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The Supreme eG Pastry and Baking Challenge (Round 1)


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Here's the deal.

The other night I discovered, while posting in my blog, that the recipes most eG'ers wanted were the retro dessert recipes, the buckle, the lemon souffle pudding. At about the same time I was glancing at the dessert thread, saw a couple of posts about pineapple upside down cake, and Ling's comment that she hadn't made one since she was 14 years old.

An idea was born. I said to myself, what if I could get Ling to take a retro dessert recipe and add her special magic. Bring the recipe up to date and garnish it in her inimitable style. That way I could learn what it is that she does to make her desserts look so much better than my desserts.

Well the idea grew somewhat from there and I decided to launch the Challenge.

So here are the rules so far (I'm sure they will change a bit over time as reality strikes). Tonight I will issue the first challenge. I will inform the victim (the challengee?) about my challenge. Once he/she takes up the challenge the clock will start. The challengee will have one week to complete the challenge. Photo's should be posted documenting progress and problems during the week. By the end of the week the challengee will post their completed work for all to see. Recipes of course should be posted to recipeGullet.

Having completed the project the challangee becomes the challenger and throws down the gauntlet for the next week. The challenger is responsible for informing the challenged individual via PM just in case the whole eG world isn't watching this thread. The challengee will be given a period of 24 hours to respond to the challenge (so it might be a good idea to do a little checking and figure out who is around before a challenge is issued).

A Challenge can involve any aspect of pastry or baking. For example "I challenge you to bake a tart using peanut butter and raspberry jam" or "I challenge you to make a dessert using only what I have in my pantry - I will then provide a list of what items are in there". I'm sure we can come up with some very interesting and original ideas.

SO HERE GOES...

LING, I challenge you to take pineapple upside down cake and bring it into this century. You must of course use pineapple, but I won't constrain you to canned, and some form of cherries, maraschino, glace or other.

To accept this challenge, just post - I accept. For this first challenge I am going to add a little extra time, just to see how it plays. So if this challenge is accepted within the next 24 hours you will have until October 7 to complete the Challenge.

Edited by Smithy
Adjusted title to show sequence (log)
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I accept! (And might I say, very honoured to be tagged first! :raz: )

So...what I need to do is a modern take on the pineapple upside down cake. I guess I'll post my thought process so far.

First, there are three components to the cake that I think I need to keep--the cherries, the pineapple, and the basic butter cake.

Next, I thought of what interesting combinations or flavours paired with pineapple I've seen recently. My first thought was pineapple sage, which I had as part of a Mistral dessert. The second was pineapple mint, which I had infused in ganache and made into molded chocolates by EGer Fwed.

So if I don't find pineapple mint or pineapple sage in the next few days, perhaps I will just use mint or sage in my pineapple cake. I would prefer sage though.

My next idea was whether it would be possible to work the cake idea into tart form. I love doing tarts--they are beautiful in their simplicity, and the fillings are limited only by your imagination. I've eaten traditional fruit tart with a layer of jam and butter cake, topped with pastry cream and glazed fruits, and I think this form would lend itself readily to this particular challenge.

The pineapple part...I haven't thought of anything particularly creative to do. Perhaps just pineapple carpaccio...I've seen a recipe for that somewhere. I think it's in the Flo Braker book.

So here I have my first idea--a sage sable crust that's spread with a cherry filling, topped with a butter cake or sponge batter, then baked. Then I'll top it with pastry cream and bruleed pineapple carpaccio (as I need some caramelization flavour as this won't be baked upside down.)

The second idea I have kicking around stemmed from the sage idea. When I think of sage in desserts, my first thought was to do a sage and semolina cake. I could fill the centers with cherry filling, but haven't thought of an interesting way to incorporate the pineapple yet.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Is this kinda like a game show, where those of us on the sidelines can offer suggestions?! As in - Ling check out the Cake Bible for a great pineapple treatment. I think it has something to do with pink peppercorns but I can't remember and if I could find the book, that would really help things along! :laugh: But maybe we're supposed to be silent spectators....

The game's afoot!

This is gonna be so much fun! Great idea, Kerry!

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Is this kinda like a game show, where those of us on the sidelines can offer suggestions?!  As in - Ling check out the Cake Bible for a great pineapple treatment.  I think it has something to do with pink peppercorns but I can't remember and if I could find the book, that would really help things along!  :laugh:  But maybe we're supposed to be silent spectators....

The game's afoot!

This is gonna be so much fun!  Great idea, Kerry!

Of course, everyone must get involved. But beware, Ling could pick you as the next challengee!

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For more classic idea's to make over, check out Richard Sax's classic home desserts. There are a lot of great, retro desserts.

Oh and for a reference..... a fantastic pineapple upside down cake that uses NO CHERRIES. Check out CI. They have a ginger/coconut variation as well.

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Is this kinda like a game show, where those of us on the sidelines can offer suggestions?!  As in - Ling check out the Cake Bible for a great pineapple treatment.  I think it has something to do with pink peppercorns but I can't remember and if I could find the book, that would really help things along!  :laugh:  But maybe we're supposed to be silent spectators....

The game's afoot!

This is gonna be so much fun!  Great idea, Kerry!

Love the idea of pink peppercorns with pineapple. Great suggestion!

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Ahh Kerry what a great idea , I am thrilled to follow this thread/challenge .

FOr the pineapple cake , in my family we use to make it with walnuts not cherry , actually I had no idea was with cherry,until i came here in the US, ( maybe in Italy is with walnuts :huh: ), and I havent made that cake in ages , but its good ,another idea I got from Ling mentioning the pineapple mint combo, my mom used to make a dessert with pineapples and a mint pastry cream in the middle , oh ggodness was soo good , why we always forget the simple things??

I am looking foward to see the evolution of this challenge :biggrin:

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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Interesting...I've never seen maraschinos (or any other cherry, for that matter) on a pineapple upside-down cake. Is this a purely American thing, or have I just somehow not encountered it here in Canada?

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I live in Canada and I've never seen a pineapple upside down cake being sold in a bakery, so I have no idea if it's an American thing or not! :smile: The only experience I have with it is the one I made, like 10 years ago, from the Five Roses cookbook, and it had maraschino cherries. The pictures I remember seeing online usually have maraschino cherries as well--they go in the round circle in the middle of the pineapple ring. I just googled it and most of the pictures that came up look like this.

So I guess cherry in some form or another will have to stay. Too bad cherry season is over though...I may have to use frozen ones.

Thought about the challenge a bit more tonight and another idea could be to line a bowl with slices of jelly roll (with cherry or pineapple filling), then make a pineapple or cherry mousse for the center. Then I'd chill it until it was set, and unmold it so it becomes a pineapple cherry bombe. Then I'd serve it with a pinepple sage creme anglaise or something...

Edited by Ling (log)
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What a fantastic idea Kerry! I can't wait to see this idea grow.

My first thought is that pineapple upside down cake is a rather sweet dessert, and I've repeatedly heard Ling say that she doesn't like things so sweet.

So...I might try to add things like cardamom, cinnamon, etc. to add to the complexity. Definitely no maraschino cherries, sorry!

For what it's worth as an American I don't think I've ever seen pineapple upside down cake in a bakery either. I've had it at people's homes and seen it on the menu at a few restaurants though.

The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

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My father was in the New Zealand air force and in 1956 visited the US on a goodwill exchange and returned with the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I remember the first thing Mum made from it was the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, complete with the maraschino cherries. We'd never seen one before. I still have the cookbook, 50 years on.

I've been pondering what I could substitute for apple in a Tarte Tatin - maybe fresh pineapple... and cherries

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What a fantastic idea Kerry! I can't wait to see this idea grow.

My first thought is that pineapple upside down cake is a rather sweet dessert, and I've repeatedly heard Ling say that she doesn't like things so sweet.

So...I might try to add things like cardamom, cinnamon, etc. to add to the complexity. Definitely no maraschino cherries, sorry!

Yeah, that's right. :smile: But it's easy to control the amount of sugar in a tart recipe I'm doing myself. I'll just cut the sugar down like I normally do.

The cardamom idea is great!

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I've been pondering what I could substitute for apple in a Tarte Tatin - maybe fresh pineapple... and cherries

I had the idea for doing a pineapple tarte tartin as well tonight, but I couldn't figure out how to do the cherries in that dessert. It seems a little too easy just to substitute the apples for cherries and pineapple...do you think? :smile:

ETA: I really would like to incorporate the "upside down" idea in some aspect of the dessert, but can't really think of anything. Well, one idea could be to line the bottom of the tart ring (right against the Silpat) with a really thin pineapple ring, and then put the tart crust on top and start building the tart that way...but no one's really going to see the pineapple ring on the bottom, so that's kind of a waste of time. Ideas?

Edited by Ling (log)
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I dunno, when I think of PUDC, I don't want something "challenging" or "sophisticated". I just want a rich moist cake with lots of tart pineapple flavour and a rich gooey sauce. The whole appeal to me of a cake like that is that it's self saucing. You flip it out onto a plate and watch the golden liquid slowly slide down the sides.

Having said that, an idea could be that you could do individual cakes in ramekins and have a modern "twist" be that you first freeze the sauce to make it solid and then put cake batter on top and bake it. Or, you could make it a liquid centered cake by making something like a pineapple-cherry-rum caramel and freezing that as ice-cubes. Same principle as frozen ganache in molten chocolate cakes.

Hrmmm... have you thought about using frozen pineapple concentrate? Theres a really stupendous recipe in The Cooks Book for Pineapple Zabligione using pineapple concentrate & Moscato D'Asti. Unfortunately, I don't have the book in the US but if someone is willing to share it, it could be a nice thing to incorporate into the dessert.

PS: I am a guy.

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Interesting...I've never seen maraschinos (or any other cherry, for that matter) on a pineapple upside-down cake.  Is this a purely American thing, or  have I just somehow not encountered it here in Canada?

I'm Canadian, too, but I also associate maraschino cherries with pineapple upside down cake. However, I've never used maraschino cherries in my pudc since they don't seem to be as readily available in Canada (plus I just think they're nasty!) as they may be in the US. Maybe Canadians just don't like the way they taste?

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I'm a Canadian (adopted) too and I can't imagine pineapple upside down cake without the cherries. I used to make it years and years ago because I was and still am a lousy baker and it always made me look like I knew what I was doing. My family and friends were easily impressed. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I'd be interested to see how the "upside-down" part could be updated.

As another note, the best Pineapple upside down cake I ever have is not "homemade" (although I have had some very good....and very buttery version). It comes from a box mix, and it is cooked over a campfire inside a makeshift oven my family makes from a cardboard box and some tin foil. The smokiness from the fire goes really, really well with this cake.....and the pineapple keeps the bottom from burning to boot (although I actually like the top being just a little charred). Try it sometime when you're car camping (it's also fun to drag out a 15 liter bottle of liquid nitrogen and make gelato in the middle of death valley, but that's another story in itself)

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Interesting...I've never seen maraschinos (or any other cherry, for that matter) on a pineapple upside-down cake.  Is this a purely American thing, or  have I just somehow not encountered it here in Canada?

My mother didn't bake them with cherries. I've definitely come across cherry-less pineapple upside-down cakes in other contexts, too.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Hi ling

pineapple upside down cake is very retro, it is like a very 70's thing, many church basements were filled with them. These days so many people do not have the time.

steve

When my mother made them in the 70s, upside-down cakes were already very old-fashioned.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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As soon as I saw the challenge I thought about taking a paperthin slice of pineapple, oven drying it and as it comes out of the oven, shaping it into a cup to hold the cake/dessert, and draping the entire thing in some sort of chantilly sauce...for what its worth - Keep charging ahead!

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