Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

the verdict

As much as I love acorn starch (and I do love acorn starch), the winner in the pie competition is clear.

The pie is more beautiful made with corn starch; the color of the sweet autumn olive shines through.  But more importantly, the bright, tart, true taste of the fruit is there.  It's a lighter pie, and exactly what I was hoping for.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

acorn starch v. corn starch

Next weekend I have to impress someone with a silverberry (aka sweet autumn olive) meringue pie.  So as any conscientious baker would do, I tested my recipe this weekend.  And I thought, why not substitute acorn starch for corn starch?  It could be the perfect thickener for this foraged dessert.

I searched high and low for information on equivalency between the two starches, and looked for warnings on possible baking idiosyncrasies.  You know, like how corn starch won't work with acidic fruit unless you add them in the right order and how arrowroot can make dairy based sauces slimy.


So I decided to boldly bake where no baker has baked before, then share what I learned.  (Kind of my duty since Google totally let me down in the research stage of this project.)  My lemon meringue pie recipe calls for 1/2 cup of lemon juice, zest, and 6 Tbs. of corn starch.  Instead, I used 1/2 cup silverberry pulp, and 6 Tbs. acorn starch.

I was initially disappointed by the color of the filling.  Made with corn starch the color is a brilliant, no-that-can't-possibly-exist-in-nature, orangey-pink.  Dry acorn starch is a pale tan color, but when combined with wet ingredients, it becomes dark brown, turning the pie filling a subdued mauve.

On the plus side, the acorn starch added an unexpected depth of flavor to the pie.  The filling has an almost chocolate-y richness, in addition to the bright tartness of the silverberry.

What to do?  Last night's taste testers loved the pie, but I missed the beauty of the corn starch filling.  I realize that in the contest between beauty and deliciousness, deliciousness must ultimately win the day.  But who's kidding whom?  You know I'm going to try another pie with corn starch for a side by side comparison.  It's my duty, after all.