Thursday, 22 November 2012
You know how sometimes everything you cook is just a little bit off? Not ruined, not inedible - just not what you'd expected. This week has been like that. Every day I wake up and think that today will be the day when I get my act together.
After many experiments and accidents, I don't have a recipe for you this week. Instead, I have two ideas represented by two sets of photos. It seemed a shame to waste them. After writing about the hidden scaffolding of rules and habits behind this blog last week, it seems almost appropriate to break them.
First, I made a pear pie that had a bit of a soggy bottom (I dread to think what Mary Berry would have said).
My mum came to visit last weekend as there was a tiny slit of light in my schedule. The main reason the pastry went wrong was that I had to take the pie out of the oven early or she would have missed her flight home to Switzerland as she refused to leave without tasting it. I've also never made a pie with a pastry base in this ceramic dish - I think a metal one would be better.
You actually don't really need a recipe for this - just use your favourite pastry recipe (I used the one from the Apple and Quince Pie) and fill with chunks of firm but ripe pear. I mixed a tablespoon of brown sugar with half a teaspoon of ground ginger and sprinkled it between each layer of pears. The pears were concordes and were some of the best I've ever tasted.
I also tried to make some freeze-dried raspberry fudge, inspired by some I ate on my trip to Edinburgh a few weeks ago. It was my first attempt at fudge. I appear to have made caramels. Absolutely gorgeous, vanilla-flecked, raspberry-studded, salted caramels.
But as they're not what the recipe was meant to make and I can't test it again today to check, I don't feel comfortable giving you the recipe. I think the pastry gods were trying to tell me something - caramels appear to be an even better place for the raspberries than fudge.
If you can't wait for me to do more testing, you could try finishing a tin of salted butter caramels from David Lebovitz with a handful of crushed freeze-dried raspberries (I stirred some in, too, hence the slightly weird bumps). It's quite different from the recipe I used but I think it would give you a similar taste and texture.
A few related posts:
Ginger Bourbon Pecan Pie
Dusky Caramel and Raspberry Crêpe Cake