Well, my cooking time yesterday went very smoothly and successfully! As I mentioned, the house was nice and cool, and as long as ‘certain people’ [HWSRN*] didn’t go in and out a lot, I stayed cool. I approached the cooking as I do many things: take it one step at a time. By not envisioning at the whole finished project, I don’t become overwhelmed. And by moving along slowly, I don’t become exhausted. Why can’t I always keep that in mind?
My first project was making a dessert to take to my sister-in-law’s home tomorrow. That’s usually my contribution to the meal, and I try to make different things every year. In the past, I’ve made a lot of baked goods, but I wanted something cool this time. I surf the net for ideas, and very often, I tweak things to my liking. This was the case yesterday. I had combined and subtracted ingredients and steps to make my Peaches and Cream Torte. A normal torte is a rich cake which uses little flour, but many eggs and nut powders. My torte had little flour, but instead of layers of chocolate, I used fresh Jersey peaches.
My husband is a huge help, and he assisted me in peeling the peaches. Just put the uncut fruit into boiling water for 10-20 seconds and then into an ice water bath. The peel just slides off in strips when you pull it. The ‘de-stoning’ wasn’t as easy – the peach should be cut close to the pit, then separated by twisting it. He couldn’t get it to work, so he just cut slices off the whole peach. That first step was longer than it should have been, but it was fine. I used six peaches, but the next time, I’ll use more. The next step was to grind ginger snaps [I used Ivin’s Spice wafers] in the food processor until it’s a powder. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and mix with a melted stick of butter. I used a sleeve and a half, but one sleeve would have worked. I was trying to get the one large torte and a small pie for us. Pour the crumb mixture into the base of a nine-inch springform pan and tamp it down. Save about ¼ cup of the crumbs. I cover that base with aluminum foil so I don’t have to use the base when I serve it. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes until firm. Refrigerate to cool.
While the crust is cooling, mix three 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese with 1¼ cups sugar until smooth. Add one container and a half of another of Cool Whip to the cream cheese mixture. (I’d probably whip up real cream, but for this one I used the pretend one.) When the crust is cool, spread a layer of the cream then a layer of peaches, and repeat until you reach the top of the pan. End with the cream mixture. Sprinkle on the leftover crumbs and arrange a few peach slices in the middle. (An alternative is to puree a couple peaches, heat the sauce with cornstarch, sugar, and bourbon, and mix in the peaches.) Chill for at least eight hours, run a knife around the pan, and remove the sides. I tasted all the ingredients, and I think it will be a great dessert.
For dinner, I made an old-fashioned chicken noodle casserole. I’ll add that recipe at another time. For this week, the extra cooking is finished, and it all turned out well.
*He Who Shall Remain Nameless – wink!