So, I’m a bit behind on my blogging. Shocker, I know! In my defense, I spent most of November on vacation, visiting family and friends in the US, Portugal, and France. But fear ye not, I have been baking.
With winter finally hitting Phoenix (as much as winter does here), the lovely aromatic spices start to fill the air. To kickstart the season, last month I made Bobby Flay’s pumpkin bread pudding. There are quite a few components that go into it, but after reading reviews of its sweetness, I omitted the caramel sauce and opted for vanilla ice cream rather than creme anglaise. I was excited to finally use that can of pumpkin that’s been sitting in my pantry for a year. So you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was a can of pumpkin pie mix. Not the same. I reduced the sugar in the pumpkin bread and the custard since the mix contains added sugar, and I also reduced the liquids since it contains water.
The end result wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t phenomenal like I was expecting. If it gets made again, I will use my own pumpkin bread recipe that doesn’t contain vegetable oil. I always can taste that in breads. And I’ll mix in normal bread cubes as well seeing as how the pumpkin bread soaks up the custard so much, it’s really just a pumpkin mush.
Then came Thanksgiving. I have decided that when I turn 30, I am going to take over cooking the meal for my family. That gives my mom one more year of doing it. Yikes! I’ve only got a year and 4 months left of my 20’s! Anyways, I did help her this year by taking on some of the dishes.
My hatred of pie dough is starting to dimish. I’m finding it’s getting easier and a bit more manageable to make. I made two pies this year, the normal derby pie, and Alton Brown’s pecan pie with a pecan crust.
The pecan pie gave me no problems at all, thanks to the incredible Alton Brown. It used golden syrup (which I had in my pantry) rather than corn syrup. Gives the pie a bit more complex, nuttier taste. Thanks Alton!
I didn’t have many liberties with the derby pie because my family can’t stand change. But I used three different kinds of chocolate for the bottom layer since the recipe we have “floats” the egg custard on top. I discovered that using good quality ghiradelli chocolate chopped may taste good, but doesn’t look quite as good. The pieces weren’t heavy enough so they floated to the top of the custard. The only other change I made was to substitute half of the corn syrup with golden syrup.
My other Thanksgiving duties included making corn bread muffins, rolls (which ended up being a loaf of bread thanks to my bread machine), cranberry sauce, and a garlic cauliflower side dish. What I’m realizing is that I’m really bad at timing multiple dishes. I thought it would all just come together at the same time, but then the pies didn’t get done quick enough so I had to wait to put the corn bread in, which delayed the cauliflower. Good thing I didn’t make the whole meal this year because dinner would have ended up being 4 hours late and dishes would have had to be reheated. I’ve got just under 2 years to sort out my timing issues before I take over the reins.
Speaking of reins, Christmas is just around the corner. Last weekend I went to Tampa to see the Script (with cookies, of course) so I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet. And I always bake for my coworkers and that hasn’t even started. Ooh, so much to do! This year for my coworkers, I’m not going to make tons of different cookies. I’m cooking up a great idea, but you’ll have to wait and see so it doesn’t leak out to the masses. With that project, shopping, and baking other little treats, I’ve got my hands full until Christmas. We shall see if I can pull it all off. Until then, I hope you, my readers, have a very lovely and happy holiday.