So this week, I wanted to do something new for the Provo Food Blog: try to make food from a recipe that I’ve never tried before and post a how-to/step-by-step guide on how to do said recipe. Turns out, this was a bad idea. Apparently, if you’re going to teach someone how to do something, you need to be able to do it competently yourself. Oops.
So, first off, I was given a mission cookbook my first day in Russia. In my mission, missionaries didn’t eat with members very often, so if you wanted to eat good, y’all had to learn to do it yourself. I assume the cookbook was compiled by some senior sisters or the APs because most of the recipes are American, but there is a section of Russian recipes.
On my mission, I decided I would try to make one new recipe a week so that I could try new things and learn how to cook. Well, it’s been nearly four years since the Russia Samara Mission Cookbook and I first met, and I’ve gone from making lots of crappy cooking mistakes to getting as good at cooking as sharks are at having black, soulless eyes.
Anyway, whoever compiled this cookbook (whether it was senior sisters or some lousy APs) didn’t completely realize they were writing it for missionaries in Russia who can’t find many American ingredients a lot of the time (like Worcestshire sauce or cornmeal) and don’t have fancy kitchen appliances (like mixers).
As such, after I make a recipe, I write in the margins any adjustments I would do, like extra ingredients, substitute ingredients, a variation in cooking time, etc. It makes me feel like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when I do it, so I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.
One of my first dishes: Hawaiian Chicken with flour substituted for cornstarch, tangerine slices substituted for orange slices, and no pineapple chunks because Elder Olsen don’t like those (in Balakovo, Russia!).
Anywayz, so off to why this week’s recipe didn’t turn out so good.
I was working in the Russian section of the cookbook, making a dessert called “Apples Under Snow.” I’d never heard of it/had it before, butt it was in the cookbook, so I was going to make it! I assume that it was supposed to be a baked apple delight with crust on the bottom, apples in the middle, and white frosting on top. That’s not how it turned out.
First, I was supposed to “peak” egg whites. I’d never separated eggs before and I didn’t know what “peak” meant, so I googled how to do both. Eggs can be separated by cracking an egg in half, then pouring out the white into a bowl while leaving the yolk in the shell (or you can just crack the eggs into a bowl and pull the unbroken yolk out with your hands … I won’t tell you which method I chose).
As for peaking egg whites, apparently you’re just supposed to beat them really hard until they’re white and foamy and stand up a bit when you pull the whisk out. Also, apparently you’re supposed to use an electric mixer to do this, cuz I used a whisk and my muscles, but after a half hour of beating, all I got was half runny egg whites, half foamy (butt nott peaked) egg whites.
Second, the recipe said to make the dough by combining two and a half sticks of butter (actually, it said 250 grams, but I rounded it to two and a half sticks) with three tablespoons of flour. Needless to say, my dough looked like this:
If that looks like a bunch of butter greased to the bottom of a cooking pan, it’s bacuz it iz.
The rest of it went okay. I added cinnamon to the apples because I’m Merican and I know how to make a grood appo pie.
The frosting on top was supposed to be the peaked egg whites mixed with a crapton of sugar, so I took my almost-peaked egg whites and mixed it with the crapton of sugar.
The recipe also told me to freeze a little bit of the dough, then grate it on to the top of everything before I baked it. I thought that was weird, butt then I thought, “Russia,” and I did it anyway.
Last, the recipe told me to bake for thirty minutes at 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought that might be a little too high/a huge gap between temperatures, butt again I thought, “Russia,” and did it anyways. After smelling what I thought was burning, I turned the temp down to 350 and shortened the baking time a bit.
Now, I’m not sure if the egg white/sugar thing was supposed to puff up and be fluffy and white (like snow), but everything just turned brown/blackish in the end. Maybe the recipe should have been called “Apples Under Black Mold.”
The crust turned into a bunch of melted butter/crumble-like stuff (you can see it glistening in the bottom of the pan in the pic) and the egg white/sugar combo caramelized all along the edge of the pan and all over the apples. The apples baked perfectly and were super soft and moist. Obviously, with the crapton of sugar and butter, this stuff tasted great, but was a mess to clean up afterward.
I ate mine on top of ice cream, which I think is probably the best way to eat anything. And, since I’m such a good brother, I shared with my sister and her huzbond.
They really liked it too.
After making this recipe, I googled “Apples Under Snow” to see how to do it the right way. Turns out, the Internet doesn’t even know about this recipe, leading me to think that it may not a real Russian recipe/a real recipe at all. Oh you sneaky sneaky senior sisters/lousy APs.