Easy Holiday Entertaining Recipes with Baking Basics Author Pat Sinclair

11:47 AM, Dec 1, 2010   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.--  Today, Baking Basics author Pat Sinclair joined us with some simple recipes that can save you time this holiday season.  Pat said she is working on her next cookbook, Scandinavian Classic Baking, which should be available early next year.

For more information about Pat, her cookbooks, and recipes, visit www.patcooksandbakes.com.

Marinated Feta Cheese- Appetizer

8 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated rind of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarse cracked pepper
Dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 package (4 breads) Pita bread, toasted

Pat the feta dry and cut into large squares or break into chunks. Place in a glass jar or food storage container. Add the cucumber, dill, lemon juice, lemon rind, black pepper and dried red pepper. Add olive oil. Close jar and refrigerated 1 to 2 days before serving.

Toast pita in a 375 degrees F. oven. Cut pita rounds in halves and then each half into thirds. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp and browned. Serve with marinated feta.  Serves 8.  

Cranberry Walnut Squares

As soon as I see fresh cranberries in the fall, I can't wait to start baking. Because they are easy to freeze, you can bake with them year round but they always seem a herald of autumn. These cranberry jewels are easy to make because the crust is pressed into the pan. Don't forget the Crème Fraiche.  Makes 24 bars.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter

Filling:
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
Crème Fraiche

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place the oven rack in the center. Place a piece of aluminum foil across the bottom and up the long sides of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, powdered and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form and butter is coated with flour. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add corn syrup, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Stir in the butter, cranberries and walnuts. Pour into the browned crust. Gently even out the surface to distribute the cranberries and walnuts.

Bake 38 to 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean in the center. It will be wet. Center will no longer jiggle when the pan is shaken. Cool to room temperature on a wire cooling rack. Carefully loosen the bars from the short end of the pan. Gently lift bars from the pan using the foil. Cut into squares or bars. Serve with crème fraiche. Be sure there is no foil on the bars.

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