A guide for parents as well as their kids


Book features dishes from all over, for team preparation

November 26, 2003|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Despite its title, The Kids' Holiday Baking Book (St. Martin's Press, 2003, $16.95) isn't just about baking and it isn't just for kids.

The 150 recipes compiled by Rosemary Black, food editor of the New York Daily News, include holiday desserts of all kinds - beverages, puddings and candies, as well as cookies, cakes and pies - from all over the world. Here are recipes ranging from Irish Soda Bread to Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp to Stuffed Lebanese Pancakes.

Black notes that the book isn't aimed at children of a specific age, and is meant instead to be a guide for parents and children to use together. In fact, besides the childlike drawings that illustrate some recipes, it is difficult to discern what children have to do with this book at all.

The flavors go far beyond the usual kid fare of peanut butter, chocolate and fruit (which isn't a bad thing). I can't describe the look of surprise on my 2-year-old son's face when he scooped up a spoon of Mata Srikhand (Yogurt Cheese Dessert With Saffron), and tasted the intense saffron flavor.

The recipes aren't difficult, but many require adult help in frying, chopping, boiling and baking.

The best part of the book is the insights it provides into holiday foods and customs in other countries. But of several recipes I tried, it was an American Coconut Custard Pie that was my family's favorite.

This is a sweet, old-fashioned dessert in which the coconut is not too intense. One caveat, however: The custard did not completely fill the 8-inch pie crust I used.

Coconut Custard Pie

Serves 6

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 unbaked 8-inch pie shell (store-bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the coconut, milk and vanilla. Beat for 30 seconds. Pour into the unbaked pie shell.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 1 hour before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

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