Monday, July 19, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

I'm speechless. Really. 'Sublime' doesn't quite cut it. 

This cheek-puckering, silky lime cream with its' hint of ginger surpasses the velvety deliciousness of the lemon cream we made for the Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.

One of my favorite things about baking is the element of surprise - nothing really matches the fun of trying out a new recipe and then being bowled over by how much you love it. And so I have to admit that the lime cream was a delicious surprise. Combined with Dorie's sweet & flaky pie crust and the cloudy meringue, that does nothing to fight the zingy flavors at play, this pie is awesome. Awe-some. I played around with Dorie's suggestions (but you already knew I would) and added a layer of ginger and lime-infused mango cubes underneath the lime cream, but the flavor from the mango was barely discernible. I didn't mind. Didn't I already explain how the lime cream makes this a sublime pie?

A *huge* thanks to Elizabeth of Gluten-Free Baking 101 for picking the recipe this week. For gluten-free versions of this pie, please head over to Gluten-Free Baking 101. And please take a look at the BWD blogroll to check out everyone else's scrumptious pies. 

Our challenge for 2nd August is the Blueberry Crumb Cake and has been picked by Tina of My Domestic Bliss. If  you'd like to join us, please email me at needfulthings at ymail dot com. We'd love to have you bake along with us!

You can find the recipe for the Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie on pages 337-339 of Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or right here after the jump: 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blogging Break

You know you're in trouble when your 2.5 year old draws a person for the very first time - and it's you, but you're wearing a frown.

So, that's it - I'm taking a break. I have actually been very efficient  (even though I've been blogging sporadically) and have quite a few future posts that I drafted & took photos for in advance. I was going to publish them over the course of this month, but I've changed my mind. Apart from the BWD challenge that's coming up next Monday, I will not be doing any posts for the rest of July.

I'll spend this time chilling out with the kiddos, before my son goes back to school in a couple of weeks, and hopefully won't have to hear him whine, 'but I hate it when you're always so busy, Mama!' 

See you when the hiatus is over! 

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from something I received in a forward some time back, as well as a very old song that I really love & used to sing to my baby sister as a lullaby many, many moons ago . . :

To my child:

(...)Just for this morning, I am going to step
over the laundry and pick you up and take you to the park to play

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put
that puzzle of yours together

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug
the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you
in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell
once not even a tiny grumble when you scream and
whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one
if he comes by

(...) Just for this afternoon I will let you
help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you
trying to fix them

Just for this afternoon, I will take us
to McDonalds and buy us both a happy meal so you can
have both toys . . 

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms
and tell you a story about how you were 
born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you
splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you
stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars

Just for this evening, I will snuggle
beside you for hours, and miss my favorite tv shows

Just for this evening I will run my
fingers through your hair as you pray, I will simply be
grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given. 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

I was recently presented the Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Sage Trifle . Thank you so much Sage Trifle! I'm so very flattered!

The guidelines for accepting this award are

Thank the person who gave it to you
Tell 7 things about yourself
Pass the award on to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered, and think are fantastic

First things first - 7 random things about me:

  • I love making lists. They make me feel calm & in-control. My day can be pretty chaotic at times so it helps me to sit down, shut out all the noise of daily existence, and focus on making that list!
  • I don't really like sea-food very much, but I'll try everything at least once.
  • I think the first ever thing I made in the kitchen, at the age of 10, was a crisps-and-ketchup sandwich: a generous layer of crinkly potato crisps crushed between two slices of bread smeared with tomato ketchup. I don't know what I was thinking.
  • There is nothing I enjoy better than sitting in a quiet place and reading a book.
  • I think snowfalls are one of the most magical sights in the world.
  • If I won a million dollars, I'd buy an apartment in one of the Islands surrounding Istanbul. And one in Paris, of course ;-) 
  • I love people who make me laugh (I wouldn't have married my husband otherwise)

I follow a lot of blogs and I don't always have time to read them all, but I always enjoy posts by the following bloggers when I do eventually manage to make the time to do so. Here's a list of fantastic food blogs I have discovered in the past two months or less, I hope that you'll enjoy them as much as I do:
  1. 80 Breakfasts 
  2. Allotment 2 Kitchen
  3. Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog
  4. Cook & Be Merry
  5. Cream Puffs in Venice
  6. Delicious Delicious Delicious
  7. Dinner with Julie
  8. Eat, Run, Read
  9. Food Loves Writing
  10. Gourmet Worrier
  11. i am baker
  12. Lost Past Remembered
  13. My French Cuisine
  14.  Taste of Beirut
  15. The Purple Foodie

Monday, July 05, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

It is impossible to look through Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan and not stop to drool over the photos of this cake. A brownie base with salted peanuts and sticky, gooey, dripping caramel . . . it had my name all over it & so I was very happy to be able to pick the recipe for this weeks' Baking With Dorie challenge

It takes hardly any time to make the cake and it came out looking perfect, but it was cakier than the  super-moist, fudgy brownie I had been envisioning all along. It caved in while cooling, but Dorie already tells us to expect that it will. So, no surprises or panic attacks there.

Next up was the tricky part: making the Caramel. Needless to say, I've never made it from scratch before. Since I made this cake in a frightful hurry, at the eleventh hour, I completely forgot that I could have referred to David Lebovitz's post on how to make Caramel. And Elizabeth of Gluten-Free Baking 101 has added a wonderful step-by-step tutorial within her post this week - just in case you want to get some great visual tips on how to get it right.

Otherwise, Dorie's directions are very clear and guide you right through the process. The only thing was, my caramel took longer to cook than the 10 minutes she said it would. But that has mostly to do with the size of saucepan I used and how much heat I gave it. I really didn't want to burn the caramel since I had very little time to start from scratch all over again, so I watched it like a hawk for maybe 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I had fun doing the 'white plate test' every couple of minutes:

The fun part came next - mixing in the nuts and then pouring everything over the cake. Dorie recommends waiting till the caramel is completely cool before releasing the sides of the springform pan. But I just couldn't wait, because: 

a) I'm highly impatient
b) my kids were hovering around me like flies, wanting to poke their fingers into the cake that they just couldn't wait to eat (now I wonder where they get that from?)
c) I'm highly impatient. 

And this is what happens to impatient people who not only remove their cake from the pan but also slice it right away: 

Yup. Caramel Explosion. Never mind that it looks mouthwatering. 

Next time I'm going to have to listen to the wiser, saner Dorie and let things be. The wisdom in that would have been that the caramel would have set up a little, and some of it would have soaked through and made the cake very moist - almost fudgy. The next morning, this tasted somewhat like a chocolate-peanut version of a sticky-toffee pudding. Do I really need to say it was scrumptious!

One tip: Dorie suggests we don't dump the entire quantity of caramel over the cake and that we should be left with a lot more than we actually need. As usual she's spot on, so, don't be tempted. Less is definitely more as it will make your cake exceedingly sweet.

To check out what the other bakers did with this weeks' recipe, please check the blogroll here and here. Our next challenge, coming up on July 19, is the Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie, chosen by Elizabeth of Gluten-Free Baking 101. If you'd like to join the challenge, please drop me an email. We'd love to have you bake along with us!

You can find the recipe for this cake on pages 264-5 of Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Or you can find it right here after the jump:


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