Monday, November 15, 2010

home baking


Recently I have been increasing my home baking and have been rather proud of the results. Last week I actually made the same thing twice in an attempt to get the result I was after. My goal was a nice, spicy ginger-pear upside down cake. Both attempts were quite edible and I am constantly amazed by how pretty upside down cakes look.

The basics of an upside down cake are very simply. You make a white cake batter, melt butter in a cast iron or other oven safe pan, add brown sugar to the butter and stir until the two are integrated, add fruit and bake. One of the trickiest bits is turning out the cake. You must do this immediately or the cake sticks. I have read you can leave it and just heat the pan on the stove top before turning out to plate later but I see burnt caramel or incomplete detachment written all over that option! I make Bernard do the flipping out because I had trouble managing our large cast iron pan one handed while holding the receiving plate against the top of the pan.


The original version of the recipe (my Mom's Joy of Cooking)calls for pineapple rings with maraschino cherries in the middles but I have never actually done that type. I generally have do plum or peach which both work very well. I have also used apple and pear now, which also work well though I find that they are a bit drier than those made with softer fruit. The first try is at the top and the second is the one on the right.

I also have been excited to discover a pastry recipe that is reliable. I love the Re-Bar cook book for baking. I do use all butter and I suspect if I used their recommended butter and shortening combination I would get a less fragile pastry I do not usually have shortening and the full butter experience is super tasty. Here is an apple pie I made with some of those windfall apples Bernard made apple sauce out of.
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