'An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.'
Sit down at my kitchen table with me for a while, dear readers. Pull up a chair, kick off your shoes and make yourself at home. Let us open a bottle of wine (or two) and discuss the quotation above and how it might relate to 'baking from scratch'.
As background to my invitation, I started an informal debate around this topic on Facebook recently and it drew some interesting comments that I'd like to share. I'd been poking around on Pinterest, you see, and come across two particularly delicious-looking recipes. However, when visiting each site to peruse the recipes, I was somewhat disappointed to find that one blogger's recipe featured cupcakes baked from a Betty Crocker packet mix and a packet of white chocolate instant pudding. While the second blogger's recipe featured store bought pie crusts filled with instant pudding from a packet.
Please don't get me wrong, I don't wish to sound like an idealist and I'm not polishing my halo. I was simply taken aback when I learned that both of the recipes were created with boxed cake mix and the like. Sure, it's cooking, but where is the skill in opening a packet?
I asked my fellow cooks, food writer colleagues, friends and family to chime in, discuss and share their thoughts. Here are the responses which came in from around the world. They are excellent, methinks. Diverse and interesting:
So, it was this lively debate that inspired me to bake Peach Kuchen Pie, my version of a cake that my German (former) mother-in-law made often when she was still alive. I hadn't tasted it nor baked it in many years... and it was about time my Peter tasted it.
Let me just say, it was good, really good. So much so that Peter's response was (aside from one of those low growls he makes when he's eating something that he finds utterly delicious): 'This is really good, please make it again'. Yes, I have. More than once. Come summer, I shall make it with fresh peaches!
My recipe for Peach Kuchen Pie, baked from scratch...
PEACH KUCHEN PIE
For the pie base:
11/2 cups plain (AP) flour
scant 1/4 cup vanilla infused raw caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder4g ground vanilla bean powder (equivalent to 2 beans)
2/3 cup or 80g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 x 825g can sliced peaches, drained
For the sour cream topping:
3 large free range egg yolks
1 cup low fat sour cream
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line the base and sides of a 23x13 cm loaf tin with baking paper. Combine the flour, caster sugar, baking powder and ground vanilla in a large Pyrex bowl, then rub in the cubed butter. Note: initially I use my stainless steel pastry cutter (see image below), and then my warm fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles fresh bread crumbs. Press the pastry mixture into the base and about 2cm up the sides of the prepared tin. Be patient and gentle, but press the base in firmly. Next, arrange the drained peach slices over the base. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of the caster sugar. Pop this into the oven and bake it for 15 minutes.
While the pie base with the peaches on top is baking, combine the egg yolks and sour cream in a small bowl and whisk through. Using a spatula, spread the sour cream and eggs over the top of the peaches, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and finish with an even sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Bake the pie for about 30 minutes until the top is golden (take care not to allow it to burn) and just set. Serve sliced.
Peach Kuchen Pie is best eaten soon after baking, but can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight and eaten cold the next day. This quantity serves 6.
'This is really good, please make it again...'
Copyright: Please respect my literary work and do not copy. Kindly ask permission before re-blogging. Please provide full acknowledgement to Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things with a visible link back to my original blog post.
So tell me dear readers, what are your thoughts on using packet mixes as opposed to baking from scratch? What say you? And do you enjoy these kitchen table discussions?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.