Sunday, 14 August 2011

From London to Persia [Via Germany And USA]

Reading ‘London’ left me thinking about the Tudors. When we lived down south, I took the girls [repeatedly – we had a season ticket!] to Greenwich Maritime Museum – and in 1991, they had a Henry VIII –400years exhibition. One of the things I remember especially was Henry’s tapestry, on loan from the V&A, depicting the Bible story of Esther. We spent ages looking at the details, wicked Haman, wise Uncle Mordecai, drunken King Ahasuerus etc.

V&A Esther Tapestry

‘Esther’ is the Persian form of the Hebrew name ‘Hadassah’ [meaning' ‘myrtle tree’] and Hadassah is the name of a Jewish women’s group founded a hundred years ago in the USA. Many of the members of this group were German immigrants. According to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, at a Hadassah luncheon sixty years ago, a lady called Rose Joshua lamented the quality of light and fluffy American-style cakes. She longed for the rich, dense cakes of her European childhood. These, however, required a special type of of pan—one with a hole in the centre that allowed heat to penetrate heavy cake batter from all sides. With this type of form, a heavier batter could be baked without leaving under-baked dough in the centre.

Along with a friend, Rose approached David Dahlquist, the founder of Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware, a manufacturer of kitchenware products. He created for them the Bundt Pan. The way the story is told, the name bundt comes from the German word bund, which means “community” or “a gathering of people”; and that Dahlquist just added the letter “t” to the end and trademarked the word.


I have wanted a proper Nordic Ware Bundt pan for years, since I first encountered them about twenty years ago through Martha Stewart, but they cost over twenty pounds!


I do have a cheap blue flexible silicone one BUT I have got a real one now – albeit the half size version- c/o a little charity shop in Cromer on Thursday for less than £4.


The architectural detail is quite astonishing, don’t you think!

I am hoping [eventually] to produce something marvellous with this- I like the idea of a cake with a less-fattening centre!

I think I should go and read Esther’s story again – a brave woman, who was strong in her faith, and who recognised her responsibilities when her Uncle challenged her- “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” [Esther 4:14]


  1. I wonder if you could use a bundt pan for baking a larger challah? Skip the braiding. ~Liz

  2. Have you read the book Hadassah? It is an expansion of the story or Esther, I enjoyed reading the story and all the historical facts are acurate.

  3. There's nothing like a nice, dense cake with a cup of tea in the afternoon. I have a bundt pan and use it often in the winter.


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