I wasn't out as much in the sun as I would have liked to be, actually, mostly because of having to get the house cleaned up for Cooking Club, which I hosted here today. We had 11 people, which stretched my kitchen to its limits but somehow we made it work. One woman, after I pointed her at the "Tupperware cabinet" turned to me in awe and asked, "Is that ALL Tupperware?" (it's a double-sided 4-shelf cabinet, full of plastic containers. "Yes," I said, "or at least most of it. It's a sickness." Haa. Can you have too much Tupperware?
Someone else was impressed with our knife sharpener, and yet another impressed with the fact that every single thing she asked for, we had not one but two of (rolling pins, mixers, cup measures, pie pans, cooling racks, cheese slicers, vegetable peelers, graters). That's what comes of meeting and marrying someone later in life, and also never getting rid of things. When Anders and I met, we both had full kitchen's worth of stuff/equipment and we've kept most of it. It comes in handy. When one is dirty and in the dishwasher, the other is always there for use!
When I offered to host the Cooking Club activity, I wanted it to be structured like the activity used to be, in the past: choosing a menu that all the participants helped to make, and then all sat down together to eat. The last Cooking Club, back in November, which was the first one in YEARS, was more of a cooking CLASS: we learned how to make sushi. It was fun, and we all enjoyed it, but I don't have any particular culinary skill to pass on or teach, unless you count the killer tuna casserole that I snared my husband with :D
I had a dessert recipe for a layered meringue & parfait confection that I've had forever, but always been too scared of to actually make, and that's what I had in mind, but when I pulled the recipe out to look it over, I discovered that the prep time wasn't suitable: over 2 hours. Hmmm...what to do? Then a light bulb went on over my head: the PIE! It had meringue, too, so I'd have a chance to make it!
I have lots of recipes that I've clipped out of magazines, copied from websites, received from friends, that have been sitting in my recipe clip book, sometimes for YEARS, so I started looking through them and slowly put together a menu that I thought would work for the evening and for the amount of people signed up:
Appetizer: Mini Smörgåstårtas
Main Dish: Chicken & Potato Tarragon Stew with Dijon Creme
Side Dish: Asparagus & Feta Salad (found in Donna Hay magazine)
Dessert: Caramel Pie (Kolapaj) ...Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm PIE
The mini smörgåstårtas were a hit: fun to prepare and fun to assemble with lots of helping hands. The dinner was decent, though I don't think the stew was anything special, actually. The salad was excellent, especially the dressing, and the PIE. Mmmmm the pie: It was perfect.
Caramel Pie (Kolapaj)
Preparation: 30 minutes + chilling time (1 hour total)
5 dl (250 g) flour
125 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
2 Tb sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tb cold water
2.5 dl (185 g) brown sugar (farinsocker)
¾ dl (40 g) flour
2.5 dl milk
45 g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
2 egg whites
2 Tb sugar
Pre-heat oven to 175C. Butter a deep pie-dish, 22 cm diameter. Put flour into a large bowl and knead in the butter in pieces until it becomes a crumbly mass. Stir in sugar, egg yolk and water. Knead into a soft dough and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic-wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper so that it covers the pie-dish. Even out the edges and decorate them with a fork if desired. Chill for 20 minutes. Cover the dough with baking paper and pour a layer of dried rice or dried beans on top. Bake for 35 minutes; then remove the rice/beans and paper.
Make the filling: Mix the sugar and flour into a small pot. Stir in the milk in small amounts until the batter is smooth. Add the butter and stir on low heat for 8 minutes or until the batter begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla sugar and egg yolk and stir until the batter is creamy. Pour into the pie-dish and smooth out the surface.
Whip egg whites into a hard foam. Add sugar in portions and whip until the meringue is thick and shiny and the sugar has dissolved. Spoon the meringue over the pie filling and swirl with a fork or knife to decorate the surface. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the meringue has a nice golden color. Serve the pie warm or cold.
*Title from a quote by Barack Obama