RLB Pecan Praline Scheherazades

plated pralines better

These really were quick and easy! Not to mention delicious. I’m not entirely clear on why they’re called Scheherazades. I know and love the story of Scheherazade. I remember reading about how she told stories night after night to delay her death. The best part was reading the stories that Scheherazade told the king. It was like eating an Oreo, multiple layers of joy that only count as one. 😉

So maybe that’s the reason for the name; these candies are 1) easy to make 2) sweet and savory 3) delicious 4) can be eaten at room temperature for a nutty caramel-like experience or frozen as something akin to hard candy.

Making them was truly easy. Chop and toast the pecans

toasted pecans

add all the other ingredients to a saucepan

ingredients for melting

Heat everything in the pan

ingredients being melted

Add the cooked mixture to the nuts, mix and scoop

candies on silpat

Hey presto, candy!

RLB Lemon Icebox Cake

finished cake whole

Let me start by saying it was worth the effort, but this cake is not a candidate for anybody’s Quick and Easy list.  I read the recipe when it first came up on the rotation, and decided that I’d be happiest if I broke the labor up a bit. I made the lemon curd the day after I finished the blueberry buckle. The next day I whipped and folded in the cream, and the lightened curd sat in my refrigerator for a week until I had the time and space to make angel food cake.

I don’t remember making angel food cake before. Which means maybe I made it once, but probably not more than that. I’ve made its first cousin, sponge cake, several times, but not the egg white-only version that is angel food.

Lots of egg whites were beaten with a little sugar, then a cup of flour mixed with some more sugar and a little salt was folded in. I was surprised how little the batter changed when I added the dry ingredients. It’s still mostly beaten egg whites and sugar with just a little bit of dryness from the flour and salt. I was a little dubious mounding the batter into the cake pan, to be honest.

dry ingredients mixed into egg whites for cake

angel food cake batter
Just doesn’t look like cake batter to me.
baked cake handstand
It came out fine. Cooling cake.
angel food cake
Completed cake. A little raggedy, but it’s going to be sliced and diced anyway.

 

Next, it was onwards to Italian meringue. Beating the egg whites was fun as usual:

Italian meringue in mixer

So puffy, and those globs rising out of the top make me chuckle. They look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Cooking the sugar syrup was my least favorite part of the endeavor. I’ve overcooked the sugar enough times that I was worried.

sugar syrup for Italian meringue

I learned from my mistakes, though. This time I pulled the syrup off the heat just before it hit the target temperature, and I kept it on the egg whites and off the beaters as much as possible. So I had lovely, puffy meringue to fold into the lemon curd mixture.

curd and meringue use this one

I thought about taking a break here and assembling the cake the next day, but I was on a roll, and I was looking forward to cutting the cake up and putting it back together again.

cut up cake both
Cake cubes in back, top and bottom slices in front.

assembled cake in pan

I put everything back into the pan, refrigerated it for two days, and brought it to my sister’s house for our Mothers’ Day celebration. She provided the whipped cream. 🙂

cake slice whipped cream

 

RLB Blueberry (something instead of) Buckle

individual buckle

This delicious dessert was made from the Baking Bible recipe for Blueberry Buckle, but my daughter, who was all but drooling watching me mix the blueberries in the pan and drop cake batter on them before putting everything in the oven, the same daughter who was asking me when it was coming out of the oven so she could figure out if she’d have a chance to eat some before bedtime, that daughter’s face fell to the floor when I told her it was blueberry buckle. “But that’s a camp thing” she said. “Can’t we call it something else? What can we call it? Blueberry buckle is for camp.”

I’m still not sure what we’ll call it, but we’re sure enjoying eating it!

frozen blueberries in bag - Copy

I started with frozen blueberries, because the “fresh” ones at the market were flown in from South America. I figured the damage done by flash freezing wouldn’t be any worse than the damage caused by sitting in a cargo hold for a week or so.

rinsing blueberries

I read online that rinsing frozen blueberries before baking with them can help keep them from bleeding purple into the batter, so I figured I’d try it.

lemon juice and oil - Copylemon juice oil and sugar

Next I mixed the lemon juice, lemon zest (really lemon oil) and sugar in the pie pan.

cornstarch whoopsie

I did *not* add the cornstarch, actually tapioca. I knew I had no cornstarch, I figured out I could use tapioca, I looked up how to substitute it, measured it into a bowl for my mise en place, and then got confused by the various bowls of sugar and flour and whatnot strewn hither and yon, and totally left it out. So I have runny blueberry filling. At least it’s meant to be served in a bowl!

dry ingredients

Also, I did remember everything that was supposed to go in the cake batter, although it was touch and go. Here are the dry ingredients.

dry ingredients with butter chunks

dry ingredients plus butter.

butter beaten in - Copy

with butter mixed in. I though it was a little stiff, but hey I don’t make buckles often so I shrugged it off. Then I saw my egg yolks and sour cream!

yolks and sour cream

Good thing I did, because blueberry filing without thickener is runny but totally edible and just as tasty. Cake batter without eggs, not so much.

blueberries with batter on

Here’s the buckle pre-oven

completed buckle - Copy

and post oven. I’m pretty sure that the blue puddle is at least partly due to the lack of thickener in the blueberries. I’m not sure why the top cooked so unevenly. I covered it with foil, but finally took it out because even with foil the outer edge threatened to burn before the center baked through. All I can say is it tasted much better than it looks!

 

 

 

RLB Crumpets

Crumpets???!! I can’t make crumpets! Nobody makes crumpets at home, this will never work!

I’m not sure why I felt this way when I saw crumpets on the To Bake list. I’ve made bread, and bagels, and crackers at home. Even English muffins and pita bread, and they all came out fine, although the pita was pocketless. So why the uncertainty about crumpets? I guess it was because they are neither part of my daily life, nor so exotic that any result would be fun. I’ve eaten crumpets in restaurants a few times, and I see a commercial version regularly at Trader Joe’s.  So I had a wispy idea of what they should be, but no solid taste memories.

I’m glad I made them, because they were fun, easy and just a little different. Or as my daughter said, “definitely weird, but still worth eating.”

batter pre milk

Mixing the ingredients was a snap. Then they rose in the mixing bowl for an hour and a half, producing the batter above.

milk into batter

Then I heated some milk, added baking powder, and added that to the batter, which rose a second time.

batter ready for pan

This will turn into a breadlike substance? It seemed so unlikely. Still, I made forms out of aluminum foil:

foil and measuring tape

I also used the largest cookie cutter from my set, to see how it would work compared to the homemade forms.

cookie cutters

bubbley crumpets

They all worked pretty well, as it turned out. A little more leakage from the aluminum foil forms, but nothing major.

three crumpets flipped in pan

Here they are all brown and happy in the skillet.

plate of crumpets

And here they are ready to make someone’s mouth happy.

crumpet with butter bell

Toasted, with butter at the ready!