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Many of us have caught on to the tangy habit of substituting buttermilk for water or milk called for in recipes like brownies and cupcakes. While buttermilk often requires a separate trip to the grocery store, sour cream on the other hand is an item more likely to already be in the fridge that can also provide that extra unique flavor and moisture to baked goods.

When the recipe calls for fresh milk, substitute half the amount with sour cream. If a recipe calls for yogurt or buttermilk, substitute the full amount with sour cream to send it over the top with little effort.

It’s the rich and velvety ingredient I associate with the holidays – the star in my mother-in-law’s strawberry Jell-O salad, which has been a fixture on the Christmas table for generations. An immigrant from Poland, it was her way of immersing herself in American culture when she came to Los Angeles in 1958.

A festive throwback to the ‘60s and ‘70s, this retro recipe has appeared as a layered side dish – not a dessert – for as long as Jell-O has been around, a staple of the American south. Go orange for Thanksgiving or red, white and blue for the Fourth of July.

Good Culture, the Irvine-based company that introduced what may be the best cottage cheese on the market, has added Simply Sour Cream to its line, a probiotic version made from pasture-raised cows using no hormones and the secret to a moist Bundt cake.

“Sour cream pound cake is a huge favorite from my childhood,” says the company’s co-founder Jesse Merrill who shared his family recipe with L.A. Weekly. “It’s moist and tender with a crispy crust and a good dose of probiotics.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 pt. (8oz) Good Culture Sour Cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, you can also use lemon zest)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a tube pan with butter and flour (or baking spray).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking soda.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the sour cream. Ending with the sour cream.
  6. Beat well, add the flavorings (if desired) and mix again.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

And for a ‘70s flashback, here’s the recipe for Angela’s Strawberry Jell-O Salad:

Prepare a six-ounce box of strawberry (or cherry) Jell-O in a bowl according to package directions. Once the gelatin is dissolved, add one eight-ounce can of crushed pineapple, two cups of frozen strawberries (slice large ones in half) and mix until the strawberries are a little broken up. Add one cup chopped walnuts. The southern classic includes sliced bananas, if you want to fold in a cup.

Pour a little less than half of the Jell-O mixture into a mold of your choice (or 9 x 13 baking dish) which has been sprayed with vegetable spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set – about 30 minutes. Reserve the other half on the counter. Once it’s set, smooth on an even layer of one-pint sour cream, which will be the middle layer of your salad. Add the remaining Jell-O and refrigerate until firm, ideally overnight. If in a mold, submerge in warm water for a few seconds annd invert onto a plate. Slice into squares if prepared in the baking dish and serve on top of a butter lettuce cup. Angela would always present the mold on a cake stand decorated with winter camelias from the back yard.

 

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