Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baking for the Soul!

Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead.

In many European countries, the idea of "Souling" became an acceptable alternative for Christians. The cakes took many different names and shapes -- in some areas, they were simple shortbread, and in others they were baked as fruit-filled tarts. Still other regions made them of rice flour. Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available. You can make your own with one of these four simple recipes.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 hour
Here's How:

Pie Crust Soul Cakes

You'll need:

A refrigerated roll-out pie crust
2 Tbs. melted butter
1 C mixed dried fruit
2 Tbs honey
Roll out the pie crust and cut it into circles. Use the circles to line a tin of muffin cups. Mix the butter, fruit and honey together. Scoop the fruit mixture into the pastry shells, and then bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before eating.

Quickie Shortbread Soul Cakes

You'll need:

1 stick of butter, softened
4 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 C flour
Cream together the butter and sugar. Use a flour sifter to add the flour to the bowl, and mix until it's smooth. Divide the dough into two parts, and shape each half into a flat circle about half an inch thick. Put them on an ungreased baking sheet (baking stones are really nice for this) and poke lines with the tines of a fork, making eight separate wedges in each cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown at 350 degrees.

Buttery Soul Cakes

You'll need:

Two sticks butter, softened
3 1/2 C flour, sifted
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron
1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice
2 eggs
2 tsp malt vinegar
Powdered sugar
Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinammon and allspice. Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4" thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.

Mulled wines are a traditional favorite, no matter what the occasion, but Halloween presents a terrific opportunity to introduce others to its appeal. The Banshee Mulled Wine recipe is a warm wine punch sure to clutch the palate of all Halloween gouls.


One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
One peeled and sliced lemon (keep peel to add zest to taste in cooking pot)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
5 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup sugar (or honey can be substituted)
2/3 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved.
When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind), garnish with a blood orange segment and enjoy!

This butternut squash casserole includes apples and is topped with a buttery spiced crumb topping with brown sugar.


1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
2 apples, cored, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 tablespoons butter, cold
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel, seed, and cut squash into small slices. Place squash and apple slices in a baking dish, about 11- x 7-inches

Combine brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over sliced squash and apples.

Bake at 375 till brown and bubbly