Three years. I can't believe it's really been three years. Three years ago today I timidly introduced myself and stepped into the blogosphere. I baked cookies, snapped some photos, met you fine folks, wrote about life and wrote about love, laughed, learned, grew.
I want to say thank you for being so patient with me. I've been pretty absent pretty often and I appreciate your understanding. Life's been a little nuts recently and I haven't had the time to bake elaborate cakes and roll out flaky pie crust.
So I thought you deserved a little something special to celebrate. Hot Polka Dot is as much about you as it is about me.
What could be more decadent that chocolate? How about three different kinds of chocolate? White chocolate cheesecake sandwiched between dark chocolate cake riddled with milk chocolate chips, enrobed in whipped dark chocolate ganache frosting and topped with a trinity of chocolate curls.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Cheers to Hot Polka Dot, cheers to you, cheers to cake and cheers to three more years!
This recipe is adapted from a long-time family favourite. Whether we were gathering for Christmas dinner, Easter lunch or just a casual dinner party, my Oma would be lovingly coerced to bring Cherry Delight. Failure to bring said dessert would result in chiding and lots of disapproving head shakes. I wouldn't go as far to say that Oma would be denied turkey, but maybe not the choice slices.
For as long as I can remember Oma would make it in her tried and trusted vintage baking pan. The kind made of tarnished waffle-textured tin. We'd all wait patiently as the tea and coffee was poured and the heirloom spoons were distributed and fought over. We'd sit there salivating as the pieces were carefully sliced and passed around. We weren't allowed to eat until everyone had their fair share, until piece after piece was passed down the table. My aunt always scraped off the cherry topping from her slice and handed it over to the closest wide-eyed cherry lover. My uncle eats his layer by layer. Oma always had a sliver and I would usually have two.
Graham cracker crust, simple cream cheese filling, topped off with cherry pie filling. Easy, fast, basic. To anyone else it's just another no-bake cheesecake, nothing special. To us it's an institution, a tradition, a phenomenon.
Many of the recipes I share with you are adaptations of family recipes. Opa's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Grandma's Grasshopper Pie. Oma's Lemon Loaf. Mom's Angel Icebox. I've even explored recipes my distant Dutch and Indonesian relatives would have enjoyed like Kue Lapis Legit and Speculaas Cookies.
Food is an integral part of our family history. Food is what brings a family together, be it at the end of a busy day or after years of distance. That's why it pleases me to tell you I have a lovely book to give away on this very subject!
From the Family Kitchen by Gena Philibert-Ortega is a beautiful exploration of how food defines us and shapes us. It talks about how recipes handed down generation to generation have become treasured traditions and even guarded family secrets. These recipes, whether hand-scrawled on stained index cards or dictated and translated countless times, have a story to tell us over the decades and offer special insight on our genealogy. This book even includes several recipes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which demonstrate how much food changes with time, culture and circumstance. There's also a recipe journal included for you to document your own family's recipes and what special memories they're attached to.
The reason there are no photos of a slice is because lunch guests usually frown upon dessert that's been already hacked up. When I learned my aunt and cousin were coming for a timely visit, I knew it was a perfect chance to make my version of this family favourite. And, wouldn't you know it, even with my homemade Cherry Sauce, she still scraped the topping off and gave it to me!
It should be one or the other. Not both. At the same time.
It's like my body can't decide what age I am. One minute I'm thirteen with a book report due on Of Mice and Men and the next I'm sixty-five dashing out to Denny's for the early bird special. Make up your mind!
It seems like the general public can't decide what age I am too. I get carded all the time when the rest of my table doesn't even get a second glance. Door to door salesmen ask me when my parents are going to be home. True story. So I tell them six, maybe seven o'clock so they leave me alone to wallow in my self-pity.
The one that bothers me the most is the wide-eyed looks I get from perfect strangers when my boyfriend of thirty-three introduces to them his girlfriend of twenty-four. Age is just a number. I've known people far older than me that are also far less mature. Lee and I are on the same level mentally, why do we need to be the same age?
I know. I shouldn't complain. It's a compliment. It will be useful when I get older.
For now I'm going to keep dying my hair and washing my face.
This topic really doesn't segue into muffins. At all. So I'm not going to try.
I made muffins. So there! They're awesome. They have peaches and cheesecake in them. Did I mention they're awesome?