Adventures in Baking…and Birthdays

BAKING. I’ve already shared with you my lack of baking experience and that I can proudly cook a boxed cake or Pillsbury biscuit. Today I attempted (and succeeded btw) to make a chocolate-pumpkin tart, courtesy of Martha Stewart. I started to preheat the oven to 350 and went about preparing my crust. About 5 minutes in, I forcefully spouted out a curse word very similar to “poop” and opened the oven door. See, Mocha (the mischievous cat) has a tendency to annoy the “poop” out of me when she tries to eat carefully wrapped food that I leave on the counter, i.e. my pumpkin cookies. So the cake that I made last night was kept in the oven. Next to a box of birthday candles. Do the math.

The cake is okay but I needed new birthday candles. Sue brought me the perfect one.

I finished making the crust and put it into a 10″ tart pan (with a removable bottom), set it on a baking sheet and cooked it for 12 minutes so it could set. I used a mixture of chocolate and original animal crackers.

Meanwhile, I melted the chocolate and poured it onto the crust and froze it for about 10 minutes. I did not use 4 ounces of chocolate like the recipe called for. I used a bigger pan and I like more chocolate, about 1 1/4 cup with 1 tablespoon of butter.

I started on the filling. I used 15 ounces of pumpkin pie mix (instead of adding in all of the spices) and 2 eggs. Into the oven. Let’s hope for the best!

Fifty minutes later….the best was delivered. No spillage. Perfect golden brown color.

I cooled it at room temperature for an hour and then in the fridge for at least an hour. The recipe says this or overnight at the most.

When you first bite into it you get the creamy, silky pumpkin then your teeth move into the slightly hardened chocolate layer and it just melts in your mouth. Move over pumpkin pie. There’s a new sheriff in town. This pie was the “poop”.

As for the rest of my dinner party, we had…

Boursin

Thank you, Leslie for this recipe. It’s been one of my favorites. This is a cold cream cheese/butter wonderness. I won’t even call it a dip. That would be degrading.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cold but slightly softened
  • 1 stick butter, cold but slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. You’ll need some elbow juice or a mixer. I’d go with the mixer. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 days before serving. I usually serve with crackers or toasties.

I’ve been cooking crockpot turkey all day. Adapted from my cousin Leslie and my Aunt Ruthie. Again, one of my favs.

Crockpot Turkey

  • 5-6 pound turkey breast, thawed
  • 1 stick butter
  • 15 ounces chicken broth
  • Tony Cachere’s to season

Cook for 6-8 hours in crockpot. Take meat out of crockpot and set aside to cool. Pour juices through a mesh sieve and discard the leftover goopies. Pour juice back into crockpot and when turkey is cool enough to touch, pull meat off of the bone, shredding it, put back into juices and cover until ready to serve. I usually serve it with dinner rolls.

My dad taught me how to make a roux and I love him for that.

Peas in a Roux

  • 4 cans sweet peas
  • 3/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons flour

Open cans of peas and pour over a bowl and into a sieve or colander to save the juice and set aside. Heat oil over a medium high heat and then add flour. Prepare roux by contiuously stirring until a medium golden brown color has happened. Add onion and continue stirring for about 5 minutes. Add peas and juice to desired consistency. You want to have a thin stew-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, allowing the dish to thicken slightly until ready to serve.

Phew! I’m pooped and it was a great birthday.

D

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