Senioritis-proof Key Lime Pie

18 Apr

I don’t want to think about how long it’s been since I’ve even logged onto wordpress. Let’s just say that senioritis hits harder than that girl who smacked me in a fight the other day. (Not that I was fighting. I was just in the way of her hand.) That, and I’ve been sewing.

If I could turn this into a blog about how to make kilts, that would be perfect. Instead I’m going to post a really easy recipe that even a second semester senior could make, because it doesn’t require much in the way of movement, or thought.

I might also post a bunch of really unrelated pictures, because I made this a while ago and may or may not have taken pictures. I’ll have to check.

So, key lime pie is pretty good. That’s what we’re making today. Also, I encourage you to use a store bought graham cracker crust, because hell, why would you ever want to make your own? You wouldn’t. you can buy it premade. how cool is that?

I’m trying to think of a good way to describe how hard senioritis has hit me. Someone else may have put it best “sometimes, I don’t go to sleep because I’m too lazy to put my computer down.” Then another senior chimed in to say “yeah, I just put mine under my pillow so I move less.”

Yeah, so, I looked. I don’t have any pictures. But I bet you know what pie looks like. Also, this pie is good. Pie is awesome. Do it. Or don’t. I can’t really talk. The only reason I went to second period today was so that I might do my homework for third.

I didn’t.

Key Lime Pie

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod (They made a pie crust. what.)

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 1 large lime
1/2 cup lime juice, from 5 limes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter with a fork. Mix until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate or dish. Pat down the bottom and sides. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

2. While the crust is baking, prepare filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Whisk until well combined. Add in the lime zest, and lime juice. Whisk well. Set mixture aside. It will thicken up as it sits.

3. When the pie crust has cooled to slightly warm or room temperature, pour the lime filling over the pie crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. When cool, chill the pie in the refrigerator. The filling will set up as it cools. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

4. Serve cold.

Serves 8-10


Atlanta Underground Market: March 26

31 Mar

Standing around wating for the second atlanta underground market to start, smiling cause I still loved cupcakes when they took this picture.

It rained the night of the second Underground Market. Maybe that’s why no one showed up. I guess it wasn’t exactly nobody, but it was a lot less than we had been expecting, and it was a crowd that was downright hospitable to cupcakes. I honestly don’t think anyone sold out—and that include the people across the way from me who were shouting obnoxiously the entire time.
I do know that at the end of the Market there was a flurry of trading that was probably the least disappointing thing about the entire event. Which is not to say that the food was bad. I really wouldn’t know, but Joss, who felt obliged to sample everything, tells me that it was mostly very good.

My dad asked me what happened to the Jim Beam. These cupcakes happened to the Jim Beam.

Think of it as Dumbledore's Army, but tasty and full of chocolate and whiskey.

Still, towards the end of the night, where there are 20 odd vendors with a ton of food left, we had to start giving things away. I gave six cupcakes to a couple, and practically forced them to do a taste test comparing my cake to the other cupcakes that had also been foisted upon them. We compared some vegan chocolate and red wine cupcakes to my chocolate rye whiskey ones. They told me mine were better (or at least boozier), and while their response might have been slightly altered because I was there, I remain convinced that what they said was true.
At nine, when it because abundantly clear that I was not going to be the hoped for 70 cupcakes (out of 150, no less) I went to the meat people (also known as Finely Cured) who make some killer salami, and also some totally kickin bacon, with a box full of cupcakes and asked them if they wanted to trade. Someone walked out of that deal 2 dozen cupcakes poorer, and a pound of bacon and a thingy of salami richer. That was me.

Packing cupcakes for transport.

I think it’s sad that there was such a disappointing lack of people at this Underground Market. I think that the Market could be very interesting: a great resource for Atlantans who love to eat. But first it has to make it out the gate. It needs to be less a novelty, and it needs to become something that everyone can afford to enter. I know that I was pretty put off by the $50 charge just to take part. That made the whole venture much less affordable, especially considering that I am cooking in my own house (or my friends, in which case I have to pay them) on my own time. As a home cook, everything costs me more.

I watched the woman across from me all night and I’m not sure if I saw anyone buy her soup. She was a nice lady, who gave me a wet wipe after I was climbing around on the loft above my stand, trying to McGyuver up a sign, and she was probably just a home cook who wanted to share her recipes. But I think she wound up loosing money. I hardly turned a profit as it was, so I can really sympathize.

Chocolate salted caramel plain, with praline, or bacon, with candied bacon.

It’s true that a lot of work needs to be done (publicity, anyone?) and it is also true that the way it is now, the Underground Market is mostly just restaurants peddling their wares. With more size, and, yes, less professionals, I think the Market could be more interesting—sort of like the Urban Picnics, which started out trendy, but have become something much more important to the food culture of Atlanta. Now, for the very nature of what it is, as a food tasting event, it will never fit in the same mold, but I think—I think I waited two days before finishing this post, holy crap.

So the point is that I made an ungodly amount of cupcakes for this. A gross of cupakes. If by “a gross” we mean “I was so coated in sugar I almost couldn’t breathe,” or “151,” or “more cupcakes than I have ever seen in my life.” You know, any of those would be accurate.

Flavors: Pomegranate Lime, Lemon Blackberry, Chocolate Rye Whiskey, Salted Caramel and Chocolate, and a bacon variation. My dad told me that chocolate bacon is overdone. Well, he’s right, and there’s a damn good reason for it. Everyone buys it. And by everyone I mean “some of the three people who bought my cupcakes and helped me make that $30 profit. You big spenders, you.”

So, it was kind of a bummer. If it didn’t cost so absurdly much to enter, and if I hadn’t been overhyped by the woman running it who, I suppose had a good reason to expect the turnout that she did, but was still, unfortunately for all of us, mistaken, I would probably do it again.

(But before I get carried away with my vindictive sass, I really do feel for the woman running it, who is trying her hardest to start something that must be incredibly frustrating, so when I say it was her, I really mean that she told me a number and my ability to count out grains of salt went out the window.)

As it is, I worked for two straight days for $30.

Too many cupcakes on the countertop. Doesn't quite have the ring to it.

I may never make a cupcake again. (Because you know that saying about “too many dicks on the dance floor”? —Hopefully don’t, actually, because I occasionally find myself walking around muttering that,—Think about it this was, the Underground Market was like that, only with cupcakes, not dicks.)

Casatiello: Or, Brioche with Bacon. And Cheese.

17 Mar

The reason for my returned equilibrium at the end of the day: casatiello, which is what you call this. It's really just brioche with extra stuff.

We all screw up from time to time. Sometimes we even don’t take our assignments seriously, and it leads to Bad Things. (Which I shouldn’t be making fun of because they are still a mystery.)

This is not a post about Bad Things. Screw that. This is a post about delicious things because, hell, this is a food blog.

This is my intense face. I make it when hacking frozen sausage with a dull meat cleaver and trying not to sever my fingers. Also, never cook in French cuffs, you get meat on your sleeves and it's gross.

By the by, I was accepted to sell at the next Atlanta Underground Market at an Undisclosed Location. I’ll be there from 6pm to 9pm with a variety of cupcakes so good you might just have to buy some and try them yourself.

But that’s why it took me so long to do this. It turns out that baking for five straight hours on a Friday night really relieves you of any desire to cook.

Turns out, brioche/casatiello dough looks really disgusting. It also takes kind of a while to work all the butter in.

So I waited until Wednesday, because I am a senior, and I am lazy. But that’s okay. Everyone ever who isn’t a vegetarian (or, god forbid, vegan, in which case, turn back now, because there is nothing for you here) will love me for this recipe forever.

Sponge, Pine Street Market bacon, assorted Dekalb Farmer's Market cheeses. In other words: three go vegan.

It’s from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, but unlike most of his bread recipes this one does NOT require several days. This one is just a few hours (maybe five? I started around 4ish and was done a bit after 9.) and it is a combination of everything good in the world: bacon (ours was from Pine Street Market), cheese (jarlsberg, yellow cheddar, provolone, and chocolate stout cheddar), butter, and bread. (Plus, with the addition of the chocolate stout cheddar you get the addition of, well, chocolate and stout.) You just can’t lose.

Another benefit: it’s brioche, so you wind up with super mousturized hands after kneading a cup of butter into your dough.

I now, of course, am realizing that I didn’t make this quite right. It seems as though the internet has, generally, smoother bread, with a browner crust. To which I say “whatever internet, my bread was good too.”

Casatiello

Ingredients:

Sponge

½ cup( 2.25 ounces) bread flour
1 tablespoon (15ml) instant yeast
1 cup (236ml) whole milk or buttermilk, lukewarm (I used buttermilk)

Dough
4 ounces Italian salami (or other similar meat)
3 ½ cups (16 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) Sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup coarsely shredded or grated provolone or other cheese (I used mozzarella)

To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast in a bowl. Whisk in the milk to make a pancake-like batter. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.

While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and saute it lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly.

Stir together the flour, salt, and sugar with a spoon. Add the eggs and the sponge until the ingredients form a coarse ball. If there is any loose flour, dribble in a small amount of water or milk to gather it into the dough. Mix for about 1 minute, then let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and work into dough, one piece at a time while mixing. After mixing about 4 minutes, the dough will change from sticky to tacky and eventually come off the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in more flour to make it do so.

Brioche with bacon. That is all.

When the dough is smooth, add the meat pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed. Then gently mix in the cheese until it too is evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size by at least 1 1/2 times.

Remove the dough from the bowl and leave as 1 piece for 1 large loaf or divide into 2 pieces for smaller loaves. Bake in 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by misting the pans with spray oil, shaping the dough, and placing it in the pans. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover.

Proof for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough just reaches the top of the pans.

Place pans in a 350′F oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the center of the loaves registers 185-190′F. The dough will be golden brown on top and on the sides, and the cheese will ooze out into crisp little brown pockets.

When the bread is done, remove the bread from the oven and from the pans and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles, Henna as a Mexican Dish

7 Mar

It’s funny how even when I am not baking my world is still occupied by cooking. This weekend, instead of cooking, as I would ordinarily do, I went comparison shopping, which is, as I am sure you are aware, only something you do when you have great plans for massive amounts of cooking.

Like Gaddafi's only tasty

A small army of truffles. Truffle is really a pretty loose term.

My massive amount of cooking calls for 12.5 cups of flour, 15.5 cups of sugar, four pounds of butter, and a pretty impressive 19 cups of confectioner’s sugar.

Who am I trying to kill? Everyone in Atlanta. What am I preparing for? The Atlanta Underground Market, (March 26, subscribe to find out the location!) Why am I whoring this so intensely? Your own dear Flour Child is going to be there, wearing what I’m pretty sure is the the cutest apron ever created, and, more importantly, selling cupcakes!dangling like a chad

So. (Do you see what I did there? It was a literary reference. I’m super classy.) The food auditions for the market are this Saturday. It really is wrong of me to assume that I’ll make the cut, but honestly, it would just be flat depressing to assume otherwise.

But now to the cooking part. To the eating part, because that is the part that I like best. Only not so much in this instance, because, 1. I “made fajitas out of my head” and 2. henna tastes like mud.

Like Wisconsin is coated in anti-union sentiment?

True story about how it's pretty challenging to coat a truffle.

The beginning: I dye my hair. Every other month, I use henna for this. Henna looks a little like chocolate frosting if you’re not paying close attention. I also make chocolate frosting pretty frequently, and sometimes I forget to clean it up.

So it made perfect sense to Joss that when I told him I’d made a chocolate glaze that it was the brown stuff in the bowl on the stove. Fortunately, he asked me why there was saran wrap over it.

My mother came in later in the afternoon and was preparing to stick a spoon into the henna when I turned to her and gasped “No! That would not be delicious!”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t at home when my father found it. He saw it sitting on the stove and thought “that must be frosting!” He stuck his finger in it and tasted it and wondered why it tasted Mexican. Then he wondered why it tasted so terrible.

He quickly realised his mistake. It took me significantly longer to realise mine. You see, whenever I do henna I add a mixture of spices to it, partly because long ago henna lore told me this would change the color, and partly so I don’t smell like mud for a week. I was feeling awfully red when I mixed up this dye. Unfortunately, all the red we had was in the form of spicy things. Red pepper. Cayenne. Chipotle.

In case you were ever wondering what those feel like on your scalp: it is somewhat reminiscent of having ants eat your head off. Or kind of like having someone make fajitas out of your scalp. Neither of which are pleasant.

“Hey Willamae, isn’t this a cooking blog? Like, with recipes?”

“What are you talking about? Of course there are recipes.”

“And aren’t you supposed to write stuff about the recipes up here, not just babble about your weekend?”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Like Twitter painted the world in dissent.

Painting the little suited truffles

In honor of my spicy scalp, and the fact that it was not very sweet at all, I have a sickly sweet recipe for you. My parents hated these. I confess I wasn’t a huge fan. But I know a lot of people who really like cookie dough, and like it even better egg-free and dipped in chocolate, who thought that these were just the cat’s pajamas. So, if you like, nay, love cookie dough, these are the truffles for you. If you don’t like cookie dough, well, don’t blame me if you don’t like these.

Do I even have to TRY and make this political?

Truffles in tuxes!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
From Love and Olive Oil

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

14 oz dark chocolate candy coating (or dark chocolate? I used a bit of both.)

Directions:
Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add soymilk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

When dough is firm enough to handle (it may help to lightly flour your hands), form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler or in microwave according to package directions. Using forks or a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Tap fork on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week (though good luck making them last that long).

French Silk Pie and The Atlanta Underground Market

28 Feb

Joss knows how to make one kind of pie. He was supposed to make it for me an awfully long time ago, but, being a boy, he forgot, and made a really gross pumpkin pie instead. He told me many times that he would need all day to make a french silk pie, and last week I finally convinced him to come make a pie with me. I set aside an entire day to do it.

So, on Saturday, at 10:16 AM, I get this message “START CHILLING A BIT MIXING BOWL.”

Three minutes later: “START CHILLING A BIG MIXING BOWL.”

This is a really important step

CHILL TWO MIXING BOWLS

“Metal or glass?”

“Glass. Cold enough to make whip creme.”

Then, after I panicked, and try to stuff a mixing bowl into my freezer, he sends me this

“Actually…chill two bowls.”

“And what size does the second have to be? Cause I only have one large glass one.” When I have other people cooking in my kitchen I really don’t like to do any work. That includes thinking.

“Whatever your next largest bowl is I’m sure is fine.”

“Do you have a camera you can bring? My dad took ours to Florida?” Which is why the pictures are even worse than normal. They were taken on an iPhone. And while some think that iPhone cameras are awesome I know that’s just not so. But, I had no choice.

“Are you going to document the process?”

“Of course. I have a food blog, I take pictures of everything.”

This pie has a meringue crust. Joss complains "you greased the pan too well!" because the batter doesn't stick to the sides.

Then, a bit after one, I began to wonder why it was so desperately important that I freeze the bowls for so long. In my vast experience you really only need to freeze them for, like, half an hour. And I was nervous about this taking all day, as Joss has so frequently warned me.

“So is freezing forever what makes this take so long?”

“…no.”

“I was just curious. Also, there are people looking to move in next door and they have the most adorable puppy. Oh my god.”

“Lets put it in the pie.”

“Don’t we have to make the pie first?”

“…not if the dog is an ingredient.”

“I don’t like this pie anymore.”

“I don’t like YOU anymore.”

This is one of the Tall Boys, really, this is his post, except for the part where I wrote it. But he cooked.

“So when are you coming to make puppyfree pie?”

Later, after the pie was completed (it was delicious. It had to be, it’s mostly made of whipped cream.) we ventured to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, which is host to a lot of interesting food events, (namely, The Atlanta Street Food Coalition‘s Urban Picnics) and is one of the only places I know of where you can buy an entire pig, to go to the Atlanta Underground Market. The Underground Market was a very interesting mix of food, it was sort of like an Urban Picnic (featuring street food vendors) and a bit like a festival. I am having a very hard time trying to describe the variety of food offered there but I think the main idea is that it is people who don’t have a vending license.

This is the meringue crust after being taken from the oven. It looks a little like something from the ocean, but Joss didn't have a problem with it.

It was delicious, and I highly recommend that if you live in the city you subscribe to the mailing list so that you have an opportunity to do this as well. (Also, let’s be honest, the secrecy of it is such a bonus, it’s like being in a special club.)

I get a little giddy when I am around vast quantities of food, particularly good food, so I, obviously, had a marvelous time. At one point (this was post barbeque) I found someone who was selling (for $2) ice cream cones filled with pudding with Grand Mariner cream on top. So I was happily eating my pudding and contemplating a beautiful tray of puff pastries (pastelitos) with Emma when she, also eating a puddincone, screamed. I looked over, and saw that she had found another layer of cream at the bottom of the pudding, and I also screamed. The woman selling the pastries (from Sugarloft she read my blog. It was a little awkward, but hey.) looked on a bit skeptically, but what can I do.

So, I asked her if one particularly gorgeous pastry had just guava, or guava and cheese, to which she responded that it had guava and cheese, and I shouted “Oh, thank God!” Emma and I bought it, and I finished my puddincone, and started on the guava cheese pastry, which was actually somewhere near godly. I was stuffing my face with pastry when someone dragged me away, but my only concern was “IS THERE MORE FOOD THERE?” which I shouted with half a pastry in my mouth.

What? Am I cooking? No, I just thought this was a funny picture.

You can't really grasp the majesty of this picture until you see it next to the picture taken right after it, at which point it becomes abundantly clear how bad my dancing it.

Eventually I found my way to a dimly lit back corner which had cupcakes, including the ever-popular Chocolate and Salted Caramel, (which Joss says I do better, and he’s normally not very nice to me, so it must be true) and a butcher. I love local meat—and not only because when I eat locally sourced meat I feel an awful lot better about myself and not destroying the environment—because it’s generally better than anything you can get in a store to the point where it isn’t even fair to compare it.

The women selling the meat had a selection of salami and breakfast sausages which were very good (and I say this as someone who hates salami) and had the added excitement of 1. visible spices (how cool is that?) and 2. being cured in-house.

Have I sold you on the Atlanta Underground Market yet? I hear they happen once a month.

And, ew. Feet chillin in the bottom of this picture. This is the first layer of delicious pie filling.

Now here’s that French silk pie recipe you’d forgotten all about. Don’t you wish I’d been using a real camera? I sure do.

But here, so you can see how legit we are, it the scan of the french silk pie recipe.

Strawberry Cream Cake for the Romantic in Your Mouth

14 Feb

more romantic than beef tongueI come from a family of romantics. That’s actually a lie, but it was also the best lead I could think of. My mother is about as sentimental as a log about most things–my dad is the one who frets about what to make us for our annual “Sweetheart Dinner” which is basically the cutest name for anything, ever.

I worked really hard. My mom actually didn't notice ANY of the beets

Basically the cutest salad ever

What I could say that is not a lie: I come from a family that loves strawberries and cream. Since strawberry season started in Plant City about a month ago we have gone through god only knows how many pounds of strawberries. Think about it like this: yesterday we had three pounds of strawberries in our house. Today we have less than one.

Perhaps I am partly this way because of all the romance novels I read (it’s a lot), but I am a huge fan of the delicate intimate statement of love rather than the sweeping, Aeneid-sized declaration. Something about the internet makes people want to post their feelings to the world, or, even worse, tweet them. Using twitter to start revolutions? That’s legit. Using it to talk about how much you love your girlfriend? No. Stop being self-indulgent.

Strawberries tend to soak up pesticides like a sponge (romantic, I know) so I like to wash them and then try to take pictures.

Which is silly to say, since having a blog is all about being self-indulgent. But that’s only if you look at it in a boring way. I like to tell myself that I am doing this to help you. After all—without this, you wouldn’t have this recipe. (Which was supposed to be the next recipe for Cooking With Willamae, until the producer and I both basically senioritised out).

Instead, I made these as the dessert for our (day before) Valentine’s Day dinner, and for once, I put some thought into how they look. Which is adorable.

Strawberry Cream Cake Cupcakes

From Cooks Illustrated, adapted by me

Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces) (cake flour. Bah! I opted instead to simply sift my all-purpose flour twice)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature (I would reccommend separating them before they soften)

I'm a freaking boss

I know that some people like to use "egg separaters" but I like to use "my hands" by "my hands" I mean how awesome I am. This is right BEFORE I broke the yolk into the egg whites.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling
1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed
2-3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch table salt

Whipped Cream
8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream

FOR THE CAKES:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 14 muffin holes with cupcake liners.
Beat flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Beat in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; beat until smooth.Obligatory batter picture
In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.
With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds.
Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.
Pour batter into prepared pans (I used I think 1/4 cup?) fill the pans about 3/4 full and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 15-18
Cool in pan 10 minutes, then empty the cupcakes onto a wire rack. Cool them until they’re cool all the way.

FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING:
Pick out your prettiest berries and slice them (I did hearts!) You will want some number more than 14. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 1 to 3 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). (I found the sauce part to be unnecessary, though I did it.)
In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). (Or just blend them a little bit. not to a puree, but so that it’s chunky and weird looking.)
In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups). (my guess is that you can make less and it will be totally fine.)

NOTE: The reason why I made cupcakes and not cake is because berries are soggy. So if you make all of your cupcakes at once and do not eat them immediately it is your fault. Just so you know! Because while this is a very dense cake it doesn’t take much in the way of berry juices to make it soggy. Soggy cake is gross cake. So fill your cupcakes only when you are ready to eat them!

In case you're stupid

Cutting out the inside of a cupcake

On filling your cupcakes: My method which is pretty standard is to stick the knife in (insert it at a 45 degree angle) a little ways (1/4 inch?) from the side of the cake. Then you cut around in a circle and wind up with a cone. You trim off most of the bottom of this, leaving only the top. In the hole put in as much strawberry filling as you can fit. Add some more whipped cream if feeling daring. Put on the lid. Then cover the top in as much whipped cream as you can handle and decorate it adorably with strawberries! Serve immediately to the ones you love. It would be wasted on anyone else.

I have the same title and caption to generate more hits

Strawberry Cream Cake Cupcakes from America's Test Kitchen. Decorated with love. Get it?

Chocolate Pudding for Your Best Possible Day

7 Feb

It’s hard being a senior. After all the colleges are applied to: then what? After you get your FAFSA back, and it tells you that you’re expected to pay about 5,000 dollars more than you can, what do you do?

I make pudding: Scharffen Berger chocolate pudding, still warm, and still delicious.

More importantly, how do you get scholarships when you’re just a middle class white girl with married parents who just wants to be an English major? Because believe it or not, in a book with over 1,000 pages of scholarships listed there are only four for English majors, and only one that is open to people who aren’t black or Latina.

It is, of course, the Jane Austen Foundation scholarship. For $500 that can be used to go to a Jane Austen conference. I think I’ll just go to Paris.

This pudding is supposed to use whole milk, not butter, but the fact is, we're too health-conscious for whole milk...

There are so many reasons for Paris: I’m not being especially clever these days, and when I get home all I want to do is read, not cook. Besides, I just finished my dress for the fashion show. Now I get to start working on three more dresses, and two suits. I would call this nervewracking, but holy senioritis, I just can’t quite care.

And that’s sort of how I feel about everything. Clean my room? Meh. I’ll just do it halfway and then forget about it. Do my homework? Well… I could if I really wanted to. Update? Why bother… I’m too lazy. So I made pudding. Pudding is like real dessert, only easier. And pudding, above all else, is my absolute favorite comfort food.

I used more chocolate than was needed. Oh well.

Unfortunately, when I set out to make chocolate pudding, I realized that I had used all of my cocoa powder the last time I made brownie pudding (actually, quite possibly, the best food in the world) and so I had to find a recipe that had no cocoa powder. Luckily, we had enough of our Trader Joe’s chocolate bar (you guys, it’s not just a pound, it’s a  pound plus!) left to make this.

The night I was waiting to hear back from the school that I so desperately wanted to go to, I had a milkshake, and I made pudding. And while that pudding was cooling, while “You Belong with Me” was playing on my iPod, I checked my email and got the most chill acceptance letter ever. But that’s okay, I was excited enough to make up for the fact that the admission office “liked my application.” Besides, there was confetti in the letter, even though I got it a week later… But while I was freaking out about that email, and washing my dishes, I was also eating pudding.

I was eating warm pudding, because it was so delicious I couldn’t even wait for it to cool down. And nothing (other than an acceptance letter filled with a huge financial aid package–actually, I’m just guessing about that, I definitely wouldn’t know from personal experience) will make you feel as good, as fast, as pudding. I’ll ignore the fact that I still have all the problems I mentioned above, but when I am eating this pudding I am thinking of no problems except one: I might get fat from all this pudding.

I made a double recipe because, holy crap, I love pudding.

This pudding is especially good with strawberries.

Silky Chocolate Pudding
Adapted from John Scharffenberger, via Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk (I used skim milk and butter for the extra fat. It made it separate at first)
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chunks of a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus chocolate bar, because that was, I’m not kidding, the only chocolate in our house. The point is, I may have used more like 6.6 or 7.2 ounces of chocolate. But that that I say bah.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate extract if you want it (I always do)

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or don’t–because if there is a lump in your pudding, it is a lump of chocolate, and it is delicious) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).

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