All posts by The Old Mill Kitchen

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

The Hummingbird Cake has been hugely popular in the South, toted to picnics and holiday parties and shared at supper clubs and family reunions. Most of the time the cake is baked in layers, slathered with a cream cheese frosting, then sprinkled with chopped pecans. But it was originally intended as a Bundt.

Back when the recipe originated it included mashed bananas, crushed pineapple, and cinnamon, and it was baked in a Bundt pan like this recipe. Because these ingredients are available any time of the year, it is the perfect cake to bake and slice for the holidays. It can be made ahead and the flavors improve after the cake rests for a couple of days. To glaze a Hummingbird Bundt cake, reserve a portion of the pineapple juice in the can and whisk together a speedy glaze with a little powdered sugar. Or just dust with powdered sugar for the simplest and most festive look of all.

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

Makes 12 to 16 servings
Prep: 20 to 25 minutes
Bake: 45 to 50 minutes
Ingredients:

Vegetable shortening or butter and flour for prepping the pan

2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
8 ounces (1 cup) vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
Garnish:
2 teaspoons powdered sugar, sifted
Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pans aside.
2. Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and blend with a wooden spoon or a mixer on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and blend until well combined, 1 minute. Or stir more briskly until well combined. Fold in the pineapple and the bananas. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven.
3. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake, and give the cake pan a gentle shake to loosen it. Invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with the sifted powdered sugar. Slice and serve.

Cheese Grits Soufflé

Cheese grits are the perfect side dish for breakfast and brunch through the holiday season. And they’re even more delicious made with our Old Mill stone-ground grits. To make a souffle of the grits, separate the eggs, beat the whites, and then gently fold the beaten whites into the grits mixture before baking. What you get is a cheese grits side dish that rises to higher heights, sure to impress family and friends. And this elegant but easy side can transition to dinner where it pairs well with roasts, steaks, and grilled fish.

Cheese Grits Soufflé

Makes 8 servings
Prep: 15 to 20 minutes
Cook: 40 to 45 minutes
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon soft unsalted butter
4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper or nutmeg
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
Directions:
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rub the butter on the bottom only of a 2-quart (8-cup) souffle or baking dish and set aside.
  3. Place the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Pull the pan off the heat, and whisk in the grits, a little at a time, until the grits are incorporated. Place the pan back over medium heat, and let the grits come to a simmer. Stir and cook the grits until smooth and thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, and stir in the salt, pepper, cayenne or nutmeg, cheese, and butter until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Crack the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a large bowl. Beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork, and add a couple tablespoons of the warm grits to the yolks to bring up their temperature. Stir to combine. Repeat this process two or three times, adding a couple tablespoons grits to the yolks, and then turn the yolk mixture into the pan of grits, stirring to combine well. Set aside.
  6. Beat the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the grits mixture alongside the egg whites in the bowl and fold gently to combine. Turn the mixture into the prepared dish, and place the dish in the oven.
  7. Bake until the souffle rises and is golden brown on top, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at once.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Brown Sugar Shortbread

A sturdy shortbread that packs and ships well, this shortbread can be made in a large pan and cut into bars or squares. The brown sugar adds a more old-fashioned flavor, and this is how shortbread was made in the South.
Makes 16 bars or squares
Prep: 10 to 15 minutes
Bake: 35 to 45 minutes
Ingredients:
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
Cinnamon topping (optional):
1 teaspoon granulated sugar mixed with dash of cinnamon
Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into tablespoons and scatter in the processor bowl. Pulse 15 to 20 times, or until the butter is incorporated and the dough starts to come together but is still crumbly.
3. Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 8- or 9-inch square metal baking pan. Prick the dough about 12 times with a fork. Place the pan in the oven.
4. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, from 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. If desired, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the top. Cut the shortbread into squares while warm. Let cool completely before packing or serving.

Homemade Boursin Covered in Christmas Jam

This is one of the easiest and most loved holiday appetizers. All you need to do is whip up a little herbed cream cheese in a food processor or blender, and then pour over a half jar of The Old Mill’s Christmas Jam. Something about the garlic, herbs, and saltiness of the cream cheese mixture known as “Boursin” partners just perfectly with the cranberries, pears, plums, oranges, and cinnamon in the sweet and irresistible jam. The cheese mixture makes enough for two rounds, so serve one and freeze the other. Or, gift it to a friend along with a jar of Christmas Jam! For big parties, make one large round, and cover it with the entire jar of jam.
Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour

Homemade Boursin:

1 small clove garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 jar (10.5 ounces) The Old Mill Christmas Jam
Whole wheat crackers for serving
Directions:
1. For the Boursin, drop the garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor or blender while the machine is running. Turn off the machine. Add the butter, cream cheese, chives or dill, parsley, salt, basil, thyme, and pepper. Blend in pulses until it is smooth.
2. Divide the mixture into two 5-ounce portions. Turn each portion into a ramekin or small bowl lined with plastic wrap. Press down on the mixture with a rubber spatula so that it packs into the ramekin or bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. To serve, unwrap one cheese mixture and turn out onto a platter. Spoon half of the contents of the Christmas Jam (about 2/3 cup) over the top. Serve with the whole wheat crackers of your choice. Store the other Boursin and rest of the jam in the refrigerator until time to serve again.
Note: In a pinch for a quick appetizer? Buy a 5-ounce round of Boursin cheese in the supermarket deli section, and pour a half jar of Christmas Jam over the top.