Monday, November 30, 2015

Mince Pies, Funeral Home,

I can't believe it's the last day of November already. This year seems to have flown past.

As you know, I was very disappointed not to be able to get my mincemeat tarts the other day whilst out bowling. Saturday I ended up buying a jar of mincemeat and some pastry shells. Sorry, making one's own mincemeat is really too involved although I will certainly doctor this jar slightly. It talks about rum and brandy flavours but I think we want a tad more than flavours. I looked up a couple of recipes for mincemeat and there are a number of things I don't keep in house which I would have to buy and then only use little bits of them and then, unless I plan to do it again, they items would be wasted. I would like to have been able to obtain Crosse and Blackwell Mincemeat but....

Sad news yesterday for those of us involved, but the funeral home where I worked as a part timer for
6 years and where we have our arrangements, has been forced to close - guess why? Those stupid road works. All kinds of businesses are closing down and those that haven't are feeling the pinch. With the funeral home, it is a very old building, used to be a private home before it became a business. I just called them and it appears the files for all pre-arrangements will be sent to an associated home in the area. The girl, who was my boss, says she is going to try and arrange a reunion. That would be fun.

Pecan-Berry Coffee Cake

WebMD Recipe from

  • This scrumptious coffee cake recipe has a crumbly pecan topping and is speckled with blueberries or raspberries. You’ll never guess there’s apple in the berry coffee cake: it replaces some of the butter found in most coffee cakes and adds a decidedly sweet taste and moist crumb. This is a great recipe to serve at brunch and can be made the day before.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or white whole-wheat flour, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, or raspberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped peeled apple
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.
Step 2
To prepare cake: Whisk 1 cup flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat softened butter and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add 3/4 cup sugar and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, milk, lemon zest and vanilla and beat on medium-high until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated.
Step 3
Place berries and apple in a small bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons flour and toss very gently to coat. Sprinkle the fruit over the batter and very gently fold in until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Step 4
To prepare topping: Combine cold butter and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. With two knives or a pastry blender, cut them together until the butter is in small pieces and uniform crumbles form. Add pecans and toss until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.
Step 5
Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the nuts are a deep brown, 50 to 55 minutes.
Step 6
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours. Lift it out of the pan, using the edges of the foil, onto a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares. Use a spatula to lift the cake from the foil.

Have a great day


  1. How unique to have working in a funeral home. I'm glad they're moving your records for the arrangements. Mincemeat is not my favorite. My stepmother once made half a dozen pies for Christmas, I used to cut a piece and drop it in the garbage to convince her her pies were being eaten. The worst thing I've ever had. Other family members did the same. She was a lousy cook and insisted on reheating the same food over and over again until it was gone. Sometimes dumping it all into one pot and serving it. AWFUL! Pure torture at mealtime! :)

    1. I only did secretarial stuff though Yolanda.

      That sounds pretty horrid, I didn't much like mincemeat as a kid but I love it now.

  2. Hi Jo - how sad about the Funeral Home having to close because of the roadworks .. though I can believe it. Interesting to know you worked there - while the reunion should be fun ...

    Love mince meat ... and mince pies .. I just try not to eat too many! I did used to make it .. but not any more ... we have good varieties over here. Cheers Hilary

    1. It is sad Hilary. These roadworks are ruining businesses round here. I'm surprised they don't get together and sue the city (or whoever is behind all this).

      Yes it's delicious isn't it? Never tried making it though.

  3. Oh, the coffee cake looks good. Sorry to hear about the business closing, It looks like a lovely building. I buy my mincemeat premade too. My grandmother and my mother in law used to make the best from scratch with no shortage of rum.

    1. Yes, it is a pity Susan and it is a lovely building.

      I don't remember if my mother made mincemeat or not. She probably did.

  4. Using apple in a recipe to replace butter is an excellent idea health wise. Why were the roadworks responsible for the funeral home shutting down? Was it because no traffic could reach it? That's not very fair of the council is it!

    1. Not exactly that you can't get to it Pinky, but that it is too difficult to get anywhere on King St. - where it's situated - and businesses are suffering badly. This is not the first closure by any means.

      Apple might be better but I wouldn't replace butter with it, however, healthy. I don't adulterate, I just decrease the portions. Much better in my opinion.

  5. The funeral home is beautiful. I'm sorry to hear that it's closing. Will it revert back to a private home again?

    1. I doubt it. The rumour is that Zehrs is going to develop the site which, as they are a supermarket chain, would mean pulling the building down. A shame in my opinion. Doubt if anyone could afford it as a private home and also it is on a main street downtown (or it was before they started tearing the place apart). I am hoping the local conservation/preservation society will get involved. It was a great place for a funeral home mind you.

  6. TI rarely hear of a funeral home having to close. This is sad because the home itself looks beautiful. When such roadwork is being done you would think there would be some compensation for the small businesses on that street. This desert sounds scrumptious!

    1. It is a lovely building although it could do with some money being spent on it inside Birgit. I agree, they should offer some compensation for these businesses.

  7. Today at Barnes (bookstore cafe), I copied down the formula for mince meat from BBCGoodFood Magazine. It doesn't seem too hard to make but I can totally understand buying your own, because like you said, you don't keep those things in the house.

    1. You're right Ivy, not difficult, but buying all those ingredients which would only get used once. Can you get suet where you live, I couldn't in NC.