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Tried and tested Wednesdays. Baking this time

Two nights ago, my mother and my sister spent the night with me while my husband was away. It was the first time in years, that the three of us were totally alone. No husbands, no grandmother. Just us and the dog.

The conversation of course veneered to the do you remembers. Do you you remember how it was sleeping all alone? Do you remember Mataji (our helper)? Do you remember how Ma used to make us cakes in steel katoris (bowls)?

I couldn't remember this at all, the cakes that is. I remember my mother's cinnamon buns, I remember her brownies, but the katori cakes, no. How strange, perhaps I've just repressed a lot of my childhood.

Then I tried to recall my first ever baking experience. All I got were snatches of memories - baking a horrid lamington loaf at 12, brownies at 13, an awesome club sandwich at 11. Chilli cheese toasts at 10. But nothing about the first thing I've ever baked. Zilch.

Maybe I need to be hypnotised so that I can coax these memories out of the back of my brain. But my point here is, that I had to be fiddling around with the oven for a couple of years, in order to feel confident about using it without supervision.

I do remember owning recipe books. I don't remember their names at all. (Better dig them out). From which I baked quite a bit - Oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate cakes but there were three books that helped me evolve as a baker. The first was the Mennonite cookbook, the second The Weekend Baker and third Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours. This book released in 2006, but I only got hold of it in 2008. So I've spent at least 4 glorious years with it.

In the US, Dorie Greenspan has a cult following. Many food bloggers were a part of her 'Tuesdays with Dorie' event. A beautiful event that people would select one recipe and try it out the following week and post variations of it. For me, however, Dorie Greenspan expanded my horizon. She made me see that you could bake with so many things other than just egg, butter, sugar and flour. For that I am thankful.

She gave out step by step techniques. Excellent pointers and the pictures were drool-worthy. She encouraged you, coaxed you into trying something new and was even a great bedside companion.

I've recommended this books to many friends. This is a great book for both beginners and experts.

The book is sort of a build up - you start with smaller easier things that can be tinkered around with - muffins, biscuits, scones  cookies, and then move on to loaf cakes, baby cakes, non-frosted cakes. There's a whole section on brownies. A dozen recipes that have a several variations to it. Then on pies, on fancy cakes and sauces that require a teeny bit of technique.

That said, I've made at least half  the recipes from this book. I could have made them all, but I have gone back to many of them over and over again. My favourite from this book include the Devil's White Out Cake. Even when I'm not following the recipe to the T, I make just that cake to use when I am making layers cake. It's an excellent chocolate cake that isn't very sweet and holds its shape yet remains moist.

The apple pie from this book is to-die-for. Incredibly flaky and buttery (and fattening and you might die soon type) but one of the best you'd have ever eaten. The pumpkin pie, the lemon cream pie, the choux pastry, the pastry cream. I could go on and on.

What's really awesome is that you will get a product very close to what you see in the pictures. That for me is the true test. I'm not going to lie, this book is a little pricey. But it's worth every single penny. It's the book you want to preserve and keep for your grandchildren, it's the book that will inspire you.

 Baking from my Home to Yours available in India, US and UK

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  1. Thx for introducing me to this book....I agree the devil white out cake is a perfect cake to use for different layer cake recipes.....

    Most of my baking is done from this book.....
    There are still so many recipes i have to try but so far i am loving every single recipe i have baked.