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Recipe of the Week

From Amanda’s kitchen, of ArtisanMaskers

Mock Apple Crisp

Doesn’t this Autumny apple crisp look delicious?  Well, if you thought those were apples you’d be  WRONG!  Believe it or not, this is a picture of my sister’s “mock apple” crisp, which uses not apples, but ZUCCHINI!  (Great way to use up all the excess zucchini from your garden, right?)  Here we go!

First, to turn all that zucchini into “apples”!

8 Cups Zucchini, peeled, seeded, and chopped into “apple-like” chunks or slices

3/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1 Cup Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 Tbsp Cornstarch

Boil zucchini pieces in lemon juice until tender (about 15 minutes).  Add sugar, spices, and cornstarch and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let cool slightly.

To make “crisp” topping, cut together with a pastry blender:

1 Stick Cold Butter (1/2 Cup)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Oats

1 tsp Cinnamon

Pour your mock apple mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle crisp topping crumbs evenly over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until top looks slightly browned.  Enjoy hot with ice cream!

Recipe of the Week

By Amanda of ArtisanMaskers

(Late Friday entry, borrowed from her personal blog: http://amandajphotos.blogspot.com/search?q=recipe)

Food Adventure: Date Cake

So, lately I’ve been wanting to branch out a little in the food department. At a book club I attend, we’d decided to do Middle Eastern Food in February. Not knowing ANYTHING about Middle Eastern Food, I relied heavily on google, and came up with this. The cake would be a good coffee cake, and Asher said it was “DELICIOUS!”, but I felt like the flavor was a lot like a recipe I’ve already got and was disappointed by the lack of “date” taste in the cake. But, hey. You win some, you lose some on a food adventure, right?

Boiling the dates…

Mixing them in…

And the finished cake!

I added a powdered sugar stencil of a dragon (NOT traditional… ;D ) in honor of the book we read: The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

WARNING: Food adventures are not for the faint of heart…

DIY Dessert Table

If chocolates are for courting, then the next edible milestone has to be the wedding cake. Ceremonial feasting has always been an important part of weddings. One thing very special about the presentation of the wedding cake is that it has become a dazzling haute cuisine creation that one eats with their eyes as well.

However, to gather some inspiration for your own haute cuisine wedding feast,  off the multi-tiered track, here is a little history on the wedding confection as we know it today as well as some inspiration from nuptial sweets abroad.

It all started with a ring-bearing pie, in fact. The first wedding cakes in Anglo-Saxon tradition were pies which came a quaint tradition much like the tossing of the bridal bouquet or garter. In this ancient custom, a glass ring was baked into the pie. The wedding guest who received the ring-bearing slice would be next to marry. Just be sure you announce this to your guests before serving, so no one cracks a tooth on their romantic good fortune! Instead of making entire pies, you could even make these sweet little heart-shaped single slices by Old Time Favorites and hide the ring in one of them for a fun wedding game!

Little Heart Pies -- Heart Shaped Pies (12)

And though the white frosted multi-tiered wedding cake first introduced by England’s royal bakers in 1859 for the wedding of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter is what we have come to know as the “traditional” cake for the wedding feast,  the idea of stacked confections came long before this. The French have been known to stack cakes for centuries for their wedding dessert tableaux and have been known to have a dispute or two in claiming who created the modern wedding cake. The traditional Croquembouche, a delicious pyramid of cream puffs stuck together with drizzled hot caramel could be the original inspiration for the stacked sponge cakes familiar to Americans today.  Sometimes these Croquembouche were stacked very high to invite newlyweds to lean over and try to kiss over the tower of sweetness, each time with more cream puffs being added.  The higher the Croquembouche was piled without disturbing the kiss, the more children the newly wed couple would have. Does this mean only tall people are destined to have many children, you ask? Probably not, but it is a charming game, anyhow,  which predates the Cake Kiss. You can make your own Croquembouche with any cream puffs recipe of your choice stacked and coated with caramel. And easier yet, you can just go to a nearby bakery for the cream puffs already made and then enjoying the fun sculpting part at home as you caramel-glue them together.  Here is a lovely painting of this dish by artist Janet Hill.

The Leaning Tower Of Croquembouche- Open Edition Print

In the Caribbean,  a very rich and decadent cake of native rum-infused fruits is made for the wedding feast and drenched with more rum before serving to guests. In Jamaica, guests who can’t make it to the wedding festivities are mailed preserved slices of this rum-pickled cake as a thoughtful souvenir. A very different kind of wedding cake souvenir is taken home by the bride & groom in Bermuda, in which a tiny seedling used to decorate the top of the wedding cake is planted in their new home as a symbol of their growing love.  Ideally a long-living tree or herb bush.Whether or not you want a rich rum fruitcake, you can easily have a cake of your choice made while embracing this same tradition, embedding a contained sapling plant into the center of the wedding cake as a romantic gesture.  Another alternative is this lovely cake topper inspired by the tradition.

Cake Toppers: Quince and Chocolate

The Kransakaka wedding cake of Iceland is a towering structure of stacked almond cake rings decorated with icing and filled with an assortment of chocolates and sweets.  A great idea for those who may not want to commit to eating an entire slice of cake.

And if you are feeling really ambitious,  there is a very similar almond ring cake served in Denmark which is the same recipe, but only turned over on its side and made into a cornucopia shape and filled with cookies and marzipan treats, or sometimes with whole candied fruits.  The horn of plentiful fruits and sweets is supposed to represent a bountiful union in the years ahead.

cornucopia

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