My Life in Viña del Mar, Chile: Part Five, I WILL Bake, You Cannot Stop Me
You Can’t Stop Me, You Can Only Hope to Contain Me
So I’ve talked earlier about some of the limitations of our kitchen and the supplies available here in Chile. The kitchen is small but serviceable, we can’t find baking powder or yeast in the stores, and the fresh bread is so good and cheap there’s no point in making our own. Nonetheless, there comes a time when you’ve bought too many blueberries and they must be used in something and you and your wife (or husband or whatever) don’t really like fresh blueberries so you have to bake something. That happens to everyone, right, not just me? Well today was that time for me, because I was too tired after the gardens yesterday to do it.
Step One: Finding a Recipe That’s Just Right
So we don’t have baking powder or yeast, but we do have baking soda and a secret (accidental) weapon: self-rising flour. When we bought our two bags of flour we mistranslated one, thinking it was whole wheat. Upon further inspection, we (Cecile) figured out that it is in fact self-rising flour. This has actually turned out to be rather handy for making pancakes and biscuits (Cecile), and I planned on using it in my baking adventure. The real trick was finding a recipe that took into account the various limitations I was facing.
Everyone Has a Mixmaster, Right?
Well we do in Peoria, anyway. Here in Viña, this is my Mixmaster:
I’m telling you, those cooks in Downton Abbey must have had the biggest forearms and wrists. Creaming sugar, butter and eggs is not as much fun when YOU have to do the work. I’m buying the Mixmaster some flowers when I get back (note how I didn’t make an awful pun and write flours, I want you to note that).
And a Set of Mixing Bowls and Measure Cups & Spoons?
Well here they are:
And An 8×8 Pan?
Oh fine, I’m not going to get picky, we have A baking pan, it will have to do for everything.
Equipment in Hand, the Recipe Search Begins
I was thinking something blueberry buckleish, because it seemed the closes to what I could reasonably hope to accomplish. Found a recipe that only required creaming the butter, egg & sugar, mixing stuff together, and the topping didn’t require butter to be cut in (I’m way beyond using two knives to cut butter in, been there, done that, hated it). So we had a winner. I hoped. Easier than I thought actually, it was the second recipe I looked at.
Let the Wild Rumpus Start
As I may have implied up top, creaming the butter, sugar and egg together was a bit hard on the forearm. Feels ok now, but I will admit that things didn’t get as light and fluffy as I’m used to. Fortunately I was clever enough to find a recipe that didn’t call for that, just said cream them together. For the dry ingredients, again lacking baking powder, after some consideration I used half regular flour and half self-rising flour. At the mixing together phase, alternating with milk as instructed, things seemed a little thick, I suspected because I might not have used enough butter in the creaming stage.A digression: Did I mention that the recipe called for shortening but I was using butter? Well it did. Called for 1/4 cup. Well they don’t exactly measure out the butter by tablespoons and cups here, stupid metric system with its logic and easy fractions, so I was really winging it.
I added a little more milk so that I could get it all done, then mixed in the blueberries, measuring 3 cups 1/3 of a cup at a time. Did I mention I had to do a lot of counting? I did? Well it’s true.
Then “pour” the batter into the pan. Pour … huh, seems a little (way) too thick to pour. Guess we’ll just scrape and spread. But I didn’t force it to fill the whole pan, because it just didn’t want to and I wasn’t going to argue. And the pan was longer than 8×8 anyway, so there.
Then the topping, which again just called for mixing together softened butter with sugar and cinnamon, not cutting cold butter in. This was important because we leave our butter out so we can actually spread it all over the delicious fresh bread we get from the panaderia, so the softened butter part for the topping is what sold me on this recipe. It was weird, never done a topping that way, but I mixed until it seemed like I had had enough mixing and just wanted to sprinkle it on already, and I did. Put it in the oven with no clear idea what was going to come out.
And then had to wait a couple of hours to try it until Cecile got home. And then we had to eat dinner first. Being an adult really sucks sometimes. But it came out quite tasty all things considered, good enough to be breakfast tomorrow.
I don’t think Rick’s going to be able to make cinnamon rolls when he comes. 🙁