October 10, 2008

A fine spring day for Sunday baking…






A changing of the seasons saw the day beginning most pleasantly with a perfect springly morning. With Team Pretty Bake now a serious entity – an über-organised, well-oiled machine – we were so prepared there was even a menu…


Breakfast began with crumpets. A virgin experience for us both, it took a labour of love from Miss Rose to make those babies, but with a little technical tweaking along the way, she managed to produce doughy delights that were denser and downright tastier than their store-bought counterparts. Topped with whipped maple butter which melted into every crevasse to produce bursts of sugary goodness, one was inclined to think that every day should begin this way.



Baking fun soon turned serious as Miss Emily sweated over her Marsala sugar syrup. Although showing signs of impatience at the apparent sedentary movement of the candy thermometer, we finally made it to the soft ball, and combining with all stages of dairy breakdown products produced the most velvety, delicious custard I have so far had the pleasure of producing.
Meanwhile, Miss Rose was all over the apple cinnamon sugar bread. Despite concluding that mini loaf tins should be employed for all future sugar breads, what came from the oven was decadently moist and the crunchy nut topping divine. A tasty treat perfectly enjoyed with a good cup of tea.




Of course, as you well know, baking can be hard work, and fuel came in the form of pork polpette. Enjoyed atop crusty white bread and Dench house white sourdough, these delicious little balls of meat rekindled the baking energy and after a short break to enjoy the sunshine, the ladies were back in the kitchen and ready for the next round.




As Miss Emily set about constructing her tiramisu with the help of a strong pot of coffee and ladyfingers that somehow smack of innuendo; Miss Rose continued her quest for gingery satisfaction, this time aided by not dried but fresh ginger roots. If our puerile minds had not yet descended to their usual level of smuttiness, any pretense of elegance and refinement was rapidly destroyed by le vessel de golden syrupee. Few inanimate objects can so effortlessly produce the most horrendously comical fart noises, inducing fits of hysteria from all within auditory circumference, but this little plastic creation achieved such a feat very efficiently. Despite this timely distraction, the ginger cake was completed and the pears caramelised without further ado. What resulted was a deliciously light and moist monster of a cake perfectly complemented by the freshness of the pears and a dollop of yoghurt cream. The use of fresh ginger seemed to achieve a subtlety of flavour without losing its intensity. Rather than slapping you in the face it instead did so surreptitiously from within.


With the baking complete, Team Pretty Bake sought sustenance in the form of good old bangers and mash, and hurriedly moved on to dessert…


Here I will pause to preempt the biggest failure of the day in saying that we both agreed that this was indeed the best tiramisu we have so far had the pleasure of consuming. That said, things did go a little awry, with – how shall I put this – a catastrophic failure in the structural integrity of our creations.

Oh dear!



Looks aside, they tasted fantastic, and with some lessons learnt in the fundamentals of baking architecture, we will certainly be doing that again. It is also worth noting that mother tiramisu was definitely more stable, and a little bit of patience also helps with the hold.


So with that we concluded the first official Team Pretty Bake event. Satisfied with our creations we retired with a pot of tea to set about planning our next baking adventures. Perhaps a tour de France…

1 comment:

pinknantucket said...

The mention of a candy thermometer just reminded me of one nugget of wisdom I may be able to pass on to Team Pretty Bake. If you are ever melting sugar to make icing (or candy), do not stir it with a plastic spoon.