It’s that time of year ago — time to open up the cookbooks and use family members as guinea pigs for new holiday recipes! Last night’s Sachertorte was more like a Sacher-pancake. It had the chewy consistency of a cake-like Brownie, but Hubby enjoyed it. At least the second attempt rose in the oven and looks pretty good except for some overly brown bits on the bottom and sides. I guess I should have adjusted the oven temperature to accommodate the switch from too-big cake pan to smaller glass dish. Regardless, it is done, and covered in chocolate, and I know my family will eat it even if it would evoke negative-but-friendly comments on The Great British Baking Show. The final step is to write “Sachertorte” on top with melted milk chocolate, but I’m going to quit while I’m ahead! It’s not like my handwriting is overly legible when I’m writing with a pen, never mind with a piping bag. This is a recipe that is better sliced a day or two after baking, so it was a good one to start with.
This morning’s sausage rolls (BBC Food recipe) were more successful than either version of Sachertorte. The rolls that survive the first hour actually taste better cold, but we usually can’t resist them when they come out of the oven. I was going to make a second batch, but Hubby just called to say the frozen puff pastry is sold out, and I have no desire to make my own today. I actually don’t think I’ve made my own since high school cookery class! I stopped making my own pastry after moving to the U.S. because it was just awful. Now I know that European butter contains less water and more fat, so I can blame my made-in-American dry and crumbly pastry on American butter — at least until I give it another try with European butter that is now available here. But that’s not happening this week….
As we only like turkey in small doses and have no desire to have a lot of it hanging around after Thursday, we’re having beef for Thanksgiving. And not just any beef — Italian Pot Roast (Stracotto) from The Joy of Cooking. We love this recipe, but it involves reducing red wine and beef stock down a couple of times which takes time and has in the past made a huge mess on and around the stove. It’s hard to boil 2 cups of liquid down to half a cup without some splatter, and red wine stains so very badly. It may be worth getting my deep pressure cooker from storage to use for that stage — or to be more patient simmering away at the sauce over a lower temperature. You also have to be careful to keep your face away from the pot as inhaling the fumes from a total of 2 1/2 cups of wine can make one quite light-headed. Maybe that’s why I made such a mess the first time I cooked it!
Another favorite beef recipe of ours is Coastal Bend Texas Beef Tenderloin from Better Home and Gardens. The downside to that one is that the whole refrigerator will reek of garlic for the 24 hours I allow it to marinate, but it sure does taste good. The salsa is the perfect complement to the beef as well as to other recipes.
I am going to try one more new recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible tomorrow: Austrian Curd Cheesecake. European desserts are generally less sweet than their American counterparts, and I always enjoyed German cheesecake recipes. Well, there was one that didn’t set and just burst out of the shell and flooded the table…. that was not the best birthday cake I ever made for my daughter! I hope that the Mary Berry recipe will be a good substitute for my favorite recipes until I find my German cookery books which will probably stayed boxed up in storage until after we build the house.
I always like to think that I’d enjoy cooking this much if I just had more time, but summers prove me wrong. I enjoy cooking for family get-togethers, but on a day-to-day basis, I’m much rather be outside working with the bees or gardening. I guess I need to be excited about seeing friends and family to voluntarily slave away at a stove.