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Culinary SOS

Sycamore Inn's California-Style Cheese Pie Is 'Best ... Pure and Simple'

September 05, 1985|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: I am the writer of this column and I have never, ever, asked for a recipe. Now I will. How about the cheese pie served at the Sycamore Inn in Cucamonga, Calif.? It's probably the best California-style cheese pie I've tasted and I've tasted a lot of California cheese pies. I like this one because it is unadulterated. It's a pure and simple cheese pie with a fabulous sour cream topping. Flavor and texture are superb.

--R.D.

Dear R.D.: Well, all right. It is not policy to accommodate the writer of this column with recipes, for obvious reasons. But since there is no previous history of making such requests, and since the pie is THAT good--and you did say 'pretty please'--a concession will be made. But, remember, just this once. One more thing for the readers' benefit: follow directions exactly. Make no deviations or modifications or flavor-texture impact will be lost.

SYCAMORE INN CHEESE PIE

1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Graham Cracker Crust

Sour Cream Topping

In electric mixer, using balloon wire whip, mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Spread into Graham Cracker Crust. Bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes. Cool completely. Spread Sour Cream Topping over cooled, baked filling. Refrigerate to cool and set. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour

1/4 cup clarified butter

Mix crumbs and flour in metal pan or skillet. Heat over very low heat or at 350 degrees 5 minutes or until warmed. Add butter until well mixed. Pat crumbs onto bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate until crumbs form solid crust.

Sour Cream Topping

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups sour cream

By hand or with wire whisk beat together sugar, vanilla and sour cream until well blended.

Dear SOS: The Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland serves a wonderful Monte Cristo sandwich and I would love to have a recipe. Any chance?

--READER

Dear Reader: The recipe is our "The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook," (Abrams: $25, hardcover; New American Library: $9.95, paperback) and we've reprinted it in our column numerous times. However, here it is again.

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

6 slices cooked turkey

6 slices Swiss cheese

6 slices cooked ham

12 slices white bread

Batter

Oil for deep frying

Powdered sugar

Place 1 slice turkey on each of 6 slices bread, top turkey with layer of cheese and layer of ham. Top sandwiches with remaining slices of bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters, using wood picks to hold quarters together. Dip each sandwich quarter into Batter and fry in oil heated to 350 degrees until golden brown. Remove picks and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with jelly, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Batter

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups water

1 egg

Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add water to beaten egg and add to flour mixture. Mix well. Makes about 3 cups.

Dear SOS: I've recently tried the most fabulous chicken mole at Antonio's restaurant in Los Angeles and would love to have the recipe. Can you help?

--LAURIE

Dear Laurie: Antonio sent this recipe, which has also been featured in the Food Section's Borderline column in the past.

ANTONIO'S CHICKEN MOLE

1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) chicken, cut up

Water

2 pasila negro chiles (black pasila)

2 Anaheim chiles

2 New Mexican chiles

2 California chiles

1/2 cup peanuts

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup walnuts

1 (3.1-ounce) tablet Mexican chocolate

1 banana, cut up

1 large tomato, peeled and chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Dash oregano

Dash ground cumin

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt

4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped

1 whole chicken cut up in 6 or 8 pieces

Simmer chicken in salted water to cover until tender. Drain, reserving broth.

Meanwhile, soak chiles 30 minutes in warm water. Drain and remove stems and seeds. Grind chiles in food processor or blender until pureed, adding a little chicken broth or hot water to facilitate grinding. Put chiles through sieve to remove bits of peel.

Combine chile pulp, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, chocolate, banana, tomato, onion, 2 cloves garlic, oregano, cumin, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups broth in large pot. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn mixture into blender and grind until pureed. Beat 2 teaspoons oil in pot. Return sauce mixture to pot, add remaining 2 cups chicken broth and simmer slowly 30 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet. Add onions and remaining clove garlic and cook until onion is tender. Add tomato and cook until tender. Add chicken and stir to mix and season to taste with salt.

Note: Fresh chiles called for are generally available at Mexican produce sections of major supermarkets as well as Mexican grocery stores.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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