Since I was a child, have I loved to bake. As I have written often, I loved my grandmother's kitchen and its smells, the old yellow Chambers range and just being with her. The best part? She loved having me there, too.
She baked everything from scratch, biscuits, breads, pies, cakes and tea cakes, and, yes, they were all good.
My cousin brought her a sourdough starter from San Francisco where he was doing his medical internship. She guarded that starter like it was another child. She fed it, shared it and, best of all, made all sorts of breads and cakes with it. She kept it for years until my granddad's health required all her attention.
Last week, I started a sourdough starter. I am determined to keep it going and to try various recipes using the starter. My starter uses yeast and potato flakes. As I write this, I have three loaves rising and almost ready for baking.
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Elyssa, my daughter, enjoys making bread, too, probably more that I do, and she is good at it. On Friday, she made three challah loaves for Shabbat. Sunday, she helped with the sourdough loaves. I always love having Elyssa in the kitchen with me. Not only did she learn to cook, but cooking was great for reading and math skills when she was younger.
While the dough was churning in the mixer, my granddaughter, Lilly, was trying to see what was going on. I simply plopped her on the counter so she could see the mixer twist and turn the bread, a cooking/science lesson at 15 months. The love of baking and cooking already has begun in another generation: "The older women shall teach the younger ..."
October is here, and the holidays will be quickly arriving. Readers, if you have some
good recipes that use sourdough starter, please send them to me. I would like to try them and also share them with your fellow readers.
Also, if you need recipes for the holidays, please let me know. Readers and I will try to find them.
Eggs, eggs and more eggs
Bev Casey asked for recipes that use a lot of egg yolks, and in last week's column, a reader shared a rum pie recipe that used the yolks. Today, Carolyn Stone of Parrish shares a sponge cake recipe that uses 11 yolks.
Coastian Betsy Clark shares two pie recipes, her Key West rum pie and a Key Lime pie. Last week's rum pie was an inspiration for her.
"This was a favorite of my family, using egg yolks after making an angel food cake," Stone said.
BUTTER SPONGE CAKE
11 beaten egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk, scalded
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter
Beat egg yolks with sugar until light-colored and fluffy; add slightly cooled milk and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients (cake flour and baking powder). Fold in butter. Bake in 2 wax paper-lined 8-inch square pans in moderate oven (350 degrees) 30 to 40 minutes. Frost if desired.
-- Submitted by Carolyn Stone from "Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, 1951"
"I have a rum pie recipe that I have been making since 1967. It uses egg whites as well as yolks, but the yolks are cooked then the whites folded in. The next time I make it, I plan to omit the egg whites, and it should be dense and creamy instead of fluffy," Clark said. "You gave me a great idea for experimenting with it."
RUM PIE -- KEY WEST 1967
2 large graham cracker crusts
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin softened in 1/2 cup water
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup or more Bacardi Anejo rum (or Don Q Gold or Bacardi Select, if Anejo not available)
1 ounce square unsweetened chocolate
Beat yolks well. Add sugar and gelatin/water mix. Cook in a double boiler until it coats a spoon and isn't runny. Let cool. Add rum, stiffly beaten egg whites and whipped cream. Pour into crusts and grate bitter chocolate on top. Chill. Must be made a day ahead.
-- Submitted by Betsy Clark
"Our favorite dessert when we lived in Key West in the '60s was, of course, Key Lime Pie, and it uses only egg yolks. Supposedly the yolks are 'cooked' in the lime juice," Clark said.
KEY LIME PIE
1 large graham cracker crust, baked and cooled
4 egg yolks
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice (Nellie and Joe's is available on the Coast)
Beat egg yolks, then beat in condensed milk. Slowly pour in Key lime juice while the mixer is running. The lime juice thickens the filling, and some say the lime juice "cooks" the egg yolks.
A few drops of green food coloring may be added, but that's not authentic Key West.
This pie can be chilled overnight or served frozen. Either way is better with a dollop of whipped cream.
-- Submitted by Betsy Clark
"Thank you so much for the egg recipe. I don't think I'll try the pie because I have found that pasteurized egg whites do not whip up as well or hold shape that would be required in an angel food cake or meringue recipe," said Casey. "I'm sending you the recipe for the cake. I will make it for my daughter who is moving down from the North for her wise decision and for her birthday in December. I did find a cake recipe in my old, old "Fanny Farmer" cookbook that uses six egg yolks. We will see what transpires."
And now, here is Bev Casey's chocolate angel food cake recipe that uses all the egg whites. Perhaps she will also share the cake that uses the six egg yolks.
CHOCOLATE ANGEL FOOD CAKE
3/4 cup flour
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1- 1/2 cups egg whites (12 eggs)
1- 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
Into large bowl, measure flour, 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar and cocoa. Sift together 3 times. Set aside. In another bowl, beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until foamy, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Beat until egg whites are stiff. Fold in dry ingredients. Lightly spoon into ungreased tube pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn upside down to cool.
"I use cake flour," Casey said. "I start the egg whites and break them down and then add the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla. Egg whites must be stiff, but not dry. When the bowl is turned upside down and the whites do not move, they are ready. Also when tasted, there should be no grainy sugar on the tongue. Be sure and use pure cane sugar."
-- Submitted by Bev Casey from The Association of Minneapolis Children's Medical Center Inc.
What is farro?
"Your recipe for Italian bread, which was printed in the Bradenton Herald, was a very delightful tasteful experience for me and my family," George Staudt said. "Incidentally, while scanning other recipes in the paper I noticed one calling for farro. What is farro? Is it a spice, a herb? Where can I purchase it?"
I have not cooked with farro, but know it is an Italian grain that is gaining popularity with restaurant chefs. It cooks quickly and can be used in various ways. Farro should be in supermarkets with all the other boxes of grains.
Readers, if you have farro recipe or cook with farro, please send me your recipes and suggestions for Staudt. Also, please let me know where you found farro, in the supermarket, specialty food store, etc.
Coming next week
Readers share the much-promised stuffed zucchini and vegetable recipes, plus another version of a slow-cooker turkey.
Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.