Saturday, August 15, 2015

Solemnity of the Assumption, Cake Pops for Mary!

Did you know that between 1870 and 1940, it is estimated that over four hundred bishops, eighty thousand priests and religious, and over eight million lay people petitioned the Vatican to define the Blessed Mother's Assumption as a dogma of the faith? The overwhelming desire by the faithful to see this reality of the Blessed Mother's life defined, led  Pope Pius XII in 1946 to send out a letter to all the bishops. In this letter he asked if they judged that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin could be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith. The response from the bishops was almost unanimous, and the Holy Father concluded that "those whom 'the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God'" had spoken. Pius XII on November 1, 1950 in a solemn definition stated "by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our Own authority, We pronounce, declare, and define as divinely revealed dogma: The Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, after her life on earth, was assumed, body and soul to the glory of heaven." Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus

Smiling faces as the girls take a break from decorating cake pops

Would you like to learn how to make and decorate cake pops? They are easy and great fun. You can offer them for all occasions - feast days and holidays. The ones we made are simple and very tasty. You can make very sophisticated ones, as you will see, if you look at some of the popular cake pop books on the market. Below I will show you how to make, freeze, and decorate simple but gorgeous cake pops in honor of the Feast of the Assumption


                                    RECIPE FOR CAKE POPS
                                                                 makes about 36


cake mix any variety except Angel food or sponge cake, and the oil, water and eggs that are required.
lollipop sticks, 3 inch, 36
 chocolate melts, any color you like (Michael's Craft Store and A.C. Moore Stores have an extensive variety of colors and flavors) probably about 2 bags of melting chocolate
sprinkles, all colors, shapes, to decorate with (Michael's and A.C. Moore)
additional items you might want
pastry bag with decorating tips for designs (Michael's and A.C. Moore, Wal-Mart, Wilton on-line)


Follow the directions on the box for preparing and baking the cake. Using an oblong pan is easiest but not essential. When the cake is out of the oven, let it cool completely.

Crumble baked cake into large mixing bowl. Crumble completely so there are no lumps.
Add 1/2 to 2/3 cup of prepared frosting gradually. You want the crumbled cake to become moist enough to roll between your hands and form into a small round ball. If you use too much frosting the mixture will be too wet and will not hold its shape. 

When you are ready to roll the  mixture into round balls have a couple of oblong cake pans or cookie sheets lined with aluminium foil, wax paper, or plastic wrap. I prefer aluminium foil.  

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll  between your palms into a  1-inch ball. Place on lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you have finished the bowl of mixture. Should be about 36 balls. Then place in the center of each ball one lollipop stick. Repeat until finished. Place rolled balls in freezer for 2 - 3 hours. 
(If your freezer can not accommodate such a large pan, then use smaller pans or plates. Be sure to line them with aluminium foil for ease of removing the cake pop.)

Heat up the chocolate melts in a microwave safe bowl. Use about 1 1/2 cup of melts. Microwave at 35 seconds and then stir the mixture. Heat in increments of 35 seconds or less, until the melts are melted. You do not want to over heat the melts or they will be ruined. 

Take the cake pops out of the freezer and one by one dip them in the heated chocolate melts. My technique is to dip the cake pop in so that it is completely covered. If necessary, I use a plastic spoon to shovel the melted chocolate up around the collar of the cake pop where the stick enters. When the entire pop is covered, I remove it carefully and place on a clean sheet of aluminium foil. You must put the sprinkles on immediately before the chocolate hardens. I usually do about twelve cake pops or so and then put the decorated batch in the freezer or the refrigerator depending on where I have room. Then I continue on with twelve more and so on, until I have completed all thirty six cake pops.  If you want to add a design by melting the chocolate in a disposable, plastic pastry bag with a decorator tip, you can wait and do that later after you have finished all the cake pops, or even on another day, if you are not planning to eat them right off! The cake pops stay very fresh for up to two weeks because of the chocolate coating.

Here is a single cake pop decorated just for Mary
on the Solemn Feast of her Assumption
                                      Happy Feast Day, Blessed Mother!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Poi and Mochi - Gluten- free Staples from the Hawaiian Islands

My last post was about Fr. Joseph Dutton who spent half of his life on the island of Molokai caring for the lepers quarantined by the Hawaiian government. The life he left in the United States reflected abundance in stark contrast to the meager food supplies the island of Molokai and the Hawaiian government provided the lepers. Here is a picture of poi the stem of the taro plant which was native to the islands. A staple in the lepers' diet, it became one in Dutton's. Today poi is not found in abundance in Hawaii as it once was. In fact, ironically it is an expensive item at Hawaii's pricey supermarkets.

Lepers could eat poi raw. It is a sweet and a delectable tasting vegetable, or they could cook the stems like we cook potatoes, turnips or rutabagas and mash them when they were thoroughly cooked. Either way, it was a nourishing food, high in carbohydrates if not a monotonous dish. Poi is gluten free so neither the lepers, those who cared for them, and anyone eating it today with celiac disease have to worry about the gluten content.

Mochi confections - blueberry, pineapple, strawberry and orange

Another ingredient native to the Pacific Islands and other parts of Asia is mochi. Mochi is rice flour made from pounding or beating mochigome, a short-grained glutinous rice (not to be confused with gluten).

It is unlikely that Br. Dutton and the lepers enjoyed the desserts made from mochi that are found on the Hawaiian islands today. Those requiring gluten-free treats will be happy to know that mochi desserts fit their dietary restrictions offering variety and taste. The consistency of mochi desserts and other dishes using mochi instead of flour is different; it is more gelatinous, a bit spongy or chewy in comparison to flour-based dishes.

 Here is a link to an article on making homemade mochi, I have never made mochi and prefer to pick it up at the supermarket. Those of you with a more adventuresome culinary spirit than my own, may enjoy giving it a try. Mochi can be found in many supermarkets in either the baking or international aisle. If your town or city has an Asian grocery, you will find it there, too.

I have tried a number of the recipes in Jean Watanabe Hee's book, Hawai'i's Best Mochi Recipes. We do not have any family members that require a gluten-free diet - at least not yet. But I was curious about what mochi desserts, blueberry mochi and pumpkin mochi, to name two, were like so I made them and a few others. We enjoyed them.

My strong attraction to mochi is from the absolutely scrumptious mochi ice cream balls found in Honolulu. There is a homemade ice cream shop which features the most delectable mochi ice cream ever. It is called Bubbies, If you find yourself in Honolulu be sure to stop by and try the mochi ice cream balls. Homemade ice cream wrapped in a mochi covering. Check out the previous link to see the varieties of ice cream and mochi coverings. This is a delectable treat that "melts in your mouth not in your hands!" There are Asian grocery stores in the U.S. that carry mochi ice cream balls, but the ice cream balls, although good, do not compare to Bubbies'! This is not meant to discourage you from trying them, but rather to encourage you to visit Hawaii, go to Molokai where St Damien and Br. Dutton cared for the lepers, and stop by Bubbies before you leave Honolulu and try some of Bubbies mochi ice cream balls!  Aloha!

View of the island of Molokai