Monthly Archives: April 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

Although I love honey cakes, this recipe didn’t really thrill me when I first read it. But as I started to put it together, the smell of the lemon zest and the honey were so heavenly I knew it had to be good. I had some of the same misgivings others in the TWD group had about the sweetness, but I decided to use the amounts of sugar and honey called for in the recipe. I didn’t find the cake too sweet (and I don’t like really sweet desserts) and neither did anyone else who tasted it. Funny how this varied so much among those who made the recipe; I wonder if it has to do with the kind of sugar and/or honey we used? For the record, I used organic evaporated cane sugar and 1/2 cup white clover creamed honey and 1/4 cup macadamia nut honey.

The only real change I made in the recipe was that I used white cornmeal instead of yellow, or polenta. I had white cornmeal on hand and have used it before for cakes, so I was curious to see if using it would make much of a difference in this recipe. I think my cake probably had a finer texture than one made with yellow cornmeal, but it still had a nice “cornmeal” crunch to it.

I think I will probably make this cake again sometime, but play around with the recipe some more – although I love all of the basic components: honey, cornmeal, ricotta, and figs.

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Marshmallows

My first Tuesdays with Dorie post!

The recipe for the week was marshmallows. I made them several years ago, and at that time I was surprised at how easy they were to make and how well they turned out. This time, things didn’t go as smoothly.

 

Sunday, the day that I had set aside to make the recipe, was chilly and rainy in Seattle – quite a contrast to Saturday’s warm, sunny weather. (We do get the odd tease of summer weather in April here in the Pacific Northwest.) So much for keeping the marshmallows cool AND dry. It’s amazing that they turned out as well as they did, actually. I was a bit distracted as we’re trying to fix up our basement, and several times I was called to run downstairs to hold a piece of plywood that Mark was sawing, or drill screws into a piece of pegboard. I ended up overbeating the egg whites, but I went ahead and beat the sugar syrup and gelatin into them and they looked fine. When I laid the mixture out on the baking tray, though, I had a bit of trouble smoothing it and keeping it level to one inch. The result was less-than-lovely, unevenly sized marshmallows. Unlike the beautiful ones pictured in Dorie’s book, mine were brutti ma buoni – ugly but good.

 

 

The best part was playing around with different coatings for the plain vanilla marshmallows. I decided to divide the batch of cut marshmallows into thirds, with a different coating for each. I toasted some coconut for one.

 

 

I grated nutmeg into some powdered sugar for another.

 

 

I had some dark cocoa I thought would make a nice contrast with the white marshmallows, so I mixed some of that with some cinnamon and espresso powder, like one of Dorie’s “playing around” flavorings.

 

 

 

 

Mark emerged from the basement to ohh and ahh and gobble a coconut-coated marshmallow. I took the rest to work yesterday and they were a big hit. People were amazed by the seeming alchemy of it. “You made marshmallows!?!”

 

 

 

   I have to miss next week’s carrot cake recipe, but I’m looking forward to whatever comes after that.

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Welcome to Bismarck’s Favorite

I have loved to bake for as long as I can remember, and I never seem to have enough time to do it. When I received Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours last Christmas, I immediately wanted to bake my way right through it. Then I stumbled on Tuesdays with Dorie and found kindred spirits.

This is the first time I have tried writing a blog, so bear with me. I named it after my beloved cat Bismarck, who loved baked goods and was my biggest critic. I always thought that if I ever opened a bakery, I would name it after him.

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