Readers Recipe: Cake for catholic tastes

THOSE who have seen a working village bakery in England are either lucky or a little bit ancient. Aidan Cobbold Gilman wrote to me from St Bede's Monastery and Pastoral Centre in York to describe bread- making many years ago in East Anglia: 'As a child I got a lump of dough from the village bakehouse. The baker there had a huge brick oven in which he first fired three or four great faggots of dried gorse before raking the ashes aside and inserting the village bread - or on Sundays the villagers' roasts, which they brought to him in tins . . .'

He then offers a rough recipe from those days for a sweet walnut bread called Brotherly Love. 'Roll out the (standard white) dough to a rectangle about 8in by 10in and less than 1/2 in thick. Spread over this 2oz of demerara or Barbados sugar, dot it with small pieces of butter (use 2oz) and walnuts (2oz). Now roll it up like a swiss roll. Make sure the ends are well sealed and the long seam is on top. Score it with diagonal slits and brush with egg or milk. Bake in a hot oven for 1 hour.'

Mr Gilman will receive a bottle of 1989 Bukkuram de Bartoli, a figgy tasting Sicilian muscat, as will Marilyn Sarmiento of St Albans, Hertfordshire, who submitted another dish with a clerical connection. She says this recipe for apple cake was 'clipped from the Catholic Chronicle, the weekly newspaper of the Roman Catholic diocese of Toledo, Ohio, and a wonderful source of farm women's recipes'.

Ozark Mountain Raw Apple Cake

Serves 8

Ingredients: 6oz (170g) butter, melted

6oz (170g) caster sugar

2 large, fresh eggs, separated

2tsp cinnamon

1tsp salt

1tsp baking soda

12oz (340g) soft white cake flour

12oz (340g) apples, cored and diced

2tsp vanilla essence

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C/gas 4. Grease a baking tin and dust with flour, shaking off excess. In a small bowl, blend egg yolks, vanilla and (melted but cooled) butter. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and sugar - twice. Stir in butter- egg mixture. You will have a dry, unwieldy batter. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk egg whites with another pinch of sugar, until they form soft peaks. Stir apples into the batter, followed, gently, by egg whites. Decant into baking tin, level off and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

New entries are invited for the following category: recipes for cream, yoghurt, sour cream and creme fraiche. Send the recipes, stating the source, to Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Those whose recipes we print will receive a bottle of a buttery-tasting chardonnay: 1990 Givry Champs Pourot Domaine Ragot, a Burgundy from Cotes Chalonnaise.

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