It’s July: Recipes for Fun, Family and Friends

Root Beer Funnel Cakes

Judith discovered this unique recipe in a diner in Hayes, Kansas, and made her own version of this recipe. From: Heartland The Cookbook by Judith Fertig (Andrews McMeel), which celebrates the bounty of the Midwest. Root beer extract can be found at cake decorating shops.

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg

1 cup bottled root beer

Root Beer Glaze

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon root beer extract

1 tablespoon half-and-half or whole milk

Fresh berries of choice for garnish

In a large, deep skillet, pour in enough oil to reach 1 inch. Heat to 375˚F over medium-high heat. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and sugar. Whisk egg and root beer together in a cup and whisk into the dry ingredients until smooth.

When oil has reached correct temperature, hold your finger over the bottom of a large kitchen funnel with a 1/2-inch diameter spout, and pour 3/4 cup batter into the funnel. Hold the funnel over the center of the skillet, remove your finger, and with a circular motion, starting from a center point, let the batter create a spiral in the hot oil. Fry until funnel cake is light brown on one side, then carefully flip with a pancake turner and fry on the other until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let oil come back to correct temperature and repeat process. For glaze, whisk sugar, root beer extract, and half-and-half together in a small bowl. Drizzle over each funnel cake and dust with more sugar and garnish with fresh berries.  Makes 4 medium cakes.

Joanne’s New-and-Improved Blueberry Tart

Sara Moulton is a Delight, with a capital D, and so are her recipes. She is also a working mom who has to get dinner on the table every night. In Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners (Simon & Schuster), she shares more than 200 new family-tested, family-pleasing recipes. As a person who does not like pie crusts (I only eat the inside), this tart is perfect for me.

Crust (Or a store-bought pastry for a single-crust pie):

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2 large egg yolks

Combine flour and salt in the food processor fitted with the chopped blade. Cut the butter into 1/8-inch thick slices, and add to flour. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat yolks with 2 tablespoons ice water; add to mixture; pulse 4 to 5 times, until a crumbly mixture forms. Press mixture together to form a ball, adding more water if needed to make it manageable. Roll dough between lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap (chill for an hour before rolling if desired, which makes crust more tender) so it is an 11-inch round.


2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups blueberries

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Fit dough into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, press it against sides of pan, trim off any overhanging pieces. Pierce bottom and sides thoroughly with the tines of a fork to prevent crust from puffing up. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Stir sugar, cornstarch, salt in a small pan, and gradually stir in 2/3 cup water. Add 3/4 cup blueberries and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil, berries have popped, and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. Combine thickened sauce with remaining 3 1/4 cups berries in a medium bowl; transfer to baked crust and spread to fill the shell. Let cool to room temperature and serve, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps in fridge for 3 days. Serves 6 to 8.

Peaches in Wine Syrup

This is a lovely, classic Aragon dessert. From La Buena Mesa The Regional Cooking of Spain (The Good Table) by Elizabeth Parrish (Hippocrene Books). The title is synonymous with delicious food, from Spain, a country that celebrates “good tables,” and the book includes distinctive dishes from nineteen regions. The influences of the Greeks, Phoenicians, Celts and Moors are all found in Spain’s regional cuisine. Beloved classics and new favorites are waiting to be discovered in this collection.

3 cups full-bodied red wine

1/2 cup brandy, preferably Spanish

1 cup sugar

Peel of 1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick

4 large ripe peaches (yellow flesh), peeled

Mix the wine, brandy, sugar, lemon peel, and cinnamon stick together in a saucepan or earthenware dish. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the peaches, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Spoon the warm syrup over the peaches and serve. Any leftover syrup can be used as a marinade for cut-up fresh fruit. Serves 4.

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