April 30, 2006

An Open Letter to the person or persons who sat near the table where Julie, Luisa, Cathy, Zarah and I conducted our happy enthusiastic meeting of minds and hearts, bided his/her time until we were all sufficiently distracted, reached inside Zarah's shoulder bag, severed the leather strap connecting her purse to her shoulder bag, and stole her purse, with her wallet and digital camera inside:

Dear Loathsome Excrescence,

I'll give you this much:  you were quick, and silent.  We didn't even see you.  We're also amazed that you felt bold enough to reach into Zarah's bag, considering that she was much more careful than I was.  Upon leaving, I realized that my purse was open and both my wallet and cell phone were in plain view, and yet you felt compelled to reach into a closed Louis Vuitton bag and cut another bag out of it.  You certainly do know your designer luggage, you savvy violator of other people's property, you.

Luckily, the situation is not nearly as horrible as it could have been, mostly because Zarah, Luisa, Cathy and Julie are quick thinkers.  Luisa's office was around the corner, so Zarah was able to get on the phone with her bank right away and cancel the two credit cards that were inside her wallet.  (That wallet, by the way, contained less than five bucks.  Nice haul!  Take a bow, chump!)  She also has insurance that will cover the loss of the bag, the wallet and the digital camera inside the bag, and she will be able to re-take all of the pictures that were stored on the camera.  Her passport was not in her bag, so she does not have to go to the Danish consulate to get it replaced.  She is traveling with her boyfriend, who has his own set of credit cards, so she is not stranded without funds.  The worst that happened today, other than the general sense of violation one feels when one's own property is stolen from them, is that our merry afternoon was cut short, and Zarah has to spend a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon in New York filing a police report.  So again, it could have been much worse.

Nevertheless, I am beyond pissed off, not only because you did this to such a lovely and delightful woman (although you did), nor because you did this in a friendly neighborhood bakery, but also because in doing so, you confirmed all of the worst stereotypes of New York City, that it's a place where you have to keep your distance and never let your guard down for even a second, lest someone be standing by, waiting for the moment when he can take something of yours.  While I recognize that New Yorkers are capable of truly embarrassing behavior, I am almost never embarrassed to be a New Yorker.  This afternoon, I was.

I have been reexamining all of my attitudes about karma (admittedly, I've only been doing this since Lloyd and I started watching My Name is Earl), and thus I am sure that the universe has a wonderful plan for your life.  You had better hope that it's the universe who catches up with you, because if the universe drags its feet, and I find you first, the results will not be pretty.  Have you seen Hostel yet?  You may want to.  Or possibly not.

Cordially,

Bakerina

Posted by Bakerina at 07:06 PM in anger is an energy • (0) Comments

Dear friends,

I never thought I would be glad to lose access to TypePad -- normally when I can't access my account I get all gibbery and enraged, and fantasize firing a pair of pistols into the ground so vigorously that I actually rise a foot off the ground, like Yosemite Sam -- but today a little down time worked in my favor.  I have spent this quiet Sunday morning writing about disappointment, about how I used to be more resilient, and better able to bounce back from disappointment, but lately I have not been particularly bouncy.  I retold the tale, now told so frequently that I could probably tell it whilst suspended in a coma, of how I wanted to bake bread more than anything in the world; how even an unpaid apprenticeship at a commercial bakery, where I learned that baking bread as a business is a whole different thing from baking it at home, only cemented my resolve; how I wrote the business plan and went directly to the Small Business Administration, whose counselors were very kind and helpful, but who also pointed out that without more industry experience, I would only be able to receive a line of credit equivalent to one-tenth of my startup costs; how I backed away in fear and let the dream shrivel; how, in an attempt to find something to do with all the time I used to spend making plans for the bakery, I applied for a fellowship to a writer's colony in Arkansas, a fellowship I was certainly not qualified to get; how I actually won that fellowship and -- surprise! -- found myself knocked up with a compelling but wildly impractical topic for a book; how the research for the book was going gangbusters, and then one day it wasn't, and I found myself facing the loss of nerve yet again.  I wrote of the nature of entropy, disappointment and fear.  I think I even mentioned my Six Feet Under death, a nightmare fantasy in which I'm sitting in the cubicle at LuthorCorp, typing furiously in response to another email from another customer who wants to spend ten cents on a carton that costs us five dollars to make, while more emails and phone calls roll in from angry people who threaten to beat me with a sock full of doorknobs unless I get their cartons delivered RIGHT NOW...and suddenly my head rocks forward, my posture gets slouchier even as I still manage to stay sitting up, and my fingers freeze on the keyboard.  The phone continues to ring, the new email indicator continues to bwip.  The screen goes white; only my name and dates remain.

It was not, shall we say, a lighthearted romp around the mind of a bakerina.

Fortunately, the whimsical universe was on my side, and the whole thing vanished in a puff of 404 message.  I pulled up the paste buffer -- for if there's one lesson I learned the first time I lost a long post, it's to draft it in a paste buffer -- made a few stylistic changes, re-blocked it to copy and paste, and then my fingers froze (but not because I was dead, thankfully).  Why was I flogging this tired old story again?  Why was I behaving like the worst stereotype of the gloomy Swede?  Just what the hell is wrong with me, anyway?

Thank you in advance, dear friends, for not answering that last question.

I am old and wise enough to know that one little epiphany is not going to answer all of those disappointment/fear/entropy questions.  I also know that there is no magic bullet for creativity, that for every minute of clear thought flowing from brain to fingertips, I have to put in at least another 59 minutes of typing, deleting, retyping, deleting, retyping, deleting, checking a primary text for source material and inspiration, putting down the laptop and getting a bowl of cereal, retyping, deleting, announcing to Lloyd that this is it, I've had my last good idea and I should just quit now and leave the writing to people who can actually do it, cracking my fingers, and repeating all of the above until, miracle of miracles, I have finished the essay in question, and know that I am done for at least one more day.  I know that I have to stop fretting, find some intestinal fortitude and act like a damn adult already and write that frelling book, or open that frelling bakery -- or, heaven forfend, both.

Well, I can be a responsible adult later.  Now, though, I can do something much more fun:  I can finish my coffee, fix something nice and light for lunch, and then head down to this bakery, where I will have the pleasure of spending the afternoon with some truly outstanding foodwriters and thinkers, namely Julie, Luisa, Cathy (visiting from points south) and Zarah (visiting from points east -- waaaay east).  If the company of these fabulous women doesn't beat the stuffing out of what ails me, then I don't deserve a place at the table.

Before I head out, though, dear friends, a few photos to share.  Even with all this talk of entropy, I haven't let the baking/canning/knitting urge go entirely dormant.  I've been trying to keep to a regular schedule of breadbaking, the sure sign of stability in an uncertain world, at least as far as I'm concerned.  When I get home tonight, I will get our sandwich bread started, and I might even take a bash at the grapefruit cake.  Until then, I do have the picture about which Lindy asked, the second half of the What's for Pud? bake, the fabulous Cumberland Nickies.  (At least they would have been fabulous had I checked the box carefully, and discovered that it only contained 10 ounces, and not a full pound, of currants.  The resulting nickies were rummy and raisiny and sugary, but headache-inducingly sweet, thanks to my skimping on the currants.  A little vanilla ice  cream helped, though, and I'm betting that if I'd used enough currants, this would be a near-perfect dessert.  Of course, there's only one way to find out...

Big_nicky

Edit:  Although I am learning how to knit, in general I haven't been writing about it here -- not because I don't believe in writing about knitting (I'm a big believer in writing about knitting, actually smile, but because I just don't have the knowledge base and command of language with knitting, at least not enough to be comfortable writing about it.  So while I've been filling up my commuting time with various and sundry knitting projects, I've been a bit shy about sharing.  But even I can't help feeling the tiniest smidgen of pride about this one:  Snow insisted that I could crack the code on lace; I told her she was clearly insane, but I went ahead and ordered a pattern from a designer with a brilliant eye (who is also a lovely woman to boot).  This is not relaxation knitting, at least not yet; this is knitting where I have to be very, very mindful of every single stitch, and not let my thoughts wander to thoughts of work, or of something stupid I did once when I was nine, for such thoughts are the path to miscounted stitches and munged pattern repeats.  And yet, and yet...it is hard to describe how happy it makes me to have taken the plunge, to tackle a project that requires that kind of awareness, and to realize that maybe all this stuff outside my grasp, well, maybe it's not.

Mtn_peaks_detail

Posted by Bakerina at 01:46 PM in • (0) Comments
April 27, 2006

Dear friends, my hindquarters are being roundly thrashed by LuthorCorp this week.  It's nothing bad, nothing job-threatening, but it does involve no small amount of change, and this change is leaving me particularly empty at the end of the day.  When this week is over, it will take everything in me not to take to bed for six solid days.  Rest assured, though, I will not.  smile

Posted by Bakerina at 12:03 AM in hello, void! • (2) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
April 23, 2006

Let us seriously reflect of what a pudding is composed.  It is composed of flour that once waved in the golden grain, and drank the dews of the morning; of milk pressed from the swelling udder by the gentle hand of the beauteous milkmaid, whose beauty and innocence might have recommended a worse draught; who, while she stroked the udder, indulged no ambitious thoughts of wandering in palaces, formed no plans for the destruction of her fellow-creatures:  milk, which is drawn from the cow, that useful animal, that eats the grass from the field, and supplies us with that which made the greatest part of the food of mankind in the age which the poets have agreed to call golden.  It is made with an egg, that miracle of nature, which the theoretical Burnet has compared to creation.  An egg contains water within the beautiful smooth surface; and an unformed mass, by the incubation of the parent, becomes a regular animal, furnished with bones and sinews and covered with feathers.  Let us consider; can there be more wanting, more may be found.  It contains salt, which keeps the sea from putrefaction:  salt, which is made the image of intellectual excellence, contributes to the formation of a pudding.

Dr Johnson's rhapsody on puddings reminds one of the restaurant menus that extol the virtues of dew-fresh morning-gathered mushrooms, but this great man was expressing a proper pride in that unique institution -- the pudding.  It is now difficult to describe what we mean by a pudding, for today's language is sloppy and inexact.  'Dessert' is an inept refinement, for the word applies only to fresh fruit, nuts and sweetmeats offered to end a grand dinner.  'Sweet' is a niminy-piminy shortening of the sweet course that now ends a meal, but does not apply to the whole magnificent range of puddings, and seems to indicate something rather small and nasty that forms the anticlimax of a meal.  The workmanlike schoolboy slang of 'afters' or 'seconds' more nearly describes the dish we have in mind, but gives no hint of its glory...[t]he English are seldom complimented for their savoury dishes, with the possible exception of roasts, but nobody can fault a true English pudding.

-- Mary Norwak, English Puddings Sweet and Savory (Grub Street, London, 1996 edition)

The weather gods were on England's side yesterday:  after four straight days of sunny, nearly 80-degree weather, sun-saturated days that found me in a cubicle every damn day, Saturday dawned chilly and rainy.  Lest you think that I am making another cheap, tired old joke about English weather, I promise that I am not.  I have spent the week in a state of semi-dread that Saturday would be a glorious day to go play in the fresh air, but I would be unable to enjoy it, having already committed myself in service to a pudding.  Not that I am complaining about the pudding or the commitment.  The latter is the brainchild of the brilliant and beautiful Sam at Becks & Posh; she and her partner in roundup-gathering, the thoughtful, erudite and pulchritudinous Monkey Gland at Jam Faced have invited the food-obsessed to participate in What's for Pud?, a celebration of English puddings in honor of Christendom's most famous dragonslayer.   I knew exactly the pudding I wanted to make, a pudding that has been on my radar for nearly 20 years.  I also knew that this particular pudding would keep me in the house for the better part of a day, and that no matter how much we might like the finished pud, or how industrious I would feel putting it together, I would still feel guilty for staying inside on a nice day, running the stove for four hours.  When I woke up and heard rain pebbling against our bedroom window, I knew I could go ahead and butter my pudding basin with a clear conscience.

It might seem counterintuitive, if not downright depressing, to devote half a day to a pudding you first read about in an essay entitled "Kitchen Horrors," but that's exactly what I did.  Longtime PTMYB readers will remember that I am a devoted fan of the late Laurie Colwin, and that her first collection of food essays, Home Cooking, was one of the first books I bought after I graduated from college and began to cook for myself.  "Kitchen Horrors" is one of the essays collected in Home Cooking, and is proof positive that today's disaster in the kitchen is tomorrow's rich prose fodder for your friends and readers.  Included among the tales of overbaked, overstuffed fish and flaming spinach pies is Ms. Colwin's account of making Sussex Pond Pudding (which she calls Suffolk Pond Pudding) for an Easter dinner to which she is invited:

Suffolk Pond Pudding, although something of a curiosity, sounded perfectly splendid.  First, you line a pudding basin with suet crust.  Then you cut butter mixed with sugar into small pieces.  Next you take an entire lemon and prick it all over with a fork.  Then you stick the lemon on top of the butter and sugar, surround it with more butter and sugar, stick a pastry lid on the top, tie it up in a pudding cloth and steam in a kettle for four hours.  It never occurred to me that nobody might want to eat it.

I followed every step carefully.  My suet crust was masterful.  When unwrapped from its cloth, the crust was a beautiful, deep honey color.  I turned it out onto an ornamental plate...The pudding was brought to the table.  My host and hostess, my future husband and a woman guest looked at it suspiciously.  I cut the pudding.  As Jane Grigson had promised, out ran a lemon-scented buttery toffee.  I sliced up the lemon, which was soft and buttery too.  Each person was to get some crust, a slice of lemon and some sauce.

What a hit!, I thought.  Exactly the sort of thing I adored.  I looked around me happily, and my happiness turned to ash.

My host said:  "This tastes like lemon-flavored bacon fat."

"I'm sure it's wonderful," said my hostess.  "I mean, in England."

The woman guest said:  "This is awful."

My future husband remained silent, not a good sign.  I had promised him a swell dessert and here was this weird, inedible sludge from outer space.  The others ate ice cream.  I ate almost the entire pudding myself.

This would not seem the most enthusiastic of endorsements of a pudding, and yet I could not help but share Ms. Colwin's opinion:  a lemony, buttery toffee sauce, encased in a crust so well caramelized that it takes on the color of deep honey?  It sounded like heaven in a teacup to me.  Furthermore, I had read the source from which she had found the recipe -- English Food by Jane Grigson -- and thought the recipe sounded magnificent.  I found this recipe in several other cookbooks, including the aforementioned Mary Norwak book, and the more I read it, the more I wanted to try it.  Thus was it settled:  it was time to make a Sussex Pond pudding of my own.

I was not, however, averse to making a backup plan.  In the event that  Sussex Pond pudding did indeed taste like lemon-flavored bacon fat, I still wanted to have a celebratory pudding to hand.  I returned to English Puddings Sweet and Savory, which is packed with history and lore, to say nothing of wonderful recipes for things like Aunt's Pudding, Sussex Bailiff's Bliss, Sack Posset and Clipping Time Pudding, a rich rice pudding made in Cumberland during sheep shearing season, a time of year which "signalled the selling of fleeces and the comparative prosperity of the farmer for a short time."  Among the pie recipes, I found something so simple and sweet, so much to my liking, that I wouldn't be surprised if I had been born clutching a copy of the recipe in my fat little baby fist:  Cumberland Nickies, a double-crust pie filled with dried currants enriched with sugar and rum.  I have seen richer, more elaborate recipes that include other dried fruit along with the currants, or even diced apples and candied fruit and currants, rather like mince pies, but something about the simplicity of currants, sugar and rum just calls out to me.

First things first, though.  To make a suet-crust pudding, one must have suet.  Off I went to what, as far as I knew, was the only source of suet in town.  I left with practically everything else in the store except suet.   Apparently the U.S. has this pesky import ban on all beef products from the U.K.   I asked the clerk if I could just substitute butter; the shop owner advised me that there is really no substitute for suet in a steamed pudding, and that I might be able to get it from my local butcher.  I left with bags of Cornish pasties and shepherd's pies and treacle and Bourbon biscuits, silently giving thanks that I had remembered to buy currants.

But I would not be daunted.  I would try my luck at the butcher shop.  I left the house early, walked the three blocks to the butcher shop in the cool drizzly air, and learned an important new rule:  Do not embark on a quest for suet on the day before Greek Orthodox Easter.  You will find yourself in a line of about 35 people, at least 12 of whom are in terrible moods because they don't know which line is the correct line.  Assuming that you can stick around to wait until you are at the front of the line, you will have to ask your silly question about suet on a day when the staff are overworked, overtired and not in the mood for whimsy.   I beat a hasty retreat after about six minutes.

The outlook for Sussex Pond pudding did not look promising, but I didn't want to give up yet.  Reading Mary Norwak's introduction to her chapter on steamed and boiled puddings, I learned that pudding crusts could be made "by rubbing in or creaming the fat, where butter or other fat is substituted for suet."  This gave me the first hint that while butter could not exactly duplicate suet, it just might work.  I set to work.  Since I didn't have self-raising flour on hand, I made my own, with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for approximately 2 cups of flour.  I took a stick of butter from the freezer and grated it into the dough, then quickly mixed in a blend of milk and water.  The resulting dough was soft yet dry to the touch, and tasted like biscuit dough (that would be the American definition of biscuit, not the British one).  I knew at that moment that I would not have a pudding that tasted like lemon-flavored bacon fat.  The only question on my mind was whether a butter crust would have the stability and structural integrity to withstand 3 1/2 hours of steaming.

Dear friends, it does, it does.  It has structural integrity, and a beautiful deep-honey-colored crust, and a lemony toffee, and when you breach the crust, a pond of sauce does indeed run out.  It is much less sweet, much more tart, than I had anticipated, thanks to the presence of all that lemon.  On the other hand, it is rich, a lot of richness in a small concentrated place, thanks to the presence of all that butter.  I would not make a steady diet of it, but I would eat it with pleasure if someone brought it to my Easter dinner -- and if everyone else decides that it's too weird or scary for them, I will join the cook in eating the whole thing.

Of course, even with over half the pudding left, I will still be making Cumberland Nickies later today.  How can I not?  It's a pie filled with currants, sugar and rum.  It calls out to me.  smile

Sussex_pond_002_1

Sussex Pond Pudding for Americans and Others With No Access to Suet

(serves 6-8)

225g (8 oz, approx. 2 cups, sifted into cup) pastry or all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

100g (4 oz, 1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen

75ml milk mixed with 75ml water

100g (4 oz, 1 stick) unsalted butter, cool and pliable but not too soft

100g (4 oz) demarara sugar

1 large lemon, preferably thin-skinned

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the liquids and mix to a soft dough. 

Roll the dough to an approximate 10" circle.  Cut 1/4 of the dough off in a wedge; butter a 3-cup pudding mold well and line the mold with the remaining 3/4 of the dough.  Cut half the remaining butter into small pieces, put it into the crust and shake half the sugar over it.  Prick the lemon all over with a toothpick or fork and set it on top of the butter and sugar.  Cut up the rest of the butter, scatter it over the lemon, and add the rest of the sugar.  Top with the pastry lid and pinch tightly to join. 

Butter a piece of parchment paper and cover the top of the pudding with it.  Wrap a piece of aluminum foil over the parchment and tie everything tightly with a length of kitchen twine. Place the pudding on a trivet in a Dutch oven or stockpot, add boiling water to come halfway up the pudding basin, cover and steam for 3 1/2 hours.  (You will probably need to add more water as the water in the pot evaporates; check the water level about once every 1/2 hour.)  When the pudding is done, turn it out onto a deep dish. Serve with a slice of crust, a piece of lemon and plenty of sauce with every serving.  Whipped cream would be nice with this.

Cumberland Nickies

(serves 10-12)

Pie pastry to fit a 9" pie plate (double crust)

16 oz. (454g) dried currants

6 oz. (150g) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

egg wash for pie crust (I like one whole egg with a little water beaten in)

Preheat oven to 400F degrees (Gas Mark 6).  Roll out the bottom crust and fit it to the pie plate.  In a medium bowl, mix the currants and sugar and sprinkle with the rum. Spread the currants onto the pie shell, roll out the top crust and press it over the currants; join the top and bottom crusts together well, but do not flute the edge.  Brush with the egg wash, then take a sharp knife and make light cuts across the top surface.  (Or rather, "nick" it.)  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.

Tagged with: and

Posted by Bakerina at 02:35 AM in incoherent ravings about food • (3) Comments
April 19, 2006

Longtime friends of PTMYB will recognize this as the time of year where the lack of local fruit leaves me a bit edgy.  The farmer's markets are still selling apples, picked during the autumn and held in storage.  Depending on the varietal, they can still be good to eat, but to my taste they are a little woolly, best used for baking, or for one more batch of apple butter, or applesauce.   Rhubarb won't be available for another month, berries and stone fruit for at least another month to six weeks after that. 

Two weeks ago, on one of the first really warm, soft Friday evenings of this spring, I was on the Upper West Side,  walking down Broadway on a visit to the bath-product emporium.  Two doors down from the shop, I saw a crate of pink grapefruit sitting outside a little grocery.  I picked one up, scratched it with my fingernail and inhaled; there it was, the scent that carries me through every winter, bracing and sweet, invigorating and soothing all at the same time.  It felt as if there were at least five pounds of juice underneath the peel, clamoring to get out.  All of the grapefruit in the crate were uniformly taut and smooth and glossy and heavy.  The price was right.  Oh, marmalade, I thought.  I had never made marmalade before, but I had a good feeling that I could make a nice one with these; after all, I had Kimberly on my side.  Kimberly's appreciation of grapefruit is both boundless and inspiring, and her recipe for pink grapefruit marmalade has been hovering in my thoughts ever since she posted it in February.  I bought six grapefruit.  I would make pink grapefruit marmalade with them.  I would share it with my friends.  If I liked it well enough, I would buy more grapefruit and add marmalade to the Bakerina Kitchens repertoire.

Reader, there is no marmalade to be had.  The grapefruit sat patiently in the kitchen over the weekend.  On Monday, for reasons I still can't figure out, I picked one up, inhaled, thought, well, I can still make marmalade with what I have left, and took it to work.  I ate it upon my return from the gym, the reward for my good behavior.  On Tuesday I did it again.  On Wednesday I ate it for breakfast, exactly the pick-me-up my foggy, truculent brain needed.  When the last one had been eaten, I felt a little bad, as now there were none left for marmalade.  On the other hand, I was full of grapefruit, so I didn't feel *that* bad.  smile

Like Kimberly, my introduction to grapefruit came via my childhood breakfasts.  My mother was unyielding in her refusal to let me eat sugary cereals for breakfast, but she despaired over the amount of sugar I managed to put on Cheerios.  Grapefruit was the field of compromise between us:  yellow grapefruit (why the sign at the supermarket said "white grapefruit" was a mystery to me), one half for each of us, the sections loosened with a paring knife, sugar sprinkled across the top.  I was allowed to sugar the top of my grapefruit, to my great relish; Mom knew that I would not develop scurvy any time soon, to her great relief.  It wasn't long before I tried to expand my grapefruit repertoire:  I tried a recipe from the first cookbook I ever received, The Nancy Drew Cookbook, for George's Keep-in-Shape Grapefruit, a grapefruit half slathered with brown sugar, run under the broiler, creme brulee-style, and finished with a maraschino cherry.  This taught me three important lessons:  eight-year-olds should not attempt brulee toppings without adult supervision; scorched sugar smells terrible and kicks up a lot of smoke; and under no circumstances should maraschino cherries ever be broiled.  I then decided to try something simpler, based on a suggestion in a catchy jingle from the Florida Citrus Commission:  peeling and sectioning a grapefruit, the same way I did with oranges.  I underestimated just how bitter the pith and membranes of a grapefruit could be.  That put an end to the experimentation for a good long time.

I can't remember the first time I tried pink grapefruit, or its deeper red Texan cousin, the Ruby Red.  I do remember liking the freshly-squeezed juice of pink grapefruit much more than that of the white grapefruit, so much so that I decided to try the peeling-and-sectioning exercise again, this time with a Star Ruby.  I never looked back.  I was meticulous about getting every inch of bitter pith and membrane off the fruit, and I was rewarded with pure sweetness, sunshine bursting forth from every vesicle.  Now I am more low-key about the whole exercise, and I appreciate a slight hint of bitterness to cut the sweetness; I still try to get as much pith off as possible, but I don't bother with the membrane.  It makes for easier eating.

Of course it was a matter of time before I would want to branch out, to go beyond the eating of grapefruit out of hand, and to try my hand at grapefruit-based desserts. I started with red grapefruit sorbet, which to me is like eating half a dozen grapefruit in a single sitting.  To me this is a good thing, but others may find this to be an extreme position.  If you are in the mood for something richer, I can enthusiastically recommend grapefruit creams, a pudding from the beautiful Sophie's Table by Sophie Grigson, basically fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, sugar, eggs and cream, thickened by the merest hint of semolina.  (If you are British, and were subjected to thick, scary semolina pudding as part of your school lunch, I promise you that this particular pud is nothing like them.)  My copy of Sophie's Table is buried under a passel of other cookbooks, but I will tease it out, and I will post a recipe for anyone who wants it. 

But if you don't fancy a custard, how about a cake?  Paging through my copy of Butter Sugar Flour Eggs: Whimsical Irresistible Desserts by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto and Julia Moskin, searching for another recipe for a chocolate pave, I found a recipe for Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Frosting, a big, soft layer cake with a sweet-and-sour crumb, lavishly iced with a frosting made from confectioner's sugar, cream cheese, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lemon peel and the peeled sections of the grapefruit that were not squeezed into the batter.  I would make this cake right now, if only I didn't have to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's thrill-packed adventures at LuthorCorp.  Of course, there is always the weekend, but as I have other plans for this weekend, Brown Derby grapefruit cake will have to wait.   It can't wait too long, though.  Rhubarb's coming in soon.

Posted by Bakerina at 11:25 PM in incoherent ravings about food • (3) Comments
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