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Sweet song of the South: soft pralines


Louisiana pralines and a crab pie will surely lure you to the kitchen.

The crab pie, requested by Carol C. McVey of Bel Air, was answered by Lori Kantziper of Baltimore who sent in what she terms an "absolutely foolproof crab quiche." She noted that the recipe came from a cookbook she found in a used bookstore. She made some substitutions to it which she prefers.

Kantziper's Crab Quiche

Makes 4 to 6 servings

9-inch unbaked pastry shell, 1 1/2 -inches deep

1 (about 7 ounces) can of crab meat or 1 large can (about 9 ounces) chunk-style tuna (drained and flaked)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese.

1/4 cup each grated Parmesan cheese and chopped green onion, tops included

1 2-ounce jar diced pimento, drained

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Bake pastry shell in a 450-degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove and lower oven to 350 degrees.

Distribute crab evenly over bottom of baked pastry shell and evenly layer Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion and pimento on top.

In a bowl lightly beat the eggs, stir in milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper and pour over the crab and cheese mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Ms. Kantziper says that she uses "Chicken of the Sea crab meat, on the shelf next to the canned tuna and I've only found it in the County Market on Liberty Road in Randallstown." Her recipe changes include the use of chopped yellow onions, preferably Vidalia, instead of the green onions and for eggs she uses an egg product called Simply Eggs which she notes has much of the cholesterol removed.

In a similar recipe, Kay Bily of Cockeysville uses 1 cup light cream instead of milk and she places the grated Swiss cheese on the bottom of the pie shell before she spreads on the crab meat. Other recipes called for a pound of fresh crab meat, carefully picked of cartilage.


Mrs. L. Whiting Ferinholt of Hunt Valley requested a "recipe for creamy, smooth Louisiana pralines." Her answer came from Rose Flanagan of Reisterstown who had just returned from New Orleans and "brought home this recipe from the New Orleans School of Cooking."

Flanagan's Pralines

1 1/2 cups sugar

Makes about 24, 2 1/2 -inch round pralines

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Combine sugars, milk, vanilla, salt and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and over medium high heat, bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Let boil about 6 or 7 minutes or until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (238- to 240-degrees).

Remove from heat and stir the mixture until it cools and thickens. This doesn't take long and when it is slightly thickened, add pecans and spoon onto a large piece of waxed paper to cool and become firm. Store in plastic bag or freeze.

Recipe requests

* Eldon Parizak of Deering, N.D., would like a cinnamon bun recipe.

* Brenda McDonald of Baltimore wants an apple and cherry cobbler.

* Josephine C. Elsen of Wheaton, Ill., is looking for a recipe for a quince candy or confection like the one she received from France. "The texture is like candied orange slices. Whether it is pieces of quince, candied and rolled in sugar or quince cooked-down to a jellied consistency, I do not know. It came in little squares."

* Doris Harris of Randallstown is looking for a custard sauce recipe to put on top of rice pudding.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tested these recipes.

Write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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