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Best-selling author of the Mitford series, which has sold more than 16 million books
Nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996, 1997, and 1998
Former successful writer in advertising
Vegetable oil for greasing the pan
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 (6 to 8 pound) smoked ham
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large baking dish and set aside. Combine the brown sugar and molasses in small saucepan and melt over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the bourbon, orange juice, mustard, and cloves, and mix well.
Remove the skin and fat from the ham and place in the baking dish. Make 1/4-inch cuts in the ham in a diamond pattern. Pour the glaze over the ham.
Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the ham registers 140°F, basting every 15 minutes with the glaze.
Remove the ham from the oven and cool in the pan. Remove from the pan and refrigerate. Pour the pan drippings into a bowl and refrigerate.
When ready to serve the ham, remove the fat from the top of the drippings, remove the whole cloves, warm it up, and serve it with the ham.
7 medium russet potatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
4 medium hard-cooked eggs, mashed
2 tablespoons red onions, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 3/4 cups Hellman's mayonnaise
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Parshley flakes, for garnish
Paprika, for garnish
Peel and cube the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and add water to cover along with 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Add the bacon drippings and shake the colander to coat. Cover loosely and let the potatoes cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, mashed eggs, red onions, and celery. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, and vinegar and stir it into the potatoes. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Just before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Garnish the salad with the crumbled bacon, parsley flakes, and paprika.
For the cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing the pans
3 1/4 cups cake flour, more for dusting the pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the orange syrup
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the filling
1 (12-ounce) jar orange marmalade
For the frosting
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream, chilled
The cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter three 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, then lighly butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Sift a second time into another bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add the 2 2/3 cups sugar in a steady stream with the mixer running. Beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to stop at least once to scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl. After all the eggs have been added, continue to beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the oil and beat for 1 minute. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, vanilla, and buttermilk. Using a rubber spatula, fold in half of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half of the buttermilk mixture. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients, scrape down the sides, and add the remaining buttermilk.
Pour the batter among the prepared pans, smooth the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on racks for 20 minutes.
The orange syrup. In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved. While the cakes are still in the cake pans, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers. Spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remainder. Let the layers cool completely in the pans.
The filling. Heat the marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat until just melted. Let cool for 5 minutes.
The frosting. In a chilled mixing bowl, using the wire whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the 4 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until the mixture is a spreadable consistency.
To assemble the cake. Invert one of the cake layers on a cake plate and carefully peel off the parchment. Spread one-third of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the second layer on top of the first, peel off the parchment, and spoon another third of the marmalade on top. Place the third cake layer on top, remove the parchment, and spoon the remaining marmalade onto the center of it, leaving a 1 1/4-inch border around the edges. Frost the sides and the top border with the frosting, leaving the marmalade on top of the cake exposed. Or, if you prefer, frost the entire cake first, adding the marmalade as a garnish on top.
Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Excerpted from Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader © 2004 by Jan Karon. Used by permission of Viking Books.
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