Egpyt, Oh Egpyt

For the first time since the rescue of the Chilean miners last year I turned on the tv in the morning to see the news.  Usually we stick to a constant flow of NPR news on the mornings and we watch very little television so my children are very excited to see it on.  My 2-year-old asked if we were going to watch the miners.  My 5-year-old told me he knew that there was something amazing happening near Israel – the street protests in Egypt.  We watched the peaceful rallies; the angry, joyful, strong, triumphant, amazed faces; we watched as old and young, women and men, political radicals and religious conservatives stood together and chanted for freedom from an opressive government.  Yesterday we woke up to hear that these peaceful protesters had been attacked by pro-government protesters.  What a sad, sad turn of events.  The lack of civility about which we talk about so much regarding our own, American, politics is nothing compared to much of the rest of the world where fair play and simple regard for human life is lacking.  My thoughts turn to those protesters who were so happy and peaceful a few days ago who today have not given up but instead shelter together under metal sheets, their resolve steeled by the attacks.  If the pro-Mubarak authors of this violence thought they could frighten the masses away they grossly underestimated the human spirit.  Regardless of your politics and hopes for the area (and, if you are like me and many others, you feel torn on the subject) it is uplifting to watch people rise up, without violence, to demand rights, and to face violence with persistence.  Here’s a little Egyptian inspired cake recipe, you can eat it while watching the new world emerge. 

Orange Blossom Water Cake with Baked Fruit

for the cake:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup oil (either regular olive oil or vegetable oil, something without much flavor)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbs orange blossom water

for the fruit:

  • 2 cups fruit, a mixture as you like of chopped or sliced dried figs, dates, apricots, raisins, fresh apple, pear, orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • spices as you like: cinnamon stick, pinch of cardamom, pinch of black pepper, orange zest
  • juice of the orange you zested for the cake
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water

To make the cake, beat all the ingredients together, pour into a baking dish, bake at 350F until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean – start checking at 30 minutes. 

To make the fruit, toss together all the ingredients, put in a baking dish and bake covered until the fruit is soft, about as long as it takes to bake the cake.  

Let the cake cool enough to be able to cut and serve it, serve it topped with the warm fruit.  You can also serve with a spoonful of yogurt or whipped cream.

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