>> Friday, December 9, 2011
Well for a handful of things...
For one, it's time for me to be trite...and say once again, "I can't believe it's almost Christmas!" Such over-used phrase...but hey, who can help it when displays of nativity scenes and the signature red Starbucks cups are walking the streets. And the can't-help-but-hum-along music of Christmas is playing everywhere - from the grocery stores to radio stations.
What I look forward to this season are the annual reminders it gives. It's time to be thankful for all the blessings given us during the year (which are so often taken for granted), to write (and hopefully receive) Christmas cards with messages of hope and joy, and to reflect back on the year.
These familiar reminders are also reminders of things essential:
It's time to be reminded of God's love and grace. Let's not forget the real message of Christmas: Because He loves us, God has come to redeem us—to bring life and to expel the darkness of our hearts and from our world. He sent His son Jesus, our Savior, into our world, who felt our pain and became acquainted with our sorrows, suffered and died for our sins.
It is also time for the last post of the year! Since my last post, I've arrived in Taiwan where I will be spending the time with people I love as well as people I've yet to meet but hope to learn to love. Over the next few weeks, I will be kitchen-less and most likely computer-less as I head down south of the country to the rural areas on a mission trip.
So...as this is the final post of 2011, I just want to say thank you for being a part of my life over the years. Thank you for subscribing and leaving me all kinds of comments and/or emails. There are no better ways to encourage me than what you've done.
I hope you have a lovely festive season ahead and that your Christmas this year is much more than the routine trimming of the tree, stringing up the lights, buying gifts and wrapping of the presents. I hope it's also filled with all things wonderful like love, hope, joy and peace regardless of what your circumstances are like.
Hey, and can I say it's about time I make an old fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. I'd never tasted one before until now. It's one of those things (along with Tarte Tartin) I wanted to make for the longest time but was waiting for the right time (mainly, when fresh pineapples are available!)
This is another recipe from Flour which I'd really enjoy both in the making and eating process :) It is with such anticipation when out from the oven comes this plain, unimpressive cake on the surface and you just pray that the flip side will be more pleasing to the eyes.
So you hold your breathe as you carefully flip...
It's a sigh of relief when you see the glistening fruit all in their rightful places and deliciously cooked.
So can I claim that this is my favourite pineapple upside-down cake when it's the only one I've had?
The rich and buttery cake topped with sweet juicy caramelised pineapples will have you reaching for more slices than your mind would allow. Just let go...the heart wants what the heart wants ;)
I was worried that the cake would be too sweet so I didn't use all the caramelised juices of the pineapple. For that reason, the bottom cake layer wasn't as soaked through with the caramelised juices but to me, it was sweet enough!
Pineapple Upside-down CakeFrom Joanne Chang's Flour
- 1 pineapple
- 1¾ cups (350 grams) sugar
- ½ cup (120 grams) water
- 6 tbs (¾ stick/86 grams) softened unsalted butter, plus ½ cup (1 stick/114 grams), melted and cooled
- 1 cup (140 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
2. Put ¾ cup (150 grams) of the sugar in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add the water and gently swirl the pan to moisten the sugar; if necessary, poke your fingers around the bottom of the pan to make sure all of the sugar is moistened with water. Place the pan over high heat and leave it undisturbed until the contents come to a rolling boil. Then continue to boil rapidly without moving the pan until the sugar syrup starts to caramelize. This will take 3 to 4 minutes: the sugar syrup will boil furiously; then as it thickens, it will boil more languidly; and then you will see some of the syrup start to color and darken around the edge of the pan.
3. When you see color in the pan, gently swirl the pan in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly, and then keep swirling gently until the caramel is a medium golden brown. Turn down the heat to low and whisk in the 6 tablespoons butter; be careful, as the caramel may sputter and steam. Carefully add the pineapple and stir until it is coated with the caramel. Don't worry if some of the caramel hardens; it will reliquefy as it continues to cook. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the pineapple turns golden brown. The pineapple will release juice and liquefy the caramel. Using a fork, transfer the pineapple to a plate. Continue to boil the remaining liquid on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thick and syrupy.
4. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
5. Add all of the pineapple and the caramel syrup to the prepared pan, arranging the pineapple in concentric circles and covering as much of the bottom of the pan as possible. Cut the pineapple quarters into smaller pieces to fill in any gaps, and double layer the pineapple if there is extra.
6. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, the vanilla, and the ½ cup melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.
7. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple in the cake pan. Tap the pan gently on a countertop to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter and to make sure the batter fills in any crevices in the pineapple and settles into the bottom of the pan.
8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springs back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
9. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the cake pan, then holding the pan and the plate tightly together, carefully invert them. Lift off the cake pan. If some of the pineapple sticks to the pan, remove it and replace it in its place on top of the cake. Let the cake cool for at least another 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.
The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.