Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TGIP Field Trip: Utah Shakespeare Festival

Does this count as a Baker's Field Trip? YES!! Because there are all sorts of tasty baked treats to be had at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. You're going, right?

Okay, these pictures are terrible. But just trust me.

So, the Festival has adorable little concessions-sellers in booths or wandering around with baskets selling foods you might find in Shakespeare's time/place (really? I don't know. I wasn't there). There are Meat Pasties (below) and (with a short 'a', as in Daddy, otherwise you might accidentally wind up with one of these), Scottish Pies, cookies, homemade chocolates, etc.

But the hit for all of us was the tarts ("Fresh Fruit and Cream Cheese Tarts!"--if you hang around outside the theatre between 7 and 8, you too will come away with this call stuck in your head). Lemon, Raspberry, Blackberry, Apple, and Cream Cheese. And, okay, they're more like a danish than a tart. Or maybe they're closer to an Olde Tyme-y tart. Who knows, but I just made myself laugh, so that works. We tried all but the Apple and loved them all. Especially the Cream Cheese and Lemon. The dough was flaky and sweet and tender. The filling delicious. Even my anti-cheese Prima loved the Cream Cheese tart. I think they're made by a local (Cedar City) bakery. We drove by a place that had a sign in the window proudly stating "Shakespeare Tarts!" Which we assumed meant they were the bakers of these lovely morsels, but we didn't investigate further. Next time.

There are lots of other delicious sounding/looking treats there, but we loved the tarts so much, we ate them two nights in a row and couldn't bring ourselves to try anything else. Do yourself a favor, go to the Festival, enjoy the beautiful atmosphere, and eat something delicious at intermission. **Just don't rattle your concessions once the second act starts.** For real.

P.S. There's also plenty of tasty theatre to be had there!

P.P.S. Special thanks to my friend SLIM who gave us the heads-up on the tarts, otherwise we might not have tried them at all.

P.P.S.S. (?) On this day in 1613, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre burnt down. Sad day. It was rebuilt the following year. The Adams Theatre in Cedar City is so close in approximation, though, that the BBC filmed some of its Shakespeare series in the theatre in the early 1980's. Cool, right?!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

What a surprise! I don't know who had the idea to make a cake and then pour a mixture of milks over it, but, whoever you are, WELL DONE. I've never tasted Tres Leches Cake, so I really had no idea what to expect. Part of me thought it would turn out soggy. Part of me thought it would be kind of tasteless, you know, like MILK. All of me was wrong.

I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks! and it was really, really easy. So easy that I was absolutely astonished at how perfectly sponge-y and golden brown-y the cake was at the end of baking. It rose so perfectly and came out of the pan so smoothly. Look at all those little holes! Beautiful.

I didn't exactly follow the directions about how much of the milk mixture to pour over the top of the cake. Mainly because I didn't want to cut the sides of the cake off, I wanted to try to get them as soaked as the middle of the cake. So, in my attempt, I used almost all of the milk.

The cake wasn't able to soak all of it up and I ended up using paper towels to mop up the extra. Which is okay. It was worth it to get milk all the way to the edges of the cake. I also didn't use the "traditional" maraschino cherries...because...they go in Manhattans, and that's about all maraschino cherries should be used for. And I only used real cherries on half of the cake because mr. isn't really a fan of them. So.

Delicious. Moist. Sweet and yes, milky, but in a good way. Almost caramel-y. A little rum in the milk mixture wouldn't go wrong, would it? It would be a Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake, right?

TGIP Rating--Tres Leches Cake--KEEPER. I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be that delicious.

Next up: I'm going to make Blackberry Pie with the BAKED Sunday Mornings folks (and probably try my hand at Fresh Blueberry Pie as well). I've never made a baked berry pie, so this will be interesting. And, most likely, yummy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TGIP Field Trip: RubySnap

RubySnap is a local (Salt Lake) gourmet cookie shop that has been in the news a good bit over the past year or so for a run-in with a much bigger corporation that decided to bully them for their previous name. You can google it if you feel the need. Thank goodness they didn't let it beat them and they are still kicking. Hard. Mostly because they make awesome cookies. And they're not just the standard flavors you'd expect, there's always something different, always something unexpected. I'm partial to the Lilly which has lemonheads (!) and the Maris which has a caramel center (good lord, yes), not to mention the Frida which has a spicy chile de arbol ganache center (for real!). There are several cookies on their regular menu that I still haven't tried, and Tami (the genius whose brain I would very much like to pick) is always experimenting with new and seasonal cookies.

Cute polka dotted packaging for fresh cookies.

However, here's the real genius of this operation: the frozen dough.

Super functional ziptop packaging for frozen dough in the background. You can cook as few or as many cookies as you want and they'll be fresh!

The cookies in the shop are delicious, no doubt. But when you can use that same dough and make a fresh cookie in your own home with virtually no trouble (I even popped a panful in the oven while I was down with a cold) and eat it hot out the oven, that is priceless. The frozen cookies bake up tender and delicious and, in all honestly, taste as good as homemade. Maybe better.

TGIP Rating--RubySnap--Very highly recommended, especially for frozen take-home dough. Next time, I'm picking up some dough for the Nina--"Coffee. Toffee. What else is there to say? Well, how about 'brazil nut and chocolate?'" They speak my language. Also, out-of-towners--they ship frozen dough.

P.S. In case you were wondering, this is what my dreams look like. Sweet little shop with bright colors, well-lit display cases, and a shiny industrial kitchen. Except PIE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Tart

Okay, so I was too late to post as part of the BAKED Sunday Mornings crowd. Sometimes I have a cold and can't bake. I know, what?! But, if you head over there quick-like you'll see the recipe before they take it down.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I'm a lover of Orange Creamsicles like you wouldn't believe. I prefer them to all other frozen treats. ALL OTHER. But maybe that makes me picky about treats that try to mimic that flavor. The flavor is right in this tart. Perfect. But, the consistency doesn't really work for me. Part of that is my fault, I'm sure. My crust was a little tough, at least in part due to overworking it to try to get it in a 9" springform pan when I realized I didn't have a 9" tart pan. And my filling didn't set as solidly as I would have liked. Seems like some of those who posted on Sunday Mornings had a similar problem with the filling not setting up or getting up to the right temperature on the stovetop. I had hoped that, like theirs, mine would set solidly in the fridge, but it didn't quite seem to get there. Almost. But not quite.

But the biggest problem for me was the temperature. That taste goes with frozen. I don't know how else to say it. So, next time (yes, next time), I'll make mini tarts and freeze them to get a really good chill on them before serving. I think that will solve all my problems.

Tiny orange-shaped tart dough cookies.

TGIP Rating--Orange Creamsicle Tart--Good. Very good. But I need to tweak it for my personal tastes.

Next up: I've never baked or tasted a Tres Leches Cake, but it sounds like pretty much the best thing on earth. I've also never tried any of The Pioneer Woman's recipes. So, that's my plan. Unless one of you has a recipe of your own you're willing to share *eyebrow waggle*.