Tag Archive | dessert

Canning with Ultra Gel and Thick Gel

I love this time of year when so many fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest! My kitchen is quickly filling up with things that need processing: tomatoes, squash, peaches, beans, apples. It just keeps coming! Not that I’m complaining, mind you. :)

So one of the big questions we get this time of year is how Ultra Gel and Thick Gel can be used in canning, and, even more specifically how they compare to products such as Clear Jel.

Clear Jel, like Ultra Gel and Thick Gel is a modified food starch. It has been on the market for many years and is often available through online resources and at Amish stores. However, many people find Clear Jel difficult to locate and hard to use, as well there is concerns about whether or not Clear Jel contains GMO products.

Now, backing up a bit, the first question when it comes to any of these products is: Why do I need to use modified food starch anyway? Can’t I use flour or cornstarch?

The problem you get with some traditional thickeners and methods is that they do not thicken canned goods evenly or consistently. Relying on only natural pectin, for example, means a different result with each batch of fruit, so you often end up cooking a canned product for a lot longer than you really want to, ending up with mushy fruit and loss of flavor and health benefits, in order to get your product to set. As well, pectin breaks down over time and products begin to weep and break apart so you’ll have some sections which are very juicy and some that are over thick.

When dealing with flour and cornstarch they do not thicken evenly, so the processing heat does not move through the bottle evenly and may or may not be able to kill all bacteria, yeasts and molds. As well you can see the same weeping and spotty thickness problems that you see with pectin.

Thick Gel and Ultra Gel are unique in the canning world because of how evenly they thicken products and because if their very high stability under acidic conditions, high heat, and their freeze/thaw stability. This allows for safe canning of items such as soups, sauce, pie fillings, jams and just about anything else which traditionally calls for Clear Jel, flour or cornstarch. These starches have been tested in commercial laboratories and are canning approved by the Utah State Extension service.

Thick Gel and Ultra Gel can be purchased through the Cornaby’s Website, or through Amazon. Locally they can be found at your local Associated Food Stores, Bosch Kitchen Centers and Harmons Food Stores.

Recipe Conversions: If recipes are given by weight instead of volume use the same weight of Thick Gel or Ultra Gel to Clear Jel.

1 Tablespoon Clear Jel=3/4 Tablespoon Thick Gel=2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

1 Tablespoon Thick Gel=2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Thick Gel apple pie filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Yield: 8 servings per quart

For one quart or one pie:

3 ½ cup blanched peeled and cored cooking apples sliced ¼” thick

¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (opt.)

½ cup cold water

¾ cup apple juice

2 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice

1 drop yellow food coloring (opt.)

3 Tablespoons Thick Gel OR 6 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

For seven quarts:

6 qts. blanched peeled and cored cooking apples sliced ¼” thick

5 ½ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg (opt.)

2 ½ cups cold water

5 cups apple juice

¾ cup bottled lemon juice

7 drops yellow food coloring (opt.)

1 cup Thick Gel OR 2 ½ cup Ultra Gel


Peel, core and slice apples; place in water containing ascorbic acid. Blanch no more than 2 quarts at a time for 1 minute in boiling water and keep warm.

Combine sugar, spices, water, apple juice, lemon juice and coloring in heavy 10-12 quart pan. Bring to a boil and gradually stir in Ultra Gel with a wire whisk – If using Thick Gel, combine listed Thick Gel with enough additional apple juice to form a thin slurry and whisk into boiling liquid. Cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Fold in drained apple slices. Fill jars, leaving ½” headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 35 minutes (sea level). Add five minutes processing time for elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and ten minutes for elevations from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.

Nutrition info/serving: 128 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat 33 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 30 g sugar, 0 g protein, 2 mg sodium

Zucchini Banana Bread

It is some kind of shared delusion that everyone in Utah who gardens plants summer squash. We all do it, even knowing that very shortly we will be in squash upto our eyeballs and desperately trying to decide what to do with it all. Fried, baked, roasted, creamed, shredded…you try everything. This recipe for a zucchini banana bread is one of my favorite uses for all that squash, and it takes care of a handful of overripe bananas all at once. Win win right?

So as I have 7 squash on the counter and can’t make them all into bread…what should I do with the rest of them?

Zucchini Banana Bread

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups grated, peeled, seeded zucchini

1 cup mashed overripe bananas

2 Tbsp Ultra Gel

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add squash, banana, Ultra Gel, oil and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; then add to creamed mixture. Do not over beat! Stir in nuts if desired. Place in greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour. Yield: 4 medium loaves.

This recipe freezes really well. To freeze, cool loaves entirely and wrap in cling wrap and aluminum foil. Label with date and freeze.

Jam in a Jiffy – Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Pie!

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which is a lovely time for us. An unofficial kick off to summer and a chance to spend a few days together, as well as the very important duty of remembering those who have gone before us. One of the nice things about the long weekend is the chance to do some special cooking. My Bunneh has been as busy as can be making ham and chicken stock, steaks and rotisserie chicken. My job was to come up with the sides and the dessert.

The dessert I settled on was a brownie ice cream pie with raspberry topping. Raspberry prices are dropping but I wanted something even easier. Going to my freezer I spied my containers of jam in a jiffy raspberry jam and decided that would make easy and yummy topping. When it all came together I was happy with the results. I think we could have added a little whipping cream for the lightness and pretty factor, but without it it was pretty darn good too.

So there you have it…jam in a jiffy freezer jam, not just for sandwiches!

raspberry brownie pie

Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Pie

1 large brownie mix

2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

1 cup raspberry jam in a jiffy freezer jam

Make brownie mix according to the box directions, adding 2 Tablespoons of Ultra Gel to the mix for extra moisture and tenderness. Pour into two 9 inch pie plates and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

Layer softened ice cream on brownie pie and remove to freezer for a minimum of four hours.

Cut and top with freezer jam, serve immediately.  Add whipping cream as desired.

White Chocolate Raspberry Gooey Cookies

May is a fun time of year, not only because it’s Mother’s Day (Hi Mom!), but it’s the time when we start seeing more fresh fruit making its way into our local markets. In particular we see a lot of berries and as raspberry growers that makes us ever so happy. Down on the farm our own plants are soaking up the spring rain and you can almost watch them growing, with most of the bushes upto about 24 inches this far.

So, in the spirit of raspberries to come tonight I made some White Chocolate Raspberry Gooey Cookies. This is a fun and easy recipe that starts with a cake mix as a base, but then gets interesting by adding extra butter, cream cheese, Ultra Gel and fresh berries. The final cookie is rich and a bit cakey, kinda half way between a cookie and a cup cake and that’s just fine by me. So here you go, something to do with those berries that don’t get eaten on the way home from the store and a recipe for your files when the farmer’s markets start filling up with raspberry goodness!

White Chocolate Raspberry Gooey Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Gooey Cookies

1 cake mix (white, lemon or yellow work best)

1/2 cup softened butter

1 8 ounce bar low fat cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 Tbl Ultra Gel

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (If there is a lot of juice with the berries drain the juice first)

1 cup white chocolate chips

Combine butter, cream cheese, egg, vanilla and ultra gel in a stand mixer and mix until well combined. Add cake mix and incorporate. Fold in berries and chocolate chips. Move batter to the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop batter by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

Peach Crumble

Traditional cobblers were an English invention which come in both sweet and savory formats. Generally a cobbler is defined as a filling topped with a bread or cake topping.  At one point one of the most popular cobblers was a suet pudding with a puff type pastry lid.  Many places in England still serve these puddings often in individual servings.  I had them a million years ago at a place called the Ale House in Scotland and they were one of the best things I ate.  The cobbler took on a different form when the English colonists settled in the Americas and didn’t have access to all the ingredients usually in an English pudding, so they would take fruit and cover it with biscuits or other breads.  Light cakes became popular over the years, particularly once boxed cake mixes gained popularity. The term cobbler has come to encompass these covered fruit sauces, buckles, grumps, crisps, crumbles and several other fruit desserts.  In Utah these cobblers were a staple of early settlers as they could be easily cooked off in large pots and were a great place for scrap dough and fruit which might be a little bruised or over cooked.

A crumble is a sub-type of cobbler where the topping is a crumbly and, when well cooked, crunchy combination of flours, sugar and butter, sometimes with oats or nuts. This is broken up over the filling and remains as the name would have you believe, crumbled.

I love crumbles, particularly when the filling is apple or peach. I like cakey cobblers better with berry fillings, but each to their own.  In the following recipe you can slice peaches fresh, or drain preserved peach slices and use those instead. Either is fantastic!

Utah Peach Crumble

Utah Peach Crumble

2-3 pounds sliced peaches

1/2 cup vanilla sugar (this is easy to make by putting scraped out vanilla beans in a container of sugar and just letting it sit, regular granulated sugar will work as well)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine fruit, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to pull the juices.  Add Ultra Gel and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Form the crumble by combining flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and Ultra Gel.  Add the beaten egg, stirring lightly with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and moist.  Set aside.

Place fruit mixture in a 9×13 inch pan.  Cover with crumble.  Top everything with the melted butter.  Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Serve warm. (Or eat the next morning for breakfast.  It’s pretty darn good cold too.)

Alternatively divide the fruit mixture into individual ramekins, cover with crumble and drizzle with butter.  Cook at 375 until tops just begin to brown.

Voting Results are in: And a Cyber Monday special!


Drumroll please!!!!

Results of the pie contest voting are in!  And I have to say it was a close race and all of the recipes are pretty darn amazing so thank you to all of our chefs!

So on to the winner’s circle.  By the narrowest of margins our winner is:

Pie 4: Rum-Raisin, Raspberry, Pear Pie in an Almond Crust!

Our Runner up is:

Pie 2: Apple Cranberry Pie

And our Honorable Mention goes to:

Pie 5: Cool Lemon and Raspberry Pie

Thank you so much to everyone who entered.  If everyone will send us their contact details at info(at) cornabys(dot)com we have a participation gift for everyone and our Cornaby’s gift basket for our winner!  Your winning recipes will be made up in the Cornaby’s test kitchen and posted in our online recipe book with credit to the chefs!

Keep your eyes on this space. Come January we’ll be asking for your culinary expertise again!


Now in other news: Cyber Monday for Cornaby’s is being celebrated by giving you a $20 discount on a case of 8 ounce jams!  Selected flavors only, but what a savings!  Order over $50 ship for free. And we’ve extended our two for one Fruitivia savings.  Click here to see your options.


Here are the rest of the entries.  Remember to comment here on Facebook or Twitter with your favorite number 1-11.  Votes count once a day from now until November 30.

Pie 7: Maple-Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Pecan-Graham Crust, Maple Cream & Pecan Streusel

 1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans
 ½ cup ground graham crackers
 3 tablespoons sugar
 ½ teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (or mix together cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, mace)
 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 ½ cup whole milk
 1 cup whipping cream
 3 tablespoons Cornaby’s Ultra Gel
 15 ounces canned pure pumpkin
 6 tablespoons golden brown sugar
 3 tablespoons pure amber maple syrup
 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
 ¼ teaspoon salt
 3 large eggs
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 2 tablespoons bourbon or rum

Pecan Streusel
 1 ½ cups roughly chopped pecans
 3 tablespoons brown sugar
 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
 Pinch of salt
 5 tablespoons cold butter, diced into small pieces

Maple Cream
 1 ¼ cups cold whipping cream
 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
 2 tablespoons pure amber maple syrup
 2 tablespoon bourbon or rum (optional)

Crust: Mix all of the dry ingredients together until well blended. Press evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch deep glass pie dish. Set aside.

Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream and t milk with Cornaby’s Ultra Gel, Blend well. Let sit 10 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, sugar, pumpkin spice mix, and salt until well blended. Beat the cream-gel mixture together with the eggs, bourbon and vanilla until well blended. Add to the pumpkin mixture, blend well together.

Toasted Pecan Streusel: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the pecan streusel ingredients together by hand. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven about 8-10 minutes until, toasted and golden.

Maple Cream: Shortly before serving the pie, beat the whipping cream in a cold electric mixer bowl using cold whisk until soft peaks form. Add in the spice mix and the maple syrup. Add the bourbon, if using. Beat until just stiff peaks form.

To Assemble: Fold in pumpkin filing mixture into the crust.  Bake at 375 degrees F. preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 F. degrees. Continue baking another 30 minutes or so, until the filing is set in the center. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate, if using next day. Bring pie to room temperature. Spread the maple cream evenly over the top of the pie.  Sprinkle the toasted pecan streusel over the cream. Serve.

Pie 8: Spicy Raspberry Pie

1- 9 inch baked pie crust
12 oz. 7 up (not diet)
3/4 cup raspberry jalapeno spreadable fruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Cornaby’s Ultra Gel
3 oz. box raspberry jello
6 cups fresh raspberries

Whisk 7 up, raspberry spreadable fruit and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir until combined. Add ultra gel and heat about 5 minutes more, stirring. Remove from heat. Whisk in jello powder. Let cool till luke warm. Stir in raspberries. Pour into crust. Chill at least 2 hours. Top with whipped cream.

Pie 9: Cranberry-Raspberry-Pear Pie with AppleBerry Jelly in an Almond-Cornmeal Crust


¾ cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (or mix cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, room temperature
6 tablespoons buttermilk

2 cups fresh cranberries
4 cups peeled, cored, sliced pears
4 cups fresh raspberries (Cornaby’s), divided
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup Cornaby’s Pure Raw Raspberry Blossom Honey
½ cup currants, or raisins, optional
½ cup of water
5 tablespoons Cornaby’s Ultra Gel
1 cup Cornaby’s 5 Star Spreadable Fruit, Appleberry Jelly
Buttermilk for wash

Crust: In a food processor, mix the cornmeal, almonds, flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add in the butter and the shortening and cut into the dry ingredients, using the on/off button, until a coarse meal forms. Add in one tablespoon of buttermilk at a time, until the dough sticks together. Remove and form into a ball, divide in half. Flatten each ball into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour.

Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a food processor, roughly chop the cranberries, with the sugar and the spices. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pears, 3 cup raspberries, and optional currants. Mix to blend well. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of water with Cornaby’s Ultra Gel, then whisk in Cornaby’s Raspberry Blossom Honey. Blend well. Let sit 10 minutes. Smash with a fork the remaining cup of raspberries; mix with the Ultra gel mix. Blend well. Add to the cranberry-pear mixture. Blend well.

To Assemble: Roll out 1 disk of dough between wax paper into a 13 inch round. Remove the paper. Transfer the round to a 9-10 inch deep glass pie dish. Fold any overhand under the edges. Crimp the edges. Roll out second disk of dough into a round 1/8 inch thick. Cut out leaves or other patterns to use on top of pie, decoratively. Spread a thin layer of the Cornaby’s Appleberry Jelly over the bottom of the crust. Fold in the fruit filing mixture over the jelly. Place decoratively the dough leaves around the pie edges and the center. Brush dough with buttermilk. Place the pie dish onto a baking sheet and bake about 45 minutes. Cover with foil loosely and continue baking until bubbly and the dough is golden, another 30-40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool about an hour.  Serve warm.

Pie 10: Perfectly Easy Peach Raspberry Cheesecake Pie


1 1/4 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds

1/3 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine all ingredients.  Press into 9 inch pie pan.  Bake 10 minutes and cool.


1 cup heavy whipping cream

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

3/4  teaspoon almond flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 10 oz jar Cornaby’s Peach Raspberry Spreadable Fruit

Beat whipping cream to soft peaks.  Set aside.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and flavorings until well blended.   Fold in whipping cream.   Refrigerate 3 hours.  Top with Cornby’s Peach Raspberry Spreadable Fruit. Serves 8.

Pie 11: Ruby Red Jewels Pie

1 9-inch pastry crust, baked

4 Ruby Red Grapefruit

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Cornaby’s Ultra Gel

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup Cornaby’s Raspberry Spreadable Fruit

Sweetened Whipped Cream

1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut

Peel grapefruit and section into segments and place in a bowl. Squeeze membranes and reserve 1 cup juice. Pour sugar over grapefruit sections and allow to stand 1 hour. Drain and add liquid to reserved juice to make 1 ½ cups. Place juice in a double boiler with salt and Cornaby’s Ultra Gel. Cook until thick, add vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Spread Cornaby’s raspberry in bottom of baked pie shell. Add grapefruit segments, spreading out evenly in a pinwheel design. Poor cooled juice mixture over grapefruit. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream and garnish with toasted coconut. Serves 6.