By Jo Ann Miller
My father was born in 1901, the oldest son of ten children. He was the family patriarch from about age 30. He worked hard, never worried about weight, blood pressure or cholesterol and died at 97. All this made me start thinking about what he ate. Living on an East Texas farm he ate fresh vegetables (hot peppers and peas, etc) and fruits, pork and chicken, cornbread and biscuits–and dessert–lots of desserts. His favorites were the following:
• Pies–hot and cold—specifically sweet potato, chocolate, or pecan made with ribbon cane syrup, pecan made any other way, coconut cream, buttermilk, any other pie available. He really wasn’t terribly particular.
• Ice Cream–homemade or purchased.
• Cakes-fruit cakes and any other kind.
• Syrup on anything.
• Cobblers–Peach and Dewberry, Mixed Berry or Blackberry when fruits were available in the summer. Sweet potato in the fall in winter along with Raisin Roll. This recipe came from Mother’s family and is literally an “old family recipe.” I never saw a written recipe, but I have watched Mother make it many times. I think this is accurate enough to share.
Aunt Essie Dennard’s Raisin Roll
Heat oven to 400F. Grease a 9″X 9″ cake pan. If using a glass baking dish, lower temperature to 375F.
1 1/2 cups raisins–dark or white. Reserve about 1/4 cup after heating.
2 1/2 cups water. Reserve liquid after heating with raisins
Put water and raisins into a saucepan and heat until raisins have plumped. Drain, saving the liquid.
1 cup whipping cream, whipped until moderately stiff. Set aside.
Make pastry dough by mixing
2 cups all-purpose
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Crisco shortening
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes
6-8 tablespoons ice water
Cut shortening and butter into flour leaving some particles small and some a little larger. (The dough should have different sizes of particles so that the crust will be flaky.) Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix making the dough stiff as possible, but it should stick together. Divide into two parts and chill for about 10 minutes.
Roll each half into approximately a 9″ X 12″ rectangle Spread 1/2 of the raisins on the up to about 1 inch of the edge of the crust; spread 1/2 whipped cream over the raisins.
1-1 1 /2 cups sugar
Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar over each roll. Gently roll, pinching the edges and tucking the ends to keep it all together. Carefully place rolls side by side in the pan and place in preheated oven.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
While the pie bakes, heat the retained liquid and raisins and add 1/2 cup sugar. When the pastry is browned to your liking, pour the hot liquid mixture over the rolls and return to oven. Turn off oven and let the syrup mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cook, if you can possibly wait that long.
Food and fathers seem to go together. What was your dad’s favorite? Please share the recipe is it isn’t too much of a “family secret.”