re waiting to hear from you….if you DARE!

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National Culinary Arts Month – Contest Time!

We’re having a contest! (sung to the tune of that old Sam Cooke song “Having a Party”…)

In honor of July being National Culinary Arts Month, we’ve decided to have a contest! We figured that anyone reading this blog must enjoy food as much as we do, so why not have a recipe contest! It’s the perfect time of year to be using fresh ingredients, backyard grills and those creative summer juices we all have flowing.

Want to know what you’ll win?! Of course you do…! Our winner will receive the following:

1. The winning recipe will be featured in its own blog post on our GetAwayLancaster blog. The winner will be given complete credit for both recipe and image (if one is submitted).

2. The winning recipe will also be featured on the Facebook Pages of both Miller’s Smorgasbord and Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurants.

3. The contest winner will receive Dinner for Two at either Miller’s or Plain & Fancy Farm OR the winner can choose to have a pie shipped to them from our Miller’s Bakery. (Chocolate Pecan or Shoofly)

So without further ado….here are your rules:

Recipe Rules:

1. Your recipe must be an original submission. (no stealing other people’s creative juices please)

2. You may (we’d LOVE it if you could) submit a picture with the recipe.

3. Entries must not contain offensive or inappropriate material. Please.

To Enter: (you must do both of these things to qualify to win)

1. Follow our blog via email (you can do so to the right of this post)

2. Submit your recipe via email to jplante@millerssmorgasbord.com

Other Stuff:

1. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.

2. Contest will run from July 2nd through July 16th, with a winner being chosen and announced on Tuesday, July 17th.

3. Only one entry per email address

4. Please submit, along with your recipe, your name, address and phone number so that we may contact you if you are the winner.

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Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake? Yes please!

I may be a little biased, but Miller’s Bakery makes a pretty fabulous Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. I realize this is a bold statement, especially coming from a person that typically doesn’t like cheesecake. There’s just something about this particular cheesecake; it’s creamy and light, but rich in flavor with a delicious chocolate crust. The recipe is a little time consuming, but well worth the work!

Crumb Crust Ingredients :

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions :Dry mix the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar. Add 2 oz melted chocolate and melted butter and mix well until crumbs are coated. Butter the sides of a 10″ spring form pan. Pat the crumbs onto the bottom of the pan and around the sides if a side crust is desired.  (Side crust should rise 2″ from the bottom crust)

Cheesecake Batter Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Twist of lemon peel
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions: Place the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream well 4-5 minutes on low speed. Beat the eggs lightly and add the vanilla to them. Twist the lemon peel over the egg and vanilla mixture so the lemon oil and flavor are released into the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture to the cream cheese & sugar. Pour slowly to allow the mixtures to combine so no lumps are formed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and allow to mix on low speed unitil the mixture is smoothe and creamy. Add the sour cream and allow the batter to mix slowly until totally smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Pour slowly so as to not disturb the crumbs.

Bake the cheesecake in a 325 degree oven, on the bottom shelf. Baking time is approx 50-55 minutes but will vary by oven. Check the cheesecake at 50 minutes and observe how it moves in the pan.*

*A correctly baked cheesecake is firm, but creamy, even when chilled. If your cheesecake moves slightly when you move the pan gently (somewhat like what a large bowl of jello would), it is done.

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool. Allow to cool in the pan for 3 hours. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 2 oz melted chocolate (make sure it’s not hot!)
  • 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Directions: Whip heavy cream; add melted chocolate and sugar. Mix until well blended. Spread on top of cooled cheesecake. With a pastry bag and a star tip, pipe a border of your favorite chocolate icing around the edges. Viola!

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Not So “Garden Variety” at Plain & Fancy

Peaceful. Bountiful. Colorful. Inviting.

It’s growing season here in Lancaster, and we’re super proud to have such a lovely garden right outside our restaurant doors at Plain & Fancy Farm. Each time I get the opportunity to wander through the garden, I find myself pausing to simply observe. I’m always in awe of what the capable hands of a nurturing gardner can accomplish with just a little soil, a few seeds and a lot of patience. I get excited about sharing all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables with our guests, helping them understand the true “Farm to Table” experience at Plain & Fancy!

A variety of cabbage grows in our garden!

White Potatoes & Dwarf Peas

Climbing Beans & Beets

We hope you’ll take some time to stop over and visit our garden…it really is beautiful this time of year!

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Sweet Potato Pie – Miller’s Bakery Recipe

Sweet potato pie recipes can be traced all the way back to the Renaissance Era, but has especially deep roots in the Southern United States. Family recipes passed down from generation to generation, differing slightly as the years pass. Interestingly enough, most of these recipes were never recorded on paper, but instead just held in minds of the baker.

Our baker at Miller’s has a wonderful Sweet Potato Pie recipe that he’s willing to share with you, our loyal friends and family. We hope you enjoy it; it’s delicious any time of year!

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 1 cup mini marshmallos (optional)

Directions :

Combine all in a large mixing bowl, scraping sides and mixing until all incorporated. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees until minimum internal temperature reaches 210 degrees.

If desired, cover the top of the pie with mini marshmallows and use a small baking torch to brown the marshmallows to your liking.

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Happy Memorial Day!

Welcome to our blog…and Happy Memorial Day! Today is a day that we say “Thank You” to all the men & women in the Armed Forces who gave their lives for our freedom. We also extend that “Thank You” to all the men & women who are still serving. All across the USA, as you attend your town parades, family celebrations, BBQ’s and start of summer festivities, we hope that you’ll take a moment to reflect on the true gift of freedom that those who serve have given us. That being said….light those grills, break out the slip-n-slides and enjoy the beautiful weather! Happy Memorial Day!

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