Chris Kimball, founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated and host of PBS' America's Test Kitchen, finds over 150 unforgettable heirloom recipes in America's Best Lost Recipes. In a nationwide contest, people submitted over 2,800 recipe entries that told a narrative, chronicled an immigrant family and served as a connection to another cook of long ago. The result is 300 classic American recipes inspired by convenience, great names or family recipes.
Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed (Spiced Crullers)
(Courtesy of the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine, America’s Best Lost Recipes)
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1¼ cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 quarts vegetable oil
Bring the potato and water to cover to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potato, then mash until smooth. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Transfer ½ cup mashed potato to a medium bowl (discard the remaining potato) and beat in the egg, milk, ½ cup of the sugar, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the potato mixture. Stir to form a moist and sticky dough.
Working on a heavily floured work surface, roll the dough into an 18 by 14-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1½ -inch wide strips; make a slit in each strip, and twist to shape the dough to resemble crossed legs. Transfer the crullers to a floured baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fry. (The crullers may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350°F. Carefully lower 6 crullers into the hot oil and fry, maintaining a temperature between 325°F and 350°F, until crisp and deep brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crullers to a plate lined with paper towels and drain for 3 minutes. Toss the crullers in a bowl with the remaining sugar and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining crullers, regulating the oil temperature as necessary. Serve.
Blueberry Boy Bait
(Courtesy of the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine, America's Best Lost Recipes)
2 cups plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen blueberries, do not let them thaw, as they will turn the batter a blue-green color.)
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (see above)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the flour mixture and the milk alternately in two batches until incorporated. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blueberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
For the topping: Scatter the blueberries over the top of the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (The cake can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days.)
Music break: Chispas by Charanga Cakewalk