Friday, December 5, 2008

Thankful it got on the table...

Two weeks ago, we enjoyed a multi-family, potluck Thanksgiving dinner at the most gorgeous house ever in Tiburon. Views of the Bay and if you leaned your head just right, the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a perfect, delicious, really pretty joyous day.

But earlier that morning, things were not looking so hot. In fact if you were to ask my mother or Daniel what I had been up to just four hours before I was peacefully sipping wine and engaging in civilized conversation, they would have described a scene involving a half dressed raging baker, devastated by the results of her toils.

I'd decided to make two desserts for the feast - one dairy, one pareve. The dairy one came from New York magazine - a deep dish pumpkin pie with walnut streusel, a cranberry jam, and cream cheese topping. I made the pie crust and the filling the day before and the walnut crumble and the cranberry jam went on Thanksgiving morning without a hitch...

Topped with walnut crumble

Pouring on the cranberries

The cream cheese topping didn't spread as smoothly, but my mom and I put our baking brains together, and came up with the notion of adding additional heavy cream to make it softer and of squeezing it on with a plastic ziplock bag instead of spreading on with a spatula.

The cream cheese spread

Problem solved. It wasn't the most beautiful dessert ever, but I had a good feeling about it. But please note that there is no picture of the complete pie. That is because it was at this point that chaos ensued. I pulled the pareve dessert out of the oven - an invented ginger pomegranate pear cake, which I planned to top with pomegranate seeds, a pomegranate glaze, and crystallized ginger bits.

As it emerged, the cake looked beautiful - just as how I'd pictured. So I ran to get dressed, and asked my mom to start making the glaze and to take the cake out of the pan. I was in the bedroom, when I heard my dear mother say to Daniel, "Oh she's going to be so mad." I took a deep breath and called out to find out what had happened. Long story short, the bottom of the cake had burnt.

The next ten minutes were not my finest. It is at this point that the aforementioned half-dressed raging baker emerged. The combination of hunger brought on by some pre-Thanksgiving fasting and the fear of arriving without a pareve dessert sent me into a tailspin.

BUT I did not throw the dessert. I did not throw it away and I did not throw it across the room. Small victories. Instead, I cut off the bottom, put big slices into a bowl and drenched it in pomegranate juice. Then I covered it tightly with Saran wrap to allow its warmth and moisture to steam it a bit until it was a kind of Indian pudding type thing.

It was a rough morning, but after a couple of glasses of wine and a delicious turkey and all the trimmings, both desserts ended up tasting just fine...

A big ole plate of dessert

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