(The first entry in this series gave four recipes for holiday breads and cookies.)
Many years ago, my grandmother exchanged recipes with her neighbors in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Many have the name of the housewife who shared her treasured recipe, and a few were from her own mother (that is, my great-grandmother). We still have these recipes copied out in my mother's handwriting.
The problem is that at times the instructions are scanty. Such as, no temperature or time given for baking a cake. Well, geez Louise, everyone knows how to tell when a cake in done, right? It's the same directions, over and over, 350 or 400 degrees, 30 or 35 minutes unless you divided the batter into three layer tins, then it is about 20 minutes.
And the other problem is that so many younger women never even had home economics classes, so they have absolutely NO IDEA what the abbreviations or instructions mean. So I repeat the following basic instructions from the last time I ran a Recipe Exchange article. The recipes given here do not use yeast but I include info about using yeast anyway.
A capital T – like so – means Tablespoon. Also tbsp, also tbs.
A lower-case t – like so – means Teaspoon. Also tsp.
BEAT means to mix vigorously.
FOLD means to GENTLY mix the ingredients. You usually use a spatula instead of a spoon for this operation. Insert the spatula down into the bowl and lift up the mixture, folding it over onto the top of the mass of floury goodness. Do this just enough to more or less create an even distribution of ingredients, because some ingredients like a whipped mixture should NOT be beaten or they lose volume.
GREASING TINS: Baking tins should be greased before you pour the cake mix into them. This means using a small brush to apply margarine or butter to the inner surfaces of the tins; sometimes you also dust flour over the grease, too. Alternatively, you can just spray them with Pam, or cut circles of baking paper to fit your pans.
TESTING FOR DONENESS: Some of you may have trouble knowing when items are done. Cookies will be pleasantly browned on top. Cakes are tested by sticking a toothpick into it; it if comes out clean instead of coated with batter, it is done. Loaves are similarly tested by sticking a clean knife into it, because you have to reach deeper inside. Cakes and loaves should also pull away from the edges of the pans.
The Good Part
Here are some mom-tested rhubarb recipes. It won't be long before the rhubarb stalks start growing like weeds in the spring rains, so have your recipe cards at the ready. Rhubarb is really good mixed with other fruits like strawberries, pineapple, or just about anything.
(from the WTMJ radio program)
5 c. rhubarb, chopped fine (You may want a mill or electric processor for this.)
3 c. sugar
Mix the rhubarb and sugar together. Let this sit together in the frig overnight.
Next day bring the rhubarb to a boil over medium heat. Stir over HIGH heat for about 5 min. to kill bacteria. Then put in 1 box of (dry) raspberry or strawberry jello in while hot. Transfer into sterilized jelly jars and refrigerate. You may elect to process the jars in a water-bath canner and process for 10 min.
(bake in a 9 x 13 pan, or as cupcakes)
½ c. butter or margarine 1 and ½ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla 3 c. sifted flour
¼ t. salt 2 eggs, well beaten
½ t. almond flavoring 4 t. baking powder
1 c. sweet milk (condensed milk)
Rhubarb: in separate bowl:
4 c. diced rhubarb, fine
1 pkg. strawberry gelatin, dry
½ c. sugar
Pour batter into cake pan, then cover with the rhubarb mixture. Press rhubarb into cake.
½ c. sugar, ½ c. flour, 3 T. butter/margarine
Cream this together till it is like small peas and sprinkle over cake.
BAKE at 375 degrees F. for 35-40 min. Other fruits may be substituted.
(from Rose L.)
1 and ¼ c. sugar 3 and ½ c. chopped rhubarb
½ c. milk 1 T. flour 2 eggs
Mix and let stand while making crust.
Set out 9-inch pie pan and lay crust over it; trim to edges. Pour pie filling into crust. Top filling with rest of crust either in lattice pattern or as small cutout shapes (hearts, diamonds, leaves, etc.).
BAKE at 450 degrees F. on lowest rack for 15 min. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for another 40-45 min. – Crust should be nicely browned.
You may substitute a cup of rhubarb with a cup of strawberries or other fruit.
(makes 6-8 servings)
2 and ½ c. pineapple tidbits
2 c. rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch pieces
½ c. water
1/3 c. sugar
1 pkg. strawberry gelatin
2 t. lemon juice, fresh or frozen
Drain pineapple and reserve juice.
Combine rhubarb, sugar, and water. Cover and cook till tender, maybe 5-10 min.
Drain thoroughly. SAVE syrup.
To the pineapple and rhubarb syrups, add water to make 1 and ¾ c.
Heat to boiling. Add gelatin and stir to dissolve.
Add lemon juice. Cool. Chill until partially set.
Fold in: pineapple and rhubarb. Pour in 1 quart mold. Chill to set.
Unmold on bed of greens. Garnish with pineapple rings.
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: Holiday Special
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: Chocolate Treats
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: Chocolate Cakes
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: 7-Minute Frosting & More
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: Rhubarb
The South Milwaukee Recipe Exchange: Danish Kringle