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Church Cookbook Stands the Test of Time : Home-cooking: Little has changed since the Las Fidelas Matrons of the Apostolic Faith Assembly published a cookbook 13 years ago.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

This is a revisit to the Apostolic Faith Assembly bake sale 13 years later. The church on Adams Boulevard looks as sparkling on a recent sun-drenched Sunday morning as it did more than a decade ago.

The Las Fidelas Matrons sounded like a chorus of bells as they gleefully arranged baked goodies on two 15-feet tables already jam-packed with cakes and cookies, pies and pastries. The desserts sent wafts of fragrant sweet smells into the church air like a halo.

Nothing, in fact, had changed much since the day we visited in 1976. Not the cakes or the ladies or the spirit of generosity and love in the air.

The cookbook, “Favorite Recipes of the Las Fidelas Matrons,” from which most of the cakes and cookie recipes derive, did change slightly, however.

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Bettye Benton, the new pastor’s wife, contributed new recipes. Things like Bettye’s potato soup, tuna potato chip casserole and seafood delight.

“Don’t forget to say we are dedicating this book to our new pastor’s wife, Bettye Benton,” said Celeste Cayenne, this year’s Las Fidelas president and cookbook chairman.

Bettye Benton was, of course, digging a fork into a freshly baked sweet potato pie. And so were other women.

Who could resist?

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“Now, Mercy, don’t you put your little fingers on that pie. It’s spoken for,” said a member.

Cakes and pastries from both the old and new revised cookbook brought in for the sale were just about gone--sold out--the moment they were assembled. “I’m sorry I missed getting to the tables in time. How I’d love to have that butter pound cake again,” said parishioner Erma Norwood.

Betty Lewis’ Butter Pound Cake will return at next year’s bake sale, as it has every year since the last book was out. It, like carrot cake and mystery cake, has survived the test of time.

The new recipes, such as the lemon bars de luxe, and sweet potato cheesecake will, you can be sure, survive the next revision too.

After all, the desserts prepared and submitted by Las Fidelas matrons have a reputation to live up to. Everyone in the parish knows that the desserts baked by the women of the auxiliary make the mouth water and soul happy.

Speaking of soul, a soul food section was added to the revised version this time around, and the names alone will make you want to cook them: sauce short ribs, Alonia’s fried chicken, smoky collard greens and smoked rib tips, yummy sweet potato pudding, country fried catfish. And more.

Other sections include the sort of dishes that people might cook everyday. There are chicken pies, casseroles and, added to the book, a salmon lasagna to accommodate those seeking ways to cut down on red meat. Aunt Dot’s gumbo, which enchanted fans of the old cookbook, is back again.

Doris Jones’ barbecued ribs is a repeat recipe, while a chicken stir-fry, using Lipton’s cream of chicken flavor soup in a cup, is new.

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For a copy of the revised ring-bound volume, send $10 plus $2 for handling to Las Fidelas Matrons, Apostolic Faith Home Assembly, 3200 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90018: Attn: Clara Hendrick. Make checks out to Las Fidelas Matrons.

Here are a few new dessert recipes from the revised book, as well as favorites, such as the butter pound cake and sweet potato pie from the original publication.

MIMI AND MARIAN’S LEMON BARS

2 cups sifted flour

Sifted powdered sugar

1 cup butter or margarine

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

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1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sift together sifted flour and 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar. Cut in butter until mixture clings together. Press into 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Place eggs, granulated sugar and lemon juice in blender and blend until thick and smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder. Blend to combine. Pour over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes longer. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool. Cut into bars. Makes 30 bars.

LUCILLE’S SWEET POTATO CHEESECAKE

2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (about 55 cookies)

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and cooled

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Orange slices

Combine wafer crumbs and butter in medium bowl until moistened. Press mixture firmly over bottom and 2 inches up sides of 8-inch round springform pan. Chill 1 hour.

Puree potatoes in blender or food processor to make about 1 cup. Set aside.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, just until combined. Blend in pureed sweet potatoes, sour cream, liqueur and cinnamon.

Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees 55 to 60 minutes or until set. Cool, then chill thoroughly.

Before serving loosen sides and remove rim from pan. Place on serving plate and garnish with orange slices. Makes 1 (8-inch) cheesecake.

WINOLA’S COCOA CAKE

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups milk

Frosting

Cream butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Blend in eggs.

Combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, soda and salt in bowl. Alternately add with milk to batter. Blend well.

Pour into 2 (8- or 9-inch) round baking pans or 1 (13x9-inch) pan and bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes or until wood pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans and frost between layers and around top and sides with any desired frosting. Makes 1 (8-inch) double layer cake.

COCONUT FLUFFY FROSTING

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring

1/2 to 1 cup shredded coconut

Combine sugar, salt, egg whites, cream of tartar, corn syrup and water in top of double boiler. Cook over rapidly boiling water, constantly beating with mixer or rotary beater until mixture stands in peaks.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and coconut flavoring. Continue to beat until frosting holds deep swirls. Use to frost cake, then sprinkle cake with coconut. Makes enough frosting for 2 (8-or 9-inch) layers or 1 (13x9-inch) cake.

HILDRETH LEWIS’ BUTTER POUND CAKE

1 pound soft butter

1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar

6 eggs

3 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring

Mix butter and sugar with beater. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating after each addition. Add flour. Mix only until smooth.

Spoon into 9-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool before turning out onto wire rack to cool. Makes 1 (9-inch) tube cake.

ALMA’S SWEET POTATO PIE

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, sieved

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 (8-or 9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Melt butter. Add potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Add vanilla and lemon extracts.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees 45 to 50 minutes. Makes 1 (8 or 9-inch) pie.


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