Wednesday, November 19, 2008

in which I bake some more

My fledgling baking career continues. As one of my friends pointed out, I do make a b*tchin' blueberry cobbler, and he's right. Maybe the trick is to stick with baking things that are mostly fruit to begin with? Perhaps fruit I can handle; it's everything else that's giving me trouble.

So, I guess it's no surprise that the past few things I've made have been mostly fruit. It also had something to do with the fact that we had a huge amount of fruit from our weekly delivery.
So, what do you do with a bunch of extremely ripe pears and that red wine leftover from when Oscar made coq au vin? Make poached pears, of course. Now, in true Luneray fashion, I followed the recipe enough to realize that I didn't have enough pears. I had only three, but the recipe called for six so I chopped up a few apples to mix in with the pears. Then I realized that we didn't have a half bottle of wine that I thought we did. The recipe called for two cups of red wine. Eyeing the level in the bottle, it looked a bit less than half full so I guessed we had a cup. I poured it out and found out that the bottle contained one-half cup, exactly. Then I wished I hadn't chopped up the apples because my pear/wine ratio was about right. Oh well. I used the 1/2 cup wine and water for the other 1 1/2 cups and made the recipe using all the fruit. The fruit is tasty but intensely sweet; the wine flavor would have balanced the 1 1/2 cups of sugar much better.

Next up...persimmon bread. We had eight persimmons in our last fruit delivery along with a recipe for persimmon bread. These were fuyu persimmons, which are actually edible when they are firm (other types are extremely astringent and are eaten only after the fruit is soft), and they are tasty but I turned them all into bread anyway. (It's not like we don't have a few pounds of other fruit ready to be eaten raw, after all.) I followed the recipe that came with the delivery despite my initial distrust. No eggs? Agave nectar? The substitution given for the agave nectar was 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar mixed with 2 tbsp water, and I was sure that was a typo until Oscar mentioned that agave nectar is incredibly thick. But I mixed it up according to the directions and that dough was incredibly stiff. You know that the baked goodness called "banana bread" but is really a cake? Well, this persimmon bread really was more like a bread. A very sticky bread dough, but a dough instead of a batter. Too thick to pour into the loaf pan but far too sticky to shape it, so the loaf pan contained a rather lumpy mass.

After 40 minutes, I opened the oven to test the loaf for doneness and had my newest baking mishap. I pulled out the rack too far and the damn pan flew off the rack and overturned and the loaf flew out of the pan and landed upside down in the middle of the oven. (I should be glad it didn't land on the floor because it would have been immediately gobbled by Seamus whose food instincts (Food! On Floor! Mine!) override his pain instincts (Food! On Floor! Mine! HOT! HOT! HOT!).) Well, the bread wasn't done yet but it was done enough so that it kept its shape as I grabbed it and plopped it back into the loaf pan, only slightly smashed.

Despite its mid-baking flight, the bread turned out all right. It is very dense and chewy and not really sweet. It's really good sliced thin and spread with butter (and would probably be really good sliced thick and toasted), and Oscar suggested it would make really good French toast as well.

This weekend I plan to try making apple dumplings. With butterscotch sauce. Made with real scotch. :)


jeanius said...

this all sounds delicious! I will be making a big apple crisp to take to Jasons family gathering on thursday.

You've also reminded me i should bake some bread.

Have you read or heard of the cake bible? try amazon. I have a copy (though Jason would have to excavate the garage o find the cabinet it is stored in!) If I can convince him to get it out, and you're interested, let me know :)

Me said...

What service does fruit delivery? Is this a Washington thing, local to your town, or could say I get the same thing in California? It sounds like a great way to eat more fruit... Although I'm not much of a cook/baker.