A Q&A with Willingboro resident Robert Bennett, Chef at Cherry Hill’s Classic Cake.
Between filling orders for the bakery and maintaining traditions with your own family, what is this season like for you?
It’s a season with very little sleep between Halloween and New Year’s. There’s a lot of energy in the air, and we’re extremely busy. Also being a kosher bakery, we deal with the Jewish holidays as well. It’s a great time, we love it.
What dish brings you back to your childhood?
Being from the South, I have to have cornbread stuffing. There are always chestnuts somewhere in the meal, as a child I had chestnut trees in the backyard and my father used to roast them on a fire. We lived in a little tiny house, but surprisingly had two fireplaces. I only get Thanksgiving Day off, so [last year] I did a deep fried turkey for about 17 of us; wonderful and relaxing.
Is there a dessert you can’t live without?
I love a well-made apple pie. Normally I won’t eat an apple out of hand unless I pick it myself, but I love apple desserts. One of the very first desserts I ever made was an apple pie using the apples in my neighbor’s front yard. There are over 220 apple varieties in the United States alone…for pies, the Macoun is my favorite; very crisp, in between tart and sweet, never mealy, bakes very well. It’s everything you’d want in an apple.
What would you recommend for people trying to make their holiday special?
Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy, I don’t know why people even bother buying it. All you take is one part cranberry to one part sugar, put it on the stove and bring to a boil. Let it boil a couple of minutes; with all the pectin that’s in the cranberries, it sets up beautifully. Put in a dish, served hot or ice cold. If you want to go one step further, add some toasted pecans or walnuts.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 10 (December, 2011).
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