I despise blue cheese.
If it is not in a Gorgonzola sauce swimming with gnocchi,
I don't want to be anywhere near it.
So I REALLY did NOT want to make this recipe. Couldn't fathom it.
Who would I
pawn offer it to?
There have been many recipes which made my
head explode on this Heavenly Bakers/Alpha Baker journey.
Recipes that were way too difficult for a novice like me.
Recipes that just didn't sound enticing.
Some recipes actually made me want to curl up
underneath a blanket rather than face pre-heating the oven.
Others necessitated recruiting a navigator,
usually my daughter,
to keep me on the straight and narrow.
What do I do next?
Let's not forget the charts, outlines, pages and pages
of notes deciphering complicated instructions.
There have been flour explosions, cocoa powder explosions,
spilled sugar, spilled cake pans of batter,
Plus loads and loads of dishes to wash.
And then the humiliation of attempting to
take a happy snap of pathetic pie lattice,
burned biscuits and lopsided cakes.
Because while I wasn't looking
this baking train turned into a
Through it all, I never wanted
to run away from a weekly bake.
Did I mention I find blue cheese revolting?
What keeps me here instead of throwing in the dish towel?
Something new or different that
I would never choose to make on my own.
Or something I've always wanted to bake
but never had the nerve.
The Alpha Bakers.
The little gaggle of bakers who bake
week after week,
whether it's a win or fail recipe.
The recipe tales, the spectacular results,
the hilarious disasters.
I feel your pain
The amazing prize worthy photography skills,
and charming out of focus blurry ones, and thankfully
their ability to simplify a recipe
so I have a chance at understanding
Their encouragement to keep soldiering on.
Their cheers with any bit of success.
Their willingness to instantly come to the rescue
during a catastrophe.
Their kindness in never criticizing.
They make it fun
when often times it really isn't.
And isn't that the point of baking?
otherwise who's going to buy the book?
Yes, the Alpha Bakers.
Not so much Rose. And not so much Woody.
Their priorities lay elsewhere.
They aren't in the trenches with us
bringing the recipe off the page to life
that they understand so well.
A true folie a deux.
I've stacked Rose's cookbooks.
Not counting her Romantic and Classic Cake booklet,
which is around here somewhere.
One foot, one inch
Oh, here it is.
Add another quarter inch or 6.35 millimeters.
That's a whole lot of testing and re-testing,
fine tuning and calibrating.
I get it;
it's not all dark chocolate merriment.
Still, there was no getting around it.
This was the first recipe I did not want to taste.
So even though I badly wanted to skip this week,
I read it again.
Why Stilton when there are so
many other members in the blue cheese family?
This question was easily answered and I was off and running,
searching for real Stilton.
from one of the authenticated UK Stilton dairies,
was luckily at the same
tiny market which provided me with French sour cherries
Y'all remember that pie?
The pie that made me go
In for a penny, in for a pound
Once that Stilton was in hand,
enthusiasm began to build.
Here are the ingredients assembled and ready for weighing.
The organic cream cheese found in my regular supermarket
was well worth the extra dollar.
Zero gum thickeners.
Rose called for walnuts to be toasted and the skins rubbed off,
as she often does.
I never enjoyed doing this, until now.
Popped warm out of the oven into a plastic container with a lid,
I shook the daylights out of 'em.
All but a few stubborn ones released their skins.
Cupcake papers to line the cupcake pan.
Ground walnuts tapped into place with an espresso tamper.
Unwrapping Sir Stilton, I was prepared to be bowled over by the aroma.
Stilton smashed with a fork into the sour cream
and tipped in the mixing bowl with cream cheese, sugar,
cornstarch and salt; then a few eggs.
How simple is that?
The mixture is poured into a baggy, one corner snipped
and piped into the cupcake pan.
Out of the oven and cooling down before a long rest
in the refrigerator.
Finally cool enough to try with a could-be-riper pear
Hey, it's not so bad!
Or my favorite
Sparkling Pear Cider
which is so exquisite
my daughter chose it for
her wedding brunch.
For extra fun Trader Joe's organic strawberry jam.
It's even better!
As days went by, the distinctive blue cheese flavor mellowed
becoming a faint note in the background.
These little tidbits were well liked
by blue cheese lovers.
I could tolerate them but I think
I would actually love them without the blue cheese,
doubling up on cream cheese instead.
Such quick and easy little cheesecakes.
That's the other thing that keeps me here,
to be nudged to actually bake out of a collection of cookbooks
I respect Rose's efforts. I may get frustrated and annoyed,
I may swear more at my poor little Kitchen Aid mixer than I have ever sworn at anything
in my life.
Are you kidding me Rose?
Why, why, why Rose?
I wonder if her ears ring?
But I learn. I overcome my own inadequacies and lack of patience.
The pay off is a delectable experience.
My family and friends think I'm some sort of baking genie.
I laugh at the very idea. I'm just holding on by the seat of my pants
along for the ride, like a water skier behind the wake of a boat.
I know the truth
I point them in the direction of picture perfect results
but they are too busy oooh'ing and ahhh'ing and asking
me to please make it again.
Which is how recipes become a part of family celebrations,
holidays, special occasions or no occasion at all.
That's pretty amazing when you think about it.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Miette's Tomboy and Orange Chiffon
The best part? Reading the Alpha Bakers' posts each week..
That is always the best part.
I applaud their efforts
as much as my family does mine.