Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cranberry Season

(what Ray calls “cramberries,” a malapropism that NEVER ceases to amuse him…)

In the midst of the recent run of bundt cakes, I made a brief return to the upside down cake concept. I ended up using a recipe from Martha Stewart, of all people, Cranberry Upside-Down Cake. I adapted it a bit, which, for those of you who know me, is sort of a revolutionary move. I follow recipes. I do NOT improvise or make up my own approaches. I am not a creative person (well, there has been some discussion about that this fall. A few other people seem to think I actually am a bit creative, but I have always feared and thought that I am not.) If there are some rules, there must be a reason, and I’m not going to question. This is not a feature of my personality that Ray thinks is all that great. In his view, if you are not asking questions and breaking rules, then you really aren’t doing your job.

I added more butter – and actually melted it – to the butter sugar mix that goes on the bottom of the baking pan (and then in the end becomes the topping). See Martha’s instructions for the different approach she recommends (and prior entry on upside down cake to see the past experience I was working from). I’m not really sure what difference it made. The topping still stuck – to the bottom – a bit, though because it was cranberries, you could sort of mush the stuck bits back into the intact topping and not have it look too suspicious.

My students had been asking me to bake for them. They keep hearing about my baking, and were getting a little jealous. So, this cake was for them. Because I was teaching, and sort of preoccupied with all that that entails, I did have a piece, but couldn’t really get a good sense of it. Then, by the time I was able to really eat and focus at the same time, the cake was a day old. I think I may have to try this one again at some point.

As for Thanksgiving, while we actually MADE NO CAKES (can I really commit time and space on the “cake blog” to non-cake activity?…), in my opinion, we cannot let a holiday with such profound implications for food preparation in general go by without at least a brief mention. We had Ray’s brothers and dad here and, for Ray at least, Thanksgiving is all about PIE. So that is what we did.

I always do an apple pie. I always do the same apple pie (at some level, again, this speaks to the rule follower in me, right?), Spiced Apple Pie. My sister makes a five-spice apple pie that she prefers. I tried it once and thought it was yucky. Let me clarify here. I made it, and then tried it and rejected it as inferior to my apple pie recipe. I am NOT saying that I thought a pie my sister made was yucky. I would never say such a thing. I suspect that she is, in fact, a better pie maker than me. Anyway, in the interest of a more democratic approach to apple pie making (a classic American tradition, I suppose, just like democracy), I thought I should include both recipes here. (Actually, I just love the fact that you can embed links to other sites/recipes in your text.)

I also always make a pumpkin pie, with this year’s version being orange and spice pumpkin pie. Alden has decided to be an enthusiastic pumpkin pie eater, something that increases my enthusiasm for making pumpkin pie. Remember, I’m not just a lame pie maker, I am also a lame pie eater. I therefore have moments of not being that excited about pie-making. But, having Alden’s appreciation, as well as Ray’s, makes it that much more worthwhile.


Spgonahan said...

My wife is fond of the orange and spice pumpkin pie, for some reason, though she never even eats any of the pumpkin pies, either! Nevertheless, she's reluctant to bake the same old same old traditional pumpkin pies prized by the misanthropic curmudgeon. What is up with that? I recognize, whoever is baking has the right to do as they please, of course.

cake eater said...

I've noticed that sphonahan has a lot to say about cakes and pies but actually produces very little of anything that can be eaten. If only canoes weren't so chewy...