Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Martha Tinsdale's Pumpkin Pie

Fans of the Good Witch (movies and series) which is featured on the Hallmark channels enjoy, not just the stories, but the morals and lessons learned from the characters themselves.  Many of us also want the recipes for many of the food items mentioned on the show.  Hallmark has a pdf (https://hallmark.brightspotcdn.com/46/9b/4c640c164f178a0a7f17c678372b/gw-recipe-grimoire-2020.pdf) for download, but it only contains about 12 recipes.  Two desired recipes are for the Apple Cider Donuts featured in Good Witch: Curse from a Rose, and I have already given you a version of this recipe.  The second is for Martha Tinsdale's Pumpkin Pie and her secret topping, and I am going to give you that recipe now.  This pie appeared in Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts, and while I make a great pumpkin pie, even Martha's version was favored by my own family!

While the recipes are geared around Halloween themed movies, they are great any time.

Two pies, one with the topping, one without.  Both taste great, but the one with the topping is deliciously awesome.

Good Witch Pumpkin Pie with Martha’s Topping


½ cup pecan halves (optional)

2 (9 inch) unbaked or frozen deep dish pie crusts

1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin

1 ½ cups sugar (Yes! You can use a substitute like Swerve)

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. each of ground nutmeg, ginger and cloves

1 tsp. ground cardamom

4 large eggs

2 (12 oz.) cans evaporated milk (shake slightly before opening)

Martha’s Topping

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp. fresh ginger root (if you can’t find it, then use ground)

½ tsp. fine sea salt

1/8 tsp. ground cayenne


Preheat oven to 425F; place a jelly roll pan in oven to warm up. (this will keep the pan from warping while the pies bake). Divide pecans, if using, between the 2 pie crusts, pressing them down slightly into the bottom of the pie pans. (be careful to not go through the crusts)

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and eggs. One can at a time, beat in the evaporated milk until well incorporated into the pumpkin mixture. Remove jelly roll pan from oven (careful, it’s hot!) and place pie pans on top; ladle pumpkin filling into each until it reaches the interior edge.  

Bake pies at 425F for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350F and bake an additional 50-60 minutes; a knife will come out cleanly from center when done. Let pies cool for 2 hours before serving.

Before serving, in a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for Topping, divide in half and sprinkle over tops of the pies.

Each pie makes 8 servings.

Note:  Before even watching Good Witch, I would sprinkle brown sugar over the pies and then let them bake.  The brown sugar would caramelize and create a crust, similar to crème Brulee.  After watching Good Witch, I tried it Martha’s way, and the family said it was the best ever!

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Fusion Cuisine is Not a Novel Idea.

In 2020, there was a barrage of “Lives Matter” movements occurring across this great nation of the United States of America.  It got me to thinking, about this section of North America, and why the sudden divide.  “Together we stand, divided we fall” is a meaningful quote that is mainly attributed to one of the country’s founding fathers, John Dickinson.  A Pennsylvanian farmer who penned many a letter that would influence the thinking, and opinions, of the colonists.   He opposed British taxation of the colonies, but also opposed the use of force against mother England.  You could say that Dickinson believed that compromise and peace could be achieved via communication, not violent acts.  The American Revolution proved that ideology not to be necessarily true.

By the way, John Dickinson did not come up with the phrase, “Together we stand, divided we fall”, but took it from Aesop (620–564 BCE).  Aesop was a Greek storyteller, and this line appeared in one of his fables, “The Four Oxen and the Lion”.  John Dickinson placed the line in his song, “The Liberty Song”; written in 1770, reflecting on the growing tensions between the colonies and mother country.  “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all,

By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall”.  So, and this is my personal take on it all, of course, but, as a nation, should we not be standing together, instead of planning on taking a fall?  We are a nation of various races, religions, cultures, ancestries, beliefs, ages, genders and cuisines which, as a melting pot, should fuse together.  Perhaps we all should read, or reread, the European folk story, “The Stone Soup”?

Now to food, and Fusion Cuisine; what exactly is it? When a fancy restaurant advertises fusion cuisine, you are paying an exorbitant price for a “current fad”.  Guess what?  This type of cuisine has been around for centuries.  Fusion cuisine is not just the merging of food from different cultures, but the cooking techniques as well.  As different countries and cultures, visited, immigrated to, or invaded elsewhere, food items and recipes were either brought along, or discovered; not unusual to also discover that many went well together.  Cooking techniques were also shared, so where a culture had only baked bread over open coals, now they learned about the clay oven.

If you go into a restaurant that offers different cuisines, that is not necessarily fusion.  The dishes may be Greek, Korean and Mexican, but each dish is prepared and served in its traditional form.  An example of fusion would be to take the ingredients of a Greek Gyro (roasted lamb, tzatziki sauce, vegetables), but preparing them as a Mexican Enchilada; adding some of the ingredients usually found in a traditional enchilada, and/or taking away some of the gyro ingredients.  While this might sound simple, care must be taken to ensure that the tastes meld together successfully.

The recipe I am giving to you is my attempt at fusion cuisine; a mixture of Irish with Mexican.  The O’Brien potatoes are cubed potatoes that are fried with diced onions, pimientos (roasted red bell pepper), or diced red and green bell peppers; this is the Irish part.  The other part will be ingredients that would typically go into tacos; the Mexican part.  The technique will include some frying, but finish off baking in an oven.

Taco Beef and Potato Bake



2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 cup diced onion, divided in half

1 envelope taco seasoning, medium

1 (14 ½ oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, medium

1 (16 oz.) can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (28 oz.) bag frozen O’Brien potatoes, thawed

1 (10 ½ oz.) can cheddar cheese soup

¾ cup 2% milk

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a skillet, over high heat, brown the beef; add ½ cup of onion halfway through cooking; drain.  Reduce heat to low; add taco seasoning and tomatoes; mix well.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Spray a 3 quart baking dish with non-stick spray; spread meat mixture in dish.  Spread on top of meat mixture the beans and potatoes.

In a large bowl, mix together the soup, milk, bell pepper, remaining ½ cup onion and Worcestershire; pour mixture over the potatoes, spreading evenly to edges of dish.  Sprinkle the paprika and black pepper over the sauce.

Bake for 1 hour covered with foil; bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Mary Cokenour