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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Edible Portmanteau

I have a strange fondness for "foods that shouldn't be"; last Thanksgiving, I was all delighted because my parents made a Turducken. A friend of the family ate Thanksgiving with us and afterwards sent me and my mom a link to an article about the Turducken of desserts: the Cherpumple.

"That sounds disgusting," my mom wrote back.

"Disgustingly awesome!" I countered.

So I've wanted to make a Cherpumple ever since.

A Cherpumple is:

Cherry pie baked in white cake 

on top of an

Pumpkin pie baked in yellow cake

on top of an

Apple pie baked in spice cake. 

Frosted all over with cream cheese frosting.

This Thanksgiving, I was invited to a big potluck and I am totally on picking up my dishes that I totally left there sorry about that. and I figured this was the ideal moment: if it was a weird disaster, there'd be other desserts; people could laugh about the cherpumple and still eat real pumpkin pie.

So: first you bake a pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cherry pie.

This was just pumpkin and apple. Cherry pie was in oven. Also, notice that the apple pie has a crumble crust. THIS IS IMPORTANT LATER. 

You let the pies cool overnight.

The next morning: You whip up white cake batter, yellow cake batter, and spice cake batter. I made each batter in turn, and washed out the mixing bowl in between rounds. This was a HUGE pain, but better than being faced with a huge row of dirty mixing bowls at the end of the process.

I used MANY eggs.

I used cake mix for the cakes, as per the recipe, and obviously that makes sense: not only it is much easier/faster when you have to make three cakes, but you can be assured the baking time will be fairly consistent between the three cakes and also that the cake texture will be fairly consistent. However, eating some of that cake-mix batter was kind of shocking -- it tasted...strongly plastic-y and chemical-y. Like a melted plastic bag with lots of sugar mixed in.

It's not like I go out of my way to avoid preservatives (goodness knows I love Red Vines, blue Gatorade, and pretzel bites with nacho cheese), but I do bake things from scratch, pretty much exclusively (and I guess, guilty pleasures aside, I don't eat tons of preserved food on a regular basis), so the taste was honestly a surprise to me -- I was, well I can't think of less prissy word than...appalled at how much I could taste the chemicals. Shocked and appalled! Who knew fake food tasted fake? I'm having a revelation over here, people.

Whatever. I still like the whimsy of the whole thing. It just would be fun to do a cherpumple with cake mix from scratch, is all I'm saying. You'd have to do some research and preparation in advance, but it could be done!

Anyway, once you have the requisite batter ready, you put about 1 and 1/3 cup of the batter at the bottom of the cake tin.

Then you "de-tin" the pie. This involves flipping the tin upside down and releasing the pie. Then you flip the pie rightside up and put it in a cake tin, nestled in the cake batter. The only secret I found here is to be quick and confident -- the cherry pie was the only pie that resisted the de-tinning and then the re-tinning because it already had a big crack it in. The other two didn't give me no sass.

Then you put the rest of the batter on top of the pie. It doesn't seem like enough batter. I was simultaneously worried that the pie would poke through its thin batter covering and that the cake batter would overflow the tin (I was after all violating a natural law by putting cake batter and a pie inside a cake tin).

However, no such worries. The cake-pies all came out looking great. I cooked them each a wee bit longer than the suggested baking time, because...well, they each had a pie inside them (about 35 minutes instead of 28 -- nothing ka-zazy).

Cake pies!
Then you "de-tin" your cake-pie. This is a lot like de-tinning a pie. Or a cake.

I have a pie inside me!
At this point, I got a little cocky. I just baked three motherfucking cakes with motherfucking PIES INSIDE THEM. And they all looked great! Admittedly, they were all frozen/from mixes and that made my heart hurt...but still. PIE inside CAKE. THREE DIFFERENT KINDS. DONE. All I had to do was let them cool and then stack them on top of each other, connecting the layers with cream cheese frosting.

Several people online had commented on how difficult it was to keep the cherpumple together -- you know, pies are not exactly designed to be load-bearing. But I happily stacked my three pies, frosting away, and was like "I don't know what the silly people on the internet are talking about. My cherpumple has plenty of structural integrity!"

And, for one brief, shining moment, I had a cherpumple, all frosted and ready to go. 

Then the apple pie began to collapse.

I hastily took a picture to document the brief moment of cherpumpleness:

Then I had to perform a triage operation and save the pumpkin-cherry (perumpkin! cherumpkin?) from the apple pie.

The apple pie was squashed:

I suspect the stupid crumble crust was to blame. Retrospectively, silly to expect a crumble crust to be the bottom layer. Hard pastry shell forever!
So I scrapped the squashed cakeapple together and put it in a cake tin. Deciding that only whimsy would save the day, I added some sprinkles.

I brought both the cherumpkin and the squashed cakeapplesprinkles to the potluck.

Make your own cherpumple!

I think it tasted pretty good, though I wasn't able to finish a whole helping -- it was kind of like getting kick-punched in the face with cake, pie, and frosting. Like, you're not sure whether you're enjoying yourself or if you're about to pass out? Anyway, there was an enormous selection of very impressive food, including pies, at the party (blueberry lavender pie! Latticework pie crusts! Engraved pie crusts!), so, as I'd hoped, my cherpumple could be enjoyed as a conversation piece.


Katharine said...

Wow. How come we didn't get to try some of this? It sounds awesome?

Easy O said...

Because I ate too much cherpumple and many others foods and drank too much wine and was too bloated to come over! 'Nother time, for sure.

Jason Kallelis said...

That's a whole lot of excuses, and yet, I still don't have cherpumple inside of me. :(

Ben Quick said...

Yum. Yum. Yum. More please!

Easy O said...

Oh, there will be more.

Nikki Van De Car said...

I nearly cried reading this. Um, way to be ambitious? I will now put sprinkles on all failed baking projects.

Easy O said...

Sometimes sprinkles are really all you can do, ya know?

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