In case you missed it this week, this is actually my second posting. Wow! How did I manage that? So if you missed Monday's monologue, I invite you to take a peek. Now,... Happy Thursday! The cake below is the one I created for my daughter's eleventh birthday, and it inspired today's post. Bon Apetit!
Backing up to last summer, I purchased a cooking magazine at the airport before boarding a plane. Now, I realize that drooling over recipes while confined to a tin can suspended in mid-air, knowing that peanuts have been eliminated due to a fear of airborne anaphylaxic shock and pretzels lost out to the financial bottom line is not indicative of a well-balanced woman. But, I like my food magazines. So, back to that magazine. The cover featured this beautiful cake, even the gentleman next to me commented on it. (Granted he was probably ready to gnaw off his own arm, just like me.) I promised myself, I would make that cake!
Fast forward to a year later and my daughter- a budding foodie in her own rights- is celebrating her eleventh birthday. For the past month she has been badgering me to buy a coconut, a real coconut. I see an opportunity to grant her wish and make a dessert that my husband and son will not like. After all, the other party guests will enjoy it. And here is where the adventure begins!
I buy the coconut. I read the instructions for "milking" a coconut. I wash a screwdriver in soapy water and drive it through the three eyes in the coconut. I turn the coconut upside down over a bowl and the eyes begin to weep, yep real tears of coconut water. Tears, drops, streaks. If this sounds promising, let me assure you that it is not. I wiggle the coconut, and yes there appears to be liquid inside. According to the recipe my coconut should yield 1 cup of water. I make new holes next to the old holes and try to enlarge them. And still just droplets of coconut water drip out. I shake, refer to my recipe, shake again, and then head to the pantry for canned coconut water.
Next step, obtaining coconut meat. I preheat the oven and place the coconut in for half an hour. (If you are taking notes, STOP. Put your pen down and simply read the words of wisdom before you.) Then I take it out and bang it against my solid surface counter-tops. The instructions said to bang it on a solid surface, but apparently Corian is not solid enough. My stone wall in the backyard works though. Now that I have the coconut in two pieces, I use my knife to take out the meat of the coconut. It comes out smoothly if somewhat unattractive. Now the challenge. How do I take this brown lump of white stuff and turn it into the snow white shavings pictured in the book?
At this point my coconut looks like a potato that had been peeled and then left out in the air. You know the dingy brown color to which I refer. And there are no specific instructions on how to shave it. First I try a box grater then realize- "DUH!" I don't want it grated, I want it shaved. I spend the next TWO HOURS using my 10" Santoku knife to cut thin shavings of coconut. (I might have nicked a finger or two in the process- but no blood no foul!)
The cake contained 6 beaten egg whites folded in and a topping of Italian Meringue.
A week later I threw half of the cake away. Yes, I just admitted to throwing away 1/2 of that BEAUTIFUL waste of time. There is a silver lining. Since the cake was awful and we discovered that fresh coconut tastes as though you are licking the Coppertone right off your forearm, I will NEVER purchase and prepare a fresh coconut again. Give me the desicated, sugar coated, Easter- grass-wannabe shredded stuff they pass off as coconut. Sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help!