June 27, 2011

Cake or Pie? Bunny or No Bunny?

What do you think of when I say "Bunny Cake"? Something like this, perhaps?

Well, I guarantee that the Rabbit Cake (Hasen Kucka) in the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook will look nothing like this smiling fellow - because, of course, it is made from real rabbit.  A cake made from rabbit? Well, they call it a cake - I'd go with casserole as a better description. The Rabbit Pie, in contrast, is more attuned to truth in advertising - it is rabbit and it is baked in a pie, just like those 4 and 20 blackbirds. I'd bet the bunny at least has a bit more meat to offer than the birds. When your bunny pie is done, it should look a bit like the one below - although I think the ears are a bit over the top, don't you? Of course, any recipe that includes the phrase, "reserved rabbit liquid" has bigger problems than ugly pastry ears. That has to be one product you will never find on your grocer's shelves! 

1 rabbit
potato filling (see below)
1 1/2 tsp. flour
1/2 cup rabbit broth

Wipe dressed rabbit with a damp cloth; barely cover with water to which 1/2 tsp. salt has been added and cook covered until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Separate meat from bones and cut into small pieces. Butter a casserole and put a layer of Potato Filling in the bottom, then a layer of meat. Add 1 TBS. sauce (made by combining the flour, seasonoing and broth and boiling until sauce is thickened and smooth). Repeat layers until dish is filled. Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes or until browned. 6 servings


2 cups hot mashed potatoes
1 egg, well beaten
4 cups cubed dry bread
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 cup diced celery
1 onion, minced
1 TBS. minced parsley
2 TBS. butter, melted.
Mix together the potatoes and egg. Soak bread in cold water and squeeze dry. Fluff bread and mix gently with the potato mixture. Blend in remaining ingredients and mix well. Will fill a 6- to 8-lb. bird.


1 rabbit, cleaned, washed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
3 TBS. butter
2 TBS. finely chopped onion
2 TBS. finely chopped parsley
Dash tabasco
Pastry (see below)

Place rabbit in a sauce pot and barely cover with water. Cover the pan and simmer rabbit until tender. Add salt to season when partially cooked. Drain and measure the liquid. Set aside. Remove the meat from the bones, keeping it in large pieces. Heat butter in a skillet; add butter and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Measure 1 1/2 cups flour for each cup of reserved rabbit liquid; add flour to onion-parsley mixture in skillet and mix well. Add the rabbit liquid slowly, bring to boiling, and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Add more salt if needed, and tabasco. Mix well with rabbit meat and pour into a baking dish. Cover with pastry and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. 4 servings.

3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lard or other shortening
5 TBS. cold water

Sift the flour and salt together. Cut in the lard with pastry blender or two knives until pieces are the size of small peas. Gradually sprinkle water over mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition; add only enough water to hold pastry together.. Roll out on a floured surface and fit into pie pan. Don't stretch pastry while fitting into pan, as this will cause shrinkage in finished product. Use as directed in pie recipes. Enough for 1 2-crust pie or 2 1-crust pies.

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