Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cranberry Coffee Cake (Page 643)

  • Date: Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 9am
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Ana, Matt, Peter, Vigleik, Alex, Vero, Josh, Jacob, Izzet
  • Recipe Rating: B+

This is another one that I made for my brunch on Saturday. It was a bit of a disaster, but it was completely my fault. So the recipe called for either fresh cranberries or thawed frozen cranberries. Now often when I substitute frozen fruit for fresh fruit I just throw it in still frozen. This isn't really a practice I would reccomend, but if you are making, say, blueberry muffins, it works fine. So, in my 8am daze, I decided I didn't really need to thaw my frozen cranberries. Now, in the recipes the cranberries are not just stirred in to the batter. They are chooped and they layered with the batter. This means that all the cranberries are concentrated in certain areas of the coffee cake. So what happened? Well, my chopped frozen berries lost a lot of water in the oven (water that I should have drained off before using them!) making the sections of cake near the cranberry concentrations too liquidy to set. So instead of a nice cake I ended up with a liquidy, unset center. It couldn't be sliced, more or less served, this way, and more cooking didn't help. So, I cut off the cooked parts, put them in a nice bowl and topped with whipped cream for a Cranberry Shortcake dish. It wasn't bad actually. The flavor of the coffee cake was really nice. I think if I hadn't screwed it up, it could have been quite good. The lesson here: I should never try to cook before my morning shower. It's a recipe for disaster!

I am still in small town South Carolina. Paul left this morning for Florida. For his last night here, we went bowling. My mom didn't even know there was a bowling alley in Hartsville, but the phone book led us to one! My dad insists that I had been to this bowling alley 20 years ago, when we first lived in Hartsville, but I have no recollection of that. This bowling alley was pretty special. Every lane was broken in its own unique way. Our lane had many issues, the funniest of which was when the ball return broke and the lady who owns the alley came over, opened up the floor, and used a big stick to fish out the ball. The computerized scoring was also clearly from decades ago, and the pin resetter couldn't figure out what to do whenever anyone got a strike. It was really fun though! I bowled a 160 on my first game, which is pretty good for me, but my dad bowled a 161 on his second game, so he was the overall winner. My mom hadn't bowled in 20 years, but she improved a lot as the night went one. In fact, she more than doubled her score from the first game to the second. My favorite part of the bowling in Hartsville experience was that right when you walked in to the alley there was a huge sign listing the penalties for armed robbery in the state of South Carolina. It really made me feel safe!


Sarah said...

Hi there,

I was happy to stumble upon your blog recently, because Gourmet is my all-time favorite cookbook. I've really enjoyed reading your entries, and am so impressed by what you've accomplished so far! I read this entry today, and wanted to let you know that I had the same problem with this coffee cake recipe (i.e. the center wouldn't set), and I used fresh cranberries. I thought I'd done something wrong, but after reading your review, I think perhaps the recipe is just a dud...

Happy cooking!

Teena said...

Sarah -- Thanks for your comment. It's interesting to hear that you had the same problem. Indeed, there must be something wrong with the recipe!