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Kitchen Mailbox: Indulge in some devilishly delightful desserts

Thursday, February 08, 2001

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Just for one day, forget about fat and calories -- today's recipes are worth the sacrifice and, besides, we all deserve a high-calorie treat once in a while.

Cooking term
of the week

Ganache -- A blend of chocolate and heavy cream and sometimes flavorings. Ganache is used as a filling or frosting for pastry or candy.


Our first recipe, Devil's Pills (Ordogpinulak), is a Hungarian doughnut. The doughnuts are fried in oil and then rolled in powdered sugar and grated chocolate. We suggest using a deep-fryer for these doughnuts. If you don't have deep-fryer, a frying pan will work, but it should be at least 2 inches deep. The doughnuts are tasty plain, but once they're coated with the chocolate and sugar they become luscious.

Recipe No. 2 is a Pecan Tart. Talk about eye-catching -- this tart is so stunning we didn't want to slice it. But since it is part of our job to taste what we test, we had no choice: Pecan Tart is as good as it looks. Because we're chocoholics, we threw in about 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in the nut mixture before baking.

Our final recipe, Tomato Spice Cake, is a wonderfully moist spice cake. Yes, it's made with tomato soup, but you would never know it.

We enjoyed each dessert and think you will also.

Judy Thompson of Washington requested a recipe for a Hungarian fried doughnut. Here's a recipe from Kathy Jacoby of Murrysville.

Devil's Pills

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs
2 cups oil
1/2 cup grated chocolate (about 2 to 3 ounces)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Measure 1 cup and 2 tablespoons water into saucepan. Add butter, sugar and salt and bring to boil. When the mix boils, add flour and stir constantly until the batter separates from the sides of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes. Beat in the eggs until you get a smooth dough.

Pour oil into deep-fryer or deep pan; heat until smoking, then lower heat (we set the deep-fryer at 350 degrees). Take spoonfuls of dough and shape into balls. Put 4 or 5 balls into oil and fry with lid on for a few minutes. Remove lid and turn the dumplings. When both sides are brown, remove to paper towels. Mix chocolate and powdered sugar and roll dumplings in the mix. Pyramid on serving plate. Yields 20 to 22 doughnuts.

Note: If you're using a deep fryer, as we did, there's no need to use a lid. Also, we found the batter to be a little sticky to handle, so we coated our hands with flour a few times while rolling the doughnuts.

This striking tart was sent in by frequent contributor Hershey Dugan of Monroeville.

Pecan Tart

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
2 tablespoons shortening, chilled
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

3 eggs
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups toasted pecans, lightly chopped

Blend flour and sugar in food processor. Pulse in butter and shortening 10 seconds. Add yolk, then water; quickly form dough in disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

Roll out dough between 2 sheets of wax paper and press into tart pan or 9-inch square pan, forming a 1-inch edge. Prick with fork, line with foil, fill with pie weights or dry beans and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights and cool.

For filling, beat eggs, then add next 4 ingredients. Fold in pecans and pour into prebaked shell. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Peggy J. Robinson of Coal Center, Washington County, is looking for a recipe for what she calls red cake. Here's her request: "I'm looking for a recipe that a friend's mother used to make years ago and unfortunately, they no longer live in the area. She called it red cake. The color resembled maroon. It wasn't red devil's food -- actually I don't believe there was any chocolate in it at all."

We received recipes for Red Devil's Cake, Waldorf Astoria Cake and Red Velvet Cake -- all these recipes are identical and call for chocolate. This recipe is the only one without chocolate. Hope this is what Peggy is searching for.

Tomato Soup Cake was sent in by Eileen Fogarty of Carnegie.

Tomato Spice Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour (we used all-purpose)
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
10 3/4-ounce can condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round layer pans or a 9-by-13-inch oblong pan (we used oblong pan).

Measure dry ingredients into large bowl. Add soup and shortening. Beat at low to medium speed for 2 minutes (300 strokes with a spoon), scraping sides and bottom of bowl constantly.

Add eggs and water. Beat 2 minutes more, scraping bowl frequently. Pour into pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and let stand in pans 10 minutes, then remove and cool on rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting or favorite white frosting.

Variations: For a 9-inch tube pan, prepare as above and bake 1 hour.

You may add raisins or nuts -- after mixing fold in 1 cup chopped nuts or 1 cup raisins. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional

Blend cream cheese with milk, then gradually add confectioners' sugar, then vanilla. Spread on cooled cake.


Harry Java, a PG employee, read that Marie Jefferson of West Mifflin owns a White-Westinghouse bread machine -- but doesn't have the instructions. Harry owns a White-Westinghouse bread machine -- with instructions -- and passed along this information: The White-Westinghouse bread machine is distributed by Salton Inc., 550 Business Center Drive, Mount Prospect, IL 60056, e-mail: White-Westinghouse@saltonusa.com or call the Consumer Service Department at 800-233-9054, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


J. Karr of Munhall writes: "I was wondering if you could help me find a cookie recipe. John Cigna mentioned this cookie on his talk show months ago. I e-mailed him and even wrote a letter requesting a copy of this recipe -- but no answer. The cookie is ... Carrot Pecan Cookie. I would appreciate your help if possible."

Delane Thoward of St. Marys, Pa., writes: "Back in the early 1980s a friend and I went to New York City. While there, we had lunch at Macy's. We had Dill Potato Salad on a crescent roll. This was a cold salad, which I will never forget. Would any of your readers have a recipe for cold dill potato salad? I would love to have it."

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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