Monday, August 17, 2009

raspberry chiffon and all that that implies

I have been eying a raspberry chiffon pie recipe all summer. First I saw the pie on the cover of Cooks Illustrated Entertaining magazine. Then I saw it again. Then I subscribed to Cooks Illustrated Entertaining Magazine, and a few weeks later got my first issue. Summer Entertaining with that raspberry chiffon pie on the cover. I read the recipe. OK, so it calls for Sure Jell and Raspberry Jello. But that picture! I had a friend coming to dinner, one friend on a Monday night. It seemed perfect.
The crust is a "press-in-the-pan" crust and even if you have never in your life greased a pie pan, in this case, when it says to spray the pan with cooking spray, don't scoff, just do it. The crust wasn't bad. You get to mix it in a mixer and then just press it in the pan. Sort of a short bready crust. The raspberry layer is where the sure-jell comes in and it might have had an odd flavor but since there are 2 cups of sugar for 12 oz of rasberries, my throat hurt too much from all the sweetness to really notice any flavor. The chiffon layer had raspberry jello and cream cheese and whipped cream and some fruit purree and really, I love that sort of thing. Chill the beast and top with sweetened whipped cream.
It was pretty good, all in all, for a Monday night and one friend. Next time I'll try using 1 cup of sugar, tasting and then ading a little more if it needs it. Also maybe cut down on the sugar in the whipped cream topping. It was all just overly sweet. But such a pretty color.
And now that picture no longer has me under its spell.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

beware cake recipes that list nutritional info

I wanted to make a peach upside down cake and I wanted it to be easy and not involve a springform pan because all the good gooey stuff leaks out of those pans, and even if you have wrapped the pan in foil, you still have lost a good portion of gooey stuff. So I found a recipe in Epicurious and it included "carmelized" and "cake" in the title, so without further investigation, ahead I plunged. A closer reading would have revealed the utter lack of any fat in the recipe, no butter, no oil, just some eggs, some flour, a little sugar and some pureed peaches. And that tell tale nutritional info!
So Not Good! I served it with lots of sweetened whipped cream, which helped, but a real failure and disappointment all the way around.
Moral of the day: If there's no butter in your cake recipe, you may as well opt for ice cream.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

yearning for coconut cake

It was my step daughter's birthday and she very graciously agreed to let me bake the cake for her party. She doesn't like chocolate and when I suggested coconut she said she loves coconut. Back to the vanilla bean coconut cupcake recipe. Most cake recipes that make 2 9" layers call for 2 C of flour and this recipe calls for 2 C of flour so I thought I was in the ball park. I asked my sister how many layers, 2 or 3 and what size. She said definitely 10 inches and therefore 3 layers so it looks proportional. I doubled the recipe. I did everything the same as for the cupcakes. Reducing the coconut milk takes nearly an hour and you have to watch it or it will really boil over and make a mess and also you'll lose valuable coconut milk. This time I used vanilla extract and vanilla bean. Then I baked the 3 layers for about 35 minutes which was perfect.
I used half butter and half cream cheese in the frosting, way more confectioners sugar than called for and then also both vanilla extract and vanilla bean. This was also perfect. The cream cheese adds a bit of tartness to the frosting, that just makes it balanced. I finished it by pressing toasted coconut to the outsides. It was outstanding.
The guests said, "It's so big!" "It's delicious!" and "No one bakes from scratch any more, the boxes are so easy." The host asked me how I got started baking growing up in NY? I told him I had grown up in CT, and he said, "That's even worse."
My only regret is that I didn't get to bring any home with me bc I would like to have some right now!