Saturday, 24 September 2011

Happy Birthday Bubbie Lou....Currant Pinwheels




Happy Birthday Bubbie Lou!  She would have turned 93 today!  It seems fitting that her birthday marks the point where I set off on my whirlwind of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) preparations!

What can I tell you about my Bubbie?  She was a fashionable, glamorous and beautiful woman, much like my own mother.  The gene skipped a generation with me but, thankfully, both our daughters have inherited their foremothers’ great taste and amazing sense of fashion.  In fact, these days, I feel like I am living in a continuous episode of “What Not To Wear”! 

But Bubbie was much more than a pretty face.  She was a mother, grandmother and homemaker supreme…I can remember spending many days in her basement kitchen – which was really a huge room, virtually unfinished, surrounded by upright freezers, ovens and two 8-foot tables which she used to make a multitude of delicacies and special treats for her family.  I have to admit it was boring to sit and watch all this cooking and baking happening around me, I would have much rather hung out with my friend Katherine who lived down the street.  But now, looking back, I wish I had had the foresight to realize that adult Naomi would value all the tips and tricks Bubbie was trying to share with me…hindsight really is 20-20.

Whenever Bubbie Lou would bake, she made sure to allow everything to cool, and then would carefully lay the cookies out on waxed paper, layer upon layer, stacked in cake boxes and frozen for later enjoyment.  I can still see the boxes of Bubbie’s baking stacked in our freezer too!  My objective over the next few days is to find room in my freezers for all the baking and cooking there is to do!

Stay tuned, Rosh Hashana preparations will undoubtedly provide me with tons of recipes and memories that are guaranteed to end up on my blog! 

Back to Bubbie Lou…one of her all-time best recipes ever – just ask Uncle Jim and Dad –has to be her currant pinwheel cookies.  And so, the currants, eggs, flour and sugar are all waiting in the kitchen for me to transform them into a holiday treat later today! 

 In going through all the recipes in My Golden Recipes (the cookbook that originally inspired me to start this blog) I came across the original Currant Pinwheels recipe, in Bubbie Lou’s handwriting. Check out the comments in this recipe (ie. “enough Crisco to make for a pie crust”)…so different from our exact-measurement-cooking of today.  My mother and mother-in-love cook(ed) the same way…by touch and instinct…it seems to me that it was assumed you just knew how much Crisco went in a pie crust – duhhh!   

These cookies are meant to be savoured with a “glaizl (cup) tea”, and surrounded by loved ones (or in front of the TV watching Glee! LOL!!).  B’Tayavon and Buon Appetito!



Bubbie Lou's Currant Pinwheels

Dough Ingredients:
·         4C flour
·         4 heaping tsp baking powder (1 for each cup of flour)
·         ½C sugar
·         1 small tsp salt
·         ½ lb shortening  (½ lb = 8 0z = 1C)
·         4 eggs well beaten
·         2 tbsp honey (add ½ C hot water to dissolve)
Cookie Ingredients:
·         ½C sugar
·         1 tsp cinnamon
·         ½C currants
·         ½C chopped nuts (your choice)

Method:  Preheat oven to 350­.  Add all other dough ingredients to the beaten eggs, mixing the liquid in a little at a time to make the dough soft enough to handle easily.  Add water if necessary. 
Divide dough into 3 parts.  On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough, then sprinkle nuts and currants.  Roll up into a long roll.  Cut into ½ inch pieces, and dip in white sugar. 
Bake for 20 minutes, or as needed.