Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learning about Geography through Food - Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the sixth New England state that we studied as part of the Cantering the Country curriculum. This is a wonderful multi-disciplinary curriculum that we have enjoyed this year. One of the favorite parts of it is trying new recipes that reflect each state.

In the cookbook Eat Your Way Through the U.S.A., there were recipes for Clam Chowder, Boston Baked Beans, Corn Muffins, and Boston Cream Pie.  Since the thought of eating clams didn't appeal to any of us, we skipped that recipe.  We tried the other three with mixed results.

Boston Baked Beans - the beans (despite soaking in water overnight) weren't as tender as the baked beans in the can. We all would eat beans from the can over the homemade Boston Baked Beans.

Corn Muffins - the muffins were delicious and we would make them again.

Boston Cream Pie - the flavor was very good. However, the batter didn't fill two cake pans as the recipe said it would. So, we made baked it in one 9" round cake pan. Unfortunately, I dropped the baked cake in the oven, so cutting and stacking the cake was a bit challenging. The frosting was very runny, despite adding more confectioners sugar. 

That being said...we would make the cake again - doubling the cake part; halving the cream filling; and thickening the frosting.


Boston Baked Beans.

Boston Baked Beans


4 cups small white beans
2 onions
1/2 pound salt pork or fatty bacon
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2-4 cups hot water


Soak the beans in cold water for 12-24 hours. Cut the onions in quarters and throw them into the bottom of the bean pot. Add the drained beans. Stir in the salt pork or bacon.

Mix all of the other ingredients with 2-4 cups of hot water; stir into the beans. Add enough water to cover the beans, and put the pot in a 250 degree oven.

Cook 6-8 hours, adding water as necessary and occasionally stirring the beans. For the last hour or so you can leave the pot uncovered to get rid of some excess water.


Corn Muffins.

Corn Muffins


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2-4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil or butter, melted (we used vegetable oil)
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten


Combine dry ingredients. Add oil or butter, milk, and egg; and mix until just blended. Spoon into greased muffin tin. Bake at 400 dgrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Boston Cream Pie
Boston Cream Pie.
Despite the appearance, it tasted great.

Boston Cream Pie

Cake Ingredients

1 3/4 cups flour (if using all-purpose flour, decrease the amount by 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Cake Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Cream the butter. Add vanilla and gradually beat in sugar. Beat until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and stir in 1/2 cup flour mixture.

Stir in 1/4 cup milk and then add 1/2 cup flour mixture and another 1/4 cup milk. Mix. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat just enough to blend well.

Spoon the batter into 2 greased and floured 7- or 8-inch round cake pans. Bake the layers 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Cream Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
few grains of salt
1 cup milk (we used dairy-free milk)
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream Directions

Put the sugar, flour, and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Add the 1 egg and mix. Cook and stir for 3 more minutes. Stir in vanilla. Chill.

 Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter (we used dairy-free butter)
1/2 cup milk (we used dairy-free milk)
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Frosting Directions

Place chocolate, butter, and milk in the top of a double boiler. Cook on medium low until the chocolate melts. Stir well. Take off the heat and let stand until lukewarm. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Beat until thick enough to spread.

Put together the cream pie:

Put the layers together with cream filling. Spread with chocolate frosting.

1 comment:

Rita said...

All three sound and look delicious! :)