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New Direction

New Direction

Well hello there! It’s been some time hasn’t it? What started as a quarantine/unemployment project was completely put on hold when I was offered a job last July. At the time it seemed like an amazing opportunity – and I jumped at the chance.

It was an amazing opportunity – but not in the way I had originally thought.

The last year has been hard on all of us – some so much harder than others. I am blessed to have my family and our health – and despite the fear, solitude, and sadness of the last year – we’ve also learned a lot of about ourselves. A very dear person said to me the other day “I’ve learned that I don’t like as many people as I thought I did”. heh. I’ve learned that if you wait until the perferct time to try something scary – you may never try.

All of the touchy feely crap is leading to this: We are officially opening the Pinch & Peck home bakery.

There is still a lot to work out – but I have a team of supportive friends & family that are helping me on the journey. At this time I guess it’s more of a soft opening. I’ll be adding new items every day – but if I wait for everything to be perfect I’ll never start!

I also intend to get back into the ‘old recipe food posts’ that I was doing last year. No matter what happens – some of those jello recipes have been calling my name lately.

I’ve lulled my family into a false sense of security that there will never be crab lime jello on the table again….Little do they know.

Macaron

Macaron

I think baking should be relatively hard. Well, maybe not hard, but good baking should be a skill. Something that you’ve practiced and tried to perfect. Something that’s taken time and you’ve put love into. But y’all, baking shouldn’t be THIS hard. Macarons are a bitch.

Here’s the rub. I’ve made these before. I would even go as far to say that I’ve made them well. There is a woman at my husbands office that always asks him to NOT give her a Christmas gift…just bring some Macarons. To make matters worse, these are my daughters favorite cookie. She’s been asking for weeks if I could throw a batch together.

Sure, no problem! “Throw a batch together” she says.
Stupid stupid cookie.

Let’s Bake

For reasons that escape me now, I decided to try a different recipe. I had bookmarked a macaron recipe on Allrecipes some time ago that was different than the one I usually use and the comments seemed quite positive. Not being one to assume I’ve got everything figured out – I decided to try it out. Rookie Mistake. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The recipe:

3 egg whites
50g caster sugar
200g icing sugar
110g ground almonds

The process, on paper, is simple enough. Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour into a bowl. You want this mixture to be as fine as possible. Set that aside. In a mixing bowl, mix the room temperature egg whites to a soft peak stage, once there, start adding the sugar slowly until you’ve reached glossy stiff peaks.

Now comes the hard part. You have to put those two things together. Take the egg whites and mix them into the sugar/almond mixture. It’s a delicate balance. This is called ‘macaronage’. Which I personally think is a snooty word.

You don’t want to under mix – it’ll be too thick and lumpy. But for the love of God – don’t over mix either! It’ll sort of ooze into each other. How do you learn the correct consistency? Screw it up A LOT of times until you get it right. Might I suggest you take a good six months of your life and practice every weekend until you’ve cleaned out the local grocery store of almond flour and when your husband walks into the kitchen and sees you crying on the floor he simply shakes his head and walks out.

Once the correct consistency has been achieved, pipe onto a silpat or parchment paper, bang the cookie sheet onto the counter a few times to push out any air on pockets and then leave on the counter to form a skin. This can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

Once the skin has been formed, bake at 285 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Final Result

Oh for the love of everything that is good and holy….What a trainwreck! The consistency was WAY too thin and despite my efforts to fix it…It all went to pot.

I mean, seriously, it was an unmitigated disaster. I couldn’t even pull the ol “well they look like hell, but taste fine” trick. Straight to the trash.

Not willing to accept defeat, I went back and DID IT AGAIN with the recipe that I’ve used before, and while not terrific, and sort of ended up looking like nipple cookies…They were salvageable.

Here’s an interesting thing I learned. Trying to make macarons during high humidity is never a good idea. Well then it’s a good thing I live in Virginia and it’s freakin’ July!

Any cookie that has feelings about the current season is an asshole.

Pineapple Buttermilk Salad

Pineapple Buttermilk Salad

It’s been a full week, y’all. I’ve got a teenager with a learner’s permit, I made my famous chocolate chip cookies & my grandmother’s fluffy frosting AND made a good dent in some construction projects we have going on in the house. But the most exciting thing was that Jello was on sale!

Yes, I bring to you another ‘interesting’ recipe from the days of yesteryear. It never fails to make me laugh that these – and there are a lot of them – are called SALADS. When I think of a salad I usually think of something that’s good for me. Something I would choose to eat instead of something fatty and delicious. There might be a few things in this recipe that could be considered ‘good for you’ – but not when mixed with all the rest of this crap.

Let’s Cook!

  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1 pkg Lemon Jello & 1 pkg Lime Jello
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 20 oz Crush Pineapple – undrained

After choosing to go forward with this, I realized I didn’t have cool whip. In an effort to keep the recipe as close to the original I researched how to make home made cool whip. I know I can whip up some basic whipped cream no problem, but if there was a specific reason for the cool whip – I didn’t want to screw up what I was sure was going to be a fine fine dish.

I ended up using this home made Cool Whip recipe, and it turned out great. Tastes JUST like the real thing. And here is where I texted my sister who has a major addiction to Cool Whip. Figured if she could whip it up herself, I could save her a trip to the store….Or I’m just feeding into her addiction.

The recipe simply says to combine the pineapple and sugar and boil for an undetermined amount of time. Once done, remove from the heat and add both the jellos and leave to cool. Which took FOREVER! As much as I love to bake – you would think I would have more patience.

I gave up on letting it cool in the pan, and transferred to a bowl (I hate doing more dishes) and it cooled fast enough. Add the buttermilk, the nuts and then fold in the cool whip. Pour the whole gross looking thing into a casserole dish and set in the fridge to cool.

Done!

Final Results

As much as I was convinced that this was going to be gross – because seriously, look at it- it wasn’t bad. It’s sweet for sure, but with an underlining sour from the jello and buttermilk.

However, after about 5 or 6 bites…my mouth started to get a little ‘fuzzy’. You know that feeling when you’ve eaten too many starburst and you just KNOW you are going to regret it later. That was sort of the feeling I started to get.

Also…can we just wrap out heads around how MUCH this looks like that nasty ass Lime Crab Jello monstrosity?

So…if you like sweet and tangy – and have a shortage of starburst in the house – this is the “salad” for you!

No Fry Doughnut

No Fry Doughnut

One of the sweet things that we used to do at my old job was on anyone’s birthday, they got to choose what special treat everyone in the office got to share. It was usually a particular kind of cake or cupcake or the one guy that really like Corona beer (ironic) and every one had a beer before we left for the day. On my birthday – it was doughnuts. Donuts from Duck Donuts to be exact. There is little in life that’s better than a soft warm doughnut with a sugary glaze on top.

And when it comes to doughnuts – there is no competition– yeasted and fried. I’ve had my fair share of cake doughnuts…but that’s just it…they are CAKE. Yeast. Fried. End of conversation.

However, I’m always up for a challenge and quite frankly just couldn’t be bothered to fry anything today. So, let’s give it a shot.

No Fry Donut

Let’s Bake

With the exception of warming up the milk and hot water, everything about this was sort of a ‘dump and mix’ situation. The shortening threw me off, as I’ve never made a doughnut with shortening before, but since the challenge is to follow the recipe exactly, we’ll stick with it.

I also thought the instructions to “mix for 1/2 minute” was interesting. When you add shortening to a shed load of wet ingredients you get big chunks of shortening….and half a minute is nothing. Once you start to mix in the remaining flour, everything started to come together – except HOLY STICKINESS! This wasn’t dough, it was goo. It took at least another 1/2 cup to get anywhere close to “smooth”.

Not to be a too much of a stickler for the rules, but no where in this recipe does it say to transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise. It says to just cover and let rise. The bowl is a mess! There’s little bits everywhere – especially because it’s so sticky. Leaving this in the mixing bowl to rise goes against everything I’ve ever done.

Also – just for the record – it never says to use a dough hook. Was I supposed to use the regular mixing attachment? That’s bizarre.

I decided to meet the recipe half way and I didn’t oil my bowl, but I did transfer to a clean container. I left it for an hour and argued with the guy that knocked on my door to sell me siding.

We have lift off! Look at that bubbly goodness!

Everything from this point was smooth sailing for the most part. I rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness and used a biscuit cutter to cut the rounds. They were placed on baking sheets and left to rise for a second time.

This is where it sort of fell off the rails. I left these bad boys for almost an hour and they just never rose again. Maybe not warm enough in my house? It’s like 9000 degrees outside today, so that seems unlikely. But dough is a tricky thing and has a mind of it’s own. Also, brushing the doughnuts with melted butter felt wrong before baking. Like somehow I was hurting the rise – which is a good possitbility.

After finally giving up on these suckers not rising – I just pushed forward and baked ’em.

Final Result

The only way I can explain these is that it’s a cross between a yeasted doughnut, a cake doughnut, and a biscuit. There IS a doughnut in there, I’m just not sure what’s wrong with it.

It browned like a biscuit, and the bottom that was touching the baking sheet browned too much. It has the air filled yeasted pockets a normal yeasted doughnut would, but has the mouth feel of a cake doughnut.

But a doughnut, even a baked one is better than a Kale salad any day.

So, in summary: A doughnut that has some serious conflicting personality issues.

If you are going to go to all the trouble of making home made doughnuts, just fry the suckers.

No Fry Donut

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

My husband is a man of simple tastes. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake, apple pie. While sometimes I find it frustrating that he doesn’t enjoy more adventurous baking, he knows who he is and likes what he likes. Throughout our marriage I have come to make a mean apple pie, the best chocolate cake around, and have even recently mastered home made vanilla ice cream. However, I’m getting pretty tired of making apple pies.

Enter the Apple Cake! Not straying too far from the basics, but it’s a bit different – and I don’t have to make pastry! Win-Win!

Apple Cake

Let’s Bake

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of apples. I love them in baked goods – but I’ve just never been one to just sit with an apple for a snack. For the most part I find a texture problem with them – almost grainy. That’s not to say I’ve never had a good apple – it’s just never my first choice of fruit. But cook ’em down and put them with sugar and cinnamon and other stuff – I’m there!

Oddly enough, my sister is the absolute opposite. She loves apples, but can’t stand them in baked goods. Apparently feelings for apples run deep in our family.

The cake itself is super easy outside of the peeling and slicing of the apples. I didn’t have orange juice on hand, but lemon juice (or any acid really) serves just as well in this case.

When I got to the point of pouring into the bundt pan and baking I realized that this was a HUGE amount of batter. I upgraded my mixer last year to a professional series and the bowl is so damn big that I didn’t really notice how much was going into this mix. Once it was poured into the pan it was almost entirely to the top. There is almost NO room for this cake to rise.

Were bundt pans larger back then? That seems unlikely. Also this is a LONG ass bake time. An hour an a half? I realize that the enormous amount of batter and the long bake time go hand in hand – but an hour a half seems long?

So like any good moron would do, I set the timer for exactly 90 minutes and then got involved in another project and forgot about it. Like, literally forgot I was making a cake. When the timer went off I was in the other room with my daughter and she was like “Mom? The cake.”

This is when it’s perfectly acceptable to cuss in front of your kids.

End Result

Yes, it burnt on the bottom. Yes, it’s far too much batter for this bundt pan.

On the off chance it would still taste good beyond the burnt bits, I whipped up a quick glaze (powdered sugar, milk and some vanilla paste) and drizzled that on top once it was cooled.

Oh my. This is a GOOD cake. I mean seriously good. All the fruit did sink to the bottom (which is now the top) but it doesn’t matter. It’s moist and tender and not overly sweet. The glaze does add that sweet factor – but it’s still perfectly appropriate to eat this for breakfast.

And isn’t that really what baking is about? Eating cake for breakfast!

Apple Cake

Perfect for any time of the year – or breakfast!
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 medium apples
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange or lemon juice
  • 4 eggs eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Peel and slice apples and coat with the 5 tablespoons sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar, juice, eggs, oil, salt and vanilla together for roughly three minutes or until well blended
  • Add the soda and baking powder and mix again roughly 1 minutes
  • Add the apple mixture and stir to combine
  • Pour into the bundt pan and bake at 350 for an hour and a half or until a knife comes out clean (may be less than 1 1/2 hours)
  • Let cool for 15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rake to cool completely
  • Cover with choice of glaze and Enjoy!

Princess Cake

Princess Cake

We’re going to take a slight turn on this post and instead of doing an old recipe, I’m going to talk about the cake that kicked my ass. The Princess Cake has been on my bucket list of things to try for a long time now. Ever since I became obsessed with Great British Bake Off, I have always wanted to know how to do it, how it tasted and if it was as difficult as it looked.

The answer is a resounding yes. The bakers were given two and a half hours to do this cake and it took me the better part of an entire weekend. This cake is a nightmare. I walked into this process like a cocky ass who feared no cake. This recipe, when printed out, is three pages long with 24 different ingredient line items.

This is the recipe I used – straight from Ms. Mary Berry herself. I will admit that I said some VERY not nice things about Mary this weekend.

Let’s Bake…and bake….and bake

The first step was the pastry cream which is something I’ve made many times. If you haven’t made or had pastry cream – I strongly suggest you stop reading and make it. Immediately. Pastry cream is soooo good. Also, when everything has been added together and you put it back on the heat to thicken up – it’s like magic. I always sqee with joy every time it happens. Once the custard came together, I placed a cling wrap film on the top and set it in the fridge to cool. So far so good!

Next came the jam. Again, super simple to make. Take raspberries and sugar and cook. You hard boil for 4 to 5 minutes, and then set aside to cool. In this case, I used frozen raspberries which didn’t seem to cause any issues at all.

At this point I’m breezing through this, although I am thinking how completely unfair the time frames are that they are given. I’ve made pastry cream and jam and need to leave them to cool and I’m already an hour into the process.

Genoise is a Jerk

Next up is the cake. The only thing I saw as an issue in the beginning was that the recipe calls for a 9 inch springform pan. I only have a 10 inch. I can’t imagine that it would cause that big of a difference, right?

WRONG! What in the name of God is wrong with this cake?!? Why would anyone choose to do this? No cake should be this finicky. Everything can look perfect and as it should – and you won’t know until it comes out of the oven if it was mixed correctly! Just look at the difference in these two cakes! How in the hell am I supposed to cut that cake into THREE layers!?!?

Genoise Cake

I left the jacked up cake to cool and turned on Netflix to watch the specific episode where they made the Princess Cake – all the while screaming “That’s exactly what I did!”

Now I had a hard choice to make. Do I try to hack this cake into little pieces OR do I try to do it again. I have to choose wisely, because my egg supply is low and the marzipan, that has yet to be made, needs two eggs. Suddenly lightening strikes and I remembered that I had store bought marzipan in the pantry! Brilliant! Round two of cake was a bit more of a success!

Marzipan Is From The Devil

With all the separate components cooled the cake partially built – it was time to make the marzipan. Since I’m a genius and already have the store bought, all I have to do is tint it green and roll it out.

Rolling out store bought marzipan is the equivalent of me trying to put spanx on. It’s like trying to flatten a concrete cinder block by hand. This was like Thor’s hammer and Cap’s vibranium shield all rolled into one. I had LITERAL sweat running down my face. What the hell is this made of?!? Clearly this was not going to work AND even if I could roll it out – I don’t have enough to cover the whole cake.

I packed it up for the night and drank wine.

The next day I had to borrow eggs from my mother to make the marzipan. THIS time it’s gooey and soft and perfectly pliable. It’s easy to roll out and cover the whole cake.

Everything just sort of falls into place at this point and the cake is, thankfully, done.

Final Results

I’ll admit the cake is very pretty, especially when it’s cut and you can see all the layers. It tastes lovely as well. The tart of the jam with the sweet of the pastry cream and cake really do meld perfectly. The marzipan adds an interesting texture with a slight almond taste.

Was it worth two days of work? Absolutely not.
Will I ever do this again? Hell no.

But I did it, and can cross it off my list.

Mystery Recipe

Mystery Recipe

So, I’m an idiot. Big time. Any home baker worth their salt would have looked at this recipe and immediately known what it was. I did not. I’ve had it sitting in the “what IS this, Grandmom?” pile. Just a list of ingredients with no title and almost no instruction. But I was excited to mix it all together and see if it would speak to me.

Do you bake? Did this immediately tell you what it was? Did you think “well yea, you are an idiot”? I know I should have seen it, but in my defense, my family does not really like cookies. It’s just not something they gravitate towards. If given all of the things I can and do bake – cookies are always the last choice. Unless it’s my chocolate chip cookie. It’s taken me years to work that recipe out – and I’m here to tell you that I make the best chocolate chip cookies. Ever.

Let’s Bake

The recipe as written:

  • 1 cup shortening (part butter)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Bake 400 degrees 8 to 10 minutes

I knew immediately that it wasn’t a cake type of thing. With so little liquid in this recipe, what thick batter could possibly bake in 8 to 10 minutes. Now that it’s all said and done – and from doing a bit of research on google – the cream of tartar should have been the thing that really hit me over the head.

The creaming method was the best way forward and I mixed up the shortening/butter and sugar and then added the eggs one at a time. Once that was done I added all the dry ingredients except the small amount of sugar and cinnamon.

Finally things started to click! Why would you list sugar in the ingredient list and then list sugar again? At least my light bulb turned on eventually! Clearly this is a cookie! I hollered from the kitchen “I’m such a boob!” My husband, hearing the word boob, of course comes running. He was pretty disappointed when he got there.

Accepting my defeat, I scooped them all out and rolled them in the sugar/cinnamon mixture and baked for about 9 minutes.

End Result

Can I just tell you that I’ve never made a Snicker-doodle in my life? I accidentally made snicker doodles.

However, this is what I live for. I have a basic recipe that I can play with! This is exactly where I started about 4 years ago with my chocolate chip cookies – a simple base to play with and expand on. The Quest: to make the best Snicker-doodle ever! Big bonus points that the shell I start with is my Grandmother’s. These cookies are really good – but there is definitely room for improvement.

But still….what a moron I am. Even my sister, who admittedly, does not bake, texted back “well, yea. It’s a snickerdoodle….Duh“.

Ca-Ca Balls

Ca-Ca Balls

Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. This is truly what the recipe is called. Naturally I had to make it.

You get a couple chances in your life to name something. Children, Pets, plants – or maybe even a recipe. There is quite a bit of thought that can go into picking the perfect name. This is, after all, the name that it will have forever. Personally, I think it’s a big responsibility to make sure it’s a good, strong name – something you know they can live with. The other side of the coin, you can go full tilt-balls to wall and name your newborn X Æ A-12.

Or title your recipe Ca Ca Balls.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cube butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 8 oz coconut
  • 2 cups nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla

There was some research that I needed to put into this before I got going. A “cube” of butter isn’t something I’m familiar with. Annoyingly, Google gave me two different answers. A “cube” of butter is either a tablespoon OR a whole stick. Huge difference there – certainly something that can make or break my balls. I went over Google’s head and texted Mom directly. Logic leaned us towards using a tablespoon. Easier to add butter later, rather than take butter away.

Let’s Cook

There aren’t too many steps here. Mix the liquids, and then add all the dry. After it’s all mixed well, chill for two hours. It was here that I realized that maybe the full stick of butter is what I should have done. It’s very thick and it would be just as easy to roll into balls – so why chill for two hours? But is adding the butter now a mistake? After chilling for two hours this stuff was like spackle. I got it all rolled out and tucked into the freezer for the night.

This morning I tackled the second part- the chocolate coating! I assume this is what puts the “Ca Ca” into the balls! However, I am sure as hell not going to melt chocolate with 1/3 block of paraffin! I had no idea this was something people did. And I certainly didn’t realize that this is something that people STILL do. Is the paraffin used to make the chocolate harden and create a shell? A present day substitute would be those candy melts, don’t you think? Either way – I don’t have candy melts in stock and I certainly don’t have paraffin!

I heated heavy cream on the stove and added it to bittersweet chocolate and a touch of corn syrup. It’s a very thin glaze, so I ended up having to coat these bastards twice. Good Lord what a big honkin’ mess. I put them in the fridge to set as best as possible.

End Result

I give you – – crap on a plate. If there was anything named literally – it’s this. I’m quite sure that the look of them is entirely my fault. Choosing to go with a thin glaze instead of candle wax takes away from the professional finish I guess.

They taste sickeningly sweet. If you’ve got a sweet tooth – and like coconut – this ball of ca-ca is for you! It’s like an almond joy and macaroon pooped out a baby. Oddly enough, my daughter has had two…So not a total failure?

I would love to say I’ve closed the book on this – – but I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to until I try again with a stick of butter and a better chocolate shell. Damnit.

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

Some of my favorite Great British Bake Off episodes are the ones where they make crackers. But they aren’t called crackers – they call them biscuits. To me, a biscuit is a warm soft doughy thing that I would eat hot out of the oven with butter. Or with my mothers white sausage gravy….which is awesome. But if you search up UK Biscuits – you get a whole bunch of pictures of things I would normally call cookies.

So, biscuits are cookies, but in this particular episode they looked like crackers. Nancy, for example, made rye and fennel biscuits. How is that not a cracker?? Either way – today we’re going to attempt cheese straws. Which I guess could be considered a cracker, or a biscuit, depending on where you come from. But it’s definitely not a cookie.

Let’s Cook

This recipe kills me. Yes, it’s easy to read and the ingredients are clear – but there is still so much left unsaid. Do I use a dash of paprika, Worcestershire AND cayenne….or do I pick one of the three? Also, important to note here that I measured out 1/4 teaspoon of all three of those things before I read the recipe again and noticed the word DASH. 1/4 of teaspoon of CAYENNE in these things would have killed me.

After I’ve blended well, how do I cut into strips? I assume I roll it out and then cut – but how long? How thin should I make it? One would assume that the thickness of dough would be important here. At the very least tell me how many are supposed to be made from this recipe. That would give me an idea of how thin.

Bringing all the ingredients together was easy enough. I plopped everything in the stand mixer and left it to do it’s thing. Once it was a big mush of crap I rolled it out and used a pizza cutter to cut strips.

The first batch I left as just plain straight lines, but the second batch I made fancy and twirled the strands to make them pretty. We’ll find out later that it was a mistake to do that.

End Result

They tasted like burnt cheez-its. But they did taste like cheez-its. If the cheez-it was the desired taste for these, than I definitely achieved that. As you can see, baking the twirly fancy ones for the same amount of time as the straight ones was a mistake. Just a tad too much on the side of burnt.

Also, if you breathe on theses damn things too hard they will break. I lost half of them just by putting them in a pretty crystal glass for the picture.

I imagine you could play around a lot with this recipe. Add different flavorings or even go crazy with some interesting cheeses. Get a super small cutter and actually make your own cheez-its! I have no idea if that’s cost effective or not though – and during this crazy time, the price of cheese is important. You can call them Artisan Cheez-Its.

Sour Cream Chess Pie

Sour Cream Chess Pie

Chess Pie, from what I understand, is a very old and southern custard pie. Where it came from, no one knows for sure. Wikipedia says that it could be from a piece of furniture called a pie chest. Or that it could be from the mangling of the words “It’s Just Pie/It’s Jes Pie”. Which honestly has to be the dumbest way anything has gotten it’s name.

If you google ‘sour cream chess pie’, it will ask you “Did you mean Sour Cream CHEESE pie?” No, Google, I didn’t. Regardless if this is a real thing or not, it’s on the docket for today.

Let’s Cook

Once again there is some interpretation needed for this guy.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mace
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

Had no idea what ground mace was and learned that nutmeg was a suitable substitute. Also, the recipe never tells you when to add the mace or cornmeal, but I didn’t think that was really going to screw things up too much.

After making my pastry dough and chilling it, I got down to putting the pie together. The whole time thinking “This really isn’t much of anything”. When you cream together just half a stick of butter and 3/4 cup sugar – nothing truly magical happens. It never really got “light and fluffy”. To me, it seems like the ratio is off…Or maybe I was supposed to do it with a hand mixer? Maybe the stand mixer is too big? All of these are good questions – with no answers.

Let’s keep going.

Add it all together and pour into your pie shell. I have seen enough baking competitions and shows to know that for some pies, you should blind bake the shell. For others you don’t. I have NO idea if this is one of those times. Maybe back then this was all inherently understood and why waste time putting it into the recipe. I did not blind bake the shell. I’m thinking that maybe I should have?

This sat in the oven for 70 minutes and came out looking like the moment in Alien when it comes bursting through that poor mans chest. It was this huge mound of puffed up custard in the middle. But within minutes it had flattened down.

Left it to cool.

End Result

It’s good. Or rather, it’s not gross. It honestly didn’t taste like much at all. Not overly sweet, but not an overwhelming taste of sour cream, which is what I was afraid of. My pastry was a bit soggy on the bottom – but that wasn’t the fault of the recipe. No one likes a soggy bottom.

I think maybe some good whipped cream or maybe a powdered sugar top could be nice. I understand now that the corn meal is supposed to rise to the top and create sort of a darker crunch topping. Every picture I see of chess pie on Allrecipes.com has that dark crust on top. However, there are only 266 reviews of that recipe. I don’t think that’s enough high praise for me to try again.

But all in all – not a failure.

Lastly, if you noticed that this recipe said “Serves 6”. That’s a big ass piece of pie y’all.