Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pudding Cake for Persephone

As we approach the summer solstice, I can't help but reflect on Persephone's journey.  This is the mid-point of the time she spends with her mother on Olympos.  As much as she aches to return to her husband, I am certain she is trying to be a good daughter and hold tight to the time she has with Demeter. 

Even knowing that Autumn will come and Persephone will return to her kingdom, I can also imagine Demeter doing everything in her power to keep Persephone by her side. Things like serving her favorite foods. 

I thought, what better in this hot hot mid-summer than a little ice cream and cake.  I turned to the "Hellenic Cuisine" cookbook of the Greek Orthodox Church in Michigan from 1957.  I've shared the joys of this cook book before, on several occasions, and love its infinite wisdom.  One suggestion it makes for a feast in the month of June is Ice Cream and Amegthalopeta, or Almond Pudding Cake.  Sounds delightful.  Enjoy, in the originally published form: 

Almond Pudding Cake

2 cups finely chopped almonds
6 eggs, separated
3 tsp. baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups zwieback crumbs (paximathy)

Beat egg yolks until thick and light colored; add sugar, a little at a time and continue beating.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Mix almonds, paximathi and baking powder together and add to egg yolk mixture, alternating with egg whites.  Pour into baking dish and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for about half an hour.  Test with toothpick.  Remove from oven and pour on top the following syrup:
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups water
1 slice lemon
Boil together until slightly thickened and pour over cake at once. 

I just love the subtle nuances of these recipes.  The differing spelling of Paximathy/Paximathi is original.  And I couldn't begin to tell you what it means by "alternating with egg whites".  Or, heck, what size baking dish to use! 

But imagine serving this on a hot summer's day and honoring Demeter and Persephone. 

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