The month of February has a few important events to celebrate. One such event is Presidents’ Day, which this year will be observed on February 15. Presidents’ Day honors both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two influential presidents who were born in February.
Some may recall a legend about George Washington and a cherry tree, as it’s one of the most popular tales tied to the nation’s first president. The original story has a young George receiving a hatchet as a gift when he is six years old. Young George ends up using it to cut into his father’s cherry tree. After discovering the damage, George’s father confronts him. Rather than lie, George admits to his wrongdoing. George’s father commends him for his honesty, indicating that honesty has more value than a cherry tree.
While no one is suggesting to cut down a cherry tree in February in honor of George Washington, the value of this tale and lesson can be celebrated symbolically with these two tasty recipes, a Cherry Coffee Cake and Martha Washington’s Cherry and Butter Bread Pudding.
Cherry Coffee Cake
Add some sweetness to your breakfast routine with this delicious and easy-to-make morning snack.
YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 can (12.4 ounces) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
1 1/2 cups (21-ounce can) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup slivered almonds or pecans (optional)
Heat oven to 375 F. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Separate cinnamon roll dough into eight rolls; cut each roll into quarters. Place dough rounded-side down in pan. Spoon pie filling over rolls. Sprinkle almond slivers or pecans over cherry filling, if desired. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Invert onto plate or cutting board. Invert again onto serving plate. Remove lid from icing. Microwave 3 to 10 seconds. Stir icing and drizzle over warm coffee cake before serving.
Martha Washington’s Cherry and Butter Bread Pudding
This recipe is rumored to be our first First Lady’s favorite dessert to make. A firm bread like Pepperidge Farm or Arnold is recommended, and while cherry preserves are used for this recipe, any type of fruit preserve may be substituted.
YIELD: Makes 6 servings
12 slices white bread
Butter or margarine
10-oz. cherry preserves
2 and 2/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. Cut crusts from 12 slices white bread. Spread butter on one side of each slice. Arrange 4 slices bread in bottom of dish and sprinkle each lightly with cinnamon. Spread a spoonful of cherry preserves on each slice. Repeat, making two more layers. Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and sugar and stir until well mixed. Pour over bread and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the custard is set. Serve warm from the oven.
This article first appeared in TBR News Media’s Prime Times supplement on Jan. 28, 2021 under Recipe Corner.