Here comes little Coconut-tail…

hopping down the bunny trail!

Wait, that’s not how the song goes? The bunny cake I made would beg to differ.

20140420-222609.jpg And yes, her name is Coconut-tail. Or at least it was for a while, because her tail got eaten first.

20140420-222737.jpg It was a coconut cake with coconut buttercream frosting. I’m sort of opposed to artificial food coloring, so I dyed the grass green with spinach juice. It was really easy! And I did the pink nose with a little strawberry jam.

Poor little Coconut-tail. She was almost too cute to eat. When I was a kid a lot of chocolate Easter bunnies went to waste because they were so adorable I couldn’t bear to eat them. No wonder I became a vegetarian…

Happy Easter!

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Moonlighting as a pastry chef

A few weeks ago our friend Maja from Slovenia organized a wine tasting at the Slovenian consulate and asked me make the desserts. Having never cooked for 100+ people before I found the task a little daunting, but as it turns out I’m pretty good at it!

We needed three different desserts that didn’t require silverware. The first thing I thought of were the pear-Brie bites that I’ve made several times before. This time I used little pre-baked phyllo cups to save myself some time. You can see them on the far left in this photo.

20131026-221204.jpg Matt was the photographer for the event, so of course I made sure he took lots of good pictures of the desserts!

The hosts for the wine tasting had lots of berries from their garden for me to use, so next I decided on miniature berry pies. I made some blueberry:

20131026-221514.jpg And some blackberry-raspberry:

20131026-221543.jpg It took forever to make all those tiny little pie crusts! But they turned out so cute, it was worth it. And there wasn’t a single one left at the end of the night. My favorite part was the leaves on top that I cut patterns into:

20131026-221734.jpg
I started thinking about how there was no shortage of cream-filled pastries anywhere I’d been in Europe, so for the third dessert I made mini cream puffs. Everyone was most impressed with those, even though they were so much easier to make than those little pies! I enlisted my waffle batter dispenser to fill them (with French vanilla pudding of course, not that gross whipped cream that’s in store bought mini cream puffs).

20131026-222348.jpg Several people at the party told me I should start a business! It would be a great way to make a little extra cash…miniature desserts, anyone?

Easy as pie

Happy April!

I took a break from posting last week because my mom was here visiting us for spring break. Whenever she comes she always asks if we want her to bring anything, and this time I had a request: a pie recipe. My Granny is the best pie maker I know, and the past several times we’ve been in Jackson I’ve wanted to ask her to show me how she does it. But there never seems to be enough time. So I decided this would be a great opportunity to get a lesson in pie-making from my mom.

Most of the pies Granny makes have meringue, which I don’t particularly like. (I usually give my meringue away and someone is very happy to have a double decker piece of pie.) So the recipe my mom brought is actually from my other grandmother who seldom makes pies, but apparently had a friend who didn’t like meringue either. The result was a very thick, custardy chocolate pie; definitely a keeper:

20130402-222419.jpg But anybody can make pie filling. The part that I was concerned about getting right was the crust. To me, that’s the difference between a real pie and what my palate interprets to be a “fake” one.

20130402-222625.jpg Probably the crust would have turned out better if I hadn’t accidentally set the oven about 50° too low. Oops! It still tasted good, but had a strange texture…oh well, maybe next time. Also, *when* I make this pie again I’ll definitely double the filling. It looked a little lonely sitting down there in the bottom of the crust. And you can never have too much chocolate, right?

20130402-223046.jpg So now I can make pies! But I still wouldn’t mind taking a lesson from the master…