Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A little more about What I baked

OK, Wyatt got lost the night before New Year's Eve, so if I baked anything, it has been blotted out with the rest of that dreadful 16 hours, the way a person can't remember the time leading up to or after a severe head trauma. I probably made more brownies, just "to keep ma strenth up."
We had the eight days of Chris. Chris is training in earnest and only wants protein and vegetables. I wanted a coconut cake. His party was party por deux. Martha Stewart has a very involved and well reviewed coconut cake. It involves, a coconut custard filling-- corn starch based, and a simple syrup and 3 layers that are each sliced in half for a six layer cake. There is a cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut. It is a show stopper as well as a time suck extraordinaire. Elise said, Its a lot of time to put in and then be disappointed. I thought that was sound advice and went with the cake bible all butter cake and cream cheese frosting and mounds of sweetened shredded coconut between the 3 layers. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe for 3 9" layers. I added some coconut flavor to the cake and the frosting. It was a little crumbly but definitely improved with age and also, too was a perfect balance of cake and frosting, not always easy to achieve.
Then, we had a dinner party and I made the Cake Bible dense flourless chocolate cake. Only bittersweet chocolate, butter and eggs. Baked for 20 minutes in a water bath. The baking was dodgy but it was actually done, although who knew from how it looked and only 20 minutes. The raspberry sauce overflowed the measuring cup in the microwave and I was forced to reduce it on the stove which Rose LB warms will impart and off flavor and she was right. Essentially a butt load of work for a strangely flavored raspberry sauce. Again, whipped cream is a cover for a multitude of off flavors, time and temp misjudgments and ill advised "experiments." Cake was actually good that night, although maybe it was the vodka combined with all the adrenaline that had flooded my system in response to the roast that refused to stop mooing. It was not good the next day.
As a consolation, I baked a winter spice cake with caramelized apples. Apples cooked and then put in pan, caramel sauce made (one cavil is that caramel sauce is better with just sugar and cream, the addition of butter to the caramelizing sugar, makes the whole thing greasy, but I was brave about it) dribbled over apples, spice cake baked on top of that, whole turned out for an upside down apple topped cake. And it was just right.
Now we are on to super bowl-- ham, chili, biscuits, and probably more OMG brownies.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Christmas, New Years, The 8 days of Chris, and What I Baked

Christmas eve dinner and we needed something red. I have made the Nantucket cranberry Pie a few times, even once with tons of ginger, to gingery was my feeling. This time I had Sister Abigail to help so actually chopped the cranberries. For all of Laurie Colwin's Whateverishness, she wants you to chop cranberries and they go all over and it turns out a raw cranberry is the one thing Spaniel Duquam will not eat. But since Ab was here, she chopped them and we did it in batches in a mini prep. Turns out if you chop the cranberries, the whole thing looks a lot less like cranberry vomit. Ab doesn't like almond so she skimped on the almond extract. I think almond is something of which a person wants the exact right amunt and i could have gone wit a 1/4 tsp more. But lots of whipped cream and what's not to like?
Because Ab was visit I also made OMG brownies, forsted brownies that are just stunningly good, no matter how many times I have them, the first bite is always earth moving. And because it was Christmas and I baked for "gifts" I made Rugelah, Loro Brody's Rugelach. These are also a revelation, that something can be so consistently GOOD! Chris wanted some and I said, OK, but I'm giving them as presents, so just eat the unnatractive ones. He said, They are all unattractive.