Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pie-ca%#^@ken!

ybday 034 I wrote on here back in June about my deep-seated, irrational NEED for a piecaken.  If you don’t remember, or have no clue what that is, you can read about it here.

So today I did – kind of.  Except it was an utter disaster, the most cr*ptacular confection I think I have ever confected.

And in case anyone thinks I am some kind of Superwoman who never blogs her failures, here ya go, in delicious step-by-step horribility…

Starting out on a promising foot with a delicious pie.  I used a sheet of malawach pastry for the top crust, rolled thin.  I’ve done it before and it actually makes a pretty decent, flaky / tasty crust.  Oh, inside this there is cherry pie filling.  And I cut proper vents, four of them, right in the middle.

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The top crust wasn’t attached perfectly at the edges, as you can see…

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…but that still doesn’t exactly explain what happened when I went to “decant” the pie on top of some of the cake mix.  Oh, yeah, did I mention I whipped up some cake mix in the meantime, while the pie was cooling?  Sounds simple, except we were OUT OF OIL.  Blah!  So I sent Naomi next door to beg from the neighbours.  This is something we do all too regularly… but it’s okay, because they are competent savvy professionals and every once in a while, even they come to call begging for sugar or rum or some such thing.  (oh, wait – the rum was ME at their door; never mind…)

Anyway, here’s what happened.  Splat!

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Oh, but that is not all… oh, no, that is not all…

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Yup.  Blorp, cherry pie filling, right all over Ted’s chair.  Of course.  But never mind.  I scraped / wiped up the chair, the floor and everywhere else, and quickly poured the rest of the cake mix over the Remains of the Pie:

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Baking took FOREVER and of course, the whole thing sank in the middle:

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But a piece of parchment on the bottom ensured that the cake itself didn’t fall apart when I decanted it from the pan:

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Yup, you can see the whole cherry-ish mess through the cake… sigh.  Nothing a little icing can’t fix.  Except I had to wait forever to ice it because the whole cake was steaming hot forever.  Did you ever get one of those McDonald’s Cherry Pies or Apple Pies that warns you “Caution:  filling is hot”?  Well, I think the filling made this pie$#!^ken extra super duper hot, in some crazy infernal way, because 45 minutes later, it was still hot to the touch.

Did I mention also that the icing (coconut-milk based) refused to set?  So, no problem, I whipped it up with some icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar if you’re south of the border) and it seemed fine.  Turned to a nice fudgy consistency, and I finally blobbed it all over the cake, where it really did appear to set nicely:

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The icing was firm enough after a few minutes that I was able to start writing on the cake, which, I must say, is NOT one of my Strengths, as such.  But I think I did a not-too-terrible job of it:

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(It says “Happy Birthday” – with a chai at the bottom and our family at the top, all tastefully surrounded by a blue border).

Done!  Ding!  Time to go!

I loaded up the cake gently on to the wagon, covered it (it was drizzling by now – of course), and trotted off with YM to my mother’s house, LATE for supper.  Gingerly transported the cake into the house, pulled up the aluminum pan covering it, and saw…

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Okay, even now I can’t look at this without snorting and metaphorically rolling on the floor with laughter.  When I first saw it, tears were spurting out of my eyes.  I could barely breathe.

As the magic moment approached, I asked Ted for the candles I’d given him to bring to my mother’s house.  No candles.  My mother happily volunteered her stash of “saved” candles from various past family birthdays.  No 1’s, no 8’s, but luckily, a couple of 9’s, and everybody knows that 9 + 9 = 18, right???

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Luckily, the light-up/singing “Happy Birthday” sign from Dollarama still works (biz a hundert un tzvantzig!), so we stuck that on there, too… look how magical!  Now picture us singing “Happy Birthday” at a madcap pace to keep up with the squeaky frenetic tones of the Dollarama light-up Happy Birthday sign (hey, I wonder if they pay royalties to use the song???).  Eventually, it stopped bleeping and we sang it the proper way, too.  I assume – at this point, I was laughing so hard I honestly can’t remember what we did.

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YM blew out the candles and we all said heartfelt things about his last and next 18 years… an awkward family tradition almost nobody enjoys when it’s his/her turn in the spotlight.

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And at last… it’s time to cut into the Pi#$%#!^!caken!!!

Mmm… smashed pie, plus fudgey cake mix = ooey, gooey goodness!

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Really!  True, some people said they didn’t want pie in their cake, and because it’s a rectangular pan with no pie bits at the ends, YM was able to grant their wishes.  But to be very, very honest, the oozing bits of cherry pie filling added not only a nice black-forest flavour to the cake but a very welcome moistness as well.

Here’s Sara’s piece, which was the most attractive of the lot:

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I ate mine without hesitation and quite enjoyed it.  And I noticed that the icing was licked clean all around the cake, so I think I wasn’t the only one please with the flavour, if not the aesthetics, of the results.

So… would I attempt a piecaken again???

Maybe.

Lessons learned:

  • start early – very, VERY early
  • hold a pan flat over the pie plate when turning it upside down so it can’t go anywhere (I was; don’t ask – I’ll do it BETTER next time…)
  • let cake cool thoroughly before icing
  • let icing cool thoroughly before icing
  • have a professional or at least someone ELSE decorate the cake
  • ice / decorate the cake at the final destination
  • wagon/sidewalk vibrations are probably not the best for maintaining Maximum Cake Integrity
  • candles – in the proper denomination(s), as required.  There is a time to Be Frugal and a time to Be Splurge-ful.  At the end of the evening, Gavriel Zev was still confusedly going on about how YM was “turning 99.”

Happily, as my facebook friends have been quick to reassure me, through their loving and caring use of the Like button to laugh at me through my status update, it's not the quality of the cake that counts, but the 18 years + 9 months of love and dedication that preceded it.

The secret heart of the piecaken was love, and maybe that’s why it was, ultimately, such a delicious failure.

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