Bingo 25: Cozy
What’s cozier than grandma’s best homemade dessert? Not much, I’d say. 250 Treasured Country Desserts provides. This is one of those recipe collections that’s got the expected standards like molasses cookies, apple cake, jelly roll, lemon meringue pie (also lemon angel pie which looks like basically the same thing?), fruit buckle, and pudding. It’s also got some more interesting, newer to me items that I want to try like orange poppyseed cake (closely related to the lemon standard probably but a slightly new option), and something called ‘matrimonial bars’ which are basically orange/date goo bars (think fig newton-esque). Besides the actual recipes, there’s often a little bit of the history or lore along with the recipe. With the “matrimonial bars” the header reads “Research into historical cookbooks didn’t yield a clue” as to where the name comes from , “But the answer may be obvious: if you have plenty of dates, you will probably wind up finding someone to marry.” A little eye-roll inducing maybe, it does suggest some real attempt to find information, and other recipes that do have more definitive histories provide. For example, the pecan pie recipe notes that pecans are actually native to the US (“’American as pecan pie’ should be the saying”).
There’s also an entire apple section that I may have to copy before I have to return this book (it’s a library book) because they are in season and one of my favorites. There’s baked apples (sort of healthy), apple turnovers (an actually do-able version I hope), apple pandowdy (I’ve never tried this although I’ve heard of it), apple dumplings (baked), an apple strudel (although I don’t know about making my own fil, although this version doesn’t look that bad), and even apple sauce. According to the list of desert holidays at the beginning, nearly all of these have their own designated day, although why each thing is assigned when has no explanation, although there is some info about who tends to decide these things.
Even though there’s some potentially advanced stuff in here, like doing your own filo or a multi-component Charlotte Russe, there’s no uncommon ingredients, hints that don’t mind some common short cuts (like pre-made pie crust: hint, the stuff in the refrigerated section is better than frozen), and a little bit of history and grandparent-like jokey-ness. Let the comfort baking commence!