Pumpkins decorate the doorsteps, leaves are changing colors and the smell of something delicious baking in the oven are just a few things that make the Halloween season one of the best times of year. Although you may already have the first two checked off the list, here’s help from one of Baltimore’s best bakery chefs for getting something tasty and spooky cooking in the kitchen.
Jill Williams, owner of Baltimore Cakery in Fells Point, has been baking and decorating cakes since the 1980s, and as visitors of her shop know, has an innate talent for catering to those with a sweet tooth and cake aficionados. Although extremely busy with delivering wedding cakes for the fall season, Williams wanted to share these two original recipes with Baltimore readers and help make for a very delicious and happy Halloween.
2005 Eastern Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21231
Baltimore Cakery is a boutique-style cake shop that specializes in cakes for every occasion from birthdays and bar mitzvahs to anniversaries and weddings. With exotic flavors and sophisticated designs, each cake made is truly a masterpiece and almost too beautiful to eat. Setting a new, high standard for cakes, Baltimore Cakery is also eco-friendly using natural and organic ingredients, Energy Star appliances and composting and recycling to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. Executive chef Jill and business partner Robert are on a mission to create the most delectable confections of the 21st century, and lucky for Baltimore, these tasty treats are only but a short drive away.
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 16 to 24 miniature semisweet chocolate chips or pieces of semisweet chocolate
- Using two half sheet pans, line them with parchment paper.
- Whip egg whites and cream of tartar together with a mixer on high speed in a deep bowl. As you continue to whip, add in one tablespoon of sugar every 30 seconds, and keep whipping until meringue holds very stiff peaks.
- Then add in vanilla as you whip.
- Fill a pastry bag that is fitted with a plastic coupler approximately 2/3 full and pipe.
- Create ghost shapes on the sheet pan.
- Bake in a 200° F oven until meringues begin to turn pale gold and are firm to the touch. This is about 1.25 to 1.5 hours (1 to 1.25 hours in a convection oven); be sure to switch pan positions when halfway through baking time.
- Turn off the heat and let the meringues remain in closed oven for 1 hour before removing.
Pot de Creme
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 (4-ounce) cups/bowls
- Using a medium-sized pot on low heat, mix together the milk, half-and-half, vanilla seeds and vanilla pod and then bring to a gentle simmer.
- Meanwhile, melt the semisweet chocolate – recommend using the top of a double boiler.
- Add the eggs, cocoa and sugar together in a large bowl and then whisk until combined.
- Pour the heated milk mixture (from step 1) into the melted chocolate (from step 2) and whisk together.
- Temper the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, but be sure to add it slowly otherwise the eggs will scramble. (Do not over mix. While you want the ingredients to be well-blended, you do not want the mixture to be frothy or bubbly.)
- Carefully pour the mixture into the small cups, leaving a little room at the top (do not fill all the way).
- Once the cups are in the baking pan, add 2 inches of water to the pan.
- Use aluminum foil to cover the top of the pan. This is an important step as it will prevent the custard from forming a rough skin as it is baked.
- Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until the custards are set but still a little jiggly, approximately 25 to 30
- Take the pan out of the oven and remove the cups from the hot water bath. Let them to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Top these tasty Pot de Creme with the decorative meringue ghosts.
Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at beazellblog.com and Examiner.com.