Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Ham

There are so many things that take your time and attention during the holidays, why make things harder than they have to be?

This ham is the easiest and simplest thing you could possibly ask for.

One whole ham
2 Cups Sorghum Molasses
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Large Reynolds Baking Bag
2 Cups Water

Like I said, it doesn't get any easier than this! Unwrap your ham and place it in the baking bag then center in a large baking dish. Pour 1 cup molasses over the top of the ham. Prick the ham with a steak knife to allow the molasses to soak into the ham. Flip ham over and repeat with remaining molasses. Prick the bottom of the ham to let molasses soak in. Cover bottom of ham with 1 cup brown sugar, flip and cover the top with the remaining cup of sugar. Pour 2 cups of warm water in the bottom of the baking bag. (Don't pour over your ham - you don't want to wash off all that sugary goodness.) Seal and bake at 350 degrees for one hour - reduce heat to 250 degrees and cook for an additional hour. Let set for at least 30 minutes after removing from oven.

Save the juices to baste slices's what gives this ham it's wonderful sugary flavor!

Slice with an electric knife and seal in large zip lock bags. You can make this well in advance and serve with croissants for a quick breakfast, add mashed potatoes and veggies for a nice dinner, put it on bread for a lunch on the run, throw it on a salad or use the very last of it in bean soup! Anything you do with this ham will be WONDERFUL! I Promise! Merry Christmas and Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tennessee Jam Cake

This was my Mama's "fancy" cake that she made when she wanted to have something a little extra special for guests. Truth be told, it's the simplest cake ever and you can change it up with different jams and fruit to keep it seasonal!

Mama worked full time and also ran a very busy household and kept Daddy's farm records so she didn't spend a lot of time trying to "re-invent the wheel". For all of you traditional bakers about to grab your flour sifters....brace yourselves!

2 boxes of white cake mix
8 eggs
1 cup oil
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup jam
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Bakers Joy cooking spray
Fresh Fruit

I always buy the best cake mix I can get my hands on. Cheap cake mix tastes like ... cheap cake! Add 8 whole eggs, oil and 2 cups of water. Mix well with blender starting on slow and then graduating to a medium high speed while scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the mix. If your batter is too thick, add a bit more oil and a little more of the water. Be careful not to over thin your batter - you want it to be on the thick side. Spray cake pans (I always use 3) liberally with baking spray and bake in a pre-heated 350* oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked thru the center completely.

Let cake cool completely....and I do mean completely! It usually takes a couple of hours on a cooling rack so plan ahead and use this time to get other things done!

Flip first layer onto serving dish. Use a metal skewer, a knife point or even the end of a fork to poke small random holes in the cake. Open sweetened condensed milk and sparingly drizzle 1-2 tsp over the first layer. Brush this around the layer and allow it a few minutes to soak in. Add 2 TBLSP jam (I like Strawberry the best) and spread it to the edge of the layer but not over the edge. Slice fruit (again, I like to use Strawberries) and place thin slices on top the jam.

Add the second layer and repeat the skewer and glazing with the sweetened condensed milk process. Repeat the jam spread and sliced fruit layering.

Top with third layer. Press layers firmly together. Pierce this layer with tiny pricks as you don't want holes to be visible (I like to use a corn on the cob holder as it makes the tiniest holes) then drizzle with remaining sweetened condensed milk. Cook cake in fridge to set (see below).

This cake may tend to shift so you might want to chill it in the fridge to help set your layers as you build it. About 20 minutes per layer should set it nicely.

Garnish with fruit and let sit out of the fridge for a couple of hours to come up to room temperature prior to serving. Left over cake (RIGHT, like there is any of this ever left over!) should be refrigerated.

As with any recipe, this is just a guide. You can take your own liberties with it and change it up. Use two complimentary jams....change up the fruits to keep it seasonal. Today I frosted it instead of topping with sweetened condensed milk. I have a Bride and I needed something more formal! Get Fancy and Enjoy!