Pineapple Chiffon Cake

Written By Michael Vyskocil, Photos by: Sherri Hosfeld Joseph

When we think about our childhood, one memory that we often conjure up is that of family mealtime.

“Dinner’s ready. Come inside,” our mothers may have called from the front porch.

For many of us, the anticipation of what Mom was cooking was enough to make us abandon our play long enough to gather around the table for a family meal.

We all have our favorite childhood dishes, many of which are family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Many were written or typed on index cards. They are truly heirlooms, worthy of being preserved and shared.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, here are three heirloom recipes to prepare at home:

Layered Vegetable Salad

Make-ahead layered salads have been the salvation of harried cooks since the early 1970s. Vegetable-packed salads appeared as part of the health craze and have never gone out of style – and for good reason.

They are stress-tamers that are easily made the day before an event, and they lend themselves to improvisation. To get the best-looking layers, use a bowl that is taller than it is wide.

6 cups torn mixed salad greens, such as mesculun
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 cup (about 4 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
? cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped
1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced into ?-inch-thick pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into ?-inch-thick pieces
? cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
? cup mayonnaise
? cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, plus additional zest for garnish (optional)
? teaspoon coarse salt
? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium orange, peeled and sectioned
? cup pecans, coarsely chopped

  1. Place the salad greens in a 3-quart straight-sided bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrot into paper-thin strips. Set aside.
  2. Layer salad ingredients in the bowl in the following order: salad greens, ? cup cheese, olives, cucumber, red bell pepper, carrot strips and parsley.
  3. To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread the dressing over the top of the salad ingredients, spreading to the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle the top of the salad with the remaining ? cup cheese.
  4. Cover salad tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.
  5. Garnish with orange slices, chopped pecans and additional orange zest (if desired). Just before serving, toss the salad to coat the vegetables with the dressing.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Raspberry-Ginger Glazed Pork

There was a time when, on Sundays, all the family gathered around a hearty dinner and no one had to wonder what was on the menu. Sometime in the 1960s, the ritual of the Sunday roast received a flavor boost, as this version demonstrates. We adapted the concept of using gingersnaps in the glaze for the meat from Irma Rombauer’s classic, The Joy of Cooking.

1 3-pound boneless pork loin roast (single loin)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 12-ounce jar raspberry preserves
? cup ruby port
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
8 gingersnap cookies, crumbled
? cup blanched, slivered almonds, toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush pork loin roast with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place meat, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Roast, uncovered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 325 degrees F. and continue roasting for 1 ? to 1 ? hours, or until internal temperature of the meat is 155 degrees F.
  2. While meat is roasting, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine raspberry preserves, port, corn syrup and gingersnap cookies. Whisk mixture until gingersnaps are dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until glaze is slightly thickened. Stir in almonds. Keep glaze warm over medium-low heat.
  3. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, spoon some of the glaze over meat. Remove meat to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes. The temperature of the meat will increase to 160 degrees F. during resting.
  4. Carve roast into slices to desired thickness. Serve slices with remaining raspberry-ginger glaze.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Pineapple Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes were the rage among cooks in the late 1940s. Harry Baker, a Los Angeles insurance agent, is credited with creating the first chiffon cake in 1927. But he kept the recipe under wraps for years. It was not until 1947, when Baker sold the cake recipe to General Mills, that the secret of the light, fluffy cake was revealed: The texture is achieved by beating the egg yolks separately from the egg whites and substituting vegetable oil for butter in the ingredients.

2 ? cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 ? cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
? cup vegetable oil
? cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
8 large egg whites (about 1 cup), at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained

  1. Set oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. With a handheld electric mixer, beat in vegetable oil, pineapple juice, vanilla extract and egg yolks on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for 5 minutes more or until batter is smooth.
  3. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar, and continue beating on medium speed until egg whites have tripled in size and form stiff peaks, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Transfer egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites to egg yolk mixture and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold beaten egg whites into beaten egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture to beaten egg whites, gently folding from bottom of bowl up and over beaten egg whites.
  5. Pour batter into a 10-inch, nonstick, angel-food-cake pan; run a knife through the center of the batter to release any air bubbles. Place cake pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until top springs back lightly when touched.
  6. Invert pan over the neck of a bottle and cool about 1 ? hours. Loosen cake from the pan with a flexible knife. Turn cake out onto a pedestal lined with strips of waxed paper.
  7. Fold crushed pineapple into Seven-Minute Frosting. Frost cake. Garnish with strawberry florets. Remove waxed paper strips and serve.

Makes one 10-inch cake

Seven-Minute Frosting

3 large egg whites
1 ? cups sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
? teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rapid boil over medium heat. Whisk egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in a medium heatproof bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set bowl over saucepan. With a handheld electric mixer, beat mixture constantly on high speed for 7 minutes.
  2. Remove bowl from heat. Add vanilla and continue beating until frosting is stiff and glossy. Use immediately.

Makes about 2 cups

Strawberry Florets

5 fresh strawberries, hulled
10 fresh mint leaves

  1. Cut each strawberry lengthwise into five equal wedges. To form a floret, position strawberry slices in a circle on cake so that the points face outward from the center of the circle. Tuck two mint leaves underneath each floret.

Makes five florets