Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Ones,

What a treat to see so many at Holy Thursday last night--my celebrations continued until Midnight last night and in the midst of our Good Friday fast and prayers, I suspect it will continue longer tonight. (see earlier post for details of tonight.)

Followed by the Great Silence of Saturday and a very special quiet time with my sons and a good and dear friend. Then Easter Vigil because I love it, followed by Early Mass with my sons and then Easter Brunch with extended family and friends, a sweet afternoon of remembrances of my sweet sister Alicia on her 57th birthday--we will fill our missing her with very loud and funny stories--of which thank God, we have so many. Then a late supper with my brother and sister-in-law.

A busy time--immersed in family and friends, and HOPE. And since it is a holiday--a feast day--from my kitchen to yours. Long tested, family favorite treats from these special holidays for you and yours to try and make your own.

God bless you and yours and thank you for your love and prayers--your HOPE beads,

The Vinzants'

Coppell, Good Friday, 2009

King's Cake Recipe - Torta del Re Recipe (from Italy) popular among Italian-Jews

5 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups sugar--you can substitute liquid Stevia but hey this is a holiday cake my friends
10 ounces (2 1/2 cups) blanched almonds, ground very fine--i use my burr coffee grinder
1 teaspoon vanilla--please use pure vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
Grated rind of one lemon
Sliced, toasted almonds for garnish--buy a small pack instead of doing these unless you have a mandoline which are wonderful and should be used often

Instructions: Line bottom of a 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with margarine, or grease a 10-inch spring form pan.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk together yolks, sugar, extracts and lemon rind in a large bowl. The mixture is very thick and hard to mix. Whisk until pale.
3. Stir in the ground almonds.
4. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form; either a mixer or a whisk may be used. (Don't make too stiff.) Stir in about one-third of the egg whites to lighten, and then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
5. Pour into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until firm. The top will be light brown.
6. Let cool completely. Cut around the edges with a sharp knife.
7. Carefully invert and remove the parchment. Re-invert onto a serving plate and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Serves 12-14-- Prep Time: 60 minutes-- Cook Time: 40 minutes

Whisk the yolks until they're foamy, then gradually incorporate the sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is lemon-colored. Gradually incorporate the chopped nuts, the extracts, and the zest; at the end of this the batter will be quite stiff. Mix a third of the egg whites into the batter to soften it, and then delicately fold in the remainder.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for an hour without opening the oven door. Turn off the heat, open the door a crack, and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it and standing it upside down to finish cooling. Remove it from a pan to a cake dish, dust it with confectioner's sugar using a sifter, and sprinkle it with the slivered nuts.
Coconut Macaroons

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut-- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk--1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract -- 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature--1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

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