Oh, Oprah! You can’t leave us. You mustn’t! We’re not ready to go on without you and your show. Who will tell us what to read? Who will give every member of their unsuspecting audience a “BRAND NEW CAR”? Whose couch will Tom Cruise turn into his personal trampoline? Most important of all, who will provide us with an annual list of their Favorite Things right before the holiday shopping season? Who? WHO?
Well….O.K. Stop begging. I’ll do it. I mean, I did put together a list last year as well as the year before, so why not assemble one for this year too? So what if it requires hours and hours of frustration trying to configure all of those links and pictures into one post? You’re my readers, and I love ya, so you’re totally worth it. Besides, I’ll likely be in my post-Thanksgiving coma anyhow, so sitting with my laptop will be the perfect level of activity.
So stay tuned for Saturday’s post of Peanut Butter and Julie’s Third Annual Favorite Things. One of this year’s items was very easy for me to pick (there’s a hint somewhere on my homepage), although I’ll admit that I am a bit biased. It’s a project that I have been working on for a few years, and it is finally ready. The other items, while maybe not as fancy-schmancy as some of Oprah’s typical selections, will be items that have caught my eye throughout the year. And no, you won’t all get one of everything. Sorry. Harpo’s budget is a bit larger than mine.
This post was originally supposed to go out on Sunday, and then Monday. My immune system, however, had other plans. Without being too graphic, if I wasn’t curled up in a ball on the couch yesterday, I was likely one with the cool tile bathroom floor (thank goodness I had just mopped–you get an entirely new perspective from that angle.) I felt rotten, so rotten that I didn’t eat a thing until about 8p.m., and even then I could only down a cup of brown rice. I did get my flu shot a few months ago, and I feel much better today, so it must have just been some inconveniently-timed 24-hour thing. And hey, on the bright side, thanks to yesterday’s fast, I dropped a few pounds. Just in time for a big Thanksgiving dinner too! Bring on the turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce!
This is a two-part dessert recipe that would be perfect for any holiday get-together. The first recipe is a slight adaptation of one that I found in Saveur magazine. The recipe is similar to gingerbread, but it has more of a cake-like texture. When it is baking, the kitchen smells just like a holiday kitchen should smell, full of warm spices and a hint of orange. While the cake is wonderful on its own, why not go that extra calorie step and top each piece with some rich, rum-spiked ice cream? Why not indeed! This impressively delicious duo will make everyone extra thankful for your culinary skills. Here are a few extra tips for making this scrumptious spiced dessert:
- The spice cake recipe, as listed in Saveur, calls for Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a popular grocery item in the UK, but one that can be tough to find in the US. Specialty groceries, such as Whole Foods, tend to stock the syrup, but you can also use light or dark corn syrup as a substitute.
- I didn’t have orange marmalade on hand when I prepared this recipe, so I substituted apple butter and added the zest of one orange instead. You could also substitute apricot or even strawberry jam, although I do not recommend using grape!
- This cake is best eaten the day after it is prepared and tightly wrapped, as the flavor tends to improve over time. It will keep for 3-4 days.
- Depending on how rich you like your ice cream, you can substitute heavy whipping cream for the half and half. You can also use all whole milk or all half and half as opposed to a combination of the two.
English Spice Cake with Cinnamon Rum Raisin Ice Cream
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
Zest of one orange
2/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For the glaze
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper.
Heat the butter, syrup, brown sugar, orange zest, and marmalade in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in the milk and the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the syrup mixture and whisk until combined. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, 45-55 minutes.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter along with the sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a pastry brush, brush half of the lemon mixture over the top of the cake. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack set over a piece of foil or parchment. Brush the remaining lemon syrup onto the bottom and sides of the cake. Wrap the cake in plastic and let cool completely. The cake will keep for up to 4 days. Cut cake into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour 1 cup of the half and half into another medium bowl. Whisk the milk, sugar, salt, and the remaining half and half in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Slowly mix the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until it thickens slightly to a custard consistency(the temperature should be about 170F degrees), about 5 minutes. Whisk the custard into the reserved half and half, and then whisk in the rum, cinnamon, and the raisins. Cover and chill until very cold, about 2 hours.
Prepare the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.