Hummingbird Cake

I was recently introduced to this classic southern cake through one of my friends from the Deep South. I was intrigued by the name as my mom keeps a dish of grape jelly on her porch to attract hummingbirds and has regular visitors. The Hummingbird Cake is a very unusual one; it’s made with oil rather than butter, and contains more fruit than flour. The mix doesn’t need beating, is wonderful with a cream cheese frosting, and is flavored with interesting spices and pecans. Contrary to the name, there are no birds in this particular recipe! The giveaway to the Hummingbird Cake’s birthplace, however, is in the key ingredients – bananas and pineapple. It’s thought to have been invented in Jamaica, probably in the late ‘60s, and introduced to society through Southern Living magazine by a Mrs. L.H. Wiggin in 1978.

Since it’s a dessert made for ladies, we thought it would be a crowd pleasing addition to our weekly Harborside Teas. We always offer two choices of dessert, and it was fun to have a whole new recipe and an unusual one at that. It was so popular that we thought it warranted giving away the recipe. A thin slice will do you – this cake is rich!  And oh, so good…

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Hummingbird Cake
SERVINGS
12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
25 minutes
PREP TIME
15 minutes
READY IN
1 1/2 hrs (with cooling time)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans in another large bowl.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer.
  2. Add in butter and cream together with cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  3. Add confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  4. Add in vanilla and cream until well-blended, light and fluffy.

cake-slice copy FullSizeRender_3full-cake copy

Raspberry Peach Upside-down Cake

Every year after school is out, our young community teenage girls have a 3-week “summer camp” with several of our Sisters. This year they went to New Hampshire for the event.
They were very excited and eagerly looking forward to the many activities ahead of them: lots of time out of doors, hiking, swimming, boating and gardening. I knew that nature crafts would be a part of their learning experiences, and also that there would be indoor activities such as housekeeping and of course, some cooking. I made them promise me that they would surprise me by making something new and different from any of their old standbys. They did not let me down, but kept their promise and came up with this scrumptious, raspberry peach upside down cake, inspired by a raspberry picking event that none of us knew would be happening before they went to camp. I could not have been more pleased!
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Raspberry Peach Upside-down Cake
SERVINGS
10-12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
50-55minutes
PREP TIME
30 minutes
READY IN
80-85 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice peaches. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. Place 6 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until melted then add brown sugar and cook until both are combined and melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  4. Arrange peach slices in a circular pattern (overlapping if needed) in skillet on top of sugar. Add raspberries in areas not covered with peaches. Set aside.
  5. Cream together vanilla, 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add eggs and beat until the yellow disappears. Add sour cream and blend.
  6. On low speed, add flour mixture and beat just until combined stopping to scrape the sides a few times. Pour batter onto peaches and smooth out to the edges.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Run a knife around the edges to release and invert onto a cake plate allowing the cake to cool another 10 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

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All American “Stars and Stripes” Pie

This year, we celebrated the Fourth of July in style. It was the first time in over 10 years that our award winning Spirit of America Band was able to participate in our hometown parade in Orleans, Massachusetts. It was a day marked with patriotism and pride, and one to remember all of our loved ones that have sacrificed so much for the great freedom we have today. Like most families across America, we concluded the day with fireworks and “All American” cookout topped off with these magnificent Stars and Stripes Pies.

I am reminded of a beautiful prayer that Billy Graham offered to this Nation – may we pray it together for the future of America:

“Our Father and Our God, we praise You for Your goodness to our nation, giving us blessings far beyond what we deserve. Yet we know all is not right with America. We deeply need a moral and spiritual renewal to help us meet the many problems we face. Convict us of sin. Help us to turn to You in repentance and faith. Set our feet on the path of Your righteousness and peace. We pray today for our nation’s leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it. You have said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” May this be a new era for America, as we humble ourselves and acknowledge You alone as our Savior and Lord. This we pray in Your holy name, Amen. “

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All American "Stars and Stripes" Pie
SERVINGS
8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1 hr 15 min
PREP TIME
45 minutes
READY IN
2 hours

Ingredients

Instructions

To Prepare Crust:
  1. 1. Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. 2. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
  3. 3. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Divide the dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assembling the Pie:
  1. 4. Roll out both pie crusts. Press one into the bottom of the pie pan – leaving an overhang for your crust (you will finish this off at the end). Reserve the second pie crust (keep covered w/ a sheet of plastic)
  2. 5. Fold aluminum foil strip into 90 degree angle wedge to fill 1/4 of the pie and place in pie shell
  3. 6. Fill the 1/4 area with the uncooked blueberry filling
  4. 7. Fill the rest of pie with strawberry rhubarb filling
  5. 8. Remove foil
  6. 9. Dot fruit filling with about 6-8 small chunks of butter (about ½ Tbsp each)
  7. 10. Using the reserved pie crust, take a pizza cutter and a ruler and cut three full length 1" stripes and two half length 1" stripes out of your dough. Use the remaining dough to cut your stars (we used a sharp knife or you can use a cookie cutter). Place the stars and stripes on top of the fruit, as seen in the picture, being sure to press the ends of the stripes into the bottom crust.
  8. 11. With your fingers, pinch crust to create a nice ruffled edge.
  9. 12. Brush the entire crust with egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar
  10. 13. Bake at 325 for about an hour and 15 min. or until crust is golden and fruit is bubbling
  11. Cool slightly and enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

FullSizeRender (31) Pie pic 1

Swedish Plattar Pancakes

One of my favorite breakfast recipes is a special Swedish crepe called Plattar.  I asked Sr.Madeleine,  who is currently studying lace making in Brugge, Belgium, how this came to be one of their family recipes, a recipe she makes for her two daughter’s birthdays every year.  This is what she wrote me.

“Swedish Plattar is a recipe from a collection of Swedish recipes celebrating the seasons of the year. The author of the recipe remembers her mother preparing these recipes to remind her family of the goodness of God. Personally, when I was young I had not learned to cook or bake; I too, like the writer, wanted to both cook for my young family and to emphasize the love of God and His goodness. Swedish plattar was by far the biggest hit! I made it regularly every Saturday morning for my family, standing patiently beside the electric frying pan (popular in those days) until many Swedish Plattar were made and the the hungry mouths of all were filled. Swedish Plattar takes time to fry, so the making is a labor of love (due to the sheer volume of the batter, and the number you need to fill someone up!). The smudges and dribbles on the page make the recipe easy to find in the cookbook, and also attest to its perennial popularity. My daughters and I are all three nuns now and they as well as I continue the practice of making Swedish plattar for celebrations of God and His goodness.”

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Swedish Plattar Pancakes
SERVINGS
4-6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
5minutes (plus 2 hours standing time)
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs add the milk, then the flour and whisk well. Add the melted butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and whisk.
  2. Let the batter stand for two hours or overnight
  3. Preheat a griddle to 325 degrees and brush with butter
  4. When the skillet is hot, drop in two - three tablespoons of batter for each pancake – about 4” in diameter
  5. Cook until golden on one side, and then flip to the other side (about 2 min. on each side)
  6. When golden, fold into thirds and remove to a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
  7. The pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven. One recipe makes 30 - 4” pancakes. Serve with the jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Fresh fruit on the side makes a lovely presentation.

Buttery Crusted Orange Rhubarb Betty

The view from this convent window encompasses the convent orchard, the cutting garden and some of the Community vineyards.

At the end of each row of grapevines stands a robust clump of rhubarb which has just reached its peak… a rich and beautiful sight to behold! Sisters were out picking it this morning and now it is being prepared for the Oblate retreat dinner dessert.

When our “Oblate family” members return for retreats we always try to “welcome them home” with their favorite foods. This golden buttery crusted dessert has been one of their favorites for years, and since their spring retreat is always at this same time each year when rhubarb is at its prime they always look forward to having it.

The vibrant combination of rhubarb, fresh oranges and coconut produces one of those desserts that keeps tempting the eater to have just a little bit more. This is a mouthwatering flavor that makes no apology for being old fashioned – because it’s old fashioned goodness at its very best!

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Buttery Crusted Orange Rhubarb Betty
SERVINGS
12
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
35-40minutes
PREP TIME
20-30minutes
READY IN
55-70minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt and ½ teaspoon orange peel.
  3. Stir in fruits.
  4. Add 3 cups bread cubes and ¼ cup butter.
  5. Mix together and put into a 9 inch x 13 inch baking dish.
  6. Mix the remaining ½ teaspoon orange peel, 1 cup bread cubes, the remaining ¼ cup butter and coconut.
  7. Sprinkle on top.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender.
  9. This recipe may be frozen for use later.

Blend of the Best Granola

Over the years, both the Sisters and Brothers have developed and sold granola at Priory Books & Gifts and through Paraclete Press. We are both proud of our two very different recipes. The Brothers’ granola is chock full of dried fruits and nuts and flavored with maple to add just that little New England touch. The Sisters’ granola is very simple and sweetened with honey and cinnamon. We like to think of ours as the healthier option! We’ve been running a little secret competition on the side to see whose granola is more popular, and we respectfully concede to the Brothers, who have won — hands down!

Even though I’m not at liberty to give away our secret recipes, I have adapted my own that is what I call a “blend of the best” – a combo of the two. Sprinkled over our homemade yogurt and garnished with fresh fruit, this has become one of our signature breakfast menus at Bethany. A terrific way to start your day!

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Blend of the Best Granola
SERVINGS
18cups
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
cups
COOK TIME
1 hour, 15 minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter and add the honey, agave (or substitute 1 c. Karo Syrup for both of these) and vanilla extract.
  3. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and blend well.
  4. Spread the granola mixture on two cookie sheet pans lined with parchment.
  5. Bake in a 275 oven for 1 hr. and 15 min.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave granola in for a couple more hours or even overnight to dry out.
  7. Remove from the oven, break up the granola and add any additional dried fruits.
  8. Store in an airtight container, for up to 6 weeks. Enjoy!