Monday, February 15, 2010

Two Recipes and a Poem for President’s Day

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies..."
At school children used to be taught that George Washington, our first president, cut down a cherry tree and when the usual suspects were questioned about the mauled tree, he admitted his guilt saying, “I cannot tell a lie.” I’ve heard tell that now people think this didn’t actually happen. Really? Do you think anyone actually believed it? Who would not notice a kid chopping down an entire cherry tree? And why would a kid want to? Wouldn’t he rather climb it? Who cares if it’s fiction? Fiction tells the truth, but tells it “slant. ”

Bravo to George and the legend of truthfulness, courage and self-knowledge!

To uphold tradition, something with cherries must be served on President’s Day. Here are two recipes, one with milk and one without that I adapted for the day.

Jewish Apple Cake
Ingredients this moist and dependable cake is a family favorite. I adapt it in all sorts of ways and serve it year round.
Preparation:

A few hours or the night before baking:Peel and slice 3- 4 apples (three if you are also using cherries or cranberries as you might wish to for President’s Day). Put these in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/8 cup sugar and 1 T cinnamon. Let the apples sit a few hours or over night. Drain the apples, but reserve the syrup.

When you are ready to bake, grease and flour a tube pan, a 9 x 13” pan or two loaf pans. I prefer two loaf pans and preheat the oven to 350.

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup orange juice. (Apple juice or other substitutions do not work as well.)

Mix oil and sugar, add the eggs and beat until lighter and fluffier. Add the vanilla.

Mix the dry ingredients and add them to the egg mixture alternately with the orange juice just until all is incorporated. Do not beat or overmix. This cake is made on the muffin principle, not the cake principle meaning without beaten egg whites and the folding of stuff.

At this point, take the drained apples and add 1 cup sour cherries or sweet cherries (canned, frozeon or freshly picked and pitted) or 1 cup cranberries. Mix the fruits together.

Pour half the batter into the pan(s). Layer on the fruit mixture.

Pour on the rest of the batter and put the rest of the fruit evenly scattered on top.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes (for the smaller pans) or 60 minutes for the tube pan.

Cool on a rack for about an hour. During this time, take the syrup from the apples and drizzle it carefully and slowly onto the top of the cake so that it can seep in.

Turn the cake out onto a plate and let it stand, uncut and untasted,for a few hours or even over night. This step helps it develop a sweet crust all over.

Variations:

1. Use the basic recipe for the best blueberry muffins ever! Simply substitute fresh or frozen blueberries and bake as muffins.

2. This cake is delicious baked using only apples, but other fruits work well too. I’ve used peaches, I’ve mixed peaches and raspberries, and also apples and raspberries.



"...Too bright for our infirm DelightAs Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind..."

The Truth's superb surprise



The following is a milk-filled recipe adapted from my sister’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

President’s Day Sour Cream Cherry Crumb Cake:
Topping:
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
a dribble of cream if necessary.
Mix flour, sugars and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. If you have no big crumbs, dribble on a tiny bit of cream to make big crumbs, but don’t add so much cream that it turns into a solid dough. Set crumbs aside.

Prepare the cherries:
Sour cherries (freshly picked and pitted, or preserved by canning or freezing), or sweet cherries. Drain or thaw the cherries.
The Cake:
Prepare a 9 x 13” pan by greasing and flouring it. I make a “sling” from aluminum foil or from parchment paper by lining the pan with it lengthwise with a piece long enough that it extends over the short sides of the pan. I grease this as if it were the bottom of the pan. (the sling enables me to lift the cake out of the pan and cut it more evenly.) Grease the sides, too. Dust with flour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Cream the butter. Add sugar, beat until lighter and fluffier. (It will be a little dense). Add the eggs one at a time and beat until even lighter and fluffier! Add the cream and vanilla, stirring only as much as absolutely needed (muffin principle). Stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. The batter will be dense and not liquid.

Spread the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Scatter the cherries over the top. Sprinkle on the crumbs, using all of them to cover the cherries.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes until a lovely fragrant golden brown. Cool on rack and when it is cool, use the sling to lift out the cake. Put it on a cutting board and cut into small squares. This cake has a dreamy, rich flavor and scent.

...The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---" Emily Dickinson
Enjoy with coffee or tea!
delicious any time of day ... and that's the truth

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