Week Seven: Semifinal (Regency)
This chapter. Installment. Week. Whatever you want to call it. Semifinals.
It kicks me right in the feels. There's a lot to unpack and a lot that I love, and since I'll have to break this post up because there are thirteen recipes to make instead of making the extremely difficult decision of deciding what about this week in Rosaline Palmer I want to talk about, I am just going to say thank goodness I love pineapple and tell you about my book club instead.
It's not just any bookclub. It's Cookbook Club. Some of you reading this know me through Cookbook Club. In fact, the person who helped me buy this domain (cuz I'm the antithesis of tech savvy), is someone I met in Cookbook Club. It's basically the greatest bookclub that has ever existed. It's run thorough the library, and once a month a cookbook is selected by our fabulous librarians, everyone picks recipes, we cook them, then get together to eat them and talk about the book.
Cookbook Club is also where I befriended a librarian who often tells me what I should be reading, and is almost always spot on. Despite that, I sometimes put off reading her recommendations (there are just so many books!) like one time when she recommended a book about two boys who have to fake a relationship, and I was like, okay sure I'll get to it someday... and then the same book went on sale as an audiobook when I was baking along with last season's Bake Off and I thought, oh well, I guess I'll try it now. And then I was really really mad that I'd had that book on my eReader for ages and hadn't read it yet. And stop me if you know where this is going, but I then read all the other books by that author, most recently, of course, being Rosaline Palmer Take the Cake. So, what I'm saying is, without Cookbook Club this blog would never have happened. One more reason to love it.
Libraries, guys. They really are the best thing ever.
Since COVID hit we've been cooking from blogs and having virtual meetings which is much less fun because we can't taste everyone else's food, but c'est la vie, next year in Jerusalem, and all that. This month, instead of blogs or books, we did TicTok and YouTube and other social media videos and I decided to double-dip and use a YouTube video from Binging with Babish to teach me about Turkish Delight, in his case from The Chronicles of Narnia because really, can anyone think of Turkish Delight without thinking of The Chronicles of Narnia? I bet you can't. Neither the YouTuber nor Rosaline seem to like Turkish Delight that much, but I'll be honest, I *do* and I was kind of excited to make it and I think it turned out quite nice. I enjoyed it. i'm glad I made it. Though it is, as they both said, A LOT of whisking.
Blind Bake- Turkish Delight
You can watch the Binging with Babish video here. His website doesn't have the recipe for this one (maybe because he straight up says he hates it at the end of the video?) so I'll write it down for ya. I also cut it in half because while I do like Turkish Delight I think this is a more appropriate quantity.
- 2 c sugar
- 3/4 c water
- 1/2 c cornstarch
- 1 tsp cream of tarter
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1 tbs rose water
- red food coloring
- Put 2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup of water in a pot over medium high heat and stir until it dissolves, stirring constantly
- Stop stirring and simmer for 10-15 minutes until 240F (soft ball stage)
- In a separate pot, put 1/2 c cornstarch and 1 tsp cream of tarter
- Slowly whisk in 1 1/2 c tap water
- WHISK CONSTANTLY over medium high heat until thick and glue-like
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the corners/scrape down the sides
- Slowly add sugar syrup to cornstarch mixture WHISKING CONSTANTLY
- Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally until a light golden brown
- While that is bubbling, line a casserole dish with cling film and cover that with veggie oil
- When the mixture is ready, stir in tablespoon of rosewater and two drops of red food coloring
- Whisk until combined and pour into prepared container
- Let cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours
- Coat work surface with a mix equal parts powdered sugar and corn starch and gently coat the Turkish Delight with the powdered sugar/corn starch. Cut into one inch cubes (or bigger, or smaller. I went smaller) and toss to coat completely in sugar/cornstarch mixture
I thought these were lovely, but the texture was not quite what I was expecting. It was much softer and I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if it's just softer, but either way it was not half as bad as I was expecting.
Rosaline's pineapple trio
I went with a linzer cookie base, since they're meant to be jam sandwich cookies and they're yummy and I haven't ever made them before.
I used this recipe from the New York Times for the dough. It gives both cups and grams and while I know using grams makes baking more accurate I was feeling lazy (by which I really mean I was making this dough and the rest of Rosaline's recipes and the Turkish Delight in one day) so I used the cups and I was very very happy with the results. Super tasty. I have added to this ingredients list and instructions what you need to make them *pineapple* cookies rather than a traditional linzer and trust me, you want to do this because they are adorable and tasty.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Rosemary (I used two branches off my Mom's, frankly, gigantic rosemary plant)
- 1 egg + 1 tbs water
- Brown sugar (I used an organic one that comes very coarse, I think it worked well for this)
- Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, and beat until everything is well combined, again stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary.
- Add in dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed, just until incorporated.
- Divide dough in 2 equal pieces, and wrap each piece in cling film, patting into a 1-inch-thick disk. Chill at least 2 hours, up to 5 days ahead.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough until it's about 1/8 inch thick. (Because of the almonds, the dough may crack in places while you’re rolling it out. This is O.K., just patch it up with scraps.)
- Using your pineapple cookie cutter, cut out as many pineapples as possible. Gather any scraps of dough, combine them and roll them out, chilling as necessary. Transfer pineapple to a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet spaced about a 1/2 inch apart and bake until the edges are golden brown. Mine took about 20 minutes, but if you have a smaller cookie cutter it will take less time (the original recipe called for 2" circles and 12-15 minutes)
- Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash and brush it on one or two cookies
- Decorate the pineapple fronds with rosemary
- Sprinkle brown sugar on the body of the pineapple (NOTE: The book didn't say to do this, but I know from when I made my rosemary butter biscuits that the rosemary doesn't like to stick to cookies, so I wanted an egg wash, and I thought it would look weird to be shiny, so I decided to use some brown sugar to make it more pineapple-y and I think it's adorable.)
- Repeat until you've done half the cookies
I used the same jam for these cookies and Nora's Victoria Sandwich (below). Rosaline describes it as having put some pineapples with pineapple juice and sugar in a pot. I made double this recipe. Ingredients
- One pineapple, cored, and chopped into very small pieces
- 1 c pineapple juice
- 1 c sugar
- Water, as needed
- Put the pineapple, juice, and sugar in a pot over low heat and cook it forever, until it is soft and jam-like.
- If all the liquid is gone and the pineapple isn't soft/jammy enough, add more water as needed. I added water, about a cup at a time, at least twice, maybe more.
- If your pineapple is soft and yet not jammy, add some water and use an immersion/stick blender to break it down further, then keep cooking until all the liquid cooks out.
- Chill completely (I made the jam and dough on one day and baked/assembled the cookies the next)
Unless your pineapples are so ripe they're seconds away from going bad, getting this jam done and cool in time to make the sandwich cookies in baking-show time would be a challenge. I left mine on a simmer burner on low literally all day on a day when I was working from home and I still needed to go in with a stick blender to get it jammy. Pineapple just doesn't break down the way that berries do. And, to be fair, I cooked mine on the lowest possible setting and if I were caring about time I could've had it on higher and stirred more frequently, but still, if you're going to attempt to make pineapple jam, expect it to take a while. Or maybe use a pressure cooker or InstantPot? I'll admit I kind of wish I'd tried it in my InstantPot.
It was also very sweet, which is fine for the desserts, but if I were to make a pineapple jam again, I think I would use dark brown sugar instead of white sugar, and only water, no pineapple juice.
- Once cookies and jam are completely cool, spread some jam on the back of one of the unadorned cookies, about 1/8 inch thick (the same thickness as each cookie)
- Sandwich it with one of the decorated cookies
- Enjoy having really freaking adorable pineapple jam sandwich cookies
Brown Sugar Espuma
I found this recipe online and mostly followed it. I omitted the biscuits (because, frankly, I had enough to bake and it's been like 100 degrees here all week), and I didn't serve with yogurt either. Also, I couldn't find sheets of gelatin. I think this is one of the British/American things, so I used powdered gelatin, which did work (I didn't soak it first, just added it to the warm mixture, whisked A LOT, and straining through the sieve was very important because there were a few hard lumps of gelatin that didn't mix in well.)
Also, the recipe I used calls for molasses sugar. I was all I'M GONNA GET ALL THIS DONE TODAY AND I'M SO AWESOME and just read "molasses." So, it came out... a bit bitter, to be honest, but I don't hate it cuz it's molasses and ginger and if you read my thoughts on Parkin, clearly I'm a fan of that combination. And the bitter with the very sweet pineapple and espuma is not terrible. That being said, if you don't want your dessert kind of bitter, maybe try molasses sugar (you can sub dark brown sugar or muscovado if you can't find "molasses sugar"), or maybe a combination of molasses and sugar. If I were to do it again, I'd probably do half molasses and half dark brown sugar.
Honestly, I'm not sure whether my espuma was technically proficient or not as I have never had espuma, but it came out of the whipped cream dispenser thing and was sort of creamy and fairly gelatinous so I guess it worked? Not sure I'd do it again though.
I don't have too much to say about these. They are, as Marianne Wolvercote said, kind of basic. Tasty, cute, but just... well... cupcakes.
I used this recipe, only I used fresh cut pineapple instead of canned. I tried a different recipe first and I gave some of the cupcakes away before I tasted them and what a huge mistake that was. Some of my neighbors probably think I'm a terrible baker now. Anyway, this recipe worked fine.
Pineapple swiss meringue buttercream
I made this up. It worked pretty well but you have to be SUPER careful about the temperature because it will break even more easily than a normal buttercream. Mine was perfect when I made the terrible cupcakes, and there was enough left that I stuck it in the fridge and went it to use again for the good cupcakes, but I was impatient and didn't bring it to room temperature and it didn't want to pipe and so I tried to beat it to soften it and it broke. Just dumb of me. I did rehab it and it did turn out fine, but just be careful to have everything at the right temperature so you don't have to deal with that nonsense.
- 6 lg egg whites (approx. 230 g)
- 2 c granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 c (3 sticks, 350g) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into tbs-sized pieces
- 1/2 c pineapple juice
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- Yellow food coloring (optional)
- Whisk sugar into egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or another heat safe bowl if you're using a hand mixer, but a stand mixer is for sure preferable here
- Set bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water over medium heat. Do not let the bowl touch the water
- Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thinned out, about 4 minutes. It should be frothy and white on top and be160F on an instant read thermometer
- Whisk in stand mixer on medium-high (or electric hand mixer, or just a whisk if you're really brave and have some strength and stamina) until stiff, glossy peaks form. This takes a long time, with a stand mixer about 15-20 minutes if it's hot/humid like it is here.
- When the mixture is room temperature (DO NOT RUSH THIS) slowly add in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing it in completely before adding more
- Reduce speed to medium and SLOWLY add the pineapple juice and salt and a few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)
Nora's cakes with bits of pineapple on *and* in them
I baked this while I was on vacation. This is a family recipe and I transcribed it from a handwritten recipe in an old notebook titled, "Cheesecake (Tony)." (Tony= my dad.) The crust (because my mother requested crust, even though my dad's cheesecake recipe just calls for a dusting of crumbled graham crackers) comes from another family recipe on the opposite page titled, "Cheesecake (Kirk)." (Kirk= my uncle. Well, technically, I guess he's my first cousin once-removed's husband. But "uncle" rolls off the tongue just a bit smoother.) This makes a lovely New York-style cheesecake. (The only correct style of cheesecake. Fight me.) Almost as importantly, it does so without a bain marie, which is awesome because, quite frankly, I hate them. It does often crack, but it is delicous and it especially doesn't matter if it cracks here, because you're going to smother it in pineapple.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1/3 box graham crackers (1 sleeve, 9 crackers)
- 5 1/3 tbs butter, melted
- 1/4 c. sugar
- Put graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with rolling pin
- Mix crackers with sugar and melted butter
- Put in bottom of 8" or 9" springform pan and press firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides a little. Set aside while you mix the cream cheese mixture
- 2lb cream cheese (4 packages of Philadelphia)
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1 stick butter (1/2 c.)
- 1 lb sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Beat cream cheese
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition
- Add vanilla, sugar, lemon juice, and corn starch
- Melt butter and mix with sour cream
- Add sour cream and butter mixture to the cream cheese mixture
- Pour into crust
- Place in 400F oven for 10 minutes
- Reduce heat to 325 for 1 hour
- Turn off oven and allow cheesecake to cool in the CLOSED oven for 2 hours
- Remove cheesecake and allow to come to room temperature
- Chill completely in refrigerator
- One pineapple, cored and diced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 c dark rum
- 4-5 cloves
- Cinnamon stick
- Heavy pinch or two each of ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and/or any other spices you want
- pinch of salt
- Put everything in a pot over medium heat and cook until jammy
- Remove cloves and cinnamon stick
NOTE: I cooked this topping because I made this on vacation and my mom can't eat raw pineapple. You could also totally just top your very rich and lovely cheesecake with sweet and tart and juicy fruit without doing anything to that fruit but cutting it up.
SUBSEQUENT NOTE: I only put shit on top of this cheesecake because the book demanded it. The best cheesecake is a New York cheesecake, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. FULL STOP. I will hear no arguments against this.
I used this recipe for the sponge and the buttercream, but filled it instead with the same pineapple jam from Rosaline's cookies up above.
This cake is so strange to me. You just dump all the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer combine them. No creaming butter and sugar and adding eggs one at a time and etc. etc. I have heard tell that these cakes exist. I know Mary Berry talked about them not infrequently when she was a judge on Great British Bake Off. I'd never really thought about it before, but I swear to you when I just dumped all my wet and dry ingredients into the bowl and set the mixer off I was so freaking anxious. I was like, this is wrong! This isn't how you make a cake! I was SO SURE that it wasn't going to bake properly that I actually left eggs and butter out at room temperature while they were in the oven because I was convinced I would need to make the batter again, you know, properly.
I was wrong. They rose and they were LOVELY.
So lovely that I decided to pipe the buttercream instead of just spreading it because I'd seen someone do it on Bake Off once and thought it was pretty.
And then I thought, why did I waste my time and go through the hassle of a pastry bag and tip when I'm going to spread jam and mess up all that pretty piping anyway? But again, I was wrong, because look how pretty it is!!!
I've never had a Victoria Sandwich before and while I know the pineapple makes this one somewhat unconventional, I have to say I'm completely charmed by it. 10/10. Would bake again.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
This is maybe not the most traditional example of this cake, as it's a skillet cake, but it's LOVELY and the recipe comes from a bakery that I adore, One Girl Cookies, on Dean Street in Brooklyn. I used to live near it when I was in law school and after finals my friends and I got cupcakes there and went shopping and then for Christmas we all, without talking to each other about it, bought each other things we'd admired on that trip. It's a completely joyful memory, and that bakery made this banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting that I swear to you changed my life. So I bought their cookbook and used their pineapple upside-down cake recipe, included below with my (minimal) notes and adjustments.
- 12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 c packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp table salt (*there is a very strong chance I used kosher as I don't actually own table salt, but I baked this at my parent's house so maybe I did use table salt, although I'm pretty sure my mom also only has kosher salt and sea salt)
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 2 lg eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbs ark rum
- 1/2 c sour cream
- 1 tsp sea salt (the recipe says Hawaiian Pink but really you can use any)
- Maraschino cherries (the book does not call for them, but I'm sorry, it's not pineapple upside down cake without them).
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Melt 4 tbs of butter in a 10-inch heavy-bottomed oven-proof skillet over medium heat (I used a larger skillet and it was fine, but maybe if you use a different size be extra careful you don't under or over cook it)
- Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook for 6 minutes, then add the pineapple and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the remaining 8tbs butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the eggs, vanilla, and rum. Mix for a minute. (I was using my mom's stand mixer to make the cheesecake mixture so I did this by hand. And I definitely didn't quote Toby Finch about it because that would be entirely inappropriate.)
- With the mixer on low speed add 1/3 the flour, the baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 the sour cream. Add another third of the flour and remaining sour cream. Remove from mixer and fold in remaining flour mixture. (Again, I did this all by hand, and that is totally doable.)
- Place a maraschino cherry in the cored section of the pineapples and one in the middle of the skillet between all the pineapples (like a flower!)
- Pour the batter over the pineapple in the skillet and spread it out evenly.
- Bake, rotating the skillet halfway through, for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the skillet for 20 minutes. run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the skillet. Carefully invert the skillet over a serving plate, releasing the cake. Sprinkle with sea salt.