Happy Friday the 13th! And most importantly, happy Galentine’s Day!
I’m teaming up with my dear and fabulous friend, Courtney, of NeighborFood, to bring you a party where ladies are kickin’ it with ladies in order to celebrate other ladies (courtesy of Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation). Minus frittatas unfortunately, but everything we’re bringing to you today is just as delicious, if not more!
A few months ago, Courtney and I were commiserating over all the horrible things who’s been raped or legislation being proposed to erode women’s rights). Instead of continuing to wallow in depression and feelings of hopelessness, we decided to dedicate this year’s Galentine’s Day post to a woman who inspires us, who has made a difference in our lives, a woman we would be proud to honour. We wanted to start supporting women and lifting each other up, in whatever way we can. Therefore, we’ve gathered some of our bestest (that’s totally a word) blogging lady friends today and each blogger is dedicating her post and her recipe to a strong, fabulous, kick ass woman.
There were three women in particular who got me through high school. One is my beloved counsellor, Ms. D, whom I wrote about in this guest post for Cake Duchess’ food memories series. Another is Ms. G, my drama teacher.
Today’s post is dedicated to Ms. S, my music teacher.
On my blog, I’ve written extensively about what a terrible student I was in high school. I couldn’t care less about my academic courses. I got Cs and Ds in science and math, but where I excelled was the arts. English, creative writing, performing arts but especially choir. Ms. S was my music teacher all five years of high school. I took general choir which required me to wake up at an ungodly hour and be in class by 7:30 a.m. My absolute favourite was vocal ensemble, a small choir of about 20 students. You had to audition to get in and I always felt so special being a part of it. Our classes were in the evenings, requiring my dad to drop me off and pick me up during the dark winter months (thanks, Dad!).
Ms. S was always passionate about music. She was (and continues to be) an incredible singer, piano player, teacher and all around human being. She taught with a firm hand, but always with great affection and humour. She made me want to be better. She made me disciplined. She made me stand up straighter (physically, because presentation and breath power are of utmost importance) but also because I felt like I was doing something worthy, something different. I was a part of something very special. She made me want to be excellent.
Ms. S also introduced us to beautiful pieces of music from all genres. We sang gospel songs, popular music (one of my favourites was a medley of Dancing In The Street, Oh Happy Day and Joyful Joyful from Sister Act 2), songs from musicals, classical and of course, actual Christmas carols at Christmas time (which I don’t think a lot of schools do anymore because political correctness, BLECH).
She took us on trips, which were the only trips I ever took in high school since my family couldn’t afford to go on any. Most of my best memories are of those trips, to Victoria, Disneyland, Calgary. Being loaded onto giant buses with the band students, bursting into spontaneous sing-alongs (how very Glee of us). Sleeping in some questionable motels with cigarette burned bedding. Stopping in some small town in B.C. and eating the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted.
There was always a reception after all of our concerts. There would be giant barrels of McDonald’s orange juice and endless trays of the best long john donuts I’ve ever eaten in my life. I have no idea what bakery Ms. S ordered those donuts from and when I asked her about it a few years ago on Facebook (God bless social media for bringing people together again) she couldn’t quite remember. The fact that I’ll never eat another one of those donuts again will haunt me to my grave.
Ms. S and her music classes offered me a much needed reprieve from my angst-ridden teenage life. In honour of the fabulous, wonderful, beloved Ms. S, I made boston cream pie inspired trifles. I wanted to make boston cream donuts but I have a fear of frying oil in my house, so these donut inspired trifles will have to do.
And Seasons of Love from Rent. Original Broadway cast, natch. Because this song will always bring tears to my eyes because it’s beautiful and it transports me back to when I was 16 years old, struggling to come to terms with who I was and what I was going to do with my life, standing in Ms. S’s music room and hearing it for the first time. When she cued up the music after telling us that we were going to be performing it, the world fell away and all I could hear was this song. Those first few chords on the piano still sends chills up my spine.
Thank you, Ms. S, for everything. I’ll love you always!
Vanilla Sour Cream Cake (adapted from Anne Burell of Food Network)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanille extract
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two eight inch cake pans with parchment and butter.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla, milk and sour cream. Gradually mix in the flour and stop until just combined.
Divide the batter into the cake pans and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, checking to make sure you don’t over bake the cakes. The cakes are ready as soon as a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool. I only used one cake for the trifles. You can either eat the leftover cake or freeze it for up to a month. I didn’t try halving the recipe so I don’t know if that would work. I figure leftover cake is never a bad thing!
After the cake is cooled, cut it into cubes appropriately sized for whatever serving dish you’re using. I used mason jars. You can also use ramekins, bowls or a large trifle bowl.
Vanilla Pastry Cream (from Joy of Cooking)
1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup whipped cream (optional)
In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Don’t let the mixture sit out for too long or you will get pieces of egg forming. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and add to the egg mixture. Whisk together until smooth.
In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly add it to the egg mixture, whisking instantly to prevent the egg from cooking. Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until it boils, whisking constantly. Make sure to get into the corners of the pan. When the mixture boils, cook it for a further minute until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the pastry cream into a clean bowl and place plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a film from forming. Cool to room temperature, after which you can refrigerate it for up to three days if not using immediately.
I whisked 1 cup of homemade whipped cream into my pastry cream to lighten it. That’s totally optional.
4 ounces chopped chocolate, milk or dark (I used milk but I generally like the sharpness and bitter edge of dark chocolate)
1/2 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1/4 cup whipped cream (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until it comes to a rolling boil. Pour half of the heated cream into the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the remainder of the hot cream and stir until fully combined. After my ganache cooled, I added 1/4 cup of homemade whipped cream to it but that’s optional. Next time, I’ll probably leave the ganache as is for a thicker, denser layer of chocolate.
Assembly of the Trifles (serves 6)
Using ramekins, mason jars, bowls or a large trifle bowl, alternate layers of cake, pastry cream and ganache. Top with whipped cream and garnish with chopped chocolate.
Place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
These were decadent, delicious and the perfect combination of textures and flavours. I’m trying to eat better so after sampling one of the trifles, I forced friends of ours to take the remaining home with them. This is way too dangerous to keep in my fridge!
Make sure you check out everyone’s amazing recipes and read about what woman inspired their post:
Ganache Topped Truffle Brownies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Orange Yogurt Waffles from Savvy Eats
Chocolate Honey Bombs from The Live-In Kitchen
Brownie Batter Chocolate Tart from Melanie Makes
Coeur a la Creme with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Strawberries from Heather’s Dish
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Puffs from The Redhead Baker
Chocolate Cheesecake from NeighborFood
Meyer Lemon Cranberry Scones from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Strawberry Covered Dark Chocolate Truffles from Girl Versus Dough
Cheesecake Milkshakes from Chocolate Moosey
Campari and Passion Fruit Sorbet from Food Lust People Love
Grilled Cheese & Chocolate Sandwich with Ganache Dipping Sauce from Climbing Grier Mountain
Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies from Namely Marly
Red Wine Ice Cream Floats from Mind Over Batter
Wicked Waikiki Sour from Pineapple and Coconut
Anise-Scented Ice Cream with Candied Fennel Seeds from girlichef
Mini Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream from A Cookie Named Desire
Nutella Fudge with Raspberries from The Food Charlatan