Sunday, October 28, 2012

Apache Bee Balm Pastry Bars



This is a really good introductory use of Bee Balm.  These bars are a bit "pecan pieish" and look a great deal like the pinion bars shown above.  This comes from E. Barrie Kavasch's wonderful seasonal book Enduring Harvests and provides an example of one of the many foods served at the annual Apache (Indeh or Ndee) Puberty and Sunrise ceremonies, held in July.  According to Kavasch other traditional foods were served on the occasion in the past; foods such as wild onions, tule pollen, yucca blossoms, wild potatoes, prickly pears, sweet acorns, etc.  Many of these foods are still a part of the Apache diet and show up in moder incarnations like this on these very special of occasions!  This recipe also includes the very important native grain Amaranth and the pastry and the topping both include honey.  In olden times, wild honey was a very important component of Apache ceremonial occasions.  Much of the honey wild in the area is from bee balm. Instructions in parenthesis are mine.

APACHE BEEBALM PASTRY BARS

For The Pastry:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 honey
3 tbsp. sunflower or hazelnut oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. (real) vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine cornmeal (any color), lightly roasted
1/4 cup amaranths seeds, roasted in dry hot iron skillet (be sure not burn)
1/4 cup fresh beebalm leaves, finely chopped
Dash of salt to taste

For The Topping:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 tbsp. amaranth seeds, roasted
3 tbsp. fresh beebalm leaves, finely chopped
1 cup pinions, lightly roasted (be careful, they burn easily!)
3 tbsp. apple juice or cider

1.  Preheat oven to 350┬║.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, honey and oil.  Stir in the egg and blend well.  Add remaining (pastry) ingredients and just blend--do not overmix.  Pat this dough into and 10 by 10 inch glass baking dish.  Prick with the tine of a fork all over.  Bake for 12 minutes, prepare topping.

2.  Combine all topping ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil.  Simmer, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.

3.  Remove pastry from the oven.  Spread topping over it evenly.  Return to the oven.  Continue to bake for about 25 minutes, or until the topping as browned (I suggest you check on this often, ovens differ and this topping will burn if not careful).  Place the baking dish on a wire rack.  When slightly cooled, cut into slim squares or bars.  Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

Apache Gaan, or Crown, Dancers

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