Archive for November, 2007

26
Nov
07

secret adpierer

the best thing about doing a blog devoted to dessert is that people give me free dessert. nameless people who make sweet deliveries to coworkers, telling them to make sure it gets into my hands. deliveries like this flaky, delicious pie:
apple pomegranate pie
more after the jump…. Continue reading ‘secret adpierer’

26
Nov
07

final bakeoff entry

that rare find….the cakenpie
cakenpie
explanation after the jump… Continue reading ‘final bakeoff entry’

16
Nov
07

A (really long) word on British desserts

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OK, so British food gets a bad rap. British desserts, on the other hand–well, I challenge you to leave empty-handed from the dessert case at Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Marks & Spencer. There are simply too many temptations for dessert-lovers like us.

The array of individually-sized UK goodies like trifles, puddings, fools, etc. will make your head spin. Then there’s the French influence: floating islands (merengue floating in a “sea” of vanilla custard), mousses, creme brulees, pot de cremes, etc.

What I particularly like about desserts you find in the UK are:

(1) the names. Believe it or not, there’s a dessert called spotted dick (a delicious suet-based concoction with currants, not an STD. It’s usually served with hot custard)

(2) the use of real whipped cream, butter, custard and anything that will clot your veins/make me reach for my bottle of lactase. I mean, they actually sell a product called “clotted cream” (you can also find it here at Dean & Deluca) that’s a super heavy cream for spreading on scones and such.

Around the holidays, there’s an entirely new crop of desserts you can only get for a limited time. Like Christmas puddings, which are liquor-infused, heavy fruitcakes (not those bricks like the ones from Safeway) usually eaten with melted brandy butter or custard. Or flute-shaped butter cookies called brandy snaps that are meant to be filled with whipped cream. British cannolis, anyone? BTW just to clarify, what we call dessert the British call “pudding.” But they also refer to specific desserts as puddings: toffee puddings, Christmas pudding, etc.–spongy, heavy cake-like confections. So yeah, it gets confusing.

Here are a few of my personal attempts at making British desserts. The bottom photo is a pseudo-trifle I made for July 4th last year. Making an American flag out of fruit was out of the question, so it got the French flag treatment (sorry, America). It was layers of custard, sponge cake, fruit and whipped cream. You’re supposed to put it in a glass bowl to show off the layers, but I didn’t have one handy. Also, I opted not to include liquor or jello in it.

The thing in the wine glass is something I learned from Nigella Lawson’s Food Network show: Amaretto Syllabub. It’s easy–you just whip together Amaretto liquor, whipped cream, sugar & lemon juice. Then layer it in a glass with shaved chocolate flakes and crumbled cookies. Recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_77083,00.html. Nigella, my taste buds thank you but my cholesterol doesn’t.

Anyway, the next time you decide to rag on the British culinary tradition, just think of all the spotted dick we’d be missing out on.

14
Nov
07

the latest bakeoff entry….

excuse the out-of-focus quality of this photo. my blood sugar was falling in anticipation of eating this:

flourless chocolate cake
mmmm.
flourless chocolate cake.

it tasted like warm, delicious chocolate goo. that might be an unappetizing description, but it was incredibly yummy.

i ate two, but it was rich. some would say “bloomberg rich” but I would say “bill gates rich.” i had to wait about 6 hours between servings so i didn’t get sick.

07
Nov
07

bakeoff side match: pie vs. pie!

i was sitting at my desk, discussing the deliciousness of the latest bakeoff entry with miguel, the proud baker of the day. kate, another bakeoff participant, stopped by and joined the conversation. things escalated. and the next thing i knew, kate and miguel had agreed to a mano a mano apple pie competition. Continue reading ‘bakeoff side match: pie vs. pie!’

06
Nov
07

some lovely bakeoff goodies…

the bakeoff has been spurring some delicious treats as of late. more photos after the jump:
Continue reading ‘some lovely bakeoff goodies…’

04
Nov
07

bakeoff continues/frito pie news

the bakeoff has been going swimmingly, with two strong entries this week. i need to update the site with the latest bakeoff news, but my bakeoff referee duties will preclude an update for a little while. we’re in the middle of establishing the structure for the bakeoff playoffs.

in addition, we are almost ready to go live with the tshirt link. just trying to figure out a final kink.

but in the meantime, enjoy this article from the star-telegram of texas which uncovers the truth about the inventor of fritos, without which we would not have the delicious frito pie. yum!

02
Nov
07

Bacon + chocolate = luv

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Here’s a concept that really wigs people out: a chocolate bar with bacon in it.

It’s from Vosges, a small chocolate company out of Chicago that has a knack for unconventional chocolate pairings (e.g., chocolate and wasabi, curry, star anise, etc). When I bought Mo’s Bacon Bar, the cashier commented that everyone she worked with liked it, but she was too afraid to try it.

Luckily, my mom, dad and I weren’t. (At $7+ it’s pretty steep, but Vosges kinda has the bacon-chocolate-bar market cornered). Believe it or not, it surpassed expectations for all of us. The sweetness of the milk chocolate plays off the saltiness of the tiny pieces of Applewood bacon nicely. It went down smooth, with a lard-y finish. Just kidding about the lard!

As the creator explains:

“Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it–chocolate.”
–Katrina

Would I buy it again? As a gift, yes. Too bad most of my friends are vegetarian. 🙂

02
Nov
07

Trader Joe’s Panna Cotta with Fruit Compote

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Whenever I see a new dessert in the frozen case at Trader Joe’s, I get psyched to try it. Mind you, not everything in there is a hit. The tiramisus often suck. As do some of the layered cake desserts. And their key lime cheesecake has no crust–you know where we at Pie V. Cake stand on that subject.

But they do tend to get their desserts right. Anyway, panna cotta is an Italian dessert–bascially a creme brulee without eggs and without the sugary top crust. It’s easier to serve than creme brulee, which you often need to bake. This panna cotta just had to be defrosted in the fridge for a few hours. It’s topped with a blueberry compote on one side, a peach (apricot?) compote on the other. The verdict? Delicious. Even when not totally defrosted (it eats more like ice cream in that case. Thanks for the tip, Shadi.)

02
Nov
07

one more strike against cake

i love britney spears, but she’s currently the reigning queen of crazy.
and there’s no greater confirmation of that then the fact that she gave out slices of caketo trick or treaters.
not candy, but CAKE.
the paranoid part of me immediately noted that the only way to check a cake for razor blades is to destroy it.
candy is popular in part because its individual wrappers make it easy to check for tampering.

cakelovers, try and defend that decision. please.