LET THEM EAT CAKE!

November 24, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Cooking

from Linda Lee Greene, Author/Artist

Jill: “How are workers expected to survive on minimum wage when every dollar goes toward their rent?”

Jack: “What do I care? Let them eat cake.”

Jack: “Our budget shows that every one of our managers will get an end-of-year bonus.” Jill: “What about the rest of the employees?”

Jack: “Such is life. Let them eat cake.”

Marie Antoinette, queen of France in the years before and during the French Revolution, to whom the idiom is famously attributed, never said, “Let them eat cake” in response to being informed that her starving peasant subjects had no bread to eat. It got stuck to her through time because she was the epitome of indifference and insensitivity among the ruling and upper classes toward the realities of life of ordinary people. This type of obliviousness of their own advantages and numbness to the misfortunes of working-class people on the part of the privileged is a feature of all of human history, unfortunately.

While Antoinette’s head was being lopped off by the guillotine at the Place de la Concorde, a major public square in Paris, plantation slaves in the Caribbean were fermenting molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, into alcohol. Distillation of the by-products concentrated the alcohol and removed some impurities, which produced the first modern rums. It didn’t take long for rum to find its way to delectable French pastry and voilà—the soggy, boozy, classic French dessert, Baba au Rhum cake was born in Paris—too late for Antoinette, who would have relished it, no doubt, but just in time for us to delight our guests with it at any special get-together.

The cake recipe was created by David Tanis and yields a dozen babas.  The frosting is from a cookbook by Shelia Del Guercio that is now out of print. The beauty for busy cooks is that a small, unsoaked portion, or all of them, can be stored away in the freezer for up to two months. A day before their debut on your table, defrost and then keep them in an airtight container. If yours is a big and/or a really hungry crowd, bake up several batches ahead of time and freeze them. For best results, you need a tender and sticky dough, so be sparing in the amount of flour you incorporate into the mixture. Or, place the dough in the refrigerator for a while, because cold dough is easier to handle.

BABA AU RHUM

2 tbsp. active dry yeast

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ cup lukewarm water

4 large beaten eggs

1 pinch sea salt

½ cup (113 grams/1 stick) softened unsalted butter

2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour

½ cup (80 grams) golden raisins

½ cup water

Butter for baking tins

Flour for dusting

Place yeast and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Add water and then stir until dry ingredients are dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Whisk eggs and sea salt into yeast mixture.

Soak raisins in water while you prepare complete the next step. In a separate medium-size bowl, work together butter and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Drain raisins then add to egg-yeast mixture. Whip with a wooden spoon to a soft, sticky dough, or prepare dough in a standing mixer. Cover bowl and set in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Butter 2 mini-muffin tins or 12 mini-ramekins. Uncover dough, dust with flour, and turn it out to a clean work surface. Add flour as necessary to make dough manageable and knead lightly to a large, slightly sticky ball. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2 ounces/55 grams). Dust the pieces with flour, roll into separate balls, and place in the muffin tins or ramekins. Cover loosely and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the balls double in size.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Bake babas 15 to 20 minutes until lightly brown on top. Turn babas out of their molds and onto a baking sheet. Return to oven for 5 minutes to brown all over. Remove from oven and cover the babas with a clean towel to keep them soft. Store cooled babas in an airtight container at room temperature if making in advance of imminent serving.

TOPPING

2 pints strawberries, setting aside 12 strawberries

3 tbsp. Cointreau, 3 tbsp. Cognac, 1 tbsp. Grand Marnier

2 cups whipped cream

1 pint coffee ice cream

Meanwhile, clean and hull the strawberries, setting aside 12 of them. Place the rest of the strawberries in a bowl and pour over them all of the designated liqueurs. Stir gently and let sit for 1 hour. Then fold into the mixture with a rubber spatula the whipped cream and ice cream. For each guest, cut 1 baba in half horizontally and place on a dessert plate. Top with an additional scoop of coffee ice cream, the strawberry/liquor mixture, and crown with a whole strawberry.

Or substitute the ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry on top.

Readers were introduced to American Nicholas Plato in multi-award-winning author Linda Lee Greene’s A Chance at the Moon, which was published in 2019 and is available on Amazon.

Greene takes readers on yet another adventure of Nicholas’ whirlwind life in her Garden of the Spirits of the Pots, A Spiritual Odyssey. In this sequel, Nicholas shows up in Sydney, Australia. The principle plotline unfolds as on one Saturday of sightseeing he gets lost in Australia’s forbidding yet alluring outback, and there he happens upon a pintsized hut on a lonely plot littered with hundreds of clay pots of every size and description. Driven by a deathly thirst, he stops. A strange little brown man materializes out of nowhere and introduces himself merely as ‘Potter’ and welcomes Nicholas to his ‘Garden of the Spirits of the Pots.’ Although Nicholas has never laid eyes on Potter, the man seems to have expected Nicholas at his bizarre habitation and displays knowledge about him that nobody has any right to possess. Just who is this mysterious Aboriginal potter?

Although they are as mismatched as two persons can be, a strangely inevitable friendship takes hold between them. It is a relationship that can only be directed by an unseen hand bent on setting Nicholas on a mystifying voyage of self-discovery and Potter on revelations of universal certainties.

A blend of visionary and inspirational fiction with a touch of romance, this is a tale of Nicholas’ journey into parts unknown, both within his adopted home and himself, a quest that in the end leads him to his true purpose for living.

Garden of the Spirits of the Pots is available in eBook and/or paperback on Amazon.

AMAZON BUY LINK 

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook.

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