Sunday, November 28, 2010

This week in baked goods.

All week long it has been bagels aplenty around here. First, I bought a bunch--cinnamon raisin for the historian, plain for running/former missionary/college son. Then, when I took said son to the store for other food, he thought we might need some more. This bagel-buying orgy started because of my bagel-in-the-morning habit, which started after my sabbatical when I foolishly agreed to be a faculty l*****. I had to be at school in the m*******, so freaking early so many days, that stopping for a bagel started to seem like my earthly reward.

I know, I know. Going to work doesn't mean earning an extra earthly reward. Your paycheck is your reward for going to work. But I am just telling you: this is how the bagel habit got started. Stop judging me.

So, my bagel place had this promotion--every time you bought something, you got a punch in your little card (shaped like a bagel--cute, but you had to fold it in half to put it in your wallet. A folded bagel, with punches in it. This I faithfully kept for twelve full punches). Once you got the full twelve punches, you got a free baker's dozen of bagels! Calloo callay, oh frabjous day. All of a sudden, having piles of bagels around seemed like the thing to do.

Anyway, now we are down to less than six plain bagels, which might be worrisome if I hadn't just recently baked
  • a chocolate cake last Sunday;
  • a pumpkin pie on Thursday; and
  • bread today.
I already told you about the cake. There's still a little left, and it is still more than edible, that's how good the cake is.

The pie is maybe the best pumpkin pie I have ever made. Let's see if we can figure out why, shall we?
  • I baked it in a tart pan, ergo more elegant and possibly also--and paradoxically--cuter.
  • I roasted the pumpkin the perfect amount of time, so there was no faint redolence of scorch.
  • there was cream.
  • there were perfect eggs.
  • there was a delightfully buttery crust.
  • I baked the pie the perfect amount of time--the custard did not crack and it was perfectly creamy.
  • the pie had the exact right amount of crystallized ginger. I think this factor was aided and abetted by the extra amount of flat space made possible because of the tart pan. The ginger was more evenly distributed per bite. I could draw you a diagram, but I don't have time for shenanigans like that.
Anyway: that pie was grand. It was the kind of goodness that makes you want to make another pie tout de suite. But now that pie is gone.

First of all, some of it was eaten on Thanksgiving. I kind of like the fact that my family, overall, loves the pecan pie more than the pumpkin. For myself, the pecan pie is a tad too sweet. Anyway, this demographic data means that there is usually some leftover pumpkin pie to bring home from the feast, and that means pie for breakfast, yay! Pie for breakfast leads inexorably to no more pie, however, and that's exactly where we are.

But today was another snowy day (not to say "snow day," alas.), so I decided to make bread. Whole wheat bread. I took the slow rise method (not a scientific slow rise like those very serious bread bakers advocate. I aspire to their scientificness, but I really wanted to eat bread today, so I just used a little less yeast.), which meant that there was a wheat-y smell in the kitchen for several hours. I used two different kinds of Montana wheat flour and a little (very little) rye. This bread tasted delicious. We had it with our dinner.

All this baking is preparatory to the orgy of baking I hope to undertake for the fun of it over the next few weeks. If there happened to be enough snow falling at the exact right times, I could even start it right now.


  1. Hey, I made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that was one of my better efforts (although I didn't roll my own crust)... I call it "Intense Pumpkin Pie," most of the usual stuff, plus molasses, brown sugar, and extra ginger/cloves/cinnamon and ground mace.

    It comes out very dark, almost like it's burnt, but it's complex-tasting and very yummy!

  2. I too have been baking up a storm. In the last three days: three pies, homemade bread, pancakes (do those count?) and countless other delicious treats to get us through the snow. Must be the weather.

  3. I think every week should be assessed by its baked goods because really, what else matters? I would like some of that chocolate cake, please

  4. When I read your baking/cooking posts, I sometimes think I should go more for quality over quantity in baking, but then, just now when I read the part about no more pie after breakfast pie, I thought, oh no, pie for lunch and snacks is what I want.

    As long as I can keep reading about and drooling just a little bit over the amazing ingredients you use, I'll continue to be okay with my simple baked goods in mass quantities...but still, a tart pan pumpkin pie. Lovely.



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