October 18, 2006

All grown-ups were children first. (But few remember it).

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Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness is hard at it again, hosting Blog Party #15. This month the theme was a Literary Party. That meant taking inspiration from your favorite story and turning it into appetizers and cocktails. I’ve been doing a whole lot of reading lately, and many of the books I’ve been reading also have recipes in them (books by Ruth Reichl, Michael Ruhlman, that sort) but I figured just adapting one of those recipes to suit the party was too easy. Then I tried think of my favourite book and I found it pretty hard to pin one down. When I was a kid I loved Charlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden, but I couldn’t come up with something that I really liked now. I considered using one of my childhood books for a little trip down memory lane, but the last blog party was kid themed so I opted for something different. Sort of. The book that I chose appeals to children and adults alike. When I finally thought of it I realized this is definitely my favourite book of all time; The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was originally published in 1943 in French and has since been translated into tons of other languages. At first glance The Little Prince may look like a children’s book but it contains a lot of valuable lessons about life and love that adults would do well to learn.

“Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c'est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours leur donner des explications. ”

The Little Prince the character comes from a star where he looks after a single rose and protects her from the elements. One day he travels away from his planet to see what else exists and encounters a variety of people on different planets, eventually arriving at Earth and meeting a fox, a snake and a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert. That may not sound like the most exciting overview ever but the book is wonderful and everyone should read it. There are some illustrations, it’s not very long and can be read in one sitting. I’ve read it tons and tons of times, in both French and English. In elementary school I even did book reports on this book… also in French and English, it served many purposes. 

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Now then, back to the party. I decided to make a Lemony Starfruit Kuchen for my Little Prince. I had actually bought a starfruit a few days ago, not even thinking about the Blog Party, (I hadn’t even chosen my book at that point) but just because I thought they looked pretty cool. I then went online trying to find out what one could do with a starfruit. My first conclusion was not much. The majority of people seemed to suggest cutting it up and putting it in fruit salad or just eating it on its own. This was not very exciting. I kept looking and found a site called Nikibone which had a variety of starfruit recipes, including one for Lemony Starfruit Kuchen. I planned on making it the following day and then when I decided that I was going to use The Little Prince for the Blog Party everything just fell into place. A starfuit kuchen would be perfect for the Little Prince who lives on a star. Of course I made a couple changes to the recipe, I was all out of molasses so I replaced it with honey and I added extra lemon. Despite their beauty, starfruit don’t have a whole lot of flavour. They’re slightly bitter and I think they’re best used as garnish cause they’re so pretty. It was really the lemon that stood out flavour wise.

"Language is the source of misunderstandings."

The kuchen may not look like finger food, but as his name suggests, the Little Prince is quite little. For anyone other than the Little Prince, the kuchen would be a bite sized treat with a tiny scoop of one bite ice cream on top, it just looks big because the prince is so small. I added a scoop of spiced pear ice cream because the sweetness of the ice cream was a nice compliment to the sour lemon and starfruit. The kuchen base was good as far as I could tell, but then again I wouldn’t know one kuchen from another so I might not be very trustworthy in that respect.

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“All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same thing for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You-- you alone-- will have the stars as no one else has them--"

Now that my Prince has something to eat, he also needs a drink. I don’t believe that the little guy is much of a boozer, (he meets one in the story and is none too impresssed with him) so I have made his cocktail a virgin. It’s a fairly straightforward drink, and like the starfruit kuchen, is pleasing to the eye. I have suitably named this cocktail Prince’s Punch and served it in a tiny, prince sized glass.

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And there you have it, my contribution to the Literary Blog Party. I highly recommend that you read and re-read The Little Prince. I assure you, you’ll love him as much as I do.
Recipes follow.

Lemony Starfruit Kuchen (adapted from Nikibone)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded plus the juice of half a lemon
nonstick spray coating
1 large star fruit cut into 12 slices
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, oats, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl stir together egg whites, yogurt, brown sugar, honey, melted margarine, lemon peel and juice. Add egg white mixture to flour mixture, stirring just till combined. Spray an 8 inch round quiche pan or cake pan with nonstick spray coating. Spread batter into prepared pan. Gently press star fruit slices into batter. Bake in a 350F oven about 30 minutes. Remove and lightly sprinkle with granulated sugar. Return to the oven for a minute or two until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Serve warm with ice cream. The kuchen is also nice the next day, cold with a cup of coffee.

“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible par les yeux.”

Prince’s Punch

1 part Tropicana citrus twist juice
1 part 7up
A few drops of grenadine

Pour each part into a glass, do not stir if you want to retain the layered look.

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Anonymous said...

Brilynn, thanks for stopping by my blog - it's always lovely to hear from new people and, of course, to be led to a new blog.

I would never have thought of putting star fruit into a cake, but of course it works so well - ingredient and decoration at the same time. Well done you.

Anonymous said...

This post--writing+recipe--is so cute!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas for both food and drink - the layered look in the fruit-tail looks delightful, and those slices of star fruit on the kuchen are simply adorable!

Anonymous said...

These silent fruit stars looks perfect. And your writing is really cute...

sooishi said...

it's really lovely!

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your post. The images of your cake are wonderful too! I've never used star fruit, so thanks for showing how it can be used in a cake. :)

wheresmymind said...

Isn't the "Little Prince" the official book of France? ;)

Annie said...

What a great post-very cute pics and interesting ideas!

Btw, I just linked you :D

Anonymous said...

this is so cute!!!
great entry, I love it!
the star fruit is really pretty and perfect, wish I could go to this party...=)

FH said...


Sara said...

Oh I love this book! What a terrific post!

Anonymous said...

I love this, it is so cute. What a fun idea.

susan said...

the little prince is one of my favorite books! i completely forgot about it. i guess that's what happens when you grow up. ;)

na said...

I showed my daughter this entry and she squealed in delight! I loved the idea of the starfruit as a topper and the drink you concocted looks very summery and refreshing. Kudos to you Bri on another marvellous creation and supurb photography!

Anonymous said...

You work is amazing. I'm addicted to this book and I really think like you: it may seem to be a book for the children but every adult should read it. I also read it so many times... I can't find a more beautiful book...

And your cake is perfect for the little prince, all this stars on the cake it's really nice and really like Saint Exupery's pictures.

And you also manage to do something else as just decoration with this fruit, I didn’t see that often.

PS: as a child I also liked The secret Garden very much ;)

Pille said...

Your starfruit cake looks so pretty, Brilynn! Great idea!

Anonymous said...

What an adorable cake! So poetic and pretty!