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Blossom Your Table With Honey

September 22, 2005
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Honey is “manufactured” in one of the world’s most efficient factories — the beehive. Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey.

The color and flavor of honey differ depending on the bees’ nectar source (the blossoms). In fact, there are more than 300 unique kinds of honey in the United States, originating from such diverse floral sources as clover, eucalyptus and orange blossom. In general, lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor, while darker honeys are more robust.

Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains other sugars, as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

In addition to gathering nectar to produce honey, honey bees perform a vital second function — pollination. About one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.

Pollination is the fertilization of a flowering plant. It occurs when pollen is transferred from the anthers of a flower to the ovules of that or another flower. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and more.

And besides all that, it tastes good! For more recipes like those below, visit: www.honey.com.

Honey-Pear Upside-Down Cake

Topping:

1 pear (Bartlett or Anjou), peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsps. grated orange peel
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey

Cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
2 Tbsps. butter or pareve margarine, melted
2 Tbsps. fresh orange juice

Arrange pear slices on bottom of greased 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle with flour, orange peel and cinnamon; drizzle evenly with honey.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine honey, egg, butter and orange juice; mix well.

Add to flour mixture, stirring until just blended. Spread mixture evenly over pears.

Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned.

Let cool 5 minutes on a wire rack; invert onto platter.

Serve warm.

Serves 8.

Honey-Pumpkin Mousse
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup honey
1 can (16 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
11/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

In top of double boiler, combine egg whites and honey. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160°; transfer mixture to a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until cool and glossy peaks form; set aside.

In medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; remove from heat.

Gently stir one-quarter of beaten egg whites into pumpkin mixture; gradually fold remaining egg whites into lightened mixture.

Spoon mousse into dessert glasses; cover and chill.

Serves 6.

Almond-Honey Rugelach
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey, divided
2 cups flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add 3 tablespoons of honey; mix well.

Mix in flour until dough holds together. Form into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.

Divide the dough in 4 portions; on a floured board, roll each portion into a 9-inch circle.

Combine 2 tablespoons of honey and lemon juice; mix well.

Brush dough with the honey mixture; sprinkle one-quarter teaspoon cinnamon over entire surface.

Combine almonds and dried cherries; drizzle remaining honey over mixture and mix well.

Spread one-quarter of almond mixture onto circle of dough, stopping one-half-inch from outer edge. Cut into 8 triangular pieces. Roll from wide outer edge toward tip. Gently bend both ends to form a crescent.

Place on oiled parchment paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate 20 minutes or longer. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on racks.

Makes 32 pieces.

Freezing Tip: For longer storage, package unbaked crescents in freezer-safe container or bags, and freeze until ready to bake. Crescents may be stored in freezer up to 3 months. Thaw before baking.

Banana-Nut Cake With Honey-Chocolate Glaze
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
11/4 cups honey
3 Tbsps. sour cream
1 Tbsps. grated lemon zest
11/2 tsps. vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup Honey Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter and flour a Bundt pan.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream butter with honey until light and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla, eggs and bananas.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.

Place into the Bundt pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When cooled, transfer cake to a serving platter.

Spread the warm glaze over the top of the cake.

Serves 4 to 6.

Honey-Chocolate Glaze
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 cup whipping cream
1?4 cup honey

Place chocolate in food processor fitted with a blade attachment, and pulse until chocolate reaches a coarse sand consistency.

Heat the whipping cream over low heat, being careful not to boil. Add to food processor while still running, then add honey.

If ready to use as a glaze, let sit for 5 minutes to thicken a little, and spread half of the mixture over the top of the cake.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: To make truffles with leftover glaze, place remaining glaze in the refrigerator and chill until firm, stirring with a rubber spatula every 15 minutes for the first half hour. When fully chilled scoop and form into 1-inch balls and roll in unsweetened cocoa powder. Keep refrigerated.

Chiffon Honey Cake
1 tbsp. instant-coffee granules
2/3 cup brewed, strong, hot coffee
1 tsp. baking soda
6 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3?4 cup finely ground walnuts
1?2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1?2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add instant coffee granules to hot coffee; mix well. Add baking soda and set aside.

Beat the egg whites, adding cream of tartar while beating, until stiff.

Combine all ingredients except egg whites and mix until batter is smooth. Carefully fold in egg whites.

Pour batter into ungreased angel food cake pan.

Bake at 350? for 1 hour, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean or cake springs back when lightly touched on top. Do not overbake.

Invert pan onto neck of bottle. Cool thoroughly before removing cake from pan.

Serves 12.

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