A Love Letter to America's Heartland, the Great Midwest
When it comes to defining what we know as all-American baking, everything from Bundt cakes to brownies have roots that can be traced to the great Midwest. German, Scandinavian, Polish, French, and Italian immigrant families baked their way to the American Midwest, instilling in it pies, breads, cookies, and pastries that manage to feel distinctly home-grown.
After more than a decade of living in California, author Shauna Sever rediscovered the storied, simple pleasures of home baking in her Midwestern kitchen. This unique collection of more than 125 recipes includes refreshed favorites and new treats:
Rhubarb and Raspberry Swedish Flop Danish KringleSecret-Ingredient Cherry Slab Pie German LebkuchenScotch-a-Roos Smoky Cheddar-Crusted Cornish Pasties
. . . and more, which will make any kitchen feel like a Midwestern home.
Baker Sever (Pure Vanilla) highlights more than 125 sweet and savory Midwestern dishes in this enticing and homey cookbook. Noting the regionalisms of Midwestern baking "recipes that show up in one place won't necessarily show up all over the region" Sever serves up pages of toothsome comfort food as she shares the background on many of the recipes. Noting that the first-ever-published banana bread recipe, from 1930s food writer Mary Ellis ("a veritable prototype for Martha Stewart"), is pitch perfect, she doesn't change a thing. Others, like the classic brownie which originated at Chicago's Palmer House hotel in 1893 gets an update with the addition of pure peppermint extract. She gives cinnamon rolls an ingenious boost with Chinese five-spice powder; the addition of red wine puts her Sweet Cherry Slab Pie over the top; and the inclusion of sour cream and brown sugar elevates homemade frozen custard. She rounds out the volume with such delightfully quirky recipes as the Donut Loaf, a bread that tastes like a donut (it's the nutmeg); decadent layered oatmeal and chocolate in the Chocolate-Espresso Revel Bars; and Nebraskan runzas, a handheld meat pie filled with spiced beef and cabbage. Sever delivers hit after hit in a collection that will appeal to bakers of all skill levels.