Saturday, May 5, 2012

Currant Cakes

In the few experiences I've been able to accumulate over the past couple of years as a teacher in the classroom, I've learned quite a bit about children. This week, since subbing every day for a second grade class, I've learned a lot more. Mostly about the mind of a second-grader.

First, second-graders have no concept of age. To them, I'm in my mid-forties. Which is fine, since a class I've had in the past guessed I was 72. Only fifty years off, but hey, you don't really need to know math yet. I guess I'm getting younger-looking as I get older. In that case, I'll take it.

Next, which I'm sure we've all experienced at one time or another, they're blunt. Take this exchange that occurred yesterday for example:
Dearest 2nd-grader: "Mrs. B?" 
Me: "Well, it's Ms. B. Yes?"
D2G: "Oh, Ms. B. Are you getting married?"
Me: "What? No, that arbitrary ring on my hand doesn't mean I'm getting married. It's on the wrong hand, anyway."
Note: Now multiple students are surrounding the desk.
D2G: "Are you ever getting married?"
Me: "Well, I hope so."
D2G: "But you aren't yet? What if you don't?"
Me: "I don't know. I'm just hoping I do!"
D2G: "It'd be pretty lonely if you didn't."
Me: "I agree, so that's why I'm hoping I will someday."
D2G: "Ms. B, I think you should prepare for a lonely life."
All students agreed, seemed satisfied with the conclusion, and returned to their seats. End scene.

Well that's a boost in the self-esteem department. 

I've also learned that there is, in fact, a moment where all teachers can read minds. It occurs after school hours, after all the kids have gone home, we've changed out of our dreadful teacher outfits, and we go about our normal everyday people lives. It happens when we're out doing errand-y things in town, and we round a corner in the grocery store and there stands one of our smiling students. It is in this moment when you make eye contact, before any words are exchanged, that a teacher can read that student's mind. Their eyes are wide and their mind is thinking: Why isn't my teacher at school?

That's another funny thing about second-graders. They think we live at school. They think our desk is our home and the faculty room is our refuge. Beyond that, we do not exist. And if by some chance that idea is proved otherwise, their minds are BLOWN. 

Also, gone are the days of bringing in homemade goodies for the students. With all the allergies that exist, it just isn't safe to do anymore. It's probably for the best anyway because if I could bring in food for my kids, I would probably do it every day. And then there's the whole obesity epidemic and I'd be shunned for being counterproductive. BUT if allergies didn't exist and there wasn't the risk of making my students overweight, I still wouldn't bring in these currant cakes. Kids are picky. And dried fruit-filled dough does not go under the category of Things Children Willingly Eat. However, children aside, these currant cakes are very, very good, and a recipe that my family has long passed down. 

Currant Cakes

1 1/2 cups cold shortening, cut in cubes
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
4 green apples, peeled and grated
1 lb dried currants
3/4 cup sugar
Egg wash

Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk until just combined. Divide dough in two, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Roll out each pastry to fit the size of a jelly roll pan. Line the pan with one pastry layer. Mix together grated apple, dried currants and 1/2 cup sugar. Spread currant filling over the dough, and top with the second layer of pastry. Prick dough with fork and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Bake for 25-30, until golden.Cut while still warm. 

This recipe should be featured on very soon as well. Over there I've picked the perfect beer to go alongside, if you're into that sorta thing. Which I am. And you should be. 

Well, I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. It's race weekend for me, so I'll be gorging myself with carbs until then. Which is every woman's wish, to be encouraged to eat carbs ALL THE TIME. Just livin' the dream over here. See you on the other side of the finish line!

Oh, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

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