now in the high desert

September 20, 2009

bake queen

Filed under: Uncategorized — ladyofmaine @ 12:58 pm

Had some periodontal surgery last week and have laid low for awhile but awoke this morning feeling better and wanting to BAKE. Ave and family were coming for the afternoon and the weather was sunny and breezy with a definite crisp in the air. I wasn’t up to anything too strenuous yet but the combination of improved health, cool weather and expected guests set me in the baking mood.

Cream puffs and anglefood cake were my choices. I had occasionally made these when the children were all at home and always made them together because the cream puffs use the same number of egg yolks as egg whites are needed in the cake. I hadn’t baked those for at least fifteen years but I didn’t remember it as being particularly difficult.

THe custardy filling for the puffs was perfect and cooling in the fridge. The puff dough, however, wouldn’t incorporate properly and after beating it for ten minutes I gave up and threw it in the trash.

The next batch of puff dough seemed to have a better consistency but was suspiciously dense as I spooned it onto the baking sheet and, twenty minutes later, emerged from the oven as golden hocky pucks…into the trash.

So no puffs but there were plenty of egg whites for the angel food cake so I embarked on that endeavor. It had been years since I had made the recipe so scanned the page and got stuff together, but I hadn’t read it carefully enough. Instead of adding the sugar a teaspoon at a time while beating I dumped it in with the flour and saw my lovely cloud of perfectly beaten egg whites dissolve into a white soup in the bottom of the bowl. I beat the bejeebers out of the mess for five minutes to no avail and then perversely poured the thin liquid into the cake pan and baked it anyway. Thirty-five minutes later I slid a one inch thick, rubber-like disk from the pan, cut a small piece to taste (after all, you never know) and promptly tossed it into the trash.

There is still the cream puff filling, I mused, perhaps I could fill popovers since I am definitely not going to try the puff dough recipe again. Again, I hadn’t made popovers for ages so got out my trusty cookbook and scanned the recipe (lesson; do not “scan” any more recipes) and baked a batch. They were flat and gooey in the middle. I had misread the time and temperatures. They went into the trash.

I reread the popover recipe and realized my mistake. I made another batch and cooked them properly and though they wouldn’t win any baking contest, they were suitable for the custard filling and my family said they were really quite good (I still am relegated to soft foods for a few more days). In fact, the popover dough has a great deal less saturated fat than the puff pastry dough.

I began to put a Shepherd’s Pie together for supper and joked that I was almost afraid to cook any more today after my disasterous results this morning. I arranged the beef, onions and corn in the casserole and proceeded to mash and beat the potatoes when I realized the day’s final affront…the mashed potatoes were lumpy.


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