Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Baking by Sara Perry

Here I am once again, about to rave about a cookbook from my shelves that is no longer available in print, although it looks like you may be able to buy a new copy through the author's website at Holiday Baking is available as a Kindle edition and you can also buy it used from several sellers on Or look for it at used bookstores or your local library. I assure you this one is worth the trouble of hunting down for your collection.

I bought my copy of Holiday Baking [Chronicle Books, 2005] on impulse back in 2005 while helping out at the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughters' elementary school. I fell in love with the cookbook the moment I picked it up. First of all, I have a special fondness for holiday themed cookbooks and cooking magazines. Both my maternal grandmother and mother always baked a wide variety of cookies and breads for the Christmas season for their own families and to give as gifts to friends and relatives, so I've developed the same inclination. Secondly, I love the diversity of holiday goodness that's celebrated in this cookbook. There are chapters for each Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa and New Year's Day. Finally, the recipes are fun to read and all are very appealing. I quite honestly want to try them all! There isn't a photo for every recipe, but there are quite a few mouth watering photos.

Want a peak inside Holiday Baking by Sara Perry?
Visit the cookbook's page on amazon and click on the cookbook image where it says Click to LOOK INSIDE.

Holiday Baking is one of the cookbooks from which I chose to cook for the Cookbook Challenge hosted by Cynni at She Likes Bento. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage participants to cook from cookbooks that we've owned for a long time, but have never cooked a recipe from them. Holiday Baking was one such cookbook for me until just this morning, although I do habitually pull it off the shelf this time of year and look through it for holiday inspiration.

The recipe I chose to cook is for a breakfast pancake with apples baked in a large cast iron skillet. It can also be served as a dessert or late night snack. I just love the title for this one:

It's-Thanksgiving-Morning-but-They-Still-Deserve-Something-Special Apple Puff Pancake.

There is a dessert version of the recipe in the cookbook called It's-Nighttime-and-They're-Still-Hungry Apple Pastry with Calvados and Golden Raisins.

I just made this recipe this morning after freezing my butt (mostly my toes!) off on a thirty-four mile bike ride, so I'm calling it It's-Thanksgiving-Weekend-and-I-Still-Need-Something-Special-to-Warm-Me-Up Apple Puff Pancake.

No matter what you call it.. know you can call it DELICIOUS!
Warming up with Apple Puff Pancake
from Holiday Baking by Sara Perry
It's-Thanksgiving-Morning-but-They-Still-Deserve-Something-Special Apple Puff Pancake

2 teaspoons unsalted butter 
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
pinch of ground nutmeg 
4 medium to large Granny Smith apples, 
        peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices 
1 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoons salt 
2 eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature 
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease a heavy, 10-inch ovenproof or cast-iron skillet with the butter and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the apples and toss to coat. Transfer the apples to the skillet and set aside. Portions of the apples may be higher than the side of the skillet.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt until blended. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then add the milk and whisk until blended. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended and smooth.

4. Pour the batter over the apples. Using the skillet's handle, give the skillet an easy back-and-forth shake to settle the ingredients. If you wish, you can level the top with a spatula. Some apples will remain only partially submerged.

5. Bake until the batter is golden, the protruding apples are tinged and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, cut into 6 to 8 wedges, and serve.

This was my first time making a puff pancake in a skillet like this. I've seen recipes for similar pancakes, sometimes called A Dutch Baby and always wanted to try it. Now I finally did and it won't be the last time I do. It's a festive and delicious and very easy! The texture is a bit like the cross between a regular pancake and maybe bread pudding. Cakey but a bit spongy at the same time. Very flavorful. It really hit the spot today and helped defrost my poor frozen body after this morning's bike ride. My husband even came back for seconds which says a lot as he's not the biggest fan of pancakes for breakfast. My older daughter had hers with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and was in heaven. My youngest passed.. she's been such a picky eater lately. >_<

There are way too many recipes in Holiday Baking that I'd like to make--definitely too many to list. If I had to choose just a few, however, at the top of my list is The Ultimate Dinner's Guest Gingerbread [Thanksgiving], Apricot Nut or Cardamom Pistachio Rugelach [Hanukkah], Jerusalem Olive Oil Cake with Orange Marmalade and Almonds [Hanukkah], Stir-Up Fruitcake [Christmas], Saint Lucia's Saffron Crown [Christmas], Buckingham Palace Shortbread [Boxing Day], Apricot Jam and Coconut Squares [Kwanzaa], and Bloody Mary and Baked Mushroom Omelet [New Year's]. Yes, that's my abbreviated list.

I give Holiday Baking by Sara Perry 5 out of 5 stars.


Do you do a lot of baking for the holidays? 
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The Cookbook Challenge runs through the end of November, so if you'd like to join in, visit Cynni's sign up post HERE. Hope to see you cooking from a much neglected cookbook on your shelves soon!

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Yum--that looks delicious. You and your cookbooks! I'm still looking for the Autumn one by Susan Branch. :)

  2. Looks like a real keeper. Have a good one.

  3. That apple pancake whatever-you-want-to-call-it looks and sounds heavenly. And I bet it took no time to whip it up once the apples are sliced. I'm bookmarking this for Christmas morning. Yum.

  4. I love Holiday cookbooks! I have one of my own and have only ever made one recipe from it. *g* That apple puff pancake sounds delicious!
    You mentioned a recipe for coconut squares? I'll have to see if my library has this book.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing. Have a terrific weekend :)

  6. Sounds great. I don't usually pick up holiday cookbooks but this one looks good. I might see if the library has it.

  7. That sounds way too delicious!
    And I was browsing through the book on amazon and it looks great : D Looks like it's worth the trouble :D

  8. Apple puff pancake?! Yum! Sounds great!

  9. What a fun book! I love your picture btw and the recipe sounds delicious!

  10. Your comment about finding the book at the Scholastic book fair just brought me right back to the many, many days I spent working at the book fairs at my now-grown sons' school. We used to have the weeklong book fair during Catholic Schools Week, and you've brought back fond memories for me.

  11. I love puff pancakes! Yours looks delicious and I wish I was there to have a slice. I always find great cookbooks at the book fair. What ever made you decide to go for such a long bike ride in the cold no less??

  12. Glad you all like the Apple Puff Pancake recipe. I hope you try it and then decide to seek out the cookbook for your own shelves.

    Too Fond, I have one more to go for the Cookbook Challenge and I'm making the recipe tonight! Hope it turns out well.. so expect another cookbook post next weekend. Ha!

    Carole, It's a keeper all right!

    Beth F, I started to make the recipe for Friday morning and had the apples peeled, sliced and tossed with sugar and spice when I realized husband ate already and the kids had plans, so I stuck them in the fridge for Saturday. So as soon as I got home from my bike ride, I whipped up the batter while I thawed out a little, popped it in the oven and showered. By the time I came downstairs it was ready! Perfect timing--and it really hit the spot for me! :)

    I think I might make it for Christmas morning, too! A few sausage links and some sliced oranges... mmmm!

    Brandy, You should challenge yourself to use your Holiday Cookbook that you've barely used!

    If you can't find Holiday Baking at your library, zip me an email and I'll copy the Apricot Jam and Coconut Squares recipe for you. :)

    Angela, Hope you had a terrific weekend, too. Thanks for popping in. :)

    Linda, Hope you can find it at your library. I think you'd like it.

    Alex, The Apple Puff Pancakes was so yummy. There was ONE slice by Sunday morning.

    lawstudentcookbook, It was great! Thanks for visiting. :)

    Uniflame, Glad you like the photo--I tried to paint a comforting picture that this pancake created here in my kitchen Saturday morning. Hope it worked! ;)

    Diane, I'm glad that I evoked some warm memories for you when I mentioned the Scholastic Book Fairs. My youngest has only been out of elementary school for three years now, but I miss those book fairs!

    Peaceful Reader, It sounds crazy biking in such cold weather, doesn't it? My cycling partner and I both like exercising outdoors as much as possible, so we try to ride once a week for about 2 hrs. It's really not too bad with the proper clothing. I got new cycling shoes over the summer and I think they just have too much ventilation for winter riding so my feet got VERY cold on Sunday. And once your feet are cold.. it's hard to warm them up and soon your whole body gets chilled. I need to invest in a pair of shoe covers (the velcro over your cycling shoes--almost like a jacket for your feet!) and a package or two of those toe warmer things you stick in your shoes/ski books! I don't think I can wait for Santa.. ;)

  13. Peaceful Reader Oops lots of typos in my reply to you.
    We biked SATURDAY, not Sunday.
    Shoes/ski BOOTS, not Books. lol!

  14. Oh my goodness, that looks delicious! I've never had a puff pancake. I'm thinking I need to resolve this problem.

  15. Ohhh, this one sounds really good Christine! Maybe I can hunt it down for my sister :P Yum yum!


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