Monday, August 24, 2009

TWD - Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

Growing up, one of my mother's go-to desserts was Lemon Meringue Pie. We (I always seemed to pry myself away from a book when dessert was being made) would use the ready made Graham cracker pie crust and real lemon juice (from the bottle). She could quickly whip it up add the meringue topping and quickly put in the oven as we were clearing the dinner dishes. I loved it!
I haven't had this quick and easy Lemon Meringue Pie in years as my mother now uses fresh lemons and pie dough crust versus the ingredients of my childhood. I've been thinking about making that pie all summer. So I was excited when I saw that this week's recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie was The Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie.

I just got back from my family reunion so I opted not to make the crust. Hey Keebler never failed me before.

I really like this recipe because it has few ingredients and was easy to make. I used a double boiler for the cream and to my surprise, it thickened up rather quickly. (It did take me 16 minutes to get to 180 degrees versus the recipe's 10 minutes). Straining the lime zest was a slight pain as my first strainer clogged. Fortunately I have 2 so I didn't have to stop to clean the first one.

The one thing that I never do with any meringue pie I make, is put it back in the refrigerator after browning. I'm now a convert! With this pie, the meringue didn't "sweat" or shrink as it often does for me the day after baking.

This is definitely something I will make again! For the recipe, please visit Linda of Tender Crumb and then visit the rest of the Tuesday with Dorie bakers for alternate versions of this pie.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TWD - Brownie Buttons

(This plate is only angry because we cannot try these brownies until tomorrow)

I love baking. I love sharing recipes. I love watching shows about baking. I love talking about the recipes I've made or want to make.

My friends and family? Not so much.

Sure they indulge me by trying my new recipes, dishing out compliments (even when undeserved) and even requesting new items for me to try. But they have other interests (boring). That is why I was so excited to join Tuesdays with Dorie. Now not only do I have a good excuse to try new recipes, I can see other bakers takes on that same recipe.

My first recipe was for Brownie Buttons. Ah brownies. Let me tell you a secret. I am pretty much a 95% from scratch baker. No judging - its just the way I learned to bake. But when it comes to brownies - I'm all about the mix! My brownies were always too thin, too moist, too dry, yadda yadda. So I was not too excited that my first recipe was for brownies. What if they turn out horrible and the TWD gang kicks me out for being a baking imposter?

But these brownies were a piece of c--- oh, well... brownie. I doubled the recipe because I don't own a mini muffin pan. I also did not include the orange zest. I did want to get some orange flavor so instead of vanilla extract I used, well, orange liquor (because its noon somewhere in the world). I had read from others that the brownies don't rise so I filled 8 muffin cups pretty close to the top and baked.

I'm not a white chocolate person so I used Lindt's Dark Chocolate Intense Orange.

Don't you just love the look of melted chocolate? The specs are slivers of almonds - yum!

I'm saving these for dinner tomorrow night but if they taste as good as the batter, I'm sure this will become a staple. Perhaps next time I will try with orange peel (or a little more liquor).

For the full recipe, please visit Jayma at Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen and then see other bloggers takes on the Brownie Buttons!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie

I've just joined the baking group Tuesdays with Dorie. Tuesdays with Dorie is a baking group that bakes one recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking from My Kitchen to Yours. I just received my book in the mail and I can't put it down. This is going to be so much fun!

I've been watching this group for the past year and was even inspired to make the Celebration cake a few weeks before starting this blog. This week's recipe was chosen by Mary of The Food Librarian. She chose the Classic Banana Bundt Cake. I wasn't able to make today's recipe but will definitely be up next week's challenge. To see the cake and recipe, please visit Mary as well as other member's versions of this great looking cake.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I didn't eat the Daisies, but I did eat cake!

The daisies I posted last were part of my final project for the Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste class which I just "graduated" from yesterday. If you are at all interested in learning how to decorate cakes, I highly recommend Wilton. They offer classes across the country, mainly at Michael's stores. For this class we learned how to do fondant and gumpaste designs. Fondant is a sugar icing which you roll out like a pie crust and put on top of your cake. I had never eaten fondant (I LOVE buttercream) but wanted to learn how to use it. Many people use fondant on cookies and while I believe my icing tastes great on cookies, there are many designs which would be easier to do if I knew how to work with fondant.

You can make fondant from scratch, but I used the ready made Wilton fondant and just added food coloring. Unfortunately, you need to add a LOT of food coloring to get chocolate brown which caused the fondant to dry out a bit. If I ever use fondant again, I will stick to light colors or purchase ready made fondant in the color of my choice. Don't get me wrong, I'm a scratch baker and proud of it. But I don't think I will use fondant enough to learn how to make it. Both fondant and gumpaste have a texture similar to playdough so they are really fun to work with.

When I came home from class, I decided the cake needed a little something else, so I added silver luster dust to the pearls. Note - if you want the luster dust to just stay on the pearls and not the cake and cake board, I recommend "dusting" prior to assembly. =)
I like how the cake turned out but I'm no artist, I'm a baker. And to me, this decorated cake lost a lot of its taste appeal. When I frosted the cake (even though fondant is icing, you must frost with buttercream or some other sticky substance like jam prior to covering with fondant), I wanted to eat it. When I decorated the cake, I wanted to take a picture of it.

This was an important discovery for me because I am hugely addicted to tv shows showcasing sugar artists like Ace of Cakes, Amazing Wedding Cakes (LOVE the cake girls), Cake Boss (I am from Jersey) and I'm sure I've seen every food network cake challenge. When I see their work, I'm truly humbled. As I am when I peruse my new secret addiction, There are some talented cookiers on this site that put my little cookies to shame. As I improve my craft in decorating, I must remember, I don't want to be an artist. I want to be a great baker. When people see my cookies or other sweets, I want them to want to EAT them, not just take a picture.
This cake? I took tons of pics (LOL). So did my friends when I brought the cake over for a friend's birthday cookout. There was no way I was keeping this cake in my apartment. Because this cake is good enough to eat... for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What kind of cake was this? I'll save that for another post.
Cake Decorating on Foodista