Kindness. It’s a word at the top of many of our minds the past few weeks. No better time than the right now to do a review about a book that embodies a lot of what kindness means in the heart and soul of one individual named William “Doc” Key. In STEP RIGHT UP: HOW DOC AND JIM KEY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT KINDNESS by Donna Janell Bowman and illustrated by Daniel Minter, we meet Doc Key, a formerly enslaved man and self-taught veterinarian who had a penchant with animals. He had a belief — to treat animals with kindness and patience. He took that belief and applied it to a weak colt named Jim Key, and over time the results were mind-blowing. Not only did Beautiful Jim Key thrive and become a strong, healthy stallion, he also had quite the knack for learning. In fact, with Doc’s persistence and patient teaching, Jim learned how to spell, write, do math (in his head! I can’t do that!), identify state flags, tell time, and do I need to go on? The horse is obviously smarter than us all! The kids and I were blown away as the story continued to unfold. The time it took and the love it took Doc Key to train…no…to teach this horse was immeasurable and inspiring. I adored reading this to my boys. The message was loud and clear. And the art work! It’s a perfect match to the book. I will be reading this to them again and again. Patience, boys. Kindness, boys. And education.
So, there is hope for my bulldog? Kindness, Lindsay. (Of course I’m kind!) Patience, Lindsay. (Eh, patience? Maybe I need to work on the patience.)
Now for a recipe! I’m going off the pie grid here, so hang in there with me. Did I tell you sometimes I break the rules? Yep, I do. I know this blog says “A Book and A Pie.” I take that as a suggestion. Yeah, that’s it. So today, it’s A Book and A Sweat Bread. Not sure that sounds as good, but we’re going with it. My son was asked to dig into his heritage, just like we dug into the book STEP RIGHT UP. I thought it was a good tie-in. We got to discover Doc and Jim Key and learn something we never knew. My son got to discover his Slovakian heritage, something he never knew (and neither did I until a few years ago.) So, in honor of discovery, I present a recipe for Slovak Sweet Bread with an apple compote filling. Dobrú chuť!
SLOVAK SWEET BREAD WITH APPLE COMPOTE FILLING
Slovak Sweet Bread
1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 cups of flour, divided
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup of warm milk, stir until dissolved. Add 1/2 tspn sugar and 1/2 cup of flour, stirring until blended. Set aside.
Cream butter and rest of sugar, then add eggs. Beat well with mixer or by hand. Add flour and salt alternately with remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the yeast mixture.
Knead until smooth and elastic on a floured board. Put in large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, melt down the butter for the apple compote. Add the rest of the apple compote ingredients into the pan and cook on medium heat until the apple pieces are soft. Let cool.
On floured board, divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part out and spread with apple compote filling. Put on greased cookie sheet. Let rise again until doubled and bake at 350 degree for 30 minutes. Should yield three loaves.