Thyme and Change: Sunday Traditions
By Chef Charles Lee, Henderson Park Inn, Destin, FL
I was raised
Southern Baptist through and through. My Grandmother Mattie
was Superintendent of our small, very hot, or very cold
Sunday-go-to-meeting place, or in “sinner language,” our
church. Grandmother Mattie (as everyone in our small
community referred to her) held this esteemed position for
proved to be a real disadvantage for everyone inside the
family household because everyone was required to attend
Sunday school, church, and night services every Sunday.
Unless you were in the ground, you were required to be in
the church pew.
We did not have a
regular minister except for the first and third Sunday of
each month. The Lord’s Supper was administered on these
Sundays: bread and wine, or in this case, grape juice. There
were those among the congregation who felt Rev. “Money
Thyme” was perhaps spiking his grape juice with Jack
Daniels. The reasons were clear as he slurred his words and
read from Psalms when he had instructed the congregation to
read from St. John. However, the most obvious reason was
when he insisted that Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were
a spiritual group that toured the country healing people.
Our tradition on
the first and third Sunday was that Rev. “Thyme” dined in
our home. My grandmother decided to bake a chocolate cake in
his honor. She called it a Tipsy “Thyme” Chocolate Covered
Pear Cake. The cake batter was mixed by hand and cooked in a
wood burning stove.
Tipsy “Thyme” Pear Cake
You will need a
balloon whisk and two 9 inch by 2 inch cake pans lined with
parchment paper and lightly flour dusted. Preheat oven to
2 cups cake flour
1-cup extra dark cocoa powder
2-cup superfine sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1-cup sour cream
Four large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-cup hot water
½ tsp Jack Daniels
1 tsp salt
1 large pear
Core pear and slice. Do not remove skin. Soak in 1/3 cup Jack
Daniels. Set aside.
In a large bowl,
mix dry ingredients with balloon whisk about five minutes.
In another bowl,
mix liquid ingredients together. Using the balloon whisk,
stir for three minutes.
Slowly add wet
ingredients to the dry mixture and whisk for ten minutes.
Pour equal amounts of batter into each floured pan, place in
center of oven, and bake for 30 minutes or until straw
insert in the middle of the cake is clear.
Remove from oven
place pans on wire rack. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove
from pans continue cooling cakes on wire rack.
The Filling and Topping
1 cup powdered Sugar
4 oz soft cream cheese
8 oz melted butter
1 tsp Jack Daniels
¼ cup buttermilk
Mix all ingredients together until desired spreading
consistency. Add more buttermilk if required or if mixture
Remove cake from
wire cooling rack, place on cake board. Use generous amount
of filling to cover cake surface completely. Gently ease
second layer on top of first. Gentle pressure should cause
filling to bind top and bottom layer together. Cover cake
completely with remaining mixture. Place cake in freezer for
1 lb Bakers chocolate, chopped fine
2 cups heavy cream, scalded
chocolate and scalded cream until chocolate is completely
melted. Remove cakes from freezer. Cover with melted
chocolate return to cooler.
Prior to service
remove from cooler and garnish with Jack Daniel soaked pears.