Kitchen Mailbox: A treasured family recipe

Finding a recipe is as easy as checking the internet, picking up a magazine or leafing through a cookbook. But nothing beats the satisfaction of finding a treasured family recipe, like today's recipe, Cheese Cakes, from "Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker" by Natalie Oldfield. The new Australian cookbook is a tribute to the author's 95-year-old grandmother who lives in New Zealand, and was a little difficult to work with. It seems as if the author included the recipes just as her grandmother wrote them down. But that's part of what makes a family recipe special.

Many of these recipes called for baking pans that I wasn't familiar with, such as "patty tins" and "slice tins." I did some investigating and found that patty tins are similar to cupcake pans. And going by the amount of cheese cakes this recipe yields, I decided to use a mini (2-inch) cupcake pan. The recipe calls for 2 to 3 sheets of "flaky pastry," so I used Pillsbury pie crust. And I used a 21/2-inch round cookie cutter to make the dough rounds.

Despite the name, there is no cheese in these.

If you have an old family recipe you would like to share in this column, please send it to


PG tested

  • 2 to 3 sheets flaky pastry (I used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)

  • Raspberry jam

  • 4 ounces butter

  • 4 ounces superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar, place a cup or more in a food processor and process until you have fine granules, then weigh the sugar)

  • 2 eggs (I used large)

  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line about 20 patty tins (mini cupcake pan) with pastry. Put a teaspoon of jam on the bottom of each.

Mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour and baking powder and fold into batter until combined.

Put a large spoonful (about 1 tablespoon) of cake mixture on top of the jam. Place a small piece of crossed pastry on top of the cake mixture (cut thin strips of dough from the leftover pie crust). Bake about 20 minutes or until tested done.

Makes about 20 cheese cakes.

-- "Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker" by Natalie Oldfield (Hardie Grant, 2012, $29.95)

To request a recipe or send a recipe or question to Kitchen Mailbox, write the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222 or


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