Overnight Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

With an epic ice storm forecasted for our area, I can’t help but plan delicious lock-in meals to get my family through it all. I have no idea if it will get as bad as the weather experts are forecasting, but I do know I will be PREPARED for my family to eat well!

 I have been aspiring to make this Overnight Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole for months and this is the perfect occasion to accept winter for what it is and get baking.

 There are several things I love about this recipe. Number one, it calls for our delicious frozen strawberries in the Natures Blessed line. We buy this product line directly from Michigan where the Coloma Company packages top grade fruits and vegetables picked at optimum ripeness. Their strawberries are divine.

 The second thing I love is that I can use Eckert’s Bakery’s Irish Soda Bread. Our Irish Soda Bread is very popular and nothing like it can be found in our region. We make scones out of it for our restaurant and we slice loaves of this unique bread daily in our Country Store.

 Third, this recipe calls for a sweet cream cheese to be spread on top of the Irish Soda Bread and then topped with strawberries. After that, the dish is soaked with creamy custard. I think you will find a slice of this yummy breakfast casserole to be a little piece of heaven on a plate.

 I must admit, this recipe requires a bit more time to prepare than most of mine. But, with the forecasted ice storm, you might just be looking for something to do and to warm the souls within your household.

 Stay warm and eat well this winter,



French toast ingredients
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 loaf of Eckert’s Irish Soda Bread (about 12 slices)
20 oz or 3 cups frozen strawberries, sliced

Custard ingredients
¾ cup milk
¾ half and half
10 eggs
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: Eckert’s Strawberry Syrup or Jam for topping

Butter a 9x13 baking dish. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and beat to incorporate. Beat in sugar for 1-2 minutes. Then beat in 1 egg and lemon juice.

 In a large bowl, whisk together custard ingredients: milk, half and half, ten eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Set aside.

 Spread cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread, then top cheese with sliced strawberries. Repeat with all bread slices. Using a serrated knife, cut bread (with topping) into one inch cubes. Place 2/3rds of the cubes in the baking dish. Top with remaining strawberries and remaining cream cheese. Top with remaining bread crumbs. Then pour custard mixture over the top. Lightly press the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve with Eckert’s Strawberry Syrup or Jam. Serves 12.

20 Minute Italian Chicken Breast

Back to school, back to work, and back to healthier eating is not nearly as much fun as Christmas! However, I must admit, I was craving a little more routine in my house this week. As we ease back into the schedule of early out the door, piles of homework and party-less nights, I am finding the need to rely on my simplest recipes to get on the dinner table. This week I made a super quick, clean chicken recipe using our hand-trimmed chicken breast from the meat department in our Belleville Country Store.

 I wanted to compliment (not overpower) the mild flavor of the chicken so I chose three simple ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, Italian bread seasoning and parmesan cheese. Bread seasonings are sold in tins or grinders at Eckert’s and while they are designed to be added to a bowl of olive oil for bread dipping, they can also provide great flavor to meats, pizzas, noodles and potatoes. If you don’t have access to bread seasonings, don’t worry, you can make your own seasoning mixture and customize it to your preferences.

I paired the chicken with Eckert’s bake at home bread, some of Ella’s homemade noodles (more on that in a later post!) and a salad made with our home-grown hydroponic lettuce. Believe it or not, I had dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes and that felt like a major accomplishment of 2017!

 Our chicken breast are on sale at the butcher counter in Eckert’s Belleville Country Store the whole month of January. If you haven’t tried them already, I bet they will be the most tender chicken breasts you’ve ever had! And, you can have this simple and delicious dish on your table in under thirty minutes!

 Eat well this new year,


20 Minute Italian Chicken Breast
4 trimmed chicken breast (8 oz each)
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Italian Bread Seasoning*
4 Tbs. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on the foil. Place chicken breast in dish. Drizzle remaining oil on top of chicken. Top chicken with seasonings, then parmesan. Bake 20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees.

 *To make your own Bread Seasoning combine these ingredients in a small bowl:
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Few grinds of fresh cracked pepper

5 Fabulous Appetizers for New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is just a couple days away and I am finally finding myself with enough gumption to plan a menu! I needed a few down days after Christmas to reset my brain after the shopping and celebrating frenzy. Thanks to some warm and cozy sweater time spent on the cushy couch, I am game for hosting another party!

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, so I simply selected the appetizer category on the blog and scrolled through my past recipes to find these fabulous five! We are looking forward to a small get together with a few friends and kids. I think these recipes will suit a variety of ages and food preferences with a little wiggle room for creativity from the consumer!­

First of all, Queso Fundido makes a large dish of cheesy, meaty deliciousness. Eckert’s homemade chorizo sausage is a stand out with our homemade tortilla chips for dipping. This dish is fun to serve and filling.

Our recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Appetizers can be completely personalized to your liking. I am planning to prebake the potato slices and serve the toppings a la carte. A DIY station comprised of little bowls of shredded cheese, chopped scallions, bacon pieces, bacon jam and sour cream in a piping bag will attract the attention of the kids and adults alike!

Next up, I love the Apple Butter Meatballs because they have a sweet and savory-ness to them. They can be made ahead, then warmed up and held in the crock pot. Love that!

Apple nachos are easy and fun to make! Dress them up with your favorite toppings as well. I think I will let the kids help me make this one. I will give them choices of chocolate chips, granola, marshmallows, melted caramel, chocolate sauce and slivered almonds. (Don’t forget to dip your apple slices in a bowl with 2 cups of water and 1/8 tsp of salt to prevent browning.)  

And last but not least, Mac and Cheese Bites are perfect for all ages. This recipe turns a favorite comfort food into a two-bite appetizer.

Now that I have my menu planned, I need to get working on my sparkling and still wine selections. I will be strolling around our wine department at Eckert’s to see what is new. I know I want to pick up an inexpensive sparkling wine to serve with cranberry juice and frozen, sugared raspberries. My sister-in-law served this on Christmas Eve and I am still thinking about it!!!

Hope you give one or more of these recipes a try this new year. Wishing you a tasty start to 2017!!

Eat well in the New Year,


Baked Oatmeal with Apples and Raisins

Merry Christmas everyone! Are you busy shopping and wrapping? Of course you are, but I also hope you have time to whip up a few heart-warming dishes during this big week! I am planning to keep it simple for sure. With lots of running (thankfully we have lots of local family members to visit) I can’t be delving into difficult recipes on top of my cookie baking projects.


 I fell in love with this recipe at a my friend Heidi’s house in early November. She assigned me to make it for a baby shower that she hosted for a dear group of friends. It was a breeze to toss together and that is when I decided it was going to be my Christmas breakfast casserole this year! I have stocked up on the ingredients and printed out the recipe so I will be ready to assemble Christmas morning. I can already imagine the house filling with scents of cinnamon and baked apple while we are unwrapping gifts.

 Another big bonus is that I will be able to incorporate Eckert’s Granny Smith apples which are still available in our produce department in the Belleville Country Store. I am not planning to peel the apples- another time saver for me. If you are looking to make this recipe gluten free, just be sure to check the label on the oatmeal.

 I would love to hear what your favorite go-to Christmas breakfast recipes entail. Please share!!

 Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas from the entire Eckert Family!!

 Eat well this holiday season,


Baked Oatmeal with Apples, Raisins and Pecans
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
½ cup raisins
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 tart apples, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, ½ cup pecans, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs then add in milk and vanilla. Whisk until incorporated.
Add milk mixture to oat mixture. Pour in melted butter.
Place apples in baking dish. Pour oat mixture on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining pecans on top. Bake 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Balsamic Deviled Eggs with Serrano

Every year our Christmas Eve celebration table includes deviled eggs and no matter how many are made, there are none left by the end of the night! So when Lana and I were planning our holiday menus for the classroom, I immediately thought of deviled eggs! A few months ago, I came across this recipe from Eggland’s Best called Balsamic Deviled Eggs and I tucked it away in the “to try” folder on my desk. This week we are whipping it up for our Lunch and Learn Cooking classes where it has received 5-star reviews!!

Usually I mash egg yolks by hand for deviled eggs but this recipe calls for a food processor and WOW does that make a difference! After whirling the filling around the food processor, it becomes ultra creamy and smooth. (Full disclosure: I did have to lick the bowl and the spoon!)

This recipe also calls for an extraordinary garnish. We are so lucky to have two kinds of internationally cured gourmet meats here at Eckert’s. In our specialty cheese and meat case in our deli, we offer Serrano ham and Prosciutto de Parma. Both of these meats can be sliced paper thin by our deli staff. These cured meats are guaranteed flavorful accents for your holiday appetizers and platters. In this recipe I chose to use Serrano but you could easily substitute Prosciutto. 

Serrano ham is imported from Spain where it is salted, air dried for cured for more than 8 months. This curing process intensifies the flavor which is why a little goes a long way! When we receive our Serrano ham, it comes with a certification of authenticity proving it has passed the rigorous quality standards in Spain.

While you can enjoy Serrano without cooking it, this recipe calls for a little time in the skillet to crisp it up. Then we used it as a garnish for our deliciously creamy deviled eggs. The result is a home run for the holiday table. I hope you will give this recipe a try for one of your next holiday gatherings.

Eat well this holiday season,


Balsamic Deviled Eggs with Serrano

12 large eggs
¾ cup regular mayonnaise
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. chopped chives
2 oz Serrano ham, sliced paper thin

Hard cook eggs. When cooked and cooled, peel eggs and set aside. Cook Serrano in a large skillet over medium-high heat until slightly crispy. Remove the Serrano from the skillet to a plate lined with paper towels and gently blot dry. With a scissors, snip pancetta into small pieces.
Halve the eggs and place the yolks into the bowl of food processor. Add the remaining ingredients except the pancetta. Process until smooth.
Spoon egg mixture into a large plastic bag. Snip off the end and pipe filling into egg whites. Garnish the filled eggs with the cooked Serrano.

Note: Prosciutto or Pancetta may be substituted for the Serrano
Recipe adapted by Eckert’s from Eggland’s Best Eggs


Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup

When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I just knew I would love it! I am a big fan of veggie soup and this recipe allows a lot of room for creative alterations. What really caught my attention was the technique of toasting the ever-popular quinoa grain. I had never heard of that before! I decided to make a batch and include Eckert’s home grown squash instead of celery root, and I also tossed in some Eckert’s homegrown garlic that I had curing in my pantry.

After sampling the soup to our classroom team, we came to the consensus that this recipe needed to be part of our Holiday Wine and Food class. This soup is an excellent pair for Sauvignon Blanc and we just happened to have one in our wine lineup for the class. Most Sauvignon Blancs have herbaceous notes and as a result they pair well with veggie dishes ranging from steamed asparagus to summer salads. Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to summer patio wine because I find it refreshing on a hot day with lighter summer meals. I am thrilled to have discovered this pairing with a soul-warming soup. 

Another bonus about this recipe is that it’s gluten-free and vegan. You can make this recipe for friends and family members following these special diets but I can guarantee it will also appeal to your whole guest list. I can’t wait to see what our classroom guests think about our version of Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup!

Eat well this holiday season,


Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup

1 cup uncooked quinoa*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup small diced onion
¼ cup small diced carrot
¼ cup small diced bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/2 tsp. crushed dried)
¾ tsp. ground cumin
6 to 7 cups unsalted vegetable broth, divided
¼ cup small diced unpeeled gold or russet potato
¼ cup diced peeled sweet potato
½ cup large diced Eckert’s peeled butternut squash
½ cup small diced zucchini
½ cup thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
½ tsp. kosher salt, optional
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread quinoa in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet; roast until lightly browned about 20 to 25 minutes; stirring every 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside. 



Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta

Happy December All! After baking 14,000 pies in our bakery last week my mind has officially shifted to full-blown Christmas mode. I must admit here I had a lot of help from my 12 year old daughter with the transition. I was ready to crash and she had a bee in her bonnet to get the house fully decked and two live trees decorated to the hilt. Needless to say, the holiday season has arrived in full force at the House of Eckert thanks to Ella. 

This week in the cooking classroom, we are getting ready for another one of my favorite classes here at Eckert’s, our annual Holiday Wine and Food Class! This class is so popular we host it two nights and it is the perfect time to celebrate delicious food and wine pairings with friends. Yesterday, Lana, my dad and I tried a variety of foods with wines and I think we are very close to a perfectly paired menu.

One of the recipes I am really excited about is called Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta and I found it on a blog site called barefootwine.com. But as always with recipes we are inspired by in the classroom, we put an Eckert’s spin on the details. This recipe uses Pinot Noir wine to create a savory sauce for the cherries. I fell in love with the idea of a cherry topping for goat cheese and crusty bread, who wouldn’t? This delicious appetizer and a glass of jammy Pinot Noir are downright delightful!

 If you are making this recipe at home, be sure to use our frozen sweet cherries from Eckert’s produce department. They are grade one fruit and they are frozen quickly to lock in the maximum fruit flavor just after harvest. We used sweet cherries but our tart cherries are also super popular with cherry pie bakers.

I can’t wait to see what our classroom guests think of this appetizer and wine pairing. I think it might be my favorite of the night!!

Eat and drink well this holiday season,


Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. minced onion
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ tsp. dried crushed thyme leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
¼ tsp. dried finely crushed rosemary leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
1 Tbs. Eckert’s Pure Honey
2 cups Nature Blessed Individually Quick Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries slightly defrosted and drained*
¼ cup Pinot Noir wine
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before using
1 Eckert’s Bake at Home French Bread, sliced ½-inch thick (about 30 slices)

Cherry Compote:

1.      In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
2.      Add onions and cook about 2 minutes or until they start to soften.
3.      Add pecans, spices and honey. Stir to combine.
4.      Turn heat to medium high and add cherries; cook until cherries are soft about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use kitchen scissors to cut cherries in half. Note: Seems more logical to cut cherries in half before adding to the mixture. May release a little more juice; however, I suggested draining juice in ingredients listing.
5.      Stir in wine. Increase heat to medium high for 2 to 3 minutes.
6.      Cook mixture until liquid cooks down to a syrupy texture about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir during this cooking time.
7.      Remove from heat.
Yield: about 1 cup.


1.      Take a slice of baguette, thinly (if using 4 ounce package) spread on soften goat cheese. Top with a spoonful of cherry compote.
2.      Garnish with a couple fresh thyme leaves.
Makes about 30 appetizers.
Can make Cherry Compote 2 or 3 days before serving; cover and refrigerate. Appetizers can be assembled 3 hours before serving. Serve at room temperature.

 *Note: If the cherries are totally defrosted there is lots of juice. Takes too long to cook down. And the cherries cook so long they lose their identity. Draining helps this problem.

Caramel Apple Walnut Pie

It‘s pies, pies and more pies at Eckert’s this week!! We have begun our round-the-clock shifts for our annual baking for QuickTrip convenient stores, pie fundraisers sales and Thanksgiving pie pickups. The sweet aroma of pie baking is permeating every nook and cranny at Eckert’s Country Store, I think even the commuters on Highway 15 can catch a whiff of our pies as they drive by!

This is the time of year I literally have sweet dreams about the nearly 10,000 pies we will be preparing at Eckert’s. Even in my subconscious state I am thinking about making, baking and boxing pies. Last night I dreamt about a Caramel Apple Walnut Pie and so here it is! This sticky sweet version of a classic apple pie will impress every guest at your Thanksgiving gathering.  

As always I am using Eckert’s frozen pie shells as my base. We still have some homegrown Eckert’s apples in the Country Store and I chose Granny Smith because the tartness will complement the sweetness of the caramel (other varieties­ of tart apples can be substituted).­

This week on Show Me St. Louis, I demonstrated how easy it is to assemble this delicious pie. I hope you will give it a try soon….. and don’t forget to add a heaping scoop of Eckert’s Frozen Custard!

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for reading the Eckert Family Blog. Our family is grateful for you and your interest in feeding your families with fresh and local ingredients. We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Eat well this holiday season,


Caramel Apple Walnut Pie

2 unbaked Eckert’s 9 ½-inch frozen pie crusts, defrosted (Reserve 1 empty aluminum pie pan to cover baking pan after 30 minutes).
1 jar (12 ¼ -ounce) Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, divided (or other similar brand)
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
8 cups baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼-inch (6 to 8 medium)
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. milk, divided
1 tsp. granulated sugar
8 scoops Eckert’s frozen vanilla custard

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a 2-cup mixing bowl, mix ½ cup caramel sauce topping with 2 tablespoons flour. Spread evenly over uncooked bottom pie crust. Set pie crust aside.

In a large 4-quart bowl, mix apples, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Spoon apple mixture over caramel covered bottom pie crust. Sprinkle with walnuts. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface gently roll top pie crust to about 10 inches in diameter. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.   Brush edges of the bottom crust with ¼-teaspoon milk.

Place top crust over apples. Flute edges. Brush top crust with remaining milk. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. (After 30 minutes of bake time, cover the entire pie with the empty reserved aluminum pan to prevent overbrowning). Cool 2 hours before serving.

In a 1-cup microwave proof measuring cup, microwave remaining ½-cup caramel topping on medium about 30 to 45 seconds. Stir. Add additional 10 to 20 seconds until warm.

Cut slices of pie and top with  Eckert’s Frozen Custard. Drizzle the remaining Caramel Topping over custard.

Serves 8. 

Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce

With the election behind us, my mind has fully shifted into holiday mode! We have our annual Holiday Open House at Eckert’s Country Store coming up soon. Our team has been busy as bees decorating trees, stringing lights and unboxing some of the cutest holiday décor ever. From soaps to salsa we gotcha covered for Christmas gifts!

I can’t wait for Thursday, November 17th to host 12 of our vendors, wine tastings, Eckert’s finest holiday products and our friends from the PXP Fashion truck. Click here for details and a coupon because you won’t want to miss out on the fun!

All the holiday decorating and merchandising this week has me craving my favorite holiday recipes, especially Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce (yum!). In fact, this recipe is on the menu for our sold-out cooking class this weekend called “Cooking with Wine.” It comes together in under 20 minutes. This amazingly simple sauce is meant for divine holiday entertaining! It is the perfect way to dress up a simple sugar cookie, top a scoop of custard or steal the show in a chocolate martini. Or, it can easily become a gourmet jarred gift for the foodie in your life.

If you would like to learn how to make more delicious recipes like this one, this is the perfect time to sign up for Eckert’s cooking classes. Once again, we are offering ½ off our adult classes in the month of January. Cross someone off your Christmas list and book a class today in Eckert’s Cooking Classroom! 

 Eat well this holiday,


Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce

1 cup Carmenere wine or other dry red wine
½ cup granulated sugar
1 sachet Eckert’s Mulling Spice Blend or similar brand
½ cup cocoa
½ cup Eckert’s pure honey
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Discard sachet. Add cocoa and honey, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Serve warm over Eckert’s Vanilla Custard.
Store in a covered canning jar for up to 3 weeks. Warm before serving.
Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

This week’s cooking segment at KSDK was certainly one to remember! I had a blast with these fun ladies, Heidi Glaus and Dana Dean, from KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis. Since it was Halloween, I just had to join in the dress up fun. What could be more perfect than a pollinator costume to represent Eckert’s?? This episode was packed with crazy things like puking pumpkins, a Eckert’s pie eating race and a dressed up shelter dog.

With Eckert’s pie baking season right around the corner, I chose to make a pumpkin pie for my segment. This recipe is the classic, old-fashion recipe our grandmothers made. I used fresh pumpkin  in this recipe and it makes all the difference but if you are in a time crunch, canned pumpkin will work too. 

For my crust, I chose Eckert’s Frozen Pie Shells from our bakery department. Our pie dough is made with lard and according to my Grandma B, lard makes the best pie crust hands down! This recipe makes filling for two pies so you will have plenty to share at your next holiday gathering. 

If you missed the live show, you can check out some of the fun we had here.

Eat well this fall,


Fun Fact: Our bakery is planning to bake more than 3000 pumpkin pies this month!

4 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups cooked Eckert’s pureed pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 can (12-ounce size) evaporated milk
2 9-inch Eckert’s frozen pie shells, defrosted

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, salt and vanilla with electric mixer until mixture is well blended.

NOTE:  An immersion blender works as well.

Gradually whisk or stir in evaporated milk; mixing well. Equally divide filling between the 2 pie shells and fill to about ¼-inch from the top of the shell. Bake 15 minutes at 425°; then reduce temperature to 350° F. and bake an additional 45 minutes to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center of pies comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. For food safety, cover pumpkin pie tightly and refrigerate. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

Have you ever baked with fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin? If not, you definitely have to give this recipe a try! Fresh pumpkin is a beautiful color and it makes baked items brighter and prettier and fresher tasting!

 So after Halloween, if you have a few uncarved pumpkins sitting around, don’t let them go into yard waste, bring them inside and clean them up for baking! This recipe can be made ahead and frozen for future baking. It is especially handy to have fresh pumpkin puree stored away in the freezer for holiday pie baking.

 This recipe calls for a pie size pumpkin. Other sizes can also be baked. Baking time will vary and multiple baking dishes may be needed. You can also use this technique to make butternut and acorn squash puree. I recommend baking for 45 minutes, then testing flesh for tenderness before baking further.

 This week on KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis, I will be demonstrating a recipe for Everyone’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins . I am going to make one batch with canned pumpkin and one batch with my fresh baked pumpkin puree.  It is going to be fun to have a taste test with Show Me St. Louis host, Heidi Glaus. I wonder which version she will prefer!?!

 Eat well this fall,


Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

fresh pumpkin collage.jpg

1 pie pumpkin

Adjust oven rack height to accommodate height of pumpkin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean outside of pumpkin with soap and water. Use a rubber mallet or hammer to knock off stem. Slice through the center of the pumpkin where the stem was located with a sharp Chef’s knife. If it is difficult to cut through the pumpkin, use mallet to tap knife through. Remove seeds and set aside for roasting. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish  or rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Then fill  with 1/2” of water. Place pumpkin halves cut side down in dish. Bake for 1 hour or until flesh is very tender. Some pumpkins will take longer to bake. Moisture content varies by pumpkin and will influence baking time.

Remove pumpkin from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Peel pumpkin skin away from the flesh and discard. Place the flesh in a mesh strainer and drain for 20 minutes. Place flesh in a large bowl and puree with a stick blender or process in a food processor. Use as desired in your pumpkin pie or bread recipe or place puree in clean freezer proof containers and store for later use.  When using frozen puree. Thaw in the refrigerator a day or two before baking. Place puree in mesh strainer to drain off excess moisture before using for baking. Use as an equal substitute in recipes that call for canned pumpkin.

 One pie pumpkin makes about 4 cups of puree.

Dessert Grilled Cheese with Apples & Nutella

Last night, our culinary team was planning an upcoming wine class menu and boy did we have fun! We were tasting wine while brainstorming recipes to pair with them. A German Reisling we recently added to our wine department called 50 Degrees inspired this Dessert Grilled Cheese. After several derivations, we landed on this delicious combination of Eckert’s Cinnamon Bread, Nutella, crème fraiche and apples!

step 1.jpg


Just as we were taking the grilled cheese out of the skillet, my kids hopped off the bus and headed straight to classroom to offer their feedback. Theo went crazy over our sweet and chocolaty combination. In fact, I am pretty sure he had eight bites which resulted in an adorable smudge of Nutella across his cheek. Ha!

step 2.jpg


We will be putting this recipe to the test in our upcoming wine class and our upcoming holiday appetizer classes. I think it is a perfect dessert appetizer or a unique brunch item for holiday gatherings. I hope you will give it a test too, just be sure to wipe the Nutella off your face before your guests arrive!

Eat well this fall, Angie

 Dessert Grilled Cheese with Apples & Nutella

4 slices of Eckert’s Cinnamon Bread
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, divided
¼ cup crème fraiche or ricotta cheese
1 Eckert’s apple, cut in half and sliced thin

Place bread on a sheet of foil or parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine butter, cinnamon and sugar. Spread butter mixture evenly on 4 slices of bread. Flip slices of bread over. On 2 slices of bread, spread Nutella evenly and spread crème fraiche or ricotta cheese on remaining two slices. Top Nutella covered slices with apple slices and place ricotta covered slices on top of the apple slices. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast sandwiches until desired doneness (bread will be golden brown). Cool 5 minutes before cutting into bite size pieces. Serve with remaining Nutella. Makes 16 bite size servings.

Note: This recipe can be assembled a day ahead, stored in an air tight container lined with parchment paper and cooked in a skillet just before serving.

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash
Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

I am completely in love with our farm grown butternut squash! Chris and I both make Butternut Squash and Pear Soup on regular basis in the fall. Click here for the recipe to one of our all time favorite fall recipes:

A few months back I tore a recipe out of a magazine for oven roasted butternut squash and I have been carrying it around in my work tote ever since! Finally, I decided to give it a whirl last night for dinner. Full disclosure: my kids do not eat butternut squash, but Chris and I gobbled it up. I love how the balsamic vinegar and olive oil glaze the squash in a rich, brown color which then caramelizes into a syrupy sauce as it roasts. The resulting dish is a tender and savory squash like you’ve never had before!

Cleaning Butternut Squash
Cutting Butternut Squash

I halved the recipe last night and still had a few chunks left for today’s lunch. I will be adding them to baby salad greens with feta cheese and pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) with a light drizzle of olive oil. My mouth is watering as I type my lunch plan!

 I hope you will give Eckert’s farm-grown butternut squash a try this season!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Baking

1 Eckert’s butternut squash
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce (or tamari)* 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half across the middle at the narrowed point to separate the top from the bottom. Place the cut edge on the cutting board and cut in half again thru the base of the squash and the stem of the squash. Remove the seeds of the bottom half of the squash with a spoon and discard seeds. Remove and discard the stem. Peel the pieces of squash with a potato peeler before cutting into 1” chunks.

In a large bowl, combine vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce. Place squash in bowl and toss until well coated. Roast squash on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes then toss squash. Bake another 15 minutes or until squash are fork tender. Serve immediately or refrigerate after cooled and serve on greens salads. Makes 6 servings.

*Make this recipe gluten free by using tamari instead of soy sauce. 

5 Favorite Apple Recipes

Wow, what a difference a week makes on the farm! It finally feels like fall around here thanks to cooler temperatures and I guess that’s what sent my taste buds reeling for all things apple. I could not make up my mind on what to feature this week on the blog so I decided to include five of my favorite apple recipes to give you a little inspiration for upping your apple game in the kitchen.

My go to dessert in fall is the Apple Crumb Pie because it can be assembled in less than 30 minutes with the help of Eckert’s frozen pie shells. No, I am not making my pie dough from scratch! Years ago my 90 year old grandma discovered Eckert’s pre-made crusts and she hung up her rolling pin! While I like to make dough from scratch, I rarely have time and I find that people just love the Eckert’s crust just as much. So if you are in a crunch for time and you are craving a classic apple pie, give our pie shells a try.

apple_crumb pie

Our headliner this week, Apple Crumb Pie, is in good company with four of my other favorites.  Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples make a delicious dinner side dish and a next-day oatmeal topper. Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon is a classroom favorite because cheddar and apples are “oh so good” together. My kids love to concoct Game Day Nachos. It is super fun to sprinkle and drizzle a variety of toppings for this easily customized dish. And finally, Oven Baked Apples, Onion and Pork make a savory and sweet dinner entree that will impress the whole gang.

Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples

Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples

Grilled Cheese with Apples

Grilled Cheese with Apples

Game Day Nachos

Game Day Nachos

Oven Baked Apples, Onions & Pork

Oven Baked Apples, Onions & Pork

While these recipes ooze with fall flavor, I find myself making them year round with stored or frozen Eckert’s Apples.  I hope you will give them a try this fall and find yourself a new year-round favorite!

Eat well this fall,


 Eckert’s Apple Crumb Pie

5 cups apples, peeled and sliced (about 6 to 7 medium apples)*
1 (9-inch) unbaked frozen Eckert’s pie shells
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450°F.   Arrange apples in bottom of pie shell. Mix ½ cup sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Mix remaining ½ cup sugar and the flour in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture forms pea sized crumbs. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 30 minutes or until apples are tender and crumb top is nicely browned.

*The Eckert family “secret” to the best-tasting apple pie is to use a ratio of 4 Jonathan apples for every Golden Delicious apple. 

Broccoli, Apple & Blueberry Salad

It is hard to believe it is officially fall! Our days have been extremely wet and hot on the farm and unfortunately, ripe apples struggle with that combination. While this is certainly not our best apple crop, we are not alone! Almost all of our orchard friends in the metro east and Southern Illinois are struggling with apple quality this year. That being said, every apple that has endured the harsh climate is a treasure to be had! I feel fortunate each time I take a bite and thank Mother Nature for not taking them all.

 This week, I wanted to make a spin-off of one of my favorites from our deli called Broccoli Crunch Salad. I explored the internet and found a couple different versions that included apples instead of bacon and I immediately started salivating! I rushed to our classroom kitchen test a few different recipes before arriving on this perfect combination. Our deli’s Broccoli Crunch uses a mayonnaise based salad dressing but I wanted to incorporate Greek yogurt in mine. A little Eckert’s honey adds a perfect sweetness to compliment the apple cider vinegar.

 I used Jonathan apples in this recipe but you could use any apple variety. This salad has great texture and flavor and it is such a beautiful salad. I am so excited to take it to my next potluck!!

Eat well this fall,

Broccoli, Apple & Blueberry Salad

4-5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup blueberries (about 6 oz)
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 large apples, chopped into bite-size pieces (use your favorite variety)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup Eckert’s pure honey
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. poppy seeds

 In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. In a canning jar, combine the dressing ingredients and top with lid. Shake well, then pour dressing over the salad. Toss to combine. Return bowl to refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. 

Eckert's Apple Brie Soup

Our classroom staff is busy preparing for our annual event of wine and apple recipes in our Belleville orchard! It is one of my favorite events of the year because our guests have a blast riding the wagon out to the orchard and tasting wines and foods among the apple trees. This year Grafton Winery will be joining us again to serve up one of their special apple desserts too. I can’t wait!

 Every year we change up the recipes and this year I am most excited about serving our Apple Brie Soup with apple slices and our bakery’s Irish Soda Bread. This recipe uses apples in a truly creative way. Brie cheese is a perfect complement to sweet apples and the stock gives the soup nice body. I am also calling for my new favorite heavy cream from a local family-owned dairy called Rolling Lawn. We have recently partnered with Rolling Lawn and I am impressed with the flavor and quality of their dairy products.

 This recipe requires a little extra time to slow cook the ingredients before gradually blending in the broth and cheese. I guarantee if you follow our step-by-step instructions and recommended cooking times, you will have yourself a soup that will steal the show! I can’t wait to see what our guests think about it tomorrow night!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Eckert’s Apple Brie Soup
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 large apples (about 1 pound), peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ large sweet yellow onion (about 1 cup), peeled, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
1 stalk celery (about ¼ cup), finely chopped
2 ½ cups of unsalted chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind scraped and removed; cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt to taste
¼ cup Rolling Lawns heavy cream
Grated apple, unpeeled for garnish, optional

Melt butter in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, onions and celery; cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. (Cooking until soft is important to get a smoother textured soup).

Turn off heat.

Sprinkle flour evenly over top of cooked vegetables. Return heat to low. Using a whisk, stirring constantly, and cook 2 minutes or until the flour is completely combined with mixture.

Gradually add stock while constantly stirring mixture with a wooden flat bottomed spatula. Stir in pepper, ginger and cumin. Bring mixture to a boil then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 to 18 minutes; stirring occasionally.

Add cubes of Brie cheese. Stir gently until cheese is melted about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree soup in batches in blender, food processor or immersion blender until smooth and well blended. Add salt to taste. Stir in cream with whisk before serving.

Note: This soup looks super cute when served in 4-ounce canning jars with Eckert’s unpeeled apple rings and Irish Soda bread.

Apple Cider Pancakes

In celebration of apple season finally being here, we asked Alex Caspero, Registered Dietitian, yoga teacher and blogger at Delish Knowledge to create a delicious fall inspired recipe for us highlighting our favorite fruit of the year.

This may be the most perfect weekend breakfast. A giant stack of warm apple cider pancakes, a mountain of soft, cinnamon coated apples and a generous pour of Eckert’s homemade apple syrup. Just add an oversize cup of coffee with my favorite book and I might stay on the couch all morning.

I’m a big believer in Saturday breakfasts, a tradition I take very seriously in my house. After a morning walk, bike ride or run together as a family, we head home to relax, plan the weekend and linger over a long breakfast. To me, it’s the perfect way to ease into the weekend; savoring time, trying new recipes and creating memories. While these special days can be few and far between during the busy summer season, we gear back up after Labor Day ends.

Though the weather is still hovering around 90 degrees, I’m all in for Fall. I’ve switched out my spring flowers for mums, pulled my boots out of storage and dusted off my slow-cooker. I’ve also scheduled a few afternoons to head out to Eckert’s for apple and pumpkin picking and stocking up on my favorite fall favorites like homemade apple cider, apple butter and apple syrup. We welcomed in the season this past Saturday with a batch of these cider pancakes. Tender, fluffy and layered with apples, I know you will enjoy them as much as we did.

If you have any extra pancakes, they freeze wonderfully. Simply wrap each cooled pancake in plastic wrap then place in a freezer-safe bag. When you’re ready to eat, remove the wrap and toast until warmed through. 

Apple Cider Pancakes
Yield ~14-16 pancakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Eckert’s Apple Cider
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
2 large eggs
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded apples (from roughly ~3 small apples)
Eckert’s Apple Syrup, for topping

Apple Topping

3 apples, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients for apple topping: apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until apples soften and caramelize, about 10-15 minutes.

While the apple topping is cooking, make the pancakes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the apple cider, milk, vinegar, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the shredded apples. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together taking care not to over mix. The batter will be lumpy.

Heat a large griddle over medium heat and coat either with cooking spray or a teaspoon of oil. Using a ¼ cup scoop, pour pancake batter onto the griddle. Cook until air bubbles appear then flip and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes more.

Continue with the rest of the batter.

To serve, stack pancakes and top with apple topping and Eckert’s Apple Syrup. 

Late Summer Pork & Apple Salad

The days are still hot on the farm but Eckert’s apples are ready for pickin’! It feels like we are in limbo season because we are still harvesting some summer crops but starting to pick a few fall goodies as well. Last night I was in the mood to grill but I also craved to keep dinner on the lighter side. I love this Late Summer Pork and Apple Salad because it is packed with flavor and a refreshing dinner choice.

Grilling pork is always tricky because it easily becomes tough if over cooked. In this recipe, the pork is finished on the grill in a foil pouch. The foil locks in the flavor and generates some lovely juices to flavor the salad. You won’t want to skip this step because it ensures tender and flavorful pork.


The rest of the recipe is pretty simple, aside from the complexity of flavors. I chose a blue cheese to add a creamy mouth feel and a little saltiness. Buttermilk Blue Affine is one of my favorites because it is made in America and it is aged for at least six months which gives it an earthy undertone. If you are not a fan of blue, try this recipe with feta crumbles or an aged cheddar, roughly chopped.

I used chopped Gala apples in the salad because that is what I picked on my drive home through the farm (I am super spoiled I know!). If Galas aren’t available, substitute another sweet apple like HoneyCrisp, Fuji or Red Delicious. Finally, I chopped up one of the remaining farm-grown turnips that was hiding in my crisper drawer and topped it all off with the delicious dressing. The dressing, made with Eckert’s Apple Cinnamon Jelly, pork drippings and Dijon, really rounds out the flavors of this yummy salad.

I hope you will give this recipe a try for yourself very soon!

Eat well this Late Summer/Fall,



Late Summer Pork & Apple Salad
3 Tbs. Eckert’s Apple Cinnamon jelly, divided
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, divided
½ tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
½ tsp. fresh sage leaves, minced
3 boneless (¾-inch thick cut) pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus about 1 Tbs. more for brushing
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
6 to 8 cups cleaned torn lettuce greens
1 unpeeled Gala or Fuji apple, diced
1 small Eckert’s turnip, peeled* and finely diced

¾ cup crumbled blue cheeseHeavy duty Foil for chopsPreheat grill to high. Mix 2 tablespoons apple cinnamon jelly with the 1 teaspoon thyme, rosemary and sage leaves. Set aside. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil on both sides. Reduce grill heat to medium. Grill the chops until marked, about 3 minutes per side. Brush each chop TOP with the jelly-herb mixture (does not need to be brushed on both sides). Continue to grill until the chops are cooked through about 2 to 3 more minutes. Using a large enough piece of heavy duty foil, wrap the chops tightly. Return to the grill for about another 5 minutes. Food thermometer should read 165-degrees. Leave in foil and set aside to rest and cool slightly.

Whisk mustards, vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon apple cinnamon jelly in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside. Reserving the pork drippings, cut pork into bite-size pieces. Add lettuce, apple, turnip, pork, onion and blue cheese to a large platter or bowl. Take the reserved pork drippings and add to the salad dressing; mix well. Pour dressing on salad.

Makes 4 entree size servings.
*If using small, young farm fresh turnips, no need to peel. 

Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese Filling

Apple season is in the air and I am thrilled to be revisiting my favorite fall recipes. I especially love to take a favorite recipe and make minor adaptations to it. This recipe for Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese originally came from the Eckert’s Fall Cookbook (on page 74). I decided to make it with Gala apples since they are currently in season. This recipe would also be excellent with Pixie Crunch, Jonathon or Golden Delicious apples which will be ready for picking soon.

ingredients sized.jpg

The fun part of this recipe is hollowing out the apple. A coring tool makes this job much easier. And although it takes a bit of time to prep the apple, they make a beautiful presentation for this yummy dessert. I also adapted the original recipe to include a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese (which has broad appeal and tempers the tang of goat cheese). 

I love this dessert because it reminds me of a rich and creamy cheesecake. For those of us trying to eat fewer carbs or less gluten, it is a great way to get your cheesecake and eat it too! 

oven sized.jpg

Eat well this almost fall, Angie

Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese  

6 Gala, Pixie Crunch or Jonathan apples
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tbs. slivered almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice thin layer off top of each apple. Using an apple corer tool, remove the core to within 1/2 inch of bottom. (Do not core apple all the way through.) Carefully cut out a cavity in center of each apple about 1 1/2 inches across and 2 inches deep using paring knife or end of the corer tool. Mix cheeses, lemon juice and brown sugar until well blended and smooth. Stir in raisins and almonds. Spoon cheese mixture evenly into apples, mounding slightly. Place in parchment paper- or foil-lined baking dish. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Makes 6 servings.

Almost Peaches 'N Cream Cake

Today, I am excited to share one of our most requested recipes! Our bakery has been making Peaches ‘N Cream Cake for more than a decade. It is our bakery’s best-selling product in the summer which is why we make it 80 cakes at a time. This time of year, customers stock up on Peaches ‘N Cream Cake and freeze it since we only make it during peach season. I have been trying for years to come up with something similar for the home baker so here is my best attempt.

I used a crumb topping from a family apple pie recipe and tweaked our Peachy Pound Cake from the Eckert Family Summer Cookbook by adding sour cream and more eggs. The resulting batter is very dense so be sure to follow the directions closely on mixing times and the order to incorporate ingredients.

After some recipe testing in our cooking classroom, I held a taste-off with our veteran staff members and they all thought the recipe tasted a lot like our bakery’s best-selling loaf. Last night I made the recipe again and tested it at home with Chris and the kids. They all thought the batter was a little denser and not quite as sweet as our bakery’s version. Chris suggested adding another ½ cup of sugar but I didn’t test that version yet.

I am anxious for you to try this recipe for yourself and decide. Let me know what you think!!

Eat well this summer,


P.S. Hurry on out to the Belleville Farm and pick some peaches! We will soon be winding down peach season and shifting gears to all apples! Click here for crop availability: 

Almost Peaches ‘N Cream Cake

¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, stirred then measured
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup sour cream
2 cups peeled and diced Eckert’s peaches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and work with a fork or fingertips until crumbly.

For batter, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a stand or hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to incorporate. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with dollops of sour cream. Beat well after each addition. Drain peaches if they have drawn juice before adding to batter.

Pour topping into two buttered 8” loaf pans (we used glass pans). Then, sprinkle topping over the batter in both pans. Bake for 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on a wire rack. Slice and serve. Freezes well.