12 September 2010

pitter patter

You know that universal (or maybe I just think it's universal because my children go to the preschool that I went to...) craft that children do when they're little?

They make a handprint- either painted or in plaster or something - and then attached to the handprint somehow is the poem that goes:

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
I’ll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away.
So here’s a little handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.

Or some variation on the same.

You know... it's so cute.

And it really is - I love handprints - It may be one of those things that you don't quite understand unless you have kiddos you're really close to, but I can actually tell whose hand is whose. And they represent so much. One little messy climber hand, one little person who imagines herself dainty, one little fat hand that points at everything...

Well, on the flipside, you have footprints. They are darling when they are babies - their little fat feet. But, by the time they're two ish - those feet are just kind of stinky and you don't really want them on you... the only cuteness is the little pitterpatter they make coming down the hall...

especially on Christmas morning.. =)

But, for the most part, I'm not too nostalgic about feet and their prints.

But maybe that will change.

On the second Sunday of each month, our church has a potluck meal after Church. Everyone brings a dish or three and we all feast together. The only thing missing is the wine.

That gives me an idear... =)

Anyway, today was the day for that fellowship meal. I made this chocolatepuddingpearcake inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe in what I think is my favorite book of hers, Nigella Express.

I love pears. I could wax rhapsodic for hours about pears. I feel about pears like Bubba Gump does about shrimp...

I also feel like I've said that somewhere else before - the bubba gump thing.

So, when I see a recipe that calls for pears, I almost always have to try it.

In fact, one of my favorite soups is a Roasted Red Bell Pepper soup....and it has pears in it. And you get this awesome hint of pearness....and sing hallelujahs.

Anyway, so I made this cake. And it was kind of gorgeous. A lot of cakes aren't that pretty - and they don't have to be. But this was in a bunt pan and topped with all of these beautiful pears and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

I was borderline too proud. I almost took a picture....

And then I gingerly spread a double layer of aluminum foil on top of it.

And put it in the van to go to church.

On the floorboard.

And we got to church.

And Eason unstrapped.

[And if you don't see where this is going, well, you need to brush up on foreshadowing as a literary device.]

And he got all excited about being at church, and hopped out of the car.

Placing his left, sandled, dirty-despite-having-been-showered-less-than-an-hour-before-hand, stinky, pitter pattering foot directly in the middle of my pride-inducing cake.

God was with us and the foil didn't break, so my frustration and annoyance gave way to laughter almost immediately. If the foil had broken, well, worship might have been difficult.

And all of the people at church, especially moms of little boys, laughed a lot. A whole lot.

And one sweet, wise woman said, "Ann Lowrey - if you don't have a name for your cake yet, I believe you do now..."

And so here you go -

Footprint Cake

Two hours before you want to make the cake remove from the fridge your eggs and butter. You can go ahead and put the butter into the bowl of the food processor and let it do its softening there - it's easier to unwrap cold butter than it is soft butter.

Also, if you have a gas stove, put your eggs under one of the eye covers (heavens - don't accidentally turn it on) - this is the best way to keep them from rolling off your counter and causing curse word temptation. Nothing like an egg rolling onto the floor to get me to mutter four letters. or twelve.

[There are many old cooking adages at which I roll my eyes. Room temperature ingredients for baking is not one of them. Do it. I know it requires forethought, but cooking without forethought is more expensive and less yummy anyway, so just think about it before and get your eggs out... Just do it. Think Nike.]


Preheat Oven to 350.
Grease and flour (read: Spray with baker's joy) a bundt pan. Place in the bottom:

  • 1 28 ounce can pear slices, preferably in their own juices, but water or heavy syrup wouldn't be a deal breaker...
  • 3 pears, peeled and sliced.
In the bowl of a food processor (I imagine a mixer would work as well, but I ain't making promises) place the following:
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 5/8 cups flour (1 1/2 cups plus 2 T)
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter (20 T)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
Blitz for 1 minute. (Blitz is a British (Or perhaps just Nigella) word that is amazingly perfect to describe what a food processor does. I have adopted it and so should you)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract
Blitz another couple of minutes- until it seems like a smooth dropping consistency (unhelpful, Nigella)

Spread the brown batter over the pears and bake in oven for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, grab it out of the oven. If it's still super gooey - ask yourself how important presentation is.... If it's not, then go ahead and grab it, because gooey chocolate hot pudding cake is the best thing since, well, refrigerated pie crust....

If you do want it to be beautiful, then let it get completely done, which shouldn't take longer than 45 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Flip out onto a cake plate and drizzle with warm chocolate sauce - homemade or store bought.

Imagine a little footprint in it - with all of Eason's love.

[On the way home from church the 83% eaten cake was again on the floorboard. And we pulled up in the driveway. And Eason unstrapped. And hopped out of the car.

And put his right, bare, dirty-despite-having-been-showered-less-than-four-hours-before-hand, stinky, pitter pattering foot right in the middle of the remaining three servings of cake.

What are the chances?]

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