The quarrel over classification of cheesecake gives me pause.
My favorite dessert in the whole wide world is a pumpkin pie, just set, removed from the oven when the center was a teeny bit wobbly, but now solid. Lots of fresh ginger. Made from fresh, roasted organic pumpkin, of course. Cream, but condensed milk more than acceptable. Flaky crust. Cool. Icebox cold next morning even better, though see remark about crust above.
I love tarts and crostada and whatever name you want to use. Perfect fruit. Perfect custard. These are pies, dammit and with the right apricot, raspberry, apple or pear, yum. Peach? The best of all. The first elegant dessert I made was Julia Child's and even though the custard was runny, it will be my favorite forever and ever. Of course, peaches are the best fruit in the whole wide world as everyone knows.
As far as I'm concerned Tart Tatin is pie. You bake it in Pyrex. You saute the apples in butter and sugar and cover them with a crust. It's pie. That kind of pastry, unlike the solidified batter on the pineapple upside-down cake, makes it a pie.
And Boston cream pie is a cake.
Now, while I love pumpkin pie more than any other dessert, I still would choose cake over pie.
In part, I am skeptical about the existence of the soul, believing it to be a cultural construct. I am not sure I have one, though I certainly feel compassion and can get down when the music calls for it. I do have a stomach, most definitely, and taste buds, and most of all a brain that carries the past and nerve endings that attach personal history to taste buds and said stomach.
Cake is birthday parties, first of all.
Cake is special occasions.
Cake takes more work. Eggs get separated. Whisks spin. Muscles tire. Lots of pans. Butter needs to sit out first. Beaters get licked. There's goo. There is layer after layer. It's more complex. It can be in any shape you want. You can put gummy worms stuck going in and out the frosting as if burrowing into the chocolate earth. There's something light with crumb and texture...if you're lucky. Bad things happen if things go wrong. Skill and weather and chance are all messed up with cake. Cake's a better metaphor for life than pie or even a bowl of cherries.
For someone who was [told she was] allergic to wheat as a child old enough to have built up a memory of five or six birthday cakes of her own plus all the others of cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents and friends, to be denied cake was devastating. Cheesecake has flour mixed into the cream cheese along with the eggs according to parents, and so it, too, was taboo and it, too, was cake. Pie? You could eat the stuff inside the crust, easy. Cake had more mystique. And when, finally, you discovered you could eat it again, cake was still special. Cake was and remains Paradise Regained.
Besides, chocolate cake is so much better than chocolate pie.
Edited by Pontormo, 26 April 2006 - 03:15 PM.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath