Monday, November 30, 2009

A Blank Canvas

I attended a very unique gathering this past Sunday at my neighbor Gwen's house. She had an idea to have artist friends of hers paint on cakes. She covered sheet cakes with white fondant to create a smooth surface, and then provided the space and tools for the cake decorators' studio. I did not participate in painting a cake as I'll be doing pastillage flowers for a cake to be donated to her son Mile's school, but I was on hand to photo document the event.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pattycake, Pattycake... Baker's Man

Baked his cakes as fast as he can (bad English, I know... but I wanted to keep the rhyme.)

Orange and grapefruit peel and sections were candied in the same method as the lemon and lime, and then I was out hunting for the remaining ingredients for the fruit cakes.

When I had everything I needed and was ready to bake, I had to wait yet another day because the banana wasn't ripe enough.

But alas, today I am done.

The assortment of nuts. The natural and rustic color of the nuts is so warm and mellow.

The candied mango, papaya, and pineapple. The sun kissed citrusy colors of the fruits can be found in the flowers in bloom all around.

The complete mixture of nuts and candied fruits, a kaleidoscope of color and texture.

The rich batter that will be mixed with the fruit and nuts. Butter, sugar, eggs, spices -- how can this be any better?

Two cakes cooling on the counter. I have 10 cakes like these and 6 cupcakes!

After the cakes are cool enough to handle, they will be removed from the pans and set out on wire racks to continue to cool to room temperature. Next they will be brushed with dark rum -- soaked is more like it -- and covered in cheesecloth, then plastic wrap, and placed in the refrigerator to mellow for 3-4 weeks, ready just in time for the holidays.

When the cakes are cut, the slices are like jeweled stained-glass mosaic windows. Of course I'll post pictures when I do. And if these yummy cakes weren't good enough just as they are, I like to dip them in chocolate as an added surprise!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

'Tis the Season...

I suppose, for me, the holidays start with Halloween. Halloween is my quintessential holiday. It evokes, well... that's another post.

Anyway, Halloween, or the end of October, signals the start of the slippery slope toward Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and the New Year. For most of us, it also is the opening gate for the holiday festivities to begin.

And thusly begins the fruitcake season.

Fruitcake, you say. That is nothing more than a brick... a door stop or a waste of culinary prowess.

A dear reader, you are so misconceived!

I have my own recipe for tropical fruitcake, and if you are going to be a part of my blogging, then you shall watch this delectable, gastronomical delight come to fruition!

For me, and my original recipe, it is tradition to start with the most time consuming and natural of ingredients: I candy my own lemon, lime and grapefruit peel and segments. In addition, this year I decided to add to the mix starfruit.

I start by removing the peel from the lemons and limes (after they have been washed, of course.)

Then the fruit segments are removed from the inside.

Here sliced starfruit is simmering in a simple syrup.

The peels are added to a simple syrup and simmered until they become transparent.

As you can see, the peels have shrunk slightly as the natural liquid in the peel is exhanged for the simple syrup and the peels have begun to candy.

The lemon and lime segments in the simple syrup.

The starfruit, lemon and lime peel on a rack for drying.
Since I only have a few slices of the starfruit I am going to cover them with coarse sugar and use them as decoration on plates or in cocktails. The rest, will dry for several days and then be chopped up with the remaining fruits for the cake.

Bon Appetite!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dana's visit 10/30 - 11/10

Double Rainbow
The Road to Hana - the long way...


Hawaiian monk seal and newborn pup

Hamoa Beach

Upcountry Polo - Maui vs. Oahu