Friday, September 24, 2010

Mediterranean Chicken Pie

This savory Moroccan dish, traditionally called bisteeya, offers the rich flavors of North Africa. Two precooked chickens are enough for 2 pies; it's easiest to pull the meat from the bone while the chicken is still warm.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings per pie

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 package (10 oz.) shredded carrots (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 5 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 16 phyllo sheets (17"x12")
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
How to make: 
  1. Heat oven to 425 degree F. In bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, process almonds, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, and cinnamon for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until softened. Add coriander; cook 1 minute. Stir in carrots and 3/4 cup broth; cook 2 minutes, until carrots softened. Transfer to large bowl; stir in chicken, raisins, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place 2 sheets of phyllo in a round 8" cake pan, with dough overhanging sides. Brush dough inside pan with butter. Place 6 more sheets in pan, spoke-wheel fashion, 2 at a time (doubled), buttering between sheets of phyllo sheets covered to prevent them from drying out.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup almond mixture over phyllo in bottom of pan. Spoon half of chicken mixture into pan, top with 1/4 cup almond mixture, and pour 1/4 cup broth over almonds. Fold overhanging dough over pie filling, buttering between sheets of phyllo. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make the second pie in another 8" round cake pan. Wrap 1 pie tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
  5. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes in pan, flip onto serving plate, and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar over pie.
Nutrition per serving: 347 calories, 21 g protein, 17 g fat, 28 g carbohydrate, 52 mg calcium, 2 g fiber.

To heat: Thaw pie overnight in refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and follow directions in step 5.

Snowman Cake

Bring out the child in everyone with an enchanting snowman, made with chocolate-mint cake and melt-in-your-mouth icing. Candy eyes and a chocolate-cookie hat help bring him to life.

Prep time: 55 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                                           Gather all the sweet treats for decorating
  • 1 Ring Ding or Ding Dong
  • 1 old-fashioned chocolate cookie
  • Mini blue M&M's
  • 2 blue taffy rolls (Airheads)
  • 2 Junior Mints
  • 1 Jelly orange slice, trimmed
  • 1 thin 2" lengthwise black-licorice string
  • 3 blue candy melts or nonpareils
  • Clear rock candy

    How to make:
    1. Heat oven to 375 degree F. Grease and flour two 4-cup and two 1 1/2-cup ovenproof bowls. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In measuring cup, combine milk and mint extract.
    2. In large bowl, beat together sugar and butter on low speed until blended, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat 2 minutes, or until light and creamy. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs. One at a time, beating well after each. Alternate flour mixture and milk mixture; beat until batter is smooth, occassionally scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
    3. Divide batter among prepared bowls. Bake 30 minutes. Remove 1 1/2-cup bowls, and let cool. Continue baking 4-cup cakes until center comes out clean when inserted with a cake tester, about 10 minutes longer. Cool in bowls for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. 
    4. Meanwhile, prepare frosting: In the top of a double broiler, oven simmering (not boiling) water, beat together sugar, water, egg whites, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high, and beat constantly for 10 to 12 minutes, or until stiff peaks form, scrapping sides occasionally with rubber spatula. Makes about 4 cups.
    5. To assemble cake: Trim the flat side of each cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting on trimmed sides of cakes. Place same-size layers together to form two round shapes. Stand cake upright, and place smaller cake on top of larger one to form the snowman shape. Secure cake layers together by inserting a trimmed wooden skewer.
    6. To decorate cake: Spread a thin layer of frosting onto bottom of Ring Ding, and secure to cookie. Spoon remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip. Pipe border around Ring Ding and place blue M&M's onto border to create a decorative hat. Place taffies together and shape into a scarf. Set the hat and scarf aside to firm up.
    7. Transfer cake to a serving platter. Working down from the top, pipe star shapes around the entire cake. (If shapes are too pointy, gently tap down with fingertips.) For the face, arrange Junior Mints for the eyes, trimmed orange slice for the nose, and licorice string for the mouth. Wrap scarf around the neck. Place candy melts down middle of body for buttons; top with hat. Scatter rock candy around cake and serve.