Opportunities in Baking
The only drawback to my wonderful Galician range cooker is that, on occasions, it has a mind of its own when it comes to its operating temperature.
Some days the oven will soar up to 200°C in what seems to be seconds. On others it will idle at a cool 100°. Today the oven is behaving perfectly, cooking my buck au vin stew but last week it was a different story…
It was a clear, mild and calm day where there is not a breath of air movement, and my cocina was not for warming up at all. Normally I gauge what mood the range is in before I decide what to bake but it was world baking day and I had a couple of new cake recipes I wanted to try so I went ahead, assuming the oven would heat up if I threw some small logs into its maw.
The result was that my Christmas muffins started to scorch on top whilst still not cooked through. Luckily, muffins only take a few minutes to cook so I was able to rescue them! I think you will agree they look okay in the photo above. And they tasted delicious with our morning cuppa. My ginger loaf cake was not so easily rescued. It uses bicarbonate of soda as its raising agent. Because the oven was so cool, the bicarb continued working, causing the mixture to froth up and over the sides of the tin.
However, I’m of a mind that cake disasters are rarely beyond saving.
The mixture which had overflowed from the tin had cooked in an interesting pattern on the drip tray below (kept there for just such a purpose) and, peeled off, was a surprisingly delicious chewy gingerbread with our morning cuppa. (Yes, we had a double cake morning!) You will have to take my word for the gingerbread as the family scoffed the lot before I could say ‘photo’.
'Baking disasters or just opportunities?'
That left the cake, stuck as it was onto the tin. I left it to cool then carefully cut an oblong from the centre of the tin. I left it to cool in the tin then carefully tipped it upsidedown. As it cooled it set beautifully leaving a moist and sticky ginger loaf. Just how it should be. Oh and it tastes divine!
Then there were the crispy bits stuck around the top of the tin. These I crumbled up and made a gingerbread ice cream which was dessert with plum crumble.
Which all goes to show that in baking, as in life, there are rarely disasters, only opportunities.
Stay safe and well until next month. I’m off to continue editing my second memoir which features tomatoes and other fruits and veg!! Can anyone guess the title from the pic below?
My forthcoming memoir includes some of the items below!...