Molly MacRae Monday: The Joy of Cooking…Peccary?

Molly MacRae brings us some more culinary adventures this month as she and I both celebrate our birthdays. We’ll be hearing from Molly again as a writer who inspires me on a special day this month, too. I’m so glad she decided to put the recipe for the cake. Happy Birthday Molly!-AA

The Joy of Cooking . . . Peccary?

While looking for scalloped potatoes in the index of our 1973 edition of Joy of Cooking, my son came across a recipe for peccary. He’s vegetarian, but not incurious, so he flipped to that page and found the recipe for peccary along with recipes for opossum, bear, raccoon, muskrat, woodchuck, beaver (young animals only,) beaver tail, and wild boar. On the previous page, there were instructions for the quickest way to skin a squirrel and a suggestion for serving your squirrel with walnut catsup and polenta. Interestingly, not one of those recipes is in the 1997 edition. But, as we know from Amy’s obsession with vintage recipes, times and tastes change.

I thought about including the recipe for braised marinated rabbit with prunes as a special treat for Amy, but . . . no, I couldn’t do it. I like seeing my squirrels and rabbits – and bears, peccaries, etc. – alive and well with their fur still on. Even if they do raid the garden. (We actually had bears in the garden when we lived in Tennessee. No peccaries, though.)

Thinking about wrestling a bear into my stewpot got me thinking about my favorite bear and about what month it is. Amy and I both celebrate our birthdays in November and Amy’s fun new book, Taking the High Ground, is also newly released. So what better way to celebrate birthdays and books than with a cake from The Pooh Cook Book, a classic from 1969.

This was a roundabout way of saying happy birthday, Amy, and happy birthday to your book!

Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy Cake II

(Preheat oven to 375º F.

½ cup butter                                        ¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup sugar                                         ¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup honey                                        ½ cup milk

2 large eggs, separated                        1 teaspoon almond, vanilla, or lemon extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1.      Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

2.      Cream the butter with the sugar and the honey, adding both gradually until they are absorbed and the mixture is light in texture.

3.      Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each.

4.      Add the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt to the butter-egg mixture alternately with the milk and flavoring, beginning and ending with the flour for a cake of fine texture. (Note: the recipe calls for sifting the dry ingredients. I never do and the texture is perfectly fine.)

5.      Beat the egg whites until still so that they keep their shape and gently fold into the cake batter.

6.      Pour the cake batter into the buttered and floured cake pans, half full. Put them on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester or knife blade stuck in the center of each layer comes out clean.

7.  Let the cakes cool for about 5 minutes. They will pull away from the sides of the pans. Turn them over on a cake rack and tap the bottom of the pans to remove the layers.     

8.   Let cool completely before frosting or filling.

One of the suggestions for icing this cake is fruit whip. Whip? Amy loves whip. So as a happy birthday bonus, here’s the recipe for fruit whip, which lets you choose your favorite fruit. I know what my choice is.

Fruit Whip

1 cup heavy cream                                          3 cups stewed, mashed prunes

1 Tablespoon honey

Whip the cream until stiff. Dribble the honey over it. Fold in the prunes. Spread on and between cake layers. Enjoy!

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