Meal and a Movie: It's a Wonderful Life
If you know me personally or have read much at this blog, you recognize what a sentimental wishywash gusher I can be. Especially during the holidays I get all goofy about family and gratitude. This year was no exception. If we are really lucky we experience moments in our lives when we, like George Bailey, realize our worth. If that moment happens while we are surrounded by loved ones on Christmas, all the better (and hopefully we won't have that realization in such a dramatic fashion as did George).
I came to It's a Wonderful Life only a few years ago when Target did a big marketing push using the bell ringing and angels acquiring wings and all that good stuff to get shoppers excited about the commercial side of the holidays. Before then, the taglines and pop references about Bedford Falls, Clarence, and lassoing the moon were lost on me.
There is no better time to watch It's a Wonderful Life than now, as the hysteria of the weekend dissipates and you settle in to this final week before the New Year. Sure you can honor the movie by serving spaghetti, bread, and wine. These are fine accompaniments and pay homage to the immigrant families that George helps with mortgages and friendship. Martinis and mulled wine (heavy on the cinnamon light on the cloves) are also acceptable. Then hee haw wish for a million dollars and finish the meal with ice cream.
But even better, revisit a meal from childhood that reminds you of your worth. For me, it is the almond danish my mom makes every Christmas morning. The recipe comes from Betty Crocker (referred to in the cookbook as Danish Puff).
Watch the movie, eat your dinner, and ring a bell for Clarence and all the other angels out there hoping to get their wings.
Crust:1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, divided into quartered tablespoons
2 tablespoons icy water
Place 1 cup flour in medium bowl. Cut in butter, using pastry blender, until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle water over mixture; toss with fork. Form into ball; divide in half. Pat each half into 12x3-inch rectangle, about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Set aside in fridge.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water or milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 - 4 large eggs
Heat butter and water or milk to rolling boil in large saucepan; remove from heat. Quickly stir in almond extract and 1 cup flour. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball (about 1 minute). Add eggs one at a time and beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Spread half of the topping over each pastry rectangle.
Bake about 1 hour in preheated 350 oven until topping is crisp and golden. Cool on rack.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons warm milk or water
Combine all ingredients except almond in mixing bowl; whisk until smooth. Spread over pastry; top with almonds.
Based on Betty Crocker Danish Puff recipe.