Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Desserts from the heart, not a box May 3, 2011

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 11:22 AM
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My love for baking as a kid is really what got me interested in cooking as an adult. The satisfaction of creating a meal is only topped by smiles from friends and family after their first bite of your dessert. After a long, yet fruitful (and fruit-filled to fight sweets cravings) Lent, I was ready for some non-stop dessert making. I tried four new recipes in the span of 10 days and learned a good bit about what makes a dessert really good and a baker really crazy. I forgot to take a photo of my fourth dessert, brownies, but I promise they looked as good as they tasted.

Dessert 1: Lemon Angel Pie (for Passover/Seder) – Vanilla meringue crust, lemon curd filling, whipped cream top

Lessons learned:

  • There are a lot of good ideas for dessert that can easily accommodate diet restrictions without tasting like a dessert of affliction.
  • Fresh, homemade whipped cream always tastes better and is worth the effort.
  • People forget how much they love lemon.
  • It never hurts to try to make a boring-looking dessert more attractive

Dessert 2: Flourless Chocolate Torte (Passover/Seder and Chocolate Lovers) – dark chocolate, eggs, sugar, magic

Lessons Learned:

  • Always buy the best ingredients (read chocolate) you can find. Just do it. It’s worth the money.
  • Know your audience. Not everyone appreciates dark chocolate, so be sure to add some sweet whipped cream on the side.
  • I wish I had two ovens.
  • If you have to transport it, keep it in the spring-form pan.

Dessert 3: Blueberry Pie (My Jeffrey’s Birthday) – fresh blueberries, old-fashioned crust, more corn starch than you think

Lessons Learned:

  • Pay attention to the rack position in the oven, even if the recipe doesn’t make a suggestion.
  • Try the fruit first before deciding how much sugar to use. That way the filling isn’t too sweet.
  • Don’t multi-task when rolling out your dough for the crust. You will just create more work.
  • Let go of perfectionist tendencies and realize that a crisper crust authenticates a homemade pie.

Dessert 4: Fudge Brownies – unsweetened chocolate, coffee, chocolate chips

Lessons Learned:

  • Everybody likes brownies, so go ahead and bake them.
  • Use big chocolate chips or chocolate chunks in the brownie batter. A crunch of chocolate in a fudgey brownie is sublime.
  • Don’t have coffee ice cream? Shame on you.
  • No need to feel like you must eat all the brownies at once, stick them in the freezer and pull one out as you need them.
 

Dough Diaries: It’s Pie Time! May 6, 2010

Filed under: Dough Diaries — karakrautter @ 8:45 AM
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As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved sweets. My mom reminds me that as a kid I might have sold my family for a cookie. Chocolate by far is my favorite, and pies my least favorite. My apathy for pie as a child grew into a dislike as an adult. My good friend Kristy suggested that “cooked fruit” might be the issue, but I also have never been a fan of chocolate pies (crazy, I know).

So, instead of continuing to ponder why I don’t care for pie, I decided it wast time to try to bake one. Since this year has been all about dough, it was a logical addition to my baking/cooking challenges.

I wanted to avoid graham cracker style crusts because I thought a ‘real’ pie crust would be a better test. But, since the weather is already getting warmer, I wanted to try to do a light, citrus filling.

The answer? Lemon Chess Pie. A southern tradition, and a beginner-friendly recipe. It took me a few attempts to get the crust into the pie pan, but after that, the pie came together perfectly.

I enjoyed my slice of pie, but I think the others that ate it got a lot more joy out of the dessert. Still not a huge pie fan, but I’m more than happy to whip one up for those friends of mine that do.