I vividly remember the night I made my first from-scratch pie, crust and all. It was November 4, 2008, Election Night, Obama versus McCain. The previous two election nights had been rather scarring (especially 2000, which lasted two months), and I needed something to get my mind off things. I went to the library and checked out Ken Haedrich’s Pie (possibly the most completist pie cookbook ever assembled), decided on the brown sugar apple, stopped at the store for ingredients, and got to work. As it turned out, the final results were in before the pie even went into the oven. But it didn’t matter. It was still a soothing project and afterward I had pie.
Since Tuesday night, I have checked the national election map approximately 2,853,079 times. Even though I know that nothing can change in 30 seconds or less, I still check. I’ve sat propped up on the couch staring blankly at my phone long after I should have been in bed. Clearly it is time for another distraction project.
A few weeks ago, inspired by this article about baumkuchen, also known as spit or chimney cake, I checked out Luisa Weiss’ Classic German Baking, which contains a recipe for a modified baumkuchen that doesn’t require a rotisserie. The cake takes approximately three hours to make, and it may be just the project I’m looking for.
I could, however, also make Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls. Or Toffee Sticky Buns. Or kouign amann. Or Angel Biscuit Sandwiches With Honey And Brown Butter Semifreddo. Or maybe go savory and have a Beef Wellington Pot Pie or a Chicken Parm Pot Pie. Maybe a perfect tavern-style pizza. A lasagna with homemade noodles and Bolognese. Last weekend I made chili. It required a lot of chopping. That was also soothing.
What’s your favorite cooking or baking project when you need a distraction?