In cake, I am aloft of make-believe wings…
A surprising interest in writing poetry six-plus decades into life is pulling the thread of the fabric I could previously identify with. I find a book of poetry in my hand in most spare moments of the day, so I guess new fabric is being woven.
At the library yesterday and at the recommendation of my writing instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute (OCI), I requested a book of poetry that was a Pulitzer Prize winner in the early 1990s. Also at the reco of an OCI chef-instructor, I thought I might pick up a copy of MFK Fisher’s The Art of Eating, published long ago but never having made its way to my reading table.
I’m now waiting for a copy of The Wild Iris which is on hold. In the stacks I noticed a 634-page volume of the author’s, Louise Gluck, works that I thought I might read in the meantime. Being a good steward of time, I looked for Fisher’s book, as well.
I could only laugh: 749 pages. This, with a term of Advanced Restaurant Marketing, creating a full operating plan for Essential Confection, three upcoming EC jobs, a second OCI class, two food blogs, work, and a stack of other books of interest.
So, what of all this? Well, Mary Frances offered me her mother’s gingerbread recipe; she called it “the best recipe for gingerbread ever devised.”
Now, any pastry or confection recipe of quality that has the potential for greatness is a recipe whose lure I accept. Let’s give it whirl.
Edith’s Gingerbread has a very light crumb and beautifully moist texture. It would be irresistible without any other accompaniment but lovely sips of tea.
Naturally, I used butter instead of shortening and triple sifted the dry ingredients to ensure even distribution of spices and leavening. I also used the Cuisinart for the entire preparation which expedited the process.
MFK said the gingerbread is fabulous cold, and my guess is that it will do for a great up coffee what it did for a great cup of tea. Tomorrow morning will tell.
Lovely, light, luscious.
Edith’s Gingerbread, as written in The Art of Eating
[my remarks, bracketed]
1/4 C shortening [butter]
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C molasses
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
cloves and salt [approximately four cloves, ground, or to taste]
3/4 C boiling water
1/4 tsp soda
1-1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 beaten egg
Cream the shortening and sugar. Sift the spices and flour and baking powder together. Beat the 1/2 tsp soda into the molasses until it is light and fluffy, and add to the shortening and sugar. Add the 1/4 tsp soda to the boiling water, and then add it alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Fold in the beaten egg when all is well mixed, pour into a greased and floured pan, and bake about 20 min at 325 degrees F. This mixture will seem much too think to make a cake, but do not increase the quantity of flour, as many doubting cooks have tried to do.
MFK’s serving suggestions were with either a hard sauce or a wine sauce (using sherry).