Local recipe featured in 'Our Iowa' magazine

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cape Girardeau's very own Vance Combs and his world-famous, or at least Lynwood Baptist Church-dinner-famous, peanut butter pie was featured this month in the "Our Iowa" magazine. Vance says he is expected to bring at least two of these pies to church dinners and to the church's fish frys. The bi-monthly publication states that Vance was born and raised in southwest Iowa, and I know he still holds strong to those roots.

Vance and his wife, June, are vital members of the Cape Senior Center and volunteer to do many things at the center, including being the center's librarians, street sign changers and help deliver homebound meals to senior adult shut-ins. Vance and June also have looked after special friends when they were sick and when they could no longer drive; they would see that they made it to the senior center each day. A very special couple and a special peanut butter pie recipe; enjoy!

Vance Comb's Peanut Butter Pie

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 9-inch deep-dish pastry shell, baked

For the filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon peanut butter

For the meringue:

3 egg whites

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and 1/2 cup peanut butter with a fork until mixture resembles meal. Spread half of the mixture in bottom of baked pastry shell. Save remainder for the topping.

In a double boiler, combine the filling ingredients. Cook and stir until bubbly and thickened, until mixture reaches 160 degrees and coats the back of a spoon. Spoon over peanut butter layer in pastry shell. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, sugar and salt until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over filling. Sprinkle reserved peanut butter mixture over meringue. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool before serving; store in the refrigerator.

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In this same issue of "Our Iowa" there were a few other recipes from their readers, and these next two recipes jumped out at me.

Caramel Apple Salad

6 small apples, cut into bite-size pieces

1 (8-ounce) can unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained

1 (1-ounce) box sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix

1/4 cup chopped peanuts, optional

1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, mix the apples, pineapple, pudding mix and peanuts. Gently fold in whipped topping. Transfer to a serving bowl, refrigerate until chilled.

Chicken Club casserole

4 cups uncooked spiral pasta

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

1 cup crumbled cooked bacon

1 cup milk

1 cup mayonnaise

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

2 cups (8-ounces) shredded colby-monterey jack cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package; drain. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, soup, bacon, milk and mayonnaise. Stir in tomatoes and pasta. Spoon into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover, and bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

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Pumpkin-Orange Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust and Salted Caramel

This fabulously amazing recipe comes from the Southern Living website. It is an excellent recipe and one you'll want to hang onto. Yes, it does take a little time, but it is well worth it.

For the crust:

1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafer cookies

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

For the filling:

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

Zest of 2 medium oranges

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

For the topping:

6 tablespoons store-bought caramel topping

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Flaked salt* (such as Cyprus sea salt flakes or Maldon salt), for garnish

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whirl cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Whirl in butter just until incorporated. Pour crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan and press over bottom and about 1 inch up inside of pan. Bake 7 minutes, then let cool on a rack. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.

Make filling: In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugars, and flour until smooth. Beat in eggs on low speed 1 at a time. Add remaining filling ingredients and beat until just blended. Wrap bottom of pan with foil, pressing it up the outside. Set springform pan in a roasting pan and pour filling into crust. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cheesecake cool on a rack 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 5 hours. Whisk caramel topping and table salt in a bowl and spoon over cheesecake. Arrange pecans around rim and sprinkle flaked salt over pecans.

*Flaked salt has large, hollow, crunchy crystals. Find it at well-stocked grocery stores and online. For a fissure-free cheesecake, beat your filling just until it's blended -- no more. (Too much air in the mixture will make it deflate, and then crack, in the oven.) Find pumpkin pie spice in your baking aisle, or make your own: 4 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ground ginger, 1 part nutmeg, and 1 part ground allspice.

Apple Pinwheels

This recipe can easily be reduced by half to make only a dozen delicious treats.

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup butter

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

2 tubes (8-ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

3 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

In a saucepan, combine water, butter and 1 cup sugar; cook over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Unroll each tube of crescent roll dough into a rectangle; seal seams and perforations.

Combine the apples, pie spice and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Cut into 1-inch rolls; place in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour syrup over rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: about 2 dozen.

Baked Apple Slices

There is something special about baking apples, no matter what the end result, and this recipe is extra special served with ice cream. The apples are also very good on pancakes or waffles, or on or alongside ham.

3 large tart apples, peeled and sliced

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup apple cider or juice

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup walnuts or raisins

Vanilla ice cream

Place apples in a greased 1-quart baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; pour over apples. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream. Yield: 4 servings.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking!

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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