December 21, 2010

What Shall We Make and When Do We Eat?

Now is the time for jams and jellies, conserves and curds. We enter our kitchen laden with baskets full with the best of the harvest. Tea brews in a merry little blue and white pot and the delicate cups and saucers we’ve discovered at tag sales are brought to the table. Lemons are thinly sliced, and cream from our country visit fills the honest little white jug we’ve cherished since childhood. Honey, still in its comb, resides on its own plate, while crumbly cubes of brown sugar display their sandy bounty in Grandmother’s silver sugar bowl. What shall we make first? What shall we eat? It is almost too difficult to choose.

 Let’s make a cheesecake in a nest of crispy crust. Let’s flavor it with orange zest and citron or maybe be a bit more adventurous and add rum and broken chocolate. Perhaps, we’ll cut a generous slice of that Banana Walnut Cake with its Bourbon-flavored frosting. Our choices seem unlimited.

Twilight comes, and we carry our cup outside for a moment of solitude. We look back, and the lights that have been lit illuminate the windows of the kitchen. We take one final look around the garden readying itself for the day when autumn will slip over to winter, and then, cup in hand, we climb the porch steps. We pat the rake and hoe residing by the back door, and remind ourselves that soon a shovel will replace them, in anticipation of the first snowflakes......Gladys Tabor

Amaretto Banana Pudding
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (8 ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
5 bananas, sliced
8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies

In a large bowl, stir together pudding mix, milk and condensed milk until blended. Stir in lemon juice, amaretto and vanilla until well combined. Fold in whipped topping.
In a large glass serving bowl, layer pudding mixture, bananas and cookies. Chill until serving.

Estelle's White Chocolate Cherry Christmas Trifle
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.3 ounce) package instant white chocolate pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 bananas, sliced
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 1/4 cups grated chocolate
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling or fresh bing cherries

Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a 9x13 inch pan. Let cool completely. Cut half the cake into 1-inch cubes (saving the other half for another dessert).
In a large bowl, beat together pudding mix and milk until thick and creamy. Beat in cream cheese until fluffy. Fold in half the whipped topping.
In a large punch or trifle bowl, layer one-third of the cake cubes, one-third of the cream cheese mixture, one-third of the banana slices and one-third of the pecans. Top with one-third of the grated chocolate.
Repeat cake and cream cheese layers and top with half the cherry pie filling or the fresh bing cherries. Cover the pie filling with one-third of the bananas, one-third of the pecans and one-third of the grated chocolate.
Repeat step 4, omitting the pecan layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving.

The last sound she heard was the ringing of the bells that ushered in the Christmas morn; and, with their bright echoes in her heart, she wandered away into the land of dreams with her fairy doll of the Christmas-tree."
-"Plessy's Christmas Eve", Little Folks Magazine, 1877.

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