It’s Thanksgiving season again, and what a powerful thing it is that our forefathers thought to set aside a day for a spiritual discipline that God so values—praise and thanksgiving! It wasn’t Turkey Day; it was Thanksgiving Day.
The Psalmist said it this way: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good: his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endures to all generations” (Psalms 100:4-5).
Dale has an original pineapple, pecan and rum torte for us to prepare for Thanksgiving. I remember my mother’s pineapple upside cake that Dad so loved. And this is even more scrumptious with the added ingredients of pecans and rum. Take an afternoon off before Thanksgiving and leap into an elegant dessert: a reason for praise.
Pineapple, Pecan and Rum Torte
So when is a cake a torte? Actually there is no consistent definition but… Tortes are usually more complicated. Often they have three or more layers, but this one has only two. The layers are usually a little thinner; like this one. The frosting and the filling are usually two or three different concoctions, but this one isn’t. A torte is usually brushed with a simple syrup suffused with a liquor; but I do that to most of my cakes. Tortes are usually denser than cakes but this one is rather light. So all of this means that you can call it what you want, but if it is something special, like this one, call it a torte.
Cakes and tortes are works of art. They are labor intensive and require a large chunk of time. All ministry is that way, so allow yourself plenty of time. Don’t rush; enjoy the process. It is time well spent.
For the Cake you will need:
5 Tbs. Butter 1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ cup plus 2 Tbs. Sugar ½ tsp. Salt
1 egg 1tsp. of ground Ginger
1 tsp. vanilla 1 ½ cups of Cake Flour
½ cup of Milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease, with shortening or butter, two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Grease the bottoms again and dust the sides and bottoms with flour. Don’t be tempted to not line the pans. These layers will be thin and delicate. Lining the pans will make the layers easier to handle and less likely to tear.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the remaining liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Add the dry ingredients on low speed then mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. Watch it carefully, the layers are thin and they cook rapidly.
- When the layers are done, cool them on racks until the pans are cool enough to handle. When they are cool run a knife around the edges and invert the pans to let the layers fall out. Let the layers cool completely before handling them.
For the Frosting/Filling You Will Need:
1 cup Brown Sugar 2 8 oz. cans of Crushed Pineapple
¼ cup Corn Starch ½ cup water
½ tsp. Salt 1 cup chopped Pecans
1 Tbs. fresh Lemon Juice 3 Tbs. Butter
- Spread 1 cup of pecans on a sheet pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 4 minutes.
- When the nuts are cool, roughly chop them. Leave them in irregular small bits and larger pieces.
- In a sauce pan, mix the 1 cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of corn starch and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Add the crushed pineapple and the ½ cup of water.
- Cook over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Cook for another 60 seconds,
- Carefully (cool it) taste the mixture to see if all of the raw cornstarch flavor is gone. If you can still taste raw cornstarch, cook it for another 60 seconds.
- When working with corn starch, always resist the temptation to hurry up the thickening process by cooking over a higher heat. That won’t work. It will thicken, but when the mixture is cooled, it will become “soupy” once again and taste raw. An appropriate amount of time at a medium heat will cook the corn starch properly, not a higher heat for a shorter amount of time.
- Stir in the butter, lemon juice and pecans.
- Let the mixture cool while you prepare the syrup.
For the Syrup, You Will Need:
½ cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1/3 cup Rum
- In a small sauce pan, combine the ½ cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water.
- Over a high heat bring the mixture to a boil then take it off of the heat to cool.
- When the syrup is cool add the ½ cup of rum. You can use light, dark or spiced rum.
- Place one of the cake layers on a cake platter. With a tooth pick or skewer punch holes all over the cake but especially around the edges which tend to be dryer.
- Brush half of the syrup on the top and sides of the first layer.
- Spread half of the frosting/filling on the first layer. Leave the sides unfrosted.
- Place the second layer on top of the first and prepare the second layer as you did the first.
- You might have a little of the frosting/filling left. If you do, have a bite. It’s delicious!
Food for Thought:
These days it seems most people want something quick to prepare for dinner. Well, our culture wants everything quick. There’s a lot of admiration for those who can rush about doing a million things in one day.
But I’ve always loved kairos time best, not chronos. Kairos has to do with quality of time, chronos—duration. I experience kairos as a space in the day when I lose all sense of time, a long space when there’s no deadline, but there’s time to move around freely and think great thoughts. And there’s time to make a luscious pineapple, pecan and rum torte for a special Thanksgiving Day.
In kairos time you have a chance to notice what God is doing. A friend told me a story the other day that made me praise God for his care. Her husband was driving his son and some friends to school on one of our icy, super-cold days. Suddenly they hit some black ice, skidded, swiveled all the way around and ended on the wrong side of the street. They were sure they were dead. But fortunately the driver hit a place where he secured traction and was able to swerve back into the proper lane—all without any collision.
Soon they stopped for gas, and when they were all back in the car, an elderly lady knocked on the driver’s window. The driver rolled down the window, and the lady held out a penny. “You forgot to pick this up,” she said.
The driver was confused. “Oh, okay,” and held out his hand to receive the penny. But the lady said, “No, look! Look at what it says: ‘In God We Trust.’ ”
He looked at her in awe, and as quickly as she’d appeared she was gone.
Do you believe in angels? I do. Several such experiences are wedged in my memory forever, milestones in the growth of my faith.
My verse for this season is “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).
Thanksgiving is the perfect season to take time to look up, be alert and thank him for all the ways He’s recently touched our lives.