Saturday, July 5, 2008

Baking is fun! (past, present)

A while back, I contemplated going to culinary school to become a pastry chef. After having mentioned it to a few people, I got a few discouraging words: it’s hard, it’s crazy early hours, very manual, etc. I was in a very vulnerable time in my life, so any sway toward the negative was enough for me to pack up my things and walk away from the idea.
I’ve always liked sweets, pastries, cakes and pies. Not until middle school did I discover how to actually make a cake with frosting in the middle as I had seen on so many boxes of Duncan Hines, you either make two, or cut one in half! Who knew! You see, my mom didn’t bake when we were growing up, she cooked and is still fantastic at it! All the sweets she ever made came out of a box: cake, pound cake, cup cakes, waffles, French toast, (not till College did I learn how to make French toast from scratch!)

Once I lived on my own, first with roommates and now just myself, I started to buy baking books like cookies and desserts. My boyfriend does not like sweets of any kind unless they came from nature, although he is partial to lemon tarts. He had mentioned early on that he liked pies, so for our first Christmas in Portland, living together, I announced to my family I was going to make dessert, (but of course, please have a back up just in case. Mrs. Smith never fails.) I decided since Isaiah likes pie, I’ll make the classic: Apple Pie. I searched around the internet and magazines for the perfect recipe and I decided on The Oregonian’s Food Day holiday apple pie. I dove in head first. If I could have picked the apples my self, I would have! But I didn’t of course, since it was winter, but I did end up making my own dough. It was exhilarating and frustrating at the same time, but once it was all complete, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. I even made a lattice top for it.

Sure, my poor little pie looked a little ugly, but I must say, it was tasty and Isaiah had a slice.
Fast forward a few years, and I have become the dessert maker of the family and I am quite proud of that. For Christmas one year, I made four different kinds of cookies (with Kristin’s help) for my dad since he and I both have a sweet tooth.

Isaiah helped me make these Chocolate Dominos for both my nephews that year.

For Thanksgiving this past year, I made a Butternut Squash pie.

And for Halloween a few years back, a cake!

Last Easter, I made a Almond Cake with Lemon Curd and Berries. That was yummy and you have no idea how proud I was that I could make lemon curd.

Then, I made a pear stroussel, that sadly, I felt did not taste very well but everyone was nice enough to say it was good.
This summer, I had been receiving my cooking magazines that all featured cherry pies. Since it had been a while since I was able to make dessert (I usually enjoy a full day off prep time with music playing in the background,) I decided to make a Cherry Pie with lattice top. I grabbed my Cooking Light Magazine and bulked up on my groceries. Below you can see the results.

Explaining the two bathrooms shots: I was kind of a fool and didn’t pull out the dough from the fridge ahead of time, so I was a bit under the gun. So as the cherries soaked in their dressing for the 15 minutes remaining of the 30 the recipe said, I decided to put the dough in my teeny tiny bathroom, turn on the hot water and steam them to room temperature. It worked! It’s a good trick, but I don’t recommend it.

Nope, I'm not done with this blog yet!

I still had one more bag of cherries in the fridge, so tonight, I write this blog as my Cherry Crisp bubbles in the oven and man, does it smell good!

9:05 pm Here is the result!


Kristin said...

Oh my gosh that pie looks AMAZING. Will you come to my house and I'll hire you to bake all week? hehe. I've never seen pictures of all those desserts you made before. Thanks for posting!

McJumpguez said...

Thanks for commenting. I don't think anyone but you reads it. I was very proud of this post cuz I hadn't realized how much I really have baked! I must say I am getting better! Maybe when I come up (hopefully in August) we'll make a fresh fruit pie =)

Kristin said...

Yeah that would be a really fun activity! I can't wait!