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Food and Film, an Oscar Celebration: Gone with the Wind and Brandy Peach Cake

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The Oscar's, or Academy Awards, have become an international yearly tradition for film fans the world over. Millions of people look forward to the one day of the year when a gold plated little naked bald man takes over the media universe. Whether you love or hate the choices of the academy members, the fact-of-the-matter is, the Oscar's are a cause for celebration -- and what better way to celebrate than with food! This year we'll celebrate with some great food from the films which have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Gone with the Wind (Best Picture, 1939): Let's face it, if you haven't seen Gone with the Wind yet, you need to remove the rock you're living under and join the human race. Not only is it one of Hollywood's greatest motion pictures, it is also stunningly beautiful. Aside from winning the Oscar for Best Picture, Gone with the Wind also garnered the Oscar for Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel), Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and, Best Editing. So, you might wonder, where is Clark Gable's name? He was nominated for Best Actor, but didn't win.

Gone with the Wind is an epic motion picture dealing with the "Old South," so rather obviously the food associated with Tara (the estate) would be southern to the core and what is more southern than the classic dessert known as Peach Upside Down Cake. Rather obviously, Miss Scarlett O'Hara would not be happy with just any Peach Upside Down Cake, her's would have to include brandy!

Is there really anything more scrumptious that biting into a wonderfully rich cake which is topped with brandy caramelized peaches? Apparently for many the answer is no as this classic dessert is among the favorites of many American's and is rapidly gaining popularity across Europe as well.

Not only is this a very easy dish to make at home, it is also quite fun. As with any of the varieties of "Upside-Down" cakes, you basically prepare this backwards. When baking, the bottom becomes the top when served! The taste of this cake is multiplied quite a bit as the peaches are caramelized by using both brown sugar and brandy. You can also substitute whiskey or bourbon for the brandy.

Ingredients needed to make Brandy Peach Upside-Down Cake (makes 1 cake):

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk ½ cup butter and sugar until pale. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Whisk in the brandy.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture until combined.
  5. In a large sauté pan or skillet (cast iron if you want to be authentic) melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil.
  6. Place the peaches in the pan and cook 3 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Pour the batter over the peaches.
  8. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, invert onto a serving plate and let cool before slicing and serving.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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