ENTERTAINING: Holidays 2016 – 2017

EntertainingsliderTime Out

Lemon Meringue Pie •  Easy Star Holiday Napkin • Oreo Chocolate Fudge • Hash Browns •


By Mary Canovas

It´s time for love and good cheer to abound and families and friends to gather around to feast and toast to the year that will soon be gone and to wish for lots of luck, health and wealth in the coming year.  If only on top of that, we could have a White Christmas! Well, that would be so exceptional in Madrid that it could only be described as a picture perfect holiday.

But sun, rain or snow, the best of the season is the good will it seems to evoke in most of us and the fond memories of Christmases long, long ago.  Here are some suggestions for these holidays.merry-christmas-by-nick-kenrick-cc-by2-0


From my family to yours:

Have a Very Merry Christmas & Hannukah

And a Healthy, Peaceful, Lucky and Extremely Prosperous 2017


Lemon Meringue Pie
Full video in Spanish

 Lemon Meringue Pie is a great finish to any festive meal.  It almost seems a sin that such a divine creation is also so economical.  Lighter than baked and frosted cakes, it contains almost no fat.  Made basically with a lemon curd base and heavenly cloudlike meringue, we make it even easier by substituting Ladyfingers for the usual flour and butter pie shell.

Ingredients Pie Filling :
• 135 gr – 1 cup  Maicena  or corn starch
• 500 – 600 gr – 2 1/2 to 4 cups sugar . This all depends on how sweet you like your pie and on how acid your lemons are.  Ours is the sweet version.
720 ml -3 cups water for boiling water
• 240 – 1 cup cold water to dissolve Maicena corn starch
• 5 egg yolks, beaten
• 2 tbs lemon zest
• 2 tbs butter
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 180 ml – 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

 Line your pie mold with Lady Finger leaving no space in between. (See video.)
Place the 3 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat and stir in salt, sugar and lemon zest.
Dissolve the cornstarch in 1 cup of cold water.
Pour the cornstarch and lemon juice into the saucepan before it starts to boil.
Stir constantly with a wisk or fork while heating until mixture starts to boil.
Lower heat to medium low and boil gently about 10 minutes or until thickened and translucent. (it will thicken much more when it cools down).
Temper the beaten egg yolks by adding a spoonful or two of the hot filling into the egg yolks and stirring until well mixed.
Add butter and tempered eggs to the filling and continue stirring until everything has been incorporated and is smooth.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into your prepared pie mold.        

Make the Meringue
• 5 egg whites  – room temperature
• 250 gr – 1 1/4 cups sugar. Use more if you like it sweeter.
• 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
• Preheat the oven to 300ºF or 150ºC
• It is very important that both beater blades and  bowl are completely free of any grease. When separating the egg whites, do it in a dish instead of the bowl since the minimum amount of yolk (it contains fat) will not allow your whites to fluff up properly.
• Separate the yolks from the cold egg whites of the refrigerator. Then let the whites remain at room temperature about 30 minutes before whipping.
• Beat the egg whites and lemon juice in a large bowl until they start to form peaks and then beat in sugar slowly. Taste a little to check on sweetness.
• The sugar should be well incorporated.
• Cover the pie with meringue taking care to touch the sides of the ladyfinger to seal the meringue and avoid shrinking.
• Heat in the oven preheated to 350ºF or 180ºC a few minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Watch it, literally; the meringue burns very easily.
• Allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before cutting and serving.
• Always store the pie in the refrigerator – it contains eggs and must be refrigerated when it is not being served.


Easy Star Holiday Napkin
Video tutorial in Spanish**


How to make a holiday table even more special?  How about a lovely 3D star on every plate?  We made a great tutorial especially for paper napkins which can also be made with cloth and that is really easy.  These elegant star napkins look very complicated and your guests are sure to ask you how you made them.  However, they are actually simple to make, although you have to follow the instructions step by step. Make the star in any color and perhaps add a little sparkle in the center with a little piece of silver garland or tiny pinecone, or sprig of pine…

• Double layer paper napkin – not single
• Or cloth napkin
How To:
 Carefully follow the steps of our video tutorial above



Oreo Chocolate Fudge
Video tutorial in Spanish

Here´s the latest fudge right on time for the holidays.  If you like chocolate and Oreos and fudge, this is your “go-to” recipe.  If you´ve never tried fudge, think of it as a chewy chocolate candy treat.  This is not only kids stuff, it´s also elegant adult fare.  With its white chocolate and everybody´s favorite, Oreos, it looks great and tastes even better. It has a lighter taste than traditional dark chocolate and nuts classic fudge and is a nice after dinner or anytime treat.  Don´t forget to leave a piece under the tree along with the cookies for Old St. Nick!

• 450 gr. o 16 oz. white chocolate
• 420 ml o 14 oz. condensed milk  
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 20 Oreo crumbled
• Mold lined with oven paper

• Oreos should be crumbled into small pieces – not ground up.
Heat milk and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
Once all the chocolate is melted and mixed, remove from the heat and gently incorporate crushed cookies.
Pour into a square mold lined with 8 “or 20 cm oven or parchment paper.
Cool for about 2 hours or until firm.
Remove from the mold, remove the paper and cut into squares.
Store leftover fudge in the refrigerator.
Shelf life – 3 weeks in refrigerator


Hash Browns
Video Tutorial in Spanish

Hash Browns – the ultimate American Diner food along with apple pie.  These staples of American cuisine are potato pancakes with or without a little onion, thin,  grilled to perfection, super tender on the inside but golden brown (hence the name) and super crispy on the outside.

You can serve them with virtually anything and anytime, even alone with ketchup or even apple sauce like latkes.  However, you haven´t had breakfast (N.J. Diner style) without your fried eggs, bacon AND hash browns. Economical, easy to make, and delicious, they will be a favorite of the whole family.

• 1 very large peeled potato or 2 or 3 medium
1 tablespoon flour
 tablespoons grated onion or 1 grated shallot
• 1 egg white
• Salt and pepper
• Vegetable oil as needed

• Fill a bowl with very cold water and set aside.
• Grate the potatoes with a grater and immediately immerse in cold water.
• Leave the potatoes in the water for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Remove the potatoes from the water and with your hands drain to the maximum. Put them in a clean towel and finish squeezing out all excess liquid.
• Put the potatoes in a bowl and add the flour, onion, salt, pepper and egg white and mix to combine well.
• Preheat the grill or skillet on  medium-high with a few tablespoons of oil – just enough oil to cover bottom.
• When the pan is very hot (on medium high heat), drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture on the grill or pan. Flatten as much as possible with a spatula so they will be extra crispy but tender inside.  
• Fry about 4 to 5 minutes on each side (depending on your stove it could be less) without turning them or until golden brown and crispy.
 (NOTE: If you see potatoes are getting too brown ahead of time, reduce heat to medium.)
Serve immediately.


Featured image by Sophie via Flickr CC BY2.0, cropped
“Merry Christmas”/Nick Kenrick, CC BY2.0
“Happy Chanukah”/slgckgc via Flickr, CC BY2.0, cropped