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gfron1

Creations from The Art of the Dessert

138 posts in this topic

I had a problem with The Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. I hope Ann will have the answer to the problem I had.

As I'm still in recovery mode from a hip operation, I thought I'd treat myself to the comfort of the Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. And it looked less demanding than most other recipes, not calling for lifting hot things from the oven. As I have a stool in the kitchen, hanging around to stir from time to time did not present a problem

I followed the recipe exactly, using the half and half for the Turkish Rice recipe. To my surprise it turned out to be a liquidy gruel, not "creamy and loose." The Rose-Water Pudding didn't "gel" completely, but was acceptably thinckened. I like rosewater flavor, so the dessert's flavor was agreeably subtle and suited what I was looking for in my present frame of mind.

The problem was the texture/consistency. I assume there is supposed to be some sort of pleasant interplay between the texture of the two elements.

Two possiblilities:

1. There's a misprint. The recipe as written calls for only 1/3 cup basmati rice to 2 quarts of half and half. This strikes me as a strange ratio for a rice pudding, but I tend to follow a recipe exactly the first time.

2. Sometimes grains and beans behave weirdly if they are too old.

I did test and retest this recipe.

It does sound like a lot of liquid to the rice but as I stirred it and stirred some more, it thickened and I was really happy with the texture. And the topping of the rose water pudding seemed to marry well with it. I don't know what to tell you here, it may be my taste for these thick kind of porridgey sort of textures. It was liquidy, but the rice was cooked. I would say that you picked a recipe that needs a bit more stirring than you may have been up for. The recipe I like even better is the Red and White Parfait on page 200. Hope I shed some light here.

Ann

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I had a problem with The Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. I hope Ann will have the answer to the problem I had.

As I'm still in recovery mode from a hip operation, I thought I'd treat myself to the comfort of the Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. And it looked less demanding than most other recipes, not calling for lifting hot things from the oven. As I have a stool in the kitchen, hanging around to stir from time to time did not present a problem

I followed the recipe exactly, using the half and half for the Turkish Rice recipe. To my surprise it turned out to be a liquidy gruel, not "creamy and loose." The Rose-Water Pudding didn't "gel" completely, but was acceptably thinckened. I like rosewater flavor, so the dessert's flavor was agreeably subtle and suited what I was looking for in my present frame of mind.

The problem was the texture/consistency. I assume there is supposed to be some sort of pleasant interplay between the texture of the two elements.

Two possiblilities:

1. There's a misprint. The recipe as written calls for only 1/3 cup basmati rice to 2 quarts of half and half. This strikes me as a strange ratio for a rice pudding, but I tend to follow a recipe exactly the first time.

2. Sometimes grains and beans behave weirdly if they are too old.

I did test and retest this recipe.

It does sound like a lot of liquid to the rice but as I stirred it and stirred some more, it thickened and I was really happy with the texture. And the topping of the rose water pudding seemed to marry well with it. I don't know what to tell you here, it may be my taste for these thick kind of porridgey sort of textures. It was liquidy, but the rice was cooked. I would say that you picked a recipe that needs a bit more stirring than you may have been up for. The recipe I like even better is the Red and White Parfait on page 200. Hope I shed some light here.

Ann

Thanks for your response. Don't misunderstand. I thought I had done something wrong. The taste was lovely and I will probably make it again as I love rose flavoring. When I discovered how liquidy it turned out, I plated it more like a soup than a pudding, adding a few candied cherries in syrup I'd made with the last of this year's local sour cherries. It was pretty as well as delicately luscious. The pudding which did thicken gave it mouth feel. And I particularly like desserts that depend on flavor rather than cloying sweetness.

I think the rice may not have been as fresh and didn't give off as much starch. The rice cream never coated the back of the spoon enough to make a trail in it. I actually set the timer for each stage to be sure I didn't short time it; then when it looked so liquidy, cooked it a bit more. (In fact, I pulled out some of the rice and smashed it into a paste to stimulate thickening.) Could I have not have had the heat high enough? I used a diffuser to be sure not to burn the half and half.

I'm looking forward to other confections. I am happy to see that you not only give weight measurements, but that you specify which chocolates you use in some of your recipes. I usually buy the Valrhona guanaja in 3 kilo pkgs, but next time I'll get the Caribe as I'm lplanning to try some of your cakes. It's also helpful to see Pouilly Fuisse, not just white wine, and particular brands of sherry rather than a generic term, etc. I believe in doing it your way as near as possible the first time; alterations, if any, after. And lastly, thanks for not making an outsized coffee table book.


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I had a few extra eclairs that I shared with some friends (just dropped them and ran). These were a few days old, but recrisped as per the recipe. Here's what one friend, a local newspaper writer had to say,

The treats themselves: scrumptious! The filling was a surprise -- this ain't your mama's creme-filled eclair! -- and reminded us of tiramisu with its cocoa and coffee flavor. Where the aforementioned Mama's eclair and creme puff usually are soggy, sweet and goopy, your elegant pastries were sophisticated in their lack of sweetness and very light. If you ever plan to put out a plate of those little creme puffs, you'd better allow 5 or 6 per guest, because I could suck those babies DOWN!

There was definitely a slight liquor flavor. It was so delicate, I thought I might even be imagining it because of the dessert reminding me of tiramisu, thinking I was tasting the marsala wine. But Wally thought it was rum.

Because the traditional Mama's eclair is a favorite from my childhood and a sin in which I rarely indulge these days, I (alone) somewhat missed the soggy-goopy factor. "Oh, grow up, Dee!" I told myself. "You can get that sort of crap at Dunkin' Donuts!" So thank you, also, for expanding my horizons.

I'm not sure what chocolate flavor she is referring to...just espresso and rum, but I thought I would share this b/c its a fun write-up.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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I had a problem with The Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. I hope Ann will have the answer to the problem I had.

As I'm still in recovery mode from a hip operation, I thought I'd treat myself to the comfort of the Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. And it looked less demanding than most other recipes, not calling for lifting hot things from the oven. As I have a stool in the kitchen, hanging around to stir from time to time did not present a problem

I followed the recipe exactly, using the half and half for the Turkish Rice recipe. To my surprise it turned out to be a liquidy gruel, not "creamy and loose." The Rose-Water Pudding didn't "gel" completely, but was acceptably thinckened. I like rosewater flavor, so the dessert's flavor was agreeably subtle and suited what I was looking for in my present frame of mind.

The problem was the texture/consistency. I assume there is supposed to be some sort of pleasant interplay between the texture of the two elements.

Two possiblilities:

1. There's a misprint. The recipe as written calls for only 1/3 cup basmati rice to 2 quarts of half and half. This strikes me as a strange ratio for a rice pudding, but I tend to follow a recipe exactly the first time.

2. Sometimes grains and beans behave weirdly if they are too old.

I did test and retest this recipe.

It does sound like a lot of liquid to the rice but as I stirred it and stirred some more, it thickened and I was really happy with the texture. And the topping of the rose water pudding seemed to marry well with it. I don't know what to tell you here, it may be my taste for these thick kind of porridgey sort of textures. It was liquidy, but the rice was cooked. I would say that you picked a recipe that needs a bit more stirring than you may have been up for. The recipe I like even better is the Red and White Parfait on page 200. Hope I shed some light here.

Ann

Thanks for your response. Don't misunderstand. I thought I had done something wrong. The taste was lovely and I will probably make it again as I love rose flavoring. When I discovered how liquidy it turned out, I plated it more like a soup than a pudding, adding a few candied cherries in syrup I'd made with the last of this year's local sour cherries. It was pretty as well as delicately luscious. The pudding which did thicken gave it mouth feel. And I particularly like desserts that depend on flavor rather than cloying sweetness.

I think the rice may not have been as fresh and didn't give off as much starch. The rice cream never coated the back of the spoon enough to make a trail in it. I actually set the timer for each stage to be sure I didn't short time it; then when it looked so liquidy, cooked it a bit more. (In fact, I pulled out some of the rice and smashed it into a paste to stimulate thickening.) Could I have not have had the heat high enough? I used a diffuser to be sure not to burn the half and half.

I'm looking forward to other confections. I am happy to see that you not only give weight measurements, but that you specify which chocolates you use in some of your recipes. I usually buy the Valrhona guanaja in 3 kilo pkgs, but next time I'll get the Caribe as I'm lplanning to try some of your cakes. It's also helpful to see Pouilly Fuisse, not just white wine, and particular brands of sherry rather than a generic term, etc. I believe in doing it your way as near as possible the first time; alterations, if any, after. And lastly, thanks for not making an outsized coffee table book.

When I made this, the pudding really did thicken, so it's possible that the rice was different enough that there was a problem, although it's hard to figure. But I do know that there are so many variables. For instance, in the Wellington and Vanilla Nut cookies, I call for almond paste, and specifically NOT Marzipan. But when I demonstated the Wellingtons in a different area of the country, the only Almond Paste they had for me was Solo brand. And the sugar content was higher than the almond, making it more like marzipan. So the cookie really looked different. I used AA Almond paste for testing purposes and the difference was marked. And Solo was an Almond Paste. So all of this factors in. But just know how much I appreciate your trying the book and the recipes and any guidance or help, don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks,

Ann

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Blackberry Fool - blackberry puree in whipped cream on a split croissant square.

gallery_41282_4652_25123.jpg

My spouse loved this because it wasn't too sweet. Really nice taste, and once you get past the croissant dough making, its very simple. I put too much blackberry puree in the whipped cream so it is a bit runny.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Just to update: As I liked the flavor of the pudding and the contrast between the two elements, I tried it again using a new batch of rice, stirring a bit more and cooking the rice pudding about 20 minutes longer than called for. The pudding was less liquidy this time. I think using light cream rather than half and half would also make it tighter, but I think I'll keep it this way and skip the extra calories. :laugh:

I went online and checked out a variety of rice pudding recipes and it seems that those from Asia tend to have a similar rice:liquid ratio.

I had a problem with The Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. I hope Ann will have the answer to the problem I had.

As I'm still in recovery mode from a hip operation, I thought I'd treat myself to the comfort of the Turkish Rice and Rose Water Pudding. And it looked less demanding than most other recipes, not calling for lifting hot things from the oven. As I have a stool in the kitchen, hanging around to stir from time to time did not present a problem

I followed the recipe exactly, using the half and half for the Turkish Rice recipe. To my surprise it turned out to be a liquidy gruel, not "creamy and loose." The Rose-Water Pudding didn't "gel" completely, but was acceptably thinckened. I like rosewater flavor, so the dessert's flavor was agreeably subtle and suited what I was looking for in my present frame of mind.

The problem was the texture/consistency. I assume there is supposed to be some sort of pleasant interplay between the texture of the two elements.

Two possiblilities:

1. There's a misprint. The recipe as written calls for only 1/3 cup basmati rice to 2 quarts of half and half. This strikes me as a strange ratio for a rice pudding, but I tend to follow a recipe exactly the first time.

2. Sometimes grains and beans behave weirdly if they are too old.

I did test and retest this recipe.

It does sound like a lot of liquid to the rice but as I stirred it and stirred some more, it thickened and I was really happy with the texture. And the topping of the rose water pudding seemed to marry well with it. I don't know what to tell you here, it may be my taste for these thick kind of porridgey sort of textures. It was liquidy, but the rice was cooked. I would say that you picked a recipe that needs a bit more stirring than you may have been up for. The recipe I like even better is the Red and White Parfait on page 200. Hope I shed some light here.

Ann

Thanks for your response. Don't misunderstand. I thought I had done something wrong. The taste was lovely and I will probably make it again as I love rose flavoring. When I discovered how liquidy it turned out, I plated it more like a soup than a pudding, adding a few candied cherries in syrup I'd made with the last of this year's local sour cherries. It was pretty as well as delicately luscious. The pudding which did thicken gave it mouth feel. And I particularly like desserts that depend on flavor rather than cloying sweetness.

I think the rice may not have been as fresh and didn't give off as much starch. The rice cream never coated the back of the spoon enough to make a trail in it. I actually set the timer for each stage to be sure I didn't short time it; then when it looked so liquidy, cooked it a bit more. (In fact, I pulled out some of the rice and smashed it into a paste to stimulate thickening.) Could I have not have had the heat high enough? I used a diffuser to be sure not to burn the half and half.

I'm looking forward to other confections. I am happy to see that you not only give weight measurements, but that you specify which chocolates you use in some of your recipes. I usually buy the Valrhona guanaja in 3 kilo pkgs, but next time I'll get the Caribe as I'm lplanning to try some of your cakes. It's also helpful to see Pouilly Fuisse, not just white wine, and particular brands of sherry rather than a generic term, etc. I believe in doing it your way as near as possible the first time; alterations, if any, after. And lastly, thanks for not making an outsized coffee table book.

When I made this, the pudding really did thicken, so it's possible that the rice was different enough that there was a problem, although it's hard to figure. But I do know that there are so many variables. For instance, in the Wellington and Vanilla Nut cookies, I call for almond paste, and specifically NOT Marzipan. But when I demonstated the Wellingtons in a different area of the country, the only Almond Paste they had for me was Solo brand. And the sugar content was higher than the almond, making it more like marzipan. So the cookie really looked different. I used AA Almond paste for testing purposes and the difference was marked. And Solo was an Almond Paste. So all of this factors in. But just know how much I appreciate your trying the book and the recipes and any guidance or help, don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks,

Ann


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Rob - thanks so much for starting this thread. I just got this book out of the library and I can't wait to start baking. Unfortunately holiday plans are going to hold this up for a bit but at my first opportunity.... It's going to take me awhile to figure out where to start. I think I might try the caramel nut cake you posted a picture of. MMMmmmmm.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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You're welcome. I've been in a personal whirlwind the past 2 weeks, and I'm taking off for a long hike this weekend, but then I'll be back at it. I'm shooting for the birdseed cake since she said its the cake the launched her career.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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You're welcome.  I've been in a personal whirlwind the past 2 weeks, and I'm taking off for a long hike this weekend, but then I'll be back at it.  I'm shooting for the birdseed cake since she said its the cake the launched her career.

That is another one I'm seriously considering.


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I thought I would never get this one done! Life has gotten in the way of my dessert making, but I finally finished the Birdseed Cake. This is the cake that the book says launched her career. Its my favorite type - multi-day/multi-component - high payout.

I have got to say this is the best cake I've ever had in my mouth. Maybe that's an overstatement, but really, I can't remember anything with this many great components working together. The buttercream (I've only made buttercream a few times) is so incredibly silky, and the nougatine was a perfect addition to add texural character. So here it is:

gallery_41282_4652_16353.jpg

gallery_41282_4652_27992.jpg

The cake is chocolate almond genoise. The bottom layer is soaked with rum syrup, topped with chocolate buttercream, another layer of genoise soaked with rum syrup, ganache, more genoise soaked with kirsch syrup, plain buttercream with crushed almond nougatine, the final layer of genoise, covered in light chocolate buttercream.

For me this was great because it helped me resolve my simple syrup soaking phobia. And was my first buttercream decorated dessert (I've used it in other desserts but not as the exterior decoration). I would love to spend a week with a pastry chef and learn/practice basic decorating skills...but that's for another time.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Looks awesome but does the book offer any explanation as to why it's called "Birdseed Cake"? Just curious since you didn't mention any type of seeds as a component of the cake.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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:) Sorry...its a family story how her kids used to call it that. There were no birdseeds harmed in the making of that cake.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Rob, it looks fabulous! Another busy week for me but I hope to start baking from this book soon. I was thinking of just starting at the beginning and working through all the recipes that interested me. I can hardly wait!


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I hadn't realized that anyone had responded to tthe recipe page. I'm impressed at all the desserts that have been made. If I can answer any questions or help someone in any way, don't hesitate to ask. Hope to hear from you.

Thanks,

Ann

Hi Ann, just wondering how many ounces you use per cup of AP flour? I'm guessing by your description that it is 4-1/2 oz but since you offered to answer questions I thought I would ask. :) Oh, also for cake flour since you use that quite a bit as well.


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Tonight I reached my limit. I made the Chocolate Toffee Torte. It was good, but it was just too much for me. So much chocolate and so much butter. I really like how she works in crunchy (toffee and nougatine) into her buttercream. This was a dense, moist chocolate cake base, topped with chocolate buttercream and walnut toffee, ganache and ganache creme. I tried to draw a walnut on the top in a denser ganache and my friends couldn't decide if it was a brain or a vagina. Oh well...

gallery_41282_4652_34851.jpg

gallery_41282_4652_5702.jpg

gallery_41282_4652_5086.jpg


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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hmmm...the brain I can extrapolate, but ?? :biggrin: ps. where do your friends work :smile:

nonetheless looks roof-of-the-mouth stickingly glorious

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Well, the vagina reference we'll just blame on my poor drawing skills, but my friends do work for a mental health agency, so you never know what's going on in their heads :wink: The leftovers ended up being taken to a local knitting circle where it was a huge hit - even in retrospect, it was too much for me.

Tonight its near 90F so I went for something cooler - the espresso succès with espresso ice cream. Very fast and easy. I enjoyed it. This was my first succè, and I started a topic to learn more about them. My assumption is that, in general, they are intended more to be a platform for something else, rather than the focus of the dessert. I enjoyed the succè - almond and espresso. A friend that I shared it with said he much more enjoyed the ice cream, so he found the succè to be stronger than he would have preferred. The ice cream was a nice strong espresso flavor and very creamy. I have some extra that will probaby make an appearance next weekend.

gallery_41282_4652_19295.jpg


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Thank you so much for this topic. I was just given this book as a gift, and viewing your photos is helping me decide which recipe to make first. Everything you have made is just beautiful!

-L

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My gap in production has been due to a lot of travelling. But, I'm home now and ready to get back at this book. Tonight I made the Apricot and custard danish sandwiches. Apricot pastry cream, the pastry cream worked into a bavoroise (if I understand the term correctly), apricot puree with cream sherry, and puff pastry. I used the new Trader Joe's puff - I know I'm a slacker - but it was perfect. I prefer my desserts very sweet, but my spouse doesn't. I thought this was good, he thought it was super. I served them at a party and they were gobbled very quickly with fanfare. With the TJ puff cheat, this was a very quick dessert to make.

gallery_41282_4652_19577.jpg


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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I hadn't realized that anyone had responded to tthe recipe page. I'm impressed at all the desserts that have been made. If I can answer any questions or help someone in any way, don't hesitate to ask. Hope to hear from you.

Thanks,

Ann

Hi Ann, just wondering how many ounces you use per cup of AP flour? I'm guessing by your description that it is 4-1/2 oz but since you offered to answer questions I thought I would ask. :) Oh, also for cake flour since you use that quite a bit as well.

Sorry to take so long to get back to you, I actually was away doing a demo on a Holland America cruise. Great fun. Anyway, to answer your question, I use 140 grams for all purpose flour and 120 grams for cake flour- that's per cup. In the back of the book, is a whole table of conversions, especially eggs from grams to liquid cup measures.

The pictures of the desserts here really are looking good. Hope I can continue to answer any questions you might have.

Ann

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The first recipe in the book - Orange Apricot Tart. Almond genoise layered with fresh orange marmalade, apricot paste, and orange/apricot buttercream.

gallery_41282_4652_14529.jpg

gallery_41282_4652_95720.jpg


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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(Torte?) When I peeked at the book, the cake was covered instead in fondant, so I've been dying to see the original version. It looks and sounds terrific!


Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Aha! Very observant. I was kind of disappointed that mine wasn't as pretty, but I realized that she had fondant on top of the buttercream - especially since that buttercream is pretty chunky.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Did you like it? I've been eyeing that one up as well. I had an occassion I thought it would be perfect for but it turned out the guest of honour doesn't like apricot so I'm still waiting for an opportunity. I might have to make it just because. :)


Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Did I like it :/ .... The person I made it for really liked it which is ultimately the goal. I, however, continue my inability to properly soak my cakes. I left them a bit dry, so as a result, I enjoyed the marmalade immensely, the buttercream quite a bit, but the cakes were just ok - but my fault, not the recipe's.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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      Hayesville Elementary School was typical of the architecture of grade schools built in the early 1960’s-an L-shaped, non-descript building painted in drab green and grey. The assembly room, cafeteria and administrative offices anchored the building with the classrooms jutting out from the principal’s office. I started the school year in Mrs. Rhonda Sample’s second grade class. She was young, blond and attractive, totally unlike the spinster vision I had of the teacher that awaited me at my new school. The highlight of the school year was the annual “Open House at Hayesville.” Students showcased their talents, dazzling parents with displays of frogs and snakes in aquariums, samples of cursive writing on paper chains hung over the blackboard and paper mache busts of historic American figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Mothers and fathers could take a tour of the gleaming, stainless steel kitchen where Mrs. Fox prepared our hot lunches each day-warm, billowing cinnamon rolls dripping with powdered sugar frosting and her buttery, oven-fried chicken. But the most anticipated event of Open House at Hayesville was the annual Cakewalk Raffle -- a silly fun dance around the classroom. The winner won a cake and the proceeds went to fund other activities at school.

      We cut footprints out of colored construction paper and pasted them in a large circle on the spotless, pink vinyl-tiled floor. Each “foot” was given a number from one to twenty. Red, white and blue streamers were tacked on the outer walls and then brought to the center of the ceiling to define the center point of the cakewalk circle. When the room was ready, Mrs. Sample turned on the lights and opened the door, welcoming a parade of Mother’s who pranced into the room carrying Tupperware cake caddies, Pyrex baking dishes, glass cake domes and disposable aluminum trays coddling their precious cake creations.

      Three long tables were placed against the wall and covered with proper linen tablecloths. The tables served as the stage upon which the cakes would strut their stuff. The chorus line of cakes went on and on through the annals of cakedom-Chiffon, Angel Food, Devils Food, Sponge Cake, Pound Cake, Marble Cakes, Chocolate Torts and Jelly Rolls. There were cakes garnished with coconut, dusted with nonpareils, frosted with peanut butter, sprinkled with peppermints, and dotted with spiced gum drops. I entered the Cakewalk over and over until I won, seemingly always at the end of the evening when very few of the best cakes were left on the table. While Mother’s “Burnt Sugar Cake with 7-Minute Frosting” was good, it would be a total embarrassment in front of ones classmates for a kid to choose the cake made by his mother. No, should I win the Cakewalk and should it still be available, I would choose the Spiced Praline Crunch Cake made by Bernie Bennett’s Mother.

      The historical importance of the Cakewalk wasn’t a part of Mrs. Sample’s second-grade curriculum at Hayesville in 1964. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we were insulated from the racial struggles of the South at that time. I was a young white boy in a middle-class American family. I led the colorful life of a kid, yet I lived in a country that saw only shades of black and white.

      Only three years before my second grade, in the Spring of 1961 the Freedom Riders set out on a campaign to test the Supreme Court Ruling that upheld the segregation of blacks and whites at bus depots, waiting rooms, lunch counters and restrooms throughout the South. The Freedom Riders were met with ignorance and violence. African-Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountain I drank from. I never knew.
      + + + The Cakewalk played an important role in the history of America -- a long-forgotten chapter that tells the story of the struggles forced upon the enslaved, who in spite of their burdens rose above the oppression of race and found a new form of the expression of freedom.

      The seeds of the Cakewalk were sown in the segregated deep South sometime around 1850, as a parody of the way plantation owners escorted their ladies into a formal ball. The women wore long, ruffled dresses of silk and glass beads with long, white gloves that reached above the elbow. The gentlemen were outfitted with top hats and tail coats. Couples pranced and paraded into lavishly decorated ballrooms, arm-in-arm in high-stepping fashion, marching into the center of the party, often to the music played by a banjo-strumming fiddler who worked in the fields.

      The winner of the dance contest sometimes won a cake presented by the master of the house, leading many to think this is where the name the “Cakewalk” comes from.

      African-American slaves who watched the proceedings took the dance on as their own in the yards outside their shacks, mocking what they saw as the frivolous customs of the plantation owners. According to the oral histories of slaves and their descendants, the Cakewalk was a marriage of traditional African tribal dances and rhythms combined with the dance steps of the upper classes. When the land barons and ladies saw the slaves dance, they missed the satirical element entirely, but the popularity of the Cakewalk had been established among the elite and it now transcended the boundaries of class.

      Wealthy farmers went on to sponsor competitions between plantations and the dance moved to large cities in the South and then to the East where it became a staple of traveling minstrel shows and ultimately to Vaudeville, the lights of Broadway and throughout Europe.

      On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation with these humble words, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Inspired by the renewed freedom gifted to them through Emancipation, a freedom that allowed them to express themselves openly through dance and music, African-Americans led a creative revival that would usher in new forms of dance and music that had never before been seen or heard. The artistic contributions of former slaves and their descendants would forever change the creative landscape in America.


      From this humble beginning in the sweltering, humid heat and back-breaking work of picking cotton, African-American artists penned the notes of a new from of music called ragtime that would eventually evolve into jazz. It was the Cakewalk, unintentionally and ironically, that crossed the bounds of race and class status as it burst into the popular consciousness of America By the 1890’s, African-American actors, dancers and musicians had started forming their own production companies and staged versions of the Cakewalk became all the rage.

      Scott Joplin, (1867-1917), was an early musical pioneer of the Cakewalk style of music. Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin wrote and performed in the style of rag—a combination of dance and marching music entwined with the “ragged” rhythms and soul of African music. One of Joplin’s most famous pieces was “The Ragtime Dance,” (published in 1902), that included a Cakewalk:

      “Turn left and do the “Cakewalk Prance, Turn the other way and do the “Slow drag, Now take your lady to the World’s Fair and do the ragtime dance. Cakewalk soft and sweetly, be sure your steps done neatly.”

      The vaudeville team of Mr. Egbert Williams and Mr. George Walker were two of the first African-Americans to take their musical show on the road in a grand scale. Crowds packed into The New York theatre in 1903 for 53 stunning performances of song and Cakewalk dances in William’s and Walker’s new production “In Dahomey” -- the first all-black musical to be performed on a grand scale in a major Broadway venue. After its raging success in America, “In Dahomey” crossed the Atlantic, performing for seven months of standing-room-only audiences at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London before returning to New York.

      By the turn of the century, Americans were moving off farms and into towns and cities in record numbers. Ragtime music transformed into a new genre called “Jazz,” with emerging talents like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington playing at the Cotton Club in New York.

      By 1930, the public fascination with dance theatre began to fade as America was lured by the intrigue of other forms of entertainment like talking motion pictures. But the early concepts and the heritage established by the Cakewalk endured throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st, namely, as a contest to raise money at church socials and school functions. The Cakewalk also delivered new words into the American vocabulary-“take the cake,” and “it’s a real cakewalk,” are terms used to refer to something that is “the best,” or a job easily done. Cakewalk software is a cutting-edge firm today that produces award-winning digital audio and recording software to the music industry.

      + + +
      I’m nearing my 54th birthday in November, some 46 years removed from my second-grade class. I had been lost until that Cakewalk at Yoke’s, yet now I’m found. I’ve learned a lesson in respect through the Cakewalk -- a lesson that taught me how emancipation allowed the enslaved to express themselves through music and dance. A lesson that freedom is an unalienable right bestowed upon all Americans. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the place that this little ditty we call the Cakewalk plays in the history of America, opening our eyes to a world that was color blind.

      I found my personal truth in the Cakewalk -- a truth far richer and deeper than the dreams of a boy winning a cake.

      * * *
      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food and reviews restaurants. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By Tennessee Cowboy
      I'd like help from anyone on making the best Pistachio Ice cream.  This forum is a continuation of a conversation I started in my "introduction" post, which you can see at 
      I recently made Pistachio ice cream using the Jeni's Ice Cream Cookbook.  I love Pistachio ice cream, so I've launched an experiment to find the best recipe.  I am going to try two basic approaches:  The Modernist Cookbook gelato, which uses no cream at all, and ice cream; I'm also experimenting with two brands of pistachio paste and starting with pistachios and no paste.  Lisa Shock and other People who commented on the earlier thread said that the key is to start with the best Pistachio Paste.    
      Any advice is appreciated.  Here is where I am now:  I purchased a brand of pistachio paste through nuts.com named "Love 'n Bake."  When it arrived, it was 1/2 pistachios and 1/2 sugar and olive oil.   I purchased a second batch through Amazon from FiddleyFarms; it is 100% pistachios.  I bought raw pistachios through nuts.com.  The only raw ones were from California.  If anyone has advice on using the MC recipe or on best approaches to ice cream with this ingredient I'd appreciate them.  I will report progress on my experiment in this forum.
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