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You asked for it

Hot bacon dressing a sweet-sour treat

By ANNE LONG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 6, 2001


Hot bacon dressing is a sweet-and-sour Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. Marion Van Norman, who lives both here and in Pennsylvania, shares the recipe, which is a holiday tradition at her home and is almost no-fail. Marion says it can be made several days ahead and reheated.

Moussaka, a Greek dish, layers eggplant with meat and tomato sauce and is topped with an egg sauce. This recipe makes a large panful and will serve 14 to 16.

Then it is time for dessert. Have you ever tasted banana upside-down cake? Nancy Eggert's recipe makes a classic upside-down cake in an 8-inch-square pan.

Upside-down bananas Foster cake made in an old-fashioned iron skillet is the recipe sent by Juanita Washington. Use a packaged butter recipe golden cake mix as the basis for the cake part. The Cake Mix Doctor author Anne Byrn writes that either a butter recipe golden cake mix or a plain yellow cake mix can be used, but the butter recipe golden cake mix has a finer, more delicate grain that lends itself well to this cake.

* * *

For: Wanda Reinicke of Clearwater.

From: Marion Van Norman of Hudson and Riegelsville, Pa.

Recipe: Hot bacon dressing.

Hot Bacon Dressing

4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup vinegar

1 cup water (some cooks use cream instead of water)

Fry bacon slowly; set aside, undrained.

In a saucepan, combine sugar with salt and cornstarch; mix thoroughly. Add beaten egg and vinegar, mixing well again. Lastly, add water (or cream), bacon and fat. Cook, stirring, until desired thickness is reached.

Can be made several days ahead and reheated.

* * *

For: Jean Ann Adkins of Dunedin.

From: Elizabeth McKay of Tampa.

Recipe: Moussaka from The Art of Greek Cookery by the Women of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church, Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y., 1963.

Moussaka

2 large onions, chopped

1/2 pound butter, divided

4 pounds ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

Dried oregano

Dash garlic powder

1 2-pound 3-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes

1cup tomato puree or sauce

5-6 eggplants

Salt

6 eggs

4 cups milk, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

Grated cheese

Brown onions in 1/4-pound of the butter. Add ground beef and brown well. Add salt and pepper, oregano and garlic powder. Add tomatoes and tomato puree or sauce and cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Melt remaining 1/4-pound butter. Peel one eggplant at a time. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange slices on broiler pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and brush with melted butter. Brown 2 inches from broiler heat, turn and brown other side. Set aside and repeat until all eggplants are peeled and broiled.

Beat eggs with 1 cup of the milk, the flour and teaspoon salt. Heat remaining milk with the 2 tablespoons butter. Add slowly to egg mixture, beating constantly. Stir over low heat, without letting sauce boil, until very thick.

Overlap a layer of eggplant in bottom of an ungreased 10- by 16- by 2-inch pan and sprinkle lightly with grated cheese. Cover eggplant with meat mixture and sprinkle again with cheese. Cover eggplant with meat mixture and sprinkle again with cheese. Repeat layers until all eggplant and meat is used, ending with a layer of eggplant. Cover top with the egg sauce and sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve warm. Makes 14-16 servings.

Note: Eggplant and meat may be prepared in the casserole a day before using and stored in refrigerator. Next day, prepare egg sauce and bake.

* * *

For: Vera Butler of St. Petersburg.

From: Nancy Eggert of Dunedin.

Recipe:Banana upside-down cake.

Banana Upside-Down Cake

1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons softened shortening

1 egg, well-beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 bananas

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add shortening. Mix together egg, milk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring until all flour is dampened. Beat vigorously 1 minute.

Melt butter in 8-inch square pan. Add brown sugar and stir until melted and syrup formed. Peel and slice bananas and arrange in syrup.

Pour batter over bananas. Bake at 350 degrees about 50 minutes or until cake is done. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife or spatula. Turn out onto serving plate. Serve hot, upside down with bananas on top. Makes one cake.

* * *

From: Juanita Washington of Clearwater.

Recipe: Upside-down bananas Foster cake from The Cake Mix Doctor.

Upside-Down Bananas Foster Cake

Topping:

1/3 cup butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons light rum

3 cups sliced bananas, cut on the diagonal about 1/3-inch thick (from 3 large bananas)

Cake:

1 18.5-ounce package butter recipe golden cake mix

8 tablespoons butter, melted (1 stick)

1-1/2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Topping: Place the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and heat the skillet over low heat to melt the butter. Remove the skillet from the heat and, with a fork, stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and rum. Using the fork, spread the mixture out evenly in the bottom of the skillet. Arrange the banana slices over the bottom of the skillet so they cover it well.

Cake: Place the cake mix, melted butter, milk, eggs and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look creamy and smooth. Pour the batter on top of the bananas in the skillet, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the skillet on a rack in the center of a 350-degree oven.

Bake the cake until it rises high in the skillet and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 43-47 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and run a long sharp knife around the edge. Carefully invert the skillet onto a heatproof serving plate. The cake should release itself from the skillet. If it does not, simply run the knife around the side of the pan one more time and let the skillet rest on the plate until the cake releases. Lift off the skillet. This cake is best served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, so slice and serve at once.

If serving this cake later in the day, let it cool on a platter and cover it with plastic wrap. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Slice and serve it at room temperature or reheat it, uncovered, in a microwave oven on high power for about 30 seconds.

- You Asked For It is a reader mail column. If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, write to You Asked For It, the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Be sure to include your full name, city and phone number with your letter. Letters without this information will be discarded. Requests cannot be answered by phone or mail.

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