Here’s a slice of my pie. It was, as usual for me and anything remotely fussy, a learning experience. You see, the title in the Baking Bible is Pumpkin Pecan Pie, but this is more of a Pecan Pie with some pumpkin pie filling on top.
Everything started out A-OK with my pie crust. I’ve got that part down, between the food processor and refrigerating everything repeatedly.
I rolled the dough out, put it in the pan and added pecans. I even fluted edges, something I was never able to do with previous pie crust recipes. I made sure I pulled the crust over the top of the pan.
All was well, I cooked my filling as directed, though it took less than half the time I expected from the Baking Bible. I’m not sure if I turned the heat up higher than I intended, or if it was just one of those things. In any case, I checked the mixture and pulled it off the heat before I wound up with sugary scrambled eggs.
My dish is not so deep, alas. Here it is painfully clear that my pie in progress looks more like an underfilled pecan pie than a half-full pie ready for pumpkin. I think if I’d pulled the crust all the way over the edge that would have helped, but I still would have wound up with a mostly pecan pie. Which is of course not the worst outcome imaginable.
Here is the outcome. Not bad at all, and the pecans do an excellent job of hiding the injuries I inflicted on the pumpkin with my aluminum foil crust cover. Clearly I am still ascending the learning curve. Luckily it’s a fun one!
I did, in fact bake these cookies on time. And they came out pretty well. But it was touch and go for a while. You see, I’ve been planning to buy a new laptop for a while now, and I finally did it. On Thursday I became the proud owner of a lovely new Dell laptop that weighs a third what my 2009-era weighs, and I love it.
Except. Without going into excruciating detail, let me just say I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out why my spiffy new computer didn’t like being online. This endeavor made it difficult to focus on cookie prep.
Still, I made the hazelnut powder the day before, so that went okay:
Ever other time I used hazelnuts in baking the directions said to roast them and then roll them in a towel to get the skins off. This was the first time I’d heard of boiling them with baking soda, and it worked remarkably well. You can see the nearly-naked nuts in the top left photo, and then clad in caramelized sugar syrup top right. The bottom picture is hazelnut praline powder ready for cookie baking.
Despite my confused state I remembered my new parchment sheets, which fit perfectly in the baking pan!
I don’t know if it was the positive influence of the parchment paper or I was in the mood for order after my computer struggles, but my dough balls were unusually uniform.
This cake is about embracing contrasts. The vanilla and chocolate, harmonizing and complementing each other, the surprise of a chocolate cake with vanilla accents rather than the reverse. Of course, the overall popularity of chocolate as a cake flavor, at least in my house, was also a plus. It all began with eggs and vanilla in one bowl, and melted chocolate in another.
That turned into two batters which were layered with each other in the pan, and smoothed before baking. Speaking of smoothing, this batter was super-smooth. It spread well in the pan, and it felt thick and creamy when I tasted it. I haven’t see baking spray with flour in my supermarket for a while, so I substituted regular baking spray and added flour myself. That might not have been the best idea.
As you can see, it looks lovely in the pan, all mottled and properly cooked. And I waited for it to cool off, really I did! But something wasn’t right, and my poor cake suffered a grievous injury on the trip from pan to cooling rack. I did my best to patch it back together -thank goodness there was a glaze to help me hide the problem!
It looks like a proper cake again, albeit an injured one.
But as the old saying goes, “the proof of the pudding (or the cake) is in the eating.” And this cake made good eating indeed!
My daughter ate a piece last night, then returned to the table saying, “I was going to think about whether or not to have another piece, but who am I kidding!” as she helped herself.