Happy 4th of July! Having travelled the country visiting the history of America, this day sits deeply in my spirit. Trials and tribulations, the amazing Constitution, the bravery of my grandparents embarking on a journey across the Atlantic to start a new life - this day embodies the promise that is still the heartbeat of this country. Having had so many personal milestones occur around this day, it also sits in my heart. I have spent the 4th of July at the Statue Of Liberty, in Central Park- NYC, by various lakes but the most important one was the one at the State Capital in St. Paul, MN. Twenty-four years ago I had this friend I worked with, went on bike rides with and joined for an afternoon of cross-country skiing. We talked a lot. I mentioned the fact that I probably wasn't going to marry having grown tired of the dating game. He mentioned that he would never date anyone with whom he worked. It was a safe relationship.
My sister visited in July 1985. It was after the 4th of July and it had rained the entire weekend. On July 7, 1985, the radio mentioned that the fireworks were finally on! My sister suggested getting friends together and going. With permission, she called my biking friend. My biking friend was thinking of going down to the fireworks anyway. His sister wanted to go and she suggested he call me. As it turned out, neither sister went. But my biking friend and I did go. We sat under the stars, listened to the Minnesota Orchestra, watched the fireworks, felt fuzzy and warm and comfortable and were dating by the end of the fireworks.
On November 7, 1985 we got engaged. We were married on May 24, 1986. The self-proclaimed single and the guy who wouldn't date anyone he worked with! Since that night, we have had many 4ths together - at the Capital and on White Bear Lake, under the stars, complete with a small orchestra! We brought drinks, popcorn, blankets, mosquito repellent and my children. Who grew up going to White Bear Lake's Optimist Beach for fireworks. Gone are the days when my children sought shelter in our arms from the noise. What still remains is our annual barbecue for any family members available. I married into a traditional family. Tomorrow 25-34 members of Paul's family will gather for brats, turkey, watermelon and an enormous array of sides - provided by - everyone!
I usually make Panna Cotta with a berry compote. It is a way of honoring my heritage and the Day. But this year, I veered of course. One of my desserts is a Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life.
BLUEBERRY-RASPBERRY POUND CAKE (and sometimes strawberries, too!)
2 cups plus 8 T cake flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
5 large eggs
1-2/3 cup sugar
2-1/2 sticks (10 oz) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
2 T kirsch
1 cup blueberries - rinsed and dried
1 cup raspberries - rinsed and dried
Set oven rack to medium position. Preheat oven to 300F. Butter a standard 9 cup Bundt pan and dust with flour. (Nonstick may not need to dust with flour)
In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups plus 6 T flour, the baking powder and salt.
In food processor blend eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow - about 1 minute. Add the butter and kirsch and blend until mixture is fluffy - stopping once to scrape down sides of bowl. It may look curdled and that's fine! Add the dry ingredients and process to just combine. Do not over mix. Batter should be thick and very smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2T flour. Pour the batter over the berries and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine until all flour is absorbed. Pour the batter into prepared Bundt pan and spread it evenly across. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours. (Mine took closer to 1-1/4 hours.) Transfer cake to a rack and cool for five minutes. Carefully invert the cake out of the pan onto a rack (mine went straight to a dish) and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Decorate at will - berries and whipped cream.