Monday, December 16, 2013

Kosher Connection Link Up: Comfort Food!

For this Itsy Bitsy Balebusta the most uncomfortable aspect of comfort food is trying to limit it to one option! Some days nothing beats a doughnut! However, cookies are always comforting, from baking to gifting to of course, enjoying. Then there are days where a warm soup or stew is about as comforting as it gets. I went back and forth a lot trying to pick one recipe for this link up, but in the end there could be nothing more all-around comforting than the recipe I’m about to share.


If you aren’t aware of the whole behind the scenes story of this blog, it started as a way to cope with my grandmother’s illness almost two years ago. Translating her recipes into English and working to make them kosher, brought me comfort and closer to her and this blog continues to be a tribute to the woman, and now wife that my grandmother (and Mom and sister!) raised me to be. Every day is a learning experience with its own batches of burned cookies and the occasional gourmet success, but without these women behind me, it’d be a whole lot more bitter than sweet! While I still miss my grandmother everyday – and even more so now that life has changed so much in the last year and there’s so much happiness she would have loved sharing in, it’s recipes like this one that fill the house with her scent and memories and provide incredible comfort.

While this cake was in the oven, it really felt like I was back in her house, having run in just after school! It's absolutely amazing what baking can do to bring back memories. The quintessential "comfort foods" have nothing on this cake when it comes to this itsy bitsy balebusta!



I have to admit, while preparing the batter I was super hesitant that this would work out. So hesitant in fact, that my skepticism started before I even got into the kitchen. Two years ago, when I copied out this recipe for the first time, I couldn't help but laugh. The ingredients and directions were so minimal and bare that I was certain something had been left out. Before you criticize that, it's pretty much a fact that most of the recipes I have from my grandmothers are missing crucial components. Whether it's a critical method in preparation, oven temperature or length of baking time or even an ingredient, no matter how hard I try with some recipes they just never work out. 





Anyhow, when I saw that this recipe called for 5 eggs and 18 tbsp of water, I was sure something was off here. How exactly is that supposed to create a cake? I mean I had eaten it enough times growing up to know it definitely did exist, but it just seemed a little far-fetched…

Lesson learned. As always, Avo knew best, because not only did the cake turn out but it turned out exactly like her's and I barely had to put in any effort whatsoever! I used the KitchenAid she gave me our last holiday together, just to feel even more connected while baking it. I love that it only needs one bowl… well that and y'know 18 tbsp of water!

This cake is fantastic. Whether it's because it's a postcard from walking into her house every day after elementary school, to see it sitting on the counter under the cake dome, with all the condensation indicating how fresh it was (yes, I did the same thing! When M walked in after work, it was sitting under the cake dome, exactly as she would have prepared it!) or because it's just a wonderful recipe in and of itself, it doesn't matter!

It's similar in texture to a pound cake, and I'm working my courage up to experiment with various types of sugars and fillings. Now that I'm over the fact that it actually will turn out, I see it as the perfect base for all sorts of flavor combinations! It's perfect on its own, but it would be wonderful to adapt it to all sorts of treats and have a little piece of this tradition continued!

                                                  

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! It's brought me incredible comfort as well as the realization that sometimes it isn’t the ingredients or composition of the dish that establishes it as a comfort food. Anything qualifies. Whether it recalls Sunday family dinners, running in after school to find a warm treat waiting or just a scent that brings back a memory, food has an amazing ability to bring people together, and to keep their memory alive long after the dishes have been cleared!

Enjoy!

Bolo D’Agua

5 eggs
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
18 Tbsp of water
1 Tbsp of baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a bundt pan.

Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add flour and baking soda, followed by the water (by the tablespoon!).

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes – check frequently as it’s ready when it reaches a light golden color. A tester should come out with a few crumbs on it to indicate it’s ready!






6 comments:

  1. Such incredibly touching words -- "Translating her recipes into English and working to make them kosher, brought me comfort and closer to her and this blog continues to be a tribute to the woman, and now wife that my grandmother (and Mom and sister!) raised me to be". This really IS comfort food.

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  2. Grandmas really do know how to make the best cakes - yours look perfect! a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.

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  3. I love that you kept it at 18 Tablespoons of water, that is too funny.

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  4. So wonderful! I love that your grandmother made an appearance in the comfort food post. I know exactly how wonderful that is for inspiration. The cake looks perfect too.

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  5. Sounds as if your grandmother worked out this recipe until it was perfect. How wonderful that it came out perfect for you. Now you will have it in your family forever.

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