Monday, December 29, 2008

Disaster in the Kitchen

Christmas dinner went so well! Yeah, I forgot to serve the cranberry sauce until the next day, but whatever. We also were too stuffed for several days before we managed to cut into the pecan pie.

At which point we discovered the disaster lurking in the kitchen.

The pie did not set.

At all.

I spooned the syrup out of the pan and we now have candied pecans sticking to a flaky crust. It's not bad, but it is most certainly NOT pecan pie.

My husband almost got himself wished into the cornfield after implying that I had somehow followed the recipe incorrectly. He then tried to redeem himself by suggesting that the recipe itself was wrong. However, it came from a site where comments are allowed, and no one in the comment section had said anything about their pie not setting. It's not the recipe and I followed that recipe to the letter.

There is the curious substitution I had to do, using a sugar-beet based syrup instead of corn syrup. But I have it on fairly good authority that this is the best substitution of corn syrup one can have: the internets and personal experience. I use the darker syrup to make gingersnaps and it works perfectly as a molasses substitute. I'm pretty sure this is not the culprit.

I think what happened is that the center of the pie never did get hot enough. The wretched oven failed me. I think the pecans formed a barrier that kept the heat from penetrating the pie. The pecans began to burn and I had to remove the pie from the oven at just over the time suggested by the recipe. I think I should have kept the pie in the oven for at least another hour, but with the heat off. The residual heat might have been able to get into the pie and do that voodoo that they call "chemistry" and turn the syrup mixture into the jelly-like substance that makes pecan pie "pie" and not candied pecans in a baked crust. Notably, the sugar in the liquidy mess were still granular, indicating that they had not melted and mixed into the rest of the filling.

Yes, I analyze my failures in the kitchen. I'd hate to repeat a disaster because I didn't bother to figure out what went wrong the first time.

It'll be a while before I get the chance to try pecan pie again, though. Pecans are not a common nut in Denmark and so you can only get small bags of organic pecans at ridiculous prices. This was a very expensive disaster I am afraid.

But at least it is still edible. The worst Archaeogoddess kitchen disaster ever was not only inedible, it was horrific in it's intensity of inedibleness. It was a cheap dish, but alas, one of the few things in the house that evening that could be eaten. Then there was the other disaster, but that one was actually edible, even if it took hours for some of the potatoes to cook. You can actually eat raw potatoes, they aren't that great, but they can be eaten if you are hungry enough. It took days of reheating the leftovers before finally most of the potatoes were cooked. Even the last bite was partially raw. Gah.

Speaking of kitchen disasters, I have to rustle something up for tonight's grub. I miss my Christmas left overs! Why is it that when you are little, the left overs go on and on and on and you can't wait for the day when you get something other than turkey for dinner? I made a mountain of food and it was gone in THREE DAYS!! I don't think I'm married to a human being, I think I am married to a black hole. We go through a huge amount of food and yet no one is getting that much fatter. Okay, I'm a bit padded around the middle at the moment, but we ate a 6 pound duck in THREE DAYS! Six pounds of duck, two celeriac roots (over a pound each I'm sure), three pounds of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, a pound of cranberry sauce, twelve biscuits, four cups of gravy, and 8 cups of ris a la monde! Not to mention my personal intake of three dozen gingersnaps.

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