Archive for May, 2010

Summer Refreshers

When I signed up for Pittsburgh Seltzer delivery, all I could think about were Chocolate Egg Creams.  And they have been delicious.  But for the summer I’ve been looking for something a little bit lighter.  On a recent trip down to the Strip district I wandered into the Polish Deli on Penn Ave. between 22nd and 23rd streets.

Along with delicious prepared foods, smoked meats and sausages and pierogies, they have an amazing display of fruit syrups that are perfect for home made sodas.  Raspberry, Strawberry, blackberry, red current, wild cherry, and so many more.  The flavors are intense and so you only need about a teaspoonful for an 8 ounce glass of seltzer.  Talk about refreshing! Let me know if you use these syrups for anything else.  You can visit the site for the deli at

Candied Orange Peels

The holidays just aren’t the same if you don’t have the traditional foods you associate with those special occasions.  One of the things my mom always made for Easter is Grano Pie.  It’s basically just a cheese pie but with the addition of cooked wheat berries for texture and candied orange peel for flavor.  For the last few years, the responsibility for bringing these pies to our annual spring gathering has fallen to me.  I’m not sure why.  My sister Pauline is a better baker than I am and my sister Pat has been our annual source for candied orange peels for many years.  But, just in case you’d like to try these delicacies for yourself, here are the recipes.



Three large navel oranges

2 cups sugar

1 cup water


Peel the orange in 4-6 fairly large wedges.  Soak the peels overnight in a bowl of salted water using a plate on top to keep the peels under water.  Rinse the peels and put them in a sauce pan with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Discard the water and repeat two more times.  Using a spoon, scrape the white pulp (or pith) from the inside of the peels.

In a large heavy saucepan make a simple syrup by dissolving the two cups of sugar and 1 cup of water.  Put in the orange peels and let them simmer until they become translucent and have absorbed much of the syrup.  Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator

GRANO (Easter) PIE



1 3oz. package cream cheese

1 lb ricotta

2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs whiskey

2/3 cup cooked grano (hulled barley oats)

1 tsp grated lemon or orange peel

2 tbs chopped candied orange peel


1 1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 1/2 tbs shortening (melted and cooled)

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

ice water


Crust:  Mix together all ingredients except the ice water.  Add just enough water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.  Allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out on a floured surface and place in pie pan. (If too difficult to roll, you can just press it into the pie pan.  This is very delicate dough.)

Mix first six ingredients together then add the grated lemon or orange peel, candied orange peel and grano.  Pour into a 9″ pie shell and bake at 350 for one hour or until knife inserted in pie comes out clean.

SUBMITTED BY: Mary Ann Fennimore, Coral Springs, Florida