Category Archives: Seasonal

Everything is Coming up Cherries at The Old Mill in February

George Washington’s birthday, the cherry tree, and National Cherry Month are good excuses to bake up an Old-Fashioned Cherry Crumble from The Old Mill. What’s a crumble? Sort of a crisp, except with bigger, crunchier, more crumbly pieces of oat and brown sugar topping. And underneath? Cherries and sugar cooked down to sweet, delicious goodness.

While fresh cherries aren’t in season in February, you can buy them canned or frozen to create this easy dessert. To kick up the fresh cherry flavor, add a quarter cup of dried cherries. It’s a winter pie-baking trick borrowed from the pages of early frontier cooking. Smoky Mountain cooks dried local apples slices and then used the fruit in baking throughout the year. Dried fruit, whether cherries, apples, or peaches, has a powerful flavor, and dried cherries add intensity to this recipe.

It’s the easiest pie on earth – no crust – just a crumbly, crunchy, heavenly mixture of brown sugar, butter, oats and cinnamon on top of the sweet-yet-tart cherries underneath. Serve warm in bowls with vanilla ice cream.

The Old Mill is so crazy about cherries, we are sampling Chocolate Moonshine Cherries the whole month of February at our Distillery. They’re a perfect Valentine’s Day gift! In the Farmhouse, Liz has been baking up fresh Cherry Handpies and we are sampling out a variety of cherry dips,  cherry cobbler in a jar, and even cherry Sweet Fire Pickles. In the Old Mill Restaurant, we’re offering our Chocolate Cherry Moonshine Preserves at breakfast, and at the Candy Kitchen, we’re making a white chocolate bark with, what else? Cherries!

Here is our recipe. And, we cannot tell a lie, this is so good!

Old-Fashioned Cherry Crumble

Makes 8 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 38 to 42 minutes

Ingredients needed for pie:

4 cups pitted sour cherries (see Notes)

1/4 cup dried cherries, if desired (see Notes)

4 to 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Crumble Topping:

3/4 cup The Old Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons The Old Mill Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup The Old Mill Thick Table Rolled Oats

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. If you are using our Farmhouse Collection Pie Plate or Pottery Pie Plate, like we do, do not preheat your oven and add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
  2. Drain the cherries and place in a large bowl with dried cherries and sugar. Toss to combine, and set aside.
  3. For the topping, place the flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Or, place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch size pieces and distribute over the top of the bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (Or, if using a food processor, pulse until combined.) Stir in the oats and pecans. Work the mixture with your hands until it comes together into loose pieces. Set aside.
  4. Turn the cherries and any juice that might have seeped from them into the reserved pan. Cover the cherries with the topping, using your hands as needed to distribute it over the top. Place the pan in the oven.
  5. Bake until the crumble is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool 20 minutes before serving warm in bowls with ice cream.

Notes: If fresh sour cherries are available, by all means, use them in this recipe. If you are baking this out of season, however, you can use canned or frozen, thawed cherries. Drain cherries well. The dried cherries add flavor, and they soften as the crumble bakes.

Sweet Potato Hash Skillet

Makes 4 servings

2 medium sweet potatoes

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound bulk pork sausage

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 pound bulk pork sausage

1 cup (8 ounces) grated Sweet Water Cheddar Cheese

4 large eggs, cooked to preference

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Peel and dice sweet potatoes;  spread on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Roast until sweet potatoes are tender and browned, stirring once, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain in a colander;  wipe skillet clean.

Return skillet to heat;  add olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and garlic;  sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add sweet potato, brown sugar, cumin, and ground red pepper;  reduce heat to medium and sauté 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the sausage;  cook until hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into small, individual cast-iron skillets;  top each with one-fourth of the cheese.  Broil until cheese melts. Keep warm.

Cook eggs according to your preference. Top each serving with cooked eggs.

 

Southern Pecan Snowballs

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This classic, buttery, not-too-sweet cookie is a must during the holidays.  Dredge them once while warm, then again after they cool, to give them a powdery sugar coating that’s thick and even.

 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for rolling

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups sifted OLD MILL UNBLEACHED PLAIN FLOUR

1 cup very finely chopped pecans

About 3 tablespoons OLD FORGE DISTILLERY BOURBON, optional (Available at Old Forge Distillery)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine butter, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl;  beat at low speed of electric mixer until blended. Add vanilla;  increase speed and beat until fluffy.  Add Old Mill Unbleached Plain Flour, in batches, beating at low speed until combined.  Beat in pecans.

Roll dough by scant tablespoons into balls and arrange on baking sheets.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Working with one baking sheet at a time, bake until edges just begin to brown slightly, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread 1-2 cups confectioners’ sugar on a large piece of wax paper.  While cookies are still warm, brush cookies with bourbon, if using; roll in confectioners’ sugar and place on wire rack to cool completely. When cool, coat again with more confectioners’ sugar.

Sorghum Apple Bread Pudding

 

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Thick as honey, rich and earthy, sorghum sweetened baked foods before sugar became plentiful and cheap.  Sorghum and apples are a traditional Appalachian combination that’s as old as the mountain South.

Makes 12 servings

Topping:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Bread mixture: 

4 large eggs

3 cups whole milk

3/4 cup SORGHUM

1/4 cup apple cider or milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound day-old OLD MILL HONEY WHEAT BREAD, cut or torn into 2-inch cubes

2 sweet-tart apples, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

Sorghum Sauce (recipe follows)

  • Prepare topping:  Mix butter and brown sugar in a small bowl until well combined.  Toss in pecans.
  • Prepare bread mixture: Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy.  Whisk in milk, sorghum, cider, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Add Old Mill Honey Wheat Bread cubes and apples;  stir gently to mix thoroughly.  Let stand 15 minutes, pressing down on bread occasionally and stirring gently to saturate the bread.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.  Pour bread mixture into dish. Sprinkle with topping. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake until bread pudding, covered, until it is nearly set in the center, about 1 hour.  Remove foil and continue baking until the bread pudding is completely set in the center, 20 to 30 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving with Sorghum Sauce.

Sorghum  Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup Sorghum

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup bourbon or apple cider

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in sorghum and brown sugar and salt.  Whisk in egg yolks.  Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and mixture is thickened and just simmering, about 4 minutes.  (Do not boil.) Remove from heat and whisk in the bourbon or cider. If mixture appears curdled, strain through a wire mesh sieve.  Serve warm;  store leftovers in a covered jar in refrigerator 2 weeks.