I’m feeling a bit nostalgic these days. Holidays have a way of doing that to us, don’t they? As I was looking back through some of my older posts, I came across one written around this time last year and couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys again. It’s a post about a family tradition that I hope you’ll enjoy.
But first, I have to share something that had me laughing so hard on Christmas Day, I was literally gasping for air. Have you ever done that, laughed so hard that you couldn’t breathe???
I asked BNOTP readers for some hints on how to make my Standing Rib Roast actually edible this year (last year’s wasn’t!) and several folks sent great recipes/hints. The roast turned out awesome, by the way. Yay! Thank-you so much for your suggestions and recipes. They were brilliant!
Prior to asking you guys for some help with the roast, I read online that a popular side dish to a rib roast is something called Yorkshire Pudding. Now we’ve all heard of Yorkshire Pudding, but do you reallllly know what it is? I didn’t have a clue, but it sounded easy so, hey…why not? The recipe described it as a “puffy pop-over like pastry.” Ummm, okaaaay.
Fast forward, it’s Christmas Day and after a late morning brunch where we stuffed ourselves silly, I got busy preparing our Christmas Dinner. We were getting down to crunch time, you know, that period when you have all the ovens going and everything is just about to be ready at the same time. I had both timers set on the double ovens, the timer on the microwave was timing a third dish in one of the ovens and one of the oven timers was really timing two dishes. It was sooo confusing I had written all the times down on a paper, so I’d know what to take out when each timer went off.
Suddenly, a timer went off while I was clear across the kitchen. After checking my trusty scrap of paper which indicated whatever was in the top oven was now ready, I yelled over to my son’s sweetie, Nancy, asking her to take care of it. She opened the oven door and just as quickly shut it back, saying, “Uh…you might want to come check this.” The look on her face was one of stunned disbelief. This got my son’s, (Chip’s) attention, too. I rushed over thinking something must be burned beyond recognition. As I opened the door, Nancy, Chip, and I all peered inside and what we saw left us completely speechless. Dead silence. Then we all three burst out laughing!
The Yorkshire Pudding had grown into this HUGE, irregular-shaped blob that was threatening to envelop all of Atlanta! It was truly unlike anything I’d ever seen, and apparently unlike anything Nancy had ever seen, either. It sort of resembled a bunch of giant popovers all blown up and squished together around the outer 2/3rds of the pan, with the center part kind of nice and squishy flat, even a bit pudding like–imagine that! And, it was the prettiest toasty brown color you’ve ever seen.
In the midst of all the laughing, Chip kept asking, “What IS that?, What IS that?!” I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even answer! The more he asked, the harder I laughed!
I took it out and almost immediately, it deflated. Despite deflating, it still remained nice and puffy. It was actually pretty yummy! I think I’ll be making it again, but never will it be as good as this first time when I laughed until I couldn’t breathe. Did you have any breathless moments this Christmas?
Hope you enjoy the following post from Christmas past. It’s all about family and tradition.
My Father-in-Law (shown below reading to my son when he was quite small) faithfully served during World War II. One Christmas, after returning home, he and my Mother-in-Law were making a coconut cake and ambrosia, a traditional Christmas dessert for many generations in their families. The war was still going on and many products were either unavailable or being rationed, including metal.
This picture taken in 1942 of movie star, Rita Hayworth, was definitely a sign of the times. (You can read more about rationing during the war at the SITE where I found this picture.)
My Mother and Father-in-law had not been married long. Like most newlyweds, they were still accumulating some of the basic things you needed for a kitchen. The family recipe for the coconut cake called for fresh coconut and there were no metal graters to be found. So my Father-in-Law, being the creative and resourceful person he was, decided to make one himself.
He used the only metal available, a tin can. Though not the fanciest grater in the world, it did an outstanding job of grating coconut extremely fine. The coconut it grated came out feathery light, very different from what you would ever find pre-packaged in stores.
Over the years everyone in the family became very spoiled and only liked coconut cake if the coconut had been grated on this tin can grater. Who could blame them, the coconut was so light and airy, it all but melted in your mouth!
In later years, the job of grating the coconut was passed down to my husband. And with each passing year, it became harder and harder to use the grater as the little teeth became duller and duller. Over all those previous years, I’m not sure anyone had ever realized what a true labor of love it was for Grandpa to grate the coconut for the coconut cake on that tin can grater.
Now, each year when the coconut is grated for the coconut cake and ambrosia, it’s mostly done on a grater I purchased at Williams-Sonoma with very, very fine teeth, and a microplane grater I received as a gift from my sister, Glenda. Fortunately, I was blessed with two wonderful assistants this past Christmas–my son, Chip….
and his sweetheart, Nancy. They humored Mom and let me take a pic, despite knowing they just might end up on “The Blog.”
They both did an outstanding job of grating the coconut. In memory of Grandpa and for the sake of tradition, some of the coconut was grated on a little grater made during the era of WWII. I know Grandpa must have been smiling down from heaven seeing his much- loved grandson using the grater he made almost 60 years ago.
The cake turned out great. It was moist, light and fluffy. The icing didn’t sugar (yay) and the coconut was food for angels.
Today I’m sharing the cake and icing recipe with you. It’s a simple recipe that’s been passed down through the generations. I got it from my Mother-in-law (pictured below.) You’ll find printable recipes at the end of the post.
1 2 3 4 Cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream butter until fluffy.
Add sugar and cream well.
Add eggs one at a time.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add milk and flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating the two and ending with flour
Beat on low speed
Add vanilla extract
Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans. (Makes three layers)
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes…test with a toothpick to see if it’s done
Seven Minute Icing
2 unbeaten egg whites
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
6 Tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut, finely grated
In double boiler, mix egg whites, sugar, water and Karo syrup, beating for 30 seconds until mixed. (Do this prior to placing the boiler over the boiling water.)
Cook 5 or 6 minutes in double boiler until the soft peak stage, beating with a hand mixer the whole time.
Add vanilla extract, beating 2 or 3 more minutes to the consistency for spreading.
Spread the icing on the cake, liberally sprinkling the grated coconut on and in between each layer, as well as patting coconut onto the sides. Sprinkle coconut across the top of the cake after icing the top.
Recipe for Yorkshire Pudding: Add laughter for extra flavor
A traditional side dish to Prime rib, Yorkshire Pudding is a puffy, pop-over like pastry.
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of flour
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil
Mix all ingredients, except the oil, together.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Take an 8×8 square pan and pour the 4 tablespoons of oil into it.
Heat the pan for 2 minutes before pouring in the cold batter.
Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
Do not open the oven door during cooking.
Serve immediately and enjoy the crispy outer edges and the custard-like inside.
Additional Info. Jackie just left a comment with a link to “popover” pans available at Target…thanks Jackie.
Printable recipe for Coconut Cake
- 1 2 3 4 Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream butter until fluffy.
- Add sugar and cream well.
- Add eggs one at a time.
- Beat well.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
- Add milk and flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating the two and ending with flour
- Beat on low speed
- Add vanilla extract
- Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans. (Makes three layers)
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes…test with a toothpick to see if it’s done
Printable recipe for icing:
- 2 unbeaten egg whites
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
- 6 Tablespoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coconut, finely grated
- In double boiler, mix egg whites, sugar, water and Karo syrup, beating for 30 seconds until mixed. (Do this prior to placing the boiler over the boiling water.)
- Cook 5 or 6 minutes in double boiler until the soft peak stage, beating with a hand mixer the whole time.
- Add vanilla extract, beating 2 or 3 more minutes to the consistency for spreading.
- Spread the icing on the cake, liberally sprinkling the grated coconut on and inbetween each layer, as well as patting coconut onto the sides. Sprinkle coconut across the top of the cake, after icing the top.
As this new year approaches, I’m so looking forward to carrying on the old traditions, while perhaps starting a few new ones. Happy New Year, sweet Friends!