My brother Dale and I have been obsessed with conversations about food lately, mostly because we are watching our weight and trying to make healthier meals. It’s a real challenge to two Southern cooks who enjoy the foods our grandmothers used to make. My brother loves bread–biscuits, cornbread, yeast rolls that have to be left to rise, and then punched down to rise a second time before baking. He doesn’t care as much for desserts.
But I do. I still remember my grandmother’s banana pudding. Today, most cooks start with an instant pudding, but a real Southern banana pudding begins with a custard cooked over a double boiler, cooled, and layered with meringue and Nilla vanilla wafers. I have never looked up the calorie count. It would be way too scary. I haven’t made banana pudding in a while, but this week I had a hankering for another of my granny’s recipes, and luckily it’s one with fewer calories.
Remember tea cakes? When I was a kid my mother made them using Granny’s recipe and had them waiting–still warm from the oven, when I got home from school. Baking tea cakes made the whole house smell like vanilla. Maybe that’s why vanilla is still one of my favorite scents and my favorite flavor of Blue Bell Ice Cream. Anyway, they are easy to make and quick to bake, so I thought I’d share the recipe.
GRANNY’S TEA CAKES: Preheat the oven to 350. Cream one cup of butter and one cup of sugar till light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add one teaspoon vanilla. Then mix in 3 and a half cups of self rising flour, a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. If you have to wait for one batch to bake before putting in a second batch, cover the second batch with a damp tea towel so the dough won’t dry out.
These are so good served warm with milk or a cup of hot tea.
Do you have a favorite “granny recipe” to share? I’d love to know what foods bring back good memories for you.