Baking is in my DNA. My grandmothers both baked and my mother provided me with my early training. I remember an elementary school homework project where I baked a simple butter cookie called Petticoat Tails. Somewhere in my unwieldy files, I still have the handwritten recipe sketched out in my expressive grammar school penmanship.
I love the tactile feel of baking, the soothing rhythmic motions, and the sensual aroma of anticipation that fills the room. Early on, I became quite fond of licking the beaters. I own so many different types of baking pans that the closet where they are stored resembles an abstract work of art.
I grew up using a gas oven, and I was more than a little dismayed to discover when I moved into my house that the oven was electric. For the first time in my life, I started to experience “baking flops.” The temperature was never right, and forget about browning. The oven was temperamental to say the least. Cakes looked pale and anemic, and there were times when cakes would fall, or even burn. There were too many times when I was forced to throw out the first attempt and start all over again. Eventually I learned to develop a certain empathy with the electric oven and produced some pretty good results, including a popular line of Retro Cakes.
I love the tactile feel of baking, the soothing rhythmic motions, and the sensual aroma of anticipation that fills the room.
But life in the kitchen is all about the journey and now I have traveled back to baking with gas. The electric oven is just a memory, replaced with a shiny new Viking Stove.
It’s a gentle giant with a traditional baking setting and one for convection baking as well. Handing someone like me a convection baking setting is like giving someone who writes on a chalk board an IPad, just to see what will happen. I may actually have to read the instruction manual.
This Apple Crumb Pie is one of my first forays into the brave new world of baking in a gas oven. The raisins plump up from the juice of the apples, and I’m kind of reveling in the golden bronze color and the delicate, buttery crunch of the crumb topping – something I wasn’t able to achieve with an electric oven.