Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'll Bring Dessert
Some day, I vow, I will write a cookbook called 'I'll Bring Dessert' since that seems to be my specialty in the world of revolving dinner parties and hostess contributions. Until then, I will have to keep up my repetoire by coming up with interesting desserts to take along.
Tomorrow night I am going to a picnic in the park to listen to an outdoor concert and enjoy our dinner before bugs arrive. I'm bringing dessert, natch.
My first thought was to create something yummy from the chocolate angel food cake I found at the Safeway. I had never eaten -- or even seen-- a chocolate angel food cake, so I thought this could be the basis for something with fresh fruit and cream or custard or something gooey.
This morning, I watched Martha Stewart whip up a fresh caramel sauce and knew that would be my choice -- chocolate cake with custard and caramel sauce. I decided I better taste the cake before I moved forward with the individualized plastic containers I would need to prepare. Yuck! A very chemically chocolate taste. Not a serious yuck, but not a yum either.
I decided the ingredients in caramel sauce were too precious to risk them on an iffy project and began to look elsewhere for inspiration. That's when I realized that Sarah had brought enormous bags of fresh cherries from the farm stands in Gilroy and I still had enough for a calfoutis. That was the good news. The bad news was the realization that a clafoutis, as delish as it can be and as perfect a summer dish as ever existed, is not the right kind of thing to eat on a picnic, especially a picnic on the grass. Clafoutis is usually of pudding consistency and I felt that I wanted something in attractive, individual serving sizes.
That's when I remembered my stash of Shopping Detective finds.
I had recently purchased a few different packs of something called a Cupcake Creations TM mold -- described as 'elegant bakery quality baking cups' on the colorful package.
They are made in Sweden, which means you have a genuine Swedish dish on your hands!
The basic concept is that these wraps or cooking containers are a cross between the kind of paper we are used to baking with and the new resin molds, strong enough to stand on their own in the oven and in servings so that you do not need a muffin tin or separate pastry pan.
Part of the appeal is the wide range of shapes, sizes and colors available.
I bought some blue and white cupcake molds and some fluted white and gold tubs that would be right for a lemon square or a small eclair. You place the liners on a cookie sheet and bake. They do not affect the taste of your foods and they are made of natural paper, so you aren't cooking with odd chemicals.
You can toss the container after eating the pastry inside. Then you have to buy more. Both of my packs had 32 units in each; www.createcupcakes.com.
I have decided to make my clafoutis recipe with an extra dash of flour to make it a little more cake-y and to bake up a few dozen in these beautiful papers. They will be the perfect picnic accessory and a good excuse to go wild with the butter and brown sugar.