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You Asked For It

A chocolate cake rich in birthday tradition

By ANNE LONG
Published March 31, 2004

Mary Fisher's requests for recipes to make old-fashioned rich and moist chocolate cake and she-crab soup brought plenty of responses. Melissa Myers writes that her husband's mother gave her the chocolate cake recipe more than 20 years ago, and the cake is a Myers family birthday tradition. Ellie Myers was a home economics teacher at St. Petersburg High School for many years and, though retired, is "still cooking!"

When Martha Teel and her husband were in Charleston, S.C., during the early 1970s, they enjoyed delicious she-crab soup and saved a travel brochure that included the recipe. The brochure says that "the secret of the whole thing is the female crab's roe, which has an indescribably delicate flavor."

Rice pudding is a comfort-food dessert that is a perennial favorite, no matter our age. John Demkowski asked for a recipe for soft rice pudding and, of course, our readers share their favorites. Gene Groner's recipe is a top-of-the-stove one, which is especially nice in hot weather. Dee Pohalski makes hers with instant rice, and vanilla pudding mix adds extra flavor.

Richard Roy asked for the recipe for baked creamy rice pudding. Eadie Nieman combines cooked rice with evaporated milk, eggs and sugar for the oven version.

* * *

For: Mary Fisher of Tarpon Springs.

From: Melissa Myers of Treasure Island.

Recipe: Ellie's Triple Chocolate Cake.

Ellie's Triple Chocolate Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix

1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 6-ounce package mini-chocolate chips chips

1 1/4 cups water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. When cake is cool, dust with confectioners' sugar. The cake is moist and freezes well.

Melissa writes that mint chocolate chips, raspberry chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips may be used as variations. Nuts may also be added.

* * *

From: Martha Teel of Clearwater.

Recipe: She-Crab Soup from Everett's Restaurant, Charleston, S.C.

She-Crab Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stick butter, divided

1 pound white crab meat

2 quarts and 1 pint milk (save out 1/2 cup)

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon cornstarch to thicken

1/2 pound crab roe, chopped

1/2 cup sherry wine

Paprika

Saute onion over low heat in half of the butter until soft, but not brown. Add the crab meat and heat. Heat the milk in top of double boiler, but do not boil. Add the crab meat mixture and the rest of the butter to the hot milk. Season to taste with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with salt. Stir cornstarch into the saved 1/2 cup cold milk. Pour into soup and stir to thicken. Add crab roe and sherry wine. Stir together well; sprinkle a little paprika on each serving. Serve piping hot.

* * *

For: John Demkowski of Seminole.

From: Gene Groner of St. Petersburg.

Recipe: Soft Rice Pudding.

Soft Rice Pudding

4 cups milk

1/2 cup regular uncooked long-grain rice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat milk, rice, sugar and salt to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook and simmer about one hour, stirring occasionally, until rice is very tender.

In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Slowly stir in a small amount of hot rice mixture. Pour egg mixture back into the rice mixture, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice mixture thickens, about five minutes. (Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

* * *

From: Dee Pohalski of Safety Harbor.

Recipe: Minute Rice Pudding.

Minute Rice Pudding

4 cups whole milk

1 egg, well beaten

1 small package regular vanilla pudding mix

1 cup uncooked instant rice

1/4 cup raisins, optional

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In large saucepan, gradually stir milk and egg into vanilla pudding mix. Add instant rice and raisins. Stir over medium heat until mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes, stirring twice.

To serve warm: Pour into dessert dishes or bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

To serve chilled: Place plastic wrap or wax paper on surface of hot pudding. Refrigerate at least one hour. Stir before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

* * *

From: Eadie Nieman of Gulfport.

Recipe: Baked Creamy Rice Pudding.

Baked Creamy Rice Pudding

3 1/2 cups cooked rice (see note)

1 3/4 cups evaporated milk

1 3/4 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, beaten

Ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg

In a large saucepan, combine evaporated milk and water. Add cooked rice and cook over low heat about 25 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Combine a little rice mixture with beaten eggs, then blend all well back into pudding. Cook two to three minutes.

Pour pudding into buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. Place casserole in pan of hot water, then bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean. When cool, the pudding may be served with whipped cream.

Note: To cook rice, heat 1 cup water to boiling in a 2-quart saucepan. Add 3/4 cup uncooked rice, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes or until rice becomes tender. Makes 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Recipe requests

Janet Peterson of Treasure Island was a great fan of the coconut muffins and pineapple muffins served at Cullen's Sweets and Stuff in St. Petersburg. The restaurant is gone, but Janet's memory of the muffins is not. Is there a chance of getting the recipes?

You Asked for It is a reader mail column that appears weekly in Taste. If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, please write to You Asked for It, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Be sure to include your full name, city and phone number with your letter. Letters without this information will be discarded. Requests cannot be answered by phone or mail.

[Last modified March 30, 2004, 14:57:29]

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