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As a former York County and Pennsylvania dairy princess, Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn knows a lot about dairy farming. And as a steward of four generations of family recipes, she knows a lot about cooking.

It's no surprise, then, that "The Dairy Good Cookbook" chose her family's blueberry torte recipe to share the spotlight with 114 other treats by the nation's dairy families.

More than recipes, the cookbook is a window into the lives of dairy farmers and the rhythms of their days as they form the first link in the chain that brings milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream to our tables.

For Sattazahn, now 30 and living in Berks County, dairy farming is both in the blood and a calling.

"I loved growing up on a farm. I grew up in Airville on a dairy operation," she says as she describes a childhood filled with lessons in feeding calves and milking cows. "I met my husband while I was at college at Penn State, and we both majored in animal sciences ... and now we're working his family's dairy farm."

Dairy farming isn't all about keeping the cows fed and milked, of course. Part of the job is educating the public, and that's something even the youngest members of the farming family can help with.

"Growing up, I was real involved in 4-H and FFA, raising my heifers to show at the fair," Sattazahn says. "A big part of going to the fair is bridging the gap with consumers. We spent many Septembers at the York Fair."

Awareness: The growing farm-to-table trend has been an encouraging sign of cultural awareness as agriculture steps out from behind the packaged-and-processed curtain.

"You see a lot of people now wanting to know where their food comes from, wanting to know the farmer," she says.

And the farmers have responded, sharing the job they love through blogs and special events and projects like "The Dairy Good Cookbook."

"Anyone really involved in agriculture really has a passion and a desire to be involved," Sattazahn says. "There's something to be said for raising the food we all eat. There's a lot of pride that goes into that."

The dairy operation where she grew up has shifted focus to beef cattle, but the personal touch is always present.

"My parents still live down on the farm in Airville," she says. "We sell at the Lititz farmers market — it's me and my parents standing there."

Tradition: That same passion for tradition and continuity shows itself in the family's store of recipes. The Pennsylvania Dutch Blueberry Torte recipe Sattazahn shares has a long history as a dessert favorite.

"It's a good summertime dessert, when you have picnics, that type of thing," she says. "My family, we always enjoyed our desserts, and the homemade from scratch desserts are the best."

The declaration holds true across four generations of Kilgores.

"The recipe that's used in the book is my great-grandmother's recipe," Sattazahn says, crediting Mabelle Kilgore with concocting the dish that's been handed down through the years. "It's neat to think that generations before me have used the same recipes."

Like a lot of families, Sattazahn's has a stash of recipes here and there, scattered on scraps of paper and stuffed into boxes. She started organizing the treasured favorites into hardbound editions for the family and passing them out at Christmas, ensuring the recipes would continue into the next generation.

"Growing up, home-cooked meals were an important part of what we did," she says. "Now there's a lot of convenience food options. That's great in a pinch, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal."

— Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.

About the book

"The Dairy Good Cookbook" features 115 recipes, many with full-color photos, and offers a peek into the dairy lifestyle with tips for using dairy products in cooking as well as profiles of family farms and fun facts about dairy cows.

Recipe contributor Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn considers one of the best things about dairy to be "the versatility it offers, especially when cooking."

"The cookbook showcases that well — it includes everything from breakfast meals to dinner meals to desserts," she says. "Being able to integrate milk in other ways in recipes they are cooking is a great way for people to get their dairy products."

For more information about the cookbook or to purchase a copy, visit dairygood.org or search for "The Dairy Good Cookbook" on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or Indiebound.org.

Pennsylvania Dutch Blueberry Torte

This cream cheese–filled blueberry dessert comes from Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn of Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. It's been a favorite of the Kilgore family of Airville, Pennsylvania, for generations. This version calls for homemade blueberry topping, but if you're pressed for time, do as the family does and substitute a can of blueberry pie filling.

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 18 minutes at 350 F

Cook: 20 minutes

Chill: 4 hours

Makes: 9 servings

Crust

Softened butter, for the pan

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Blueberry Topping

6 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon plus

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Cream Cheese Filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 cups heavy cream

For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 inch square baking pan with the softened butter; set aside.

Combine the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are light brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the blueberry topping, combine the blueberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and 3/4 cup water in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved, the mixture thickens slightly, and the berries start to break down, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Allow to cool completely; set aside.

For the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth.

Spread the filling evenly in the cooled crust, spreading it to edges. Top with the blueberry topping, spreading it to the edges. Cover and chill for at least four hours or overnight before serving.

From "The Dairy Good Cookbook," by Lisa Kingsley/Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC

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