|Mike and his baklava - before and after the ravenous hordes.|
adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
|Pastry cutouts with the birthday names piped in frosting.|
Some notes for the Peach-Ginger Pie:
I ran out of light brown sugar, so I used half dark brown sugar and half white: since brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added, this substitution works just fine.
Forgot to buy fresh ginger at the store, but luckily my (ever resourceful!) daughter had frozen a piece of fresh ginger last month. Fetched it out of the freezer, peeled it by scraping off the skin with a teaspoon (much easier and less wasteful than using a knife), and grated it on a microplane - it turns out that ginger is actually easier to grate frozen than fresh.
Chocolate Praline Cake adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn
|Cake mix gone fancy.|
1 cup water
Prepare the cake mix as directed on package. Spread over praline mixture. Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. Don't overbake chocolate cakes - bake until toothpick inserted in center has a lot of moist crumbs clinging to it, but no raw dough.
Put cake pans on racks to cool for 10 minutes. Then turn cakes out onto wire racks, praline side up. Cool.
Spread with Whipped Cream between layers and on top. (Or pipe it if you have decorating supplies...)
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar\
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 packet Whip It, optional
Mix all together at low speed and increase to high until stiff peaks form. (For serving as an accompaniment to the pie, mix only until soft peaks form.)
Some notes for the Chocolate Praline Cake:
First off, if you want to decorate the cake with the whipped cream, double the recipe for the Sweetened Cream: use two cups, not one.
Second, don't follow Byrn's recipe and use 1/4 cup of sugar per cup of cream - too sweet. Instead follow Berenbaum's proportions of 1 Tablespoon of sugar per cup of cream plus 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Finally, you can buy a little envelope of powder at the store in the baking aisle of Wegman's called "Whip It". (Nothing to do with Devo, by the way.) - it just stabilizes the cream so it doesn't separate, and is especially good when decorating with whipped cream, or transporting a whipped cream dessert. It's made by Dr.Oetker, originally from Germany, the main ingredient is cornstarch. I always try to keep a packet or two on hand.
When you don't have the old family recipes to rely on, try some of the cookbooks in our library. You might even find something better than "mom used to make"! And the baklava? - stay posted, we'll try to get that recipe for you soon..
The Cake Mix Doctor is in our Library. You can get the Pie and Pastry Bible from 12 of our member libraries: just place a hold online or at the Info desk. It takes about a week to get holds that are on the shelf from another library - a great service only 25 cents.
I found the inspiration for the styling of these desserts from several cookbooks in our Library. Come and check some new cookbooks out for ideas! It's fun and cheap - enjoy your weekend...and diet on the weekdays.