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Irish dream cake wins honors

By Staff | Mar 26, 2010

Jean Drew, of Cylinder, right, poses with St. Patrick's Day Irish dignitary Ned O'Sullivan, left, and his wife Madeleine O'Sullivan, after the food judging of the Robert Emmet Society's Irish Cooking Contest last weekend in Emmetsburg. The O'Sullivans judged Drew's Irish dream cake, made with Bailey's Irish cream, as one of the contest’s standout entries.

CYLINDER – Even when the family chef has 30 years of experience and just short of a dozen children and great grand children to remind her of her powers in the kitchen, it still doesn’t hurt to get a little extra recognition.

“I never expected to win anything. I just thought it would be something fun to do,” said Jean Drew a few moments after learning her Irish dream cake had earned runner up honors at the Robert Emmet Society’s Irish cooking competition on March 20 in Emmetsburg. “I just thought it would be fun to try something and take part in the celebration.”

Drew, who said she has always taken great pleasure in sharing her talents, planning menus and collecting a veritable library of recipes, has been practicing her craft on the family’s farm, in east central Palo Alto County for more than 60 years.

Whether she is making a quiet supper, trying an experimental variation on an existing recipe, or whipping up old favorites for her five children, seven grandchildren or three great-grandchildren, she said the enjoyment is always in creating something that family and friends will enjoy and hopefully remember.

“Through all my years keeping house I found my first love was cooking,” Drew said. “If I’m having company the first thing I’ll do is start thinking about recipes and planning menus before I ever think about things like doing the dusting or cleaning up the house.”

Jean Drew's three entries for the 2010 Robert Emmet Society Irish Cooking Contest held last weekend in Emmetsburg, are, from left, Irish dream cake, made with Bailey's Irish cream; bacon dill scones and brack, a form of Irish teacake. Drew credits much of her cooking skill to time spent helping her Irish grandmother in the kitchen, as drew grew up on a farm near Emmetsburg.

While cooking is her passion, Drew is hardly a stranger to any other aspect of farm life. Before marrying husband Maurice Drew and becoming the gourmet of her own farm, Jean Drew didn’t actually spend much time in the kitchen. Instead she, along with her 15 siblings, stayed busy helping out with all the household and outdoor rites of farm life.

However, the time she did spend in the kitchen was important and especially formative.

“I worked a lot with my grandmother who was Irish. Our ancestors came over in the 1800s,” Drew said. “She was the kind that cooked a lot to taste and what she knew was right and I was around her a lot of the time to help so I picked up some of those habits and ideas.”

Much of that knowledge continues to be passed down through the generations. Drew’s granddaughter, Amanda Edwards, developed her inherited love of cooking into a career as a chef and caterer, and still makes frequent calls to consult with the family matriarch.

“She still wants to know, ‘What do you think of this Grandma?'” Drew said. “I’m not sure why though because I know she’s so good.”

Inspiration for Drew’s award-winning Bailey’s cake actually came from another relative, daughter-in-law Marilyn Drew. Jean Drew started with a recipe for a standard white cake and revised it to include the signature Irish cream liquor to create a seasonal treat. Tweaking the recipe required a little improvisation, but with her significant experience it was a chance Drew said she felt more than comfortable with making.

“If you’ve been cooking for 60 years and you love to do it, you get a lot more courageous,” she said. “Once you have all that experience I guess you’re more apt to just try something.”

Irish dream cake

(This one-of-a-kind cake is Jean Drew’s own spin on a recipe supplied by daughter-in-law Marilyn Drew, a professional cook and caterer herself.)

1 container angel food cake mix

2 tablespoons cocoa

Add the cocoa to the dry ingredients of the cake mix, stir well and prepare cake according to the directions. Cool for 3 hours and remove from pan.

Let stand another hour and remove 1 inch from the top of the cake all the way around. Tunnel out a port of the inside of the cake and keep the chunks in a bowl.

Frosting

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 package instant vanilla pudding

1 1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream

Combine milk and pudding and set aside. Combine whipping cream, sugar and Bailey’s and beat until stiff, then combine with pudding.

Remove 2 cups of frosting mixture and add to chunks of cake and put back in cake tunnel. Replace cake top and frost with remaining frosting. Top with shaved or chopped pieces of Andes mints.

Apple and dressing pork chops

6 Iowa Pork Chops

1 can apple pie mix

1 box pork Stove Top stuffing mix

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside.

Brown chops lightly in a tablespoon of oil. In greased pan layer the apple pie mix and distribute the pork chops on top. Mix the stuffing according to directions, usually adding 1/3 cup of water, and place on top of each chop. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Contact Kevin Stillman by e-mail at stillman.kw@gmail.com.

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