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Black Forest Ham

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dennis
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 3:38 PM
  Subject: black forest ham

  Hi. searched the past archives and could not find a recipie 
  for making black forest ham. I have a smoker but do not know 
  the basic spices. This is the kind of ham you will find in 
  Germany and Bavaria served for breakfast.  thank you.

Hello Dennis,

I could not locate a specific recipe for Black Forest Ham. This ham is made according to traditional German Black Forest farm techniques. In Germany, it is smoked over pine and fir and is coated with beef blood to give it a black outside surface. It's a typical dry cured ham that's rubbed with sea salt and spices and then hung up and smoked & dry cured.

The Witrose company says of its own Black Forest Ham that: "Subtle hints are introduced by rubbing the surface of the ham with elderberry, juniper, garlic and coriander. It's then then smoked over beechwood chippings to give a balanced flavour and matured for almost a year. The firm slices are pinky red with a smoky brown edge."

There's a lot of information about dry curing & smoking hams here: The Meat Smoking and Curing FAQ

Wish I could help more, but that's about it.


Filled Milk & Burnt Fudge

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Barbara 
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 5:54 AM
Subject: reaching temperatures

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,

I have been attempting go make pumpkin fudge and had no trouble 
finding a recipe. Five times I have tried and failed.  Each 
time I get the mixture up to 228 degrees, where 235 is required, 
my mixture begins to burn. I am using a steel pot with a copper 
bottom. If I stir constantly then the temp will never get high 
enough. If I let the bottom burn then it changes the taste of the 
fudge and ruins my cookware. I would like to know how to prevent 
burning?  If you don't answer this type of question, then who does?   
Thank you.      

Hello Barbara,

Can you send me a word-for-word copy of the recipe you're using?


 ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Barbara
  To: phaedrus 
  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 6:46 AM
  Subject: Re: reaching temperatures

Although I have used several recipes and am developing my own 
variations, this one is pretty basic to what I have been doing, 
and failed for me.
Ps What is filled milk and what do you use it for?
Thank You

Title: Pumpkin Fudge  
Categories: Candies, Holiday       
Yield: 1 servings         

2 c  Sugar       
3 tbl Corn Syrup     
1/3 c  Mashed pumpkin     
1/4 tsp Cornstarch     
1/4 tsp Pumpkin pie spice     
1/2 c  Half and Half     
1/2 tsp Vanilla     
1/4 c  Butter         

Cook together sugar, pumpkin, cornstarch, spice and milk 
until it forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water, 
or until mixture reaches 235F on a candy thermometer.  
Add vanilla, butter and pecans. Beat until creamy. Pour 
into a buttered plate and cut into small squares when 
nearly cool.

Hi Barbara,

If you take whole milk and remove most of the butterfat - which is in the cream - then you have skim milk. Skim milk is better for your health than whole milk because butterfat contains saturated fats, which are the bad kind of fats that make cholesterol and can cause heart disease. However, not all fat is bad, and your body must have some fat for health and survival. We must get some of our calories from fat. Vegetable oil is unsaturated fat, which is the good kind of fat. Not only is it good food, but it helps rid your blood of cholesterol and bad fats. So, someone came up with the idea of putting vegetable oil in skim milk - take out the bad fat and put in some good fat. That's what "filled milk" is. I don't know how it tastes, but it sounds like a good idea to me. You can have rich desserts without the bad fats!

Now, on the the pumpkin fudge. Take a look at the pumpkin fudge recipe below. Your recipe just says "cook together until mixture reaches 235". Mine says "bring to boil over high heat stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling. But do not stir. When mixture registers 232 degrees on candy thermometer (or forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water), remove pan from heat.

See the difference? If you leave the heat on high after the mixture starts boiling, then it will heat too fast and burn. It takes longer for it to reach 232 or 235 on medium, but that's the way you have to do it.

Hope this helps.


Pumpkin  Fudge

 Ingredients : 
 3 c. sugar
 1 c. milk
 3 tbsp. light corn syrup
 1/2 c. mashed cooked pumpkin
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
 1/2 c. butter
 1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional

 Preparation : 
   In 3 quart saucepan, mix together sugar, milk, corn syrup, pumpkin
 and salt; bring to boil over high heat stirring constantly.  Reduce
 heat to medium and continue boiling.  But do not stir.  When mixture
 registers 232 degrees on candy thermometer (or forms a soft ball
 when dropped into cold water),  remove pan from heat.  Stir in
 pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, butter and nuts.  Cool to lukewarm (110
 degrees on candy thermometer).  Then beat mixture until very thick
 and it loses some of its gloss.  Quickly pour into greased 8 inch
 pan.  When firm, cut into about 36 squares.  


 ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Barbara 
  To: phaedrus 
  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 7:54 AM
  Subject: Re: reaching temperatures

  Yes, I used your recipe too.  This one is too firm, very dry, if 
  I remember correctly.  
  Problem is that it has been on the stove for up to an hour and has 
  never reached the correct temp without my increasing the fire, then 
  it burns.  I have tried every variation I can think of, stirring, 
  not stirring, I cannot reach 234 or 232 without the burn. 
  Could it be possible I need different cookware?

  Thanks for the info on filled milk, can it be used interchangeably 
  for real milk in anything?

Hello Barbara,

Yes, filled milk can be used to replace regular milk: Regular Filled milk for regular milk; Evaporated filled milk for evaporated milk; condensed filled milk for condensed milk - like that.

Now to the fudge....

The consensus is that it shouldn't matter if you use a copper bottom pot as long as the heating is done slowly.

The next theory is that your candy thermometer is reading incorrectly, reading too low. Are you double-checking it to see if the mixture has already reached soft ball stage when the thermometer is reading 228 or 230? You do this by dripping a drop of the mixture into a glass of very cold water(no ice cubes, they get in the way) as you watch. "Soft ball" means that it forms a soft ball that flattens from it's own weight. If it makes a firm ball or a hard ball, then it's already too hot.


Cleaning Old Iron Skillets

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bob
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 4:44 PM
  Subject: cleaning of iron skillets

  Hi, I found your answer to the question of seasoning an iron skillet, 
  but it said it should be clean and free of rust and crust before 
  seasoning. We inherited 3 old iron skillets and indeed they are rusty 
  and crusty. Can help us with some cleaning hints?

  Thanks, Bob 

Hi Bob,


Caked on grease & crud can be removed by:

a) Spray the pans with oven cleaner and put them in individual plastic bags. The plastic bag retards the evaporation of the oven cleaner so it will work longer. After 24 to 48 hours, take them out and scrub them with a brass brush of the type used to clean whitewall tires.(it doesn't have to be that kind, but it's just the right size.) If the grease doesn't loosen up, repeat, concentrating the oven cleaner on the worst spots.


b) Soak the skillets in a solution of 1 1/2 gallons of water to 1 can of lye. Use a plastic container. Be sure the skillets are covered with the solution. Let them soak for 5 days, then remove them and scrub with the same kind of brass brush.

Rust can be removed by:

a) Removing mild rust should be done carefully with a fine wire wheel on an electric drill if you want them to look really good. If looks are not that important, you can use steel wool and sandpaper. The drill's much easier.

b) Really crusted rust can be melted away by soaking the skillets in a 50% solution of white vinegar and water for a few hours, but check them after a few hours and don't leave them in it longer than overnight. This stuff will eventually dissolve the iron, too.

After they're good and clean, proceed with seasoning as usual.


Falling Pound Cake

 ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Clyde
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 10:10 AM
  Subject: pound cake that falls

  I make a  pound cake exactly  as the recipe  states yet it falls why?

Hello Clyde,

The possibilities that come to mind are:

1) Checking the cake too soon - never open the oven door in the first 15 minutes.
2) The eggs were overbeaten. Overbeaten eggs or egg whites can cause a cake to fall.
3) Sudden noise or temperature change. Even when the cake has cooked the full time, never get in a hurry to take it out. Opening the oven door suddenly and quickly removing the cake can cause it to fall due to the sudden change in temperature. Slamming the oven door or another loud noise can also make it fall.


Irene's Bakery Cheesecake

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Luise 
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 7:03 PM

  What a great website!!!  
  Many years ago there was a bakery called Irene's Bakery located 
  in Oklahoma City, OK on Pennsylvania Avenue around 23rd Street.  
  The bakery was purchased and the name changed to Ingrid's. Since 
  the new owner did not and does not make the same cheesecakes that 
  Irene's used to make I am assuming that they did not purchase the 
  receipe along with the bakery.
  Irene's cheese cake was the absolute heaven in the round - a cake 
  which was very lofty, rising to approximately 8-10", had very little 
  crust (almost like a sprinkling on the sides of the cake, was not 
  very sweet and its texture reminded me of a cross between cheese 
  cake and angel's food cake.  If you or anyone could run this receipe 
  down for me I would be so grateful!
  I will be checking your website often to see it I can be of assistance 
  to someone else.

Hello Luise,

Glad you like the site.

I did a search, but I could not locate any information about or recipes from the Irene's bakery of which you speak. However, in a recipe database, I did find the below recipe called "Irene's Cheesecake", so I thought I'd send it on.

Thanks for writing.


  Irene's  Cheesecake

   Ingredients : 
   1 c. graham cracker crumbs
   3 tbsp. sugar
   3 tbsp. butter, melted
   3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
   3/4 c. sugar
   2 tbsp. flour
   3 eggs, room temp.
   2 tbsp. milk
   1 tsp. vanilla extract

   Preparation : 
      Combine first 3 ingredients and press into bottom of a springform
   pan.  Bake crust 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven.  Remove and cool. 
   Turn oven up to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the 3 packages of
   softened cream cheese until smooth.  Add 3/4 cup sugar and mix until
   well blended.  Add 2 tablespoons flour and stir. Add eggs, one at a
   time, mixing well.  Now continue to beat using low speed on electric
   mixer.  While mixing, add 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
   Pour mixture evenly over cooled graham cracker crust.  Bake in 450
   degree oven for 10 minutes.  Lower oven to 250 degrees and bake 45
   minutes.  Remove pan from oven and loosen cheese cake from sides
   with a knife. Cool completely before removing sides of springform
   pan.  Top with fruit if desired.  


Copyright (c) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Phaedrus