Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boston Cream Pie - just another winter project!

I finally got around to celebrating National Pie Day! I asked Brian what his favorite pie was and he said Boston Cream Pie. In my opinion, this is not really a pie at all . . . it's a cake, but I forged ahead nonetheless. After all the word "pie" is in the name!

I have never made Boston Cream Pie before so I started with an online recipe search (my poor neglected cook book collection!) I found a recipe that received good reviews and a warning to not cut corners and use a cake mix and pudding mix. I baked the cake, boiled the custard, and melted chocolate for the ganache.

I used plain white fondant and my new lobster and sloop molds (Christmas presents from a schooner guest - thank you Drea!) to make decorations.

The first lobster I tried to make didn't want to come out of the mold very easily so I sprinkled some powdered sugar in first and that did the trick.

I got out some food coloring and some paint brushes . . .

and was pretty happy with the results.

Then came the fun of assembling the pie.

I made the mistake of whisking the ganache instead of just using a wooden spoon. All those little dots are not lumps, they are air bubbles.

And then decorating the pie. I put the four top lobsters on first and realized too late that there was not going to be enough room for my sloop nor the other four lobsters. I adjusted my original plan and had the remaining lobsters bend over the edge and now I kind of I wish I had done that with all eight.

And then, of course, the best part of the whole process; eating it! Brian got the first piece.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Where are we going?

A common question during a trip is, "Where are we going?" and I admit that I didn't always handle that question well in the past. So, I've come up with new strategies to answer a question I simply don't know the answer to. You see, when we set out on a trip there are a lot of factors that determine where we go, not the least of which is the fact that the Evans is not exactly the fastest boat around. Some of the things we have to take into consideration include the weather, the lobster bake, the wind direction and speed, the tide, and the length of the trip so we make it back to the dock on time. In the photo below we have some high-tech helpers to show us the way:

This was the last full day of a trip. The arrow shows that we were anchored in Stonington, a small village on the southern tip of Deer Isle. The candy fish show two possible routes to take to head west and our eventual destination the next morning; Rockland. One route would take us over the top of North Haven and the other would take us through the Fox Island Thorofare between North Haven and Vinalhaven. I honestly don't remember which route we took that day but I do know that when we reached the spot where the routes split, I had to make a decision and once we committed to a route the other one was eaten. Then, as we proceeded along the remaining route we ate those fish, too! (Hint: It's a fun way to get kids to show an interest in the chart when they have to figure out if it's time to eat another fish or not!) We've used all sorts of candy to represent the route including mini chocolate bars, mini Reeses peanut butter cups, M&Ms (which we call Vitamin M!), circus peanuts, and Twizzlers. It's best, of course, if there is a hard candy shell or a wrapper as we found that the Twizzlers really weren't a good choice; not only are they long (therefore taking a long time to be a candidate for consumption), they stick to the chart!

This time we used carrots and pea pods that were delivered to us by a friend when we visited Castine (see the arrow). The carrots came from a hydroponic farm and were simply fantastic! This also must have been the last full day of a trip (with a northerly wind forecast for the next day) because our destination for the evening indicated by both the peas and the carrots is Cradle Cove by Islesboro and Seven Hundred Acre Island. I think we took the carrot route that day which you can see meant we had to sail off this chart (#13309) for a little while and then back up to Cradle Cove.

Ahhh, the course is set (with peas and carrots) and
the "Sailing for Dummies" book consulted (yes, that book is
in our library and, yes, it's there as a prop for the photo!)

Let's go sailing!

Photo credits to Gary Fuller and Allison Roberts. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011