Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Upcoming baking extravaganza

Some baking-related things of excitement will occur in the next couple weeks.

1. My dad's birthday is in one week. His party is Sunday. This is a big birthday, so a big party (relatively). I'm going to bake him a birthday cake. He's not really that big on cakes, but Mom's making a bourbon pie (Maker's Mark-themed party) so I'll make a cake. He loves lemon meringue pie, so I was thinking of a vanilla cake with lemon curd between the layers and frosted with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, to simulate a lemon meringue pie (I could do a real meringue over frosting, but the cooking facilities where we're having the party are sub-par, and I'm not so sure about frosting it a day before and driving it out there).

My question is, is this a bad idea in the heat? We're having the party on Sunday afternoon in CT, so I'm not sure if it'll melt or anything. I made a very similar cake for Michelle's going away party last year (although with regular buttercream instead of the meringue buttercream, which I think would be sturdier) and it was a bit slippy in the car. Should I make a small amount of buttercream to dam the edges so the lemon curd doesn't leak out? Would the meringue buttercream be good enough for a dam? I think this'll be 3 or 4 layers, so leakage would cause a problem if it happens. However, I'm going to bake it Friday, make the curd and frosting Friday or Saturday morning, and assemble on Sunday, shortly before the party, so hopefully that will minimize any potential problems.

2. Peach pie! I made a peach pie one time last year (well, probably more than once), and I cut up all the peaches and I was going so slowly that I worried some would get a bit brown (but do peaches? I'm not entirely sure. Anyway...), but I was about out of lemon juice, so I tossed them with lime juice.

The pie was amazing.

So I have this peach-lime pie everyone loves, and I am going to enter it in a fair. I've never entered anything but quilts in a fair, so this is a little exciting (I'm also entering my duck sauce cookies, but that'll have its own post). I'm baking a peach lime pie tonight because I need practice before I deliver my beautiful award-winning pie on August 14th. I'm going to make everyone in our book club try it tomorrow and see what they think, and I also need some practice making beautiful pies. My pies are decent looking, but it's really the taste that's so good. However, to win a pie-prize, it needs to look and taste wonderful. So, hmm. I used to be able to make lovely pies with fancy crust edges and everything.

One drawback with this is that peaches certainly aren't cheap, so several trials are hard on my checking account.

I'm also on take 2 of the NY Times chocolate chip cookies. I made the dough last night and baked 9 cookies sans refrigeration, and they were a little on the crispy side. They're for my dad's birthday party, so I'll bake some tonight and probably some tomorrow night, and hopefully one night will yield lovely chewy cookies. I used twice as many chocolate chips, 2 12oz bags, one of semisweet and one of milk. But, um, some of the chips baked up weird, they got all hard and grainy instead of melty. It was very odd. I'd wanted to use chocolate chunks, but I couldn't find any.

Bakey bakey bakey.

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