A sticky position
The Prosecution, Exhibit A:
See inside the oven? Here, this charred and ambiguous-looking blob?
According to the accused’s own testimony, that is the remain of bubbled-over peach pie.
Its innards, sticky with fruit juices and sugar, could not be contained by mere crust.
And yet, no decent effort was made to minimize the hazard by reducing the number of peaches.
Now, observe this other blob: This stain that spills toward the back of the oven floor.
There exists conclusive proof of its being the baked — and many times re-baked — remnants of the day field berries upwelled over the cobbler pan.
Elsewhere are apples and plums, apricots and rhubarb and cherries.
And, if fruit splodges aren’t damning enough, note also the strong suggestion of multiple lasagna incidents, curry meltdowns, pot-pie explosions, along with assorted other casseroles that spilleth-ed over their dishes.
Each time without a baking tray set underneath to catch the mess.
At the very least, this proves negligence.
At worst, the accused is a terrible housekeeper.
Now, kindly turn your attention to the spatter patterns on the glass.
If, by way of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, we scuff down through the layers, we might determine exactly how many pounds of bacon have been cooked between cleanings.
We see that a Dutch oven was opened to let liquid simmer off.
And that popover grease once sizzled into the heated air, until a hades-like mist of sticky oven grease did settle all around.
We believe there is evidence enough to convict.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a terrific housekeeper and many are the witnesses to my failings.
My oven is not a modern sculpture in a kitchen seldom used.
Sometimes, to veil the clotted bacon spatter that coats the inside glass, I attempt to artfully drape a tea towel over the handle.
A decade-old tea towel that has been tasked these years as a dish dryer, dough cover, oven mitt, drip catcher, spill wiper and fire squelcher.
It is not any prettier than the view it obscures.
I do, however, sometimes remember to place a baking sheet under the pies and cobblers that are most likely to burble over with their sticky sweet juices.
I remembered that as recently as today, which is why my oven is not ablaze with burnt maple sugar.
All I can say is good things have come of of this oven — like peach pie and berry cobbler.
Apple galettes and rhubarb, plum and apricot platz, along with lasagnas, braises, curries and bacon.
But, if that doesn’t change your mind, in about half an hour, I will attempt to bribe you with dessert.
Maple chomeur cakes
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup whipping cream
Pinch kosher salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until incorporated.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add in thirds. Beat until mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot, combine maple syrup and cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. As soon as it boils, stir in salt and remove from heat. Cool until warm. Transfer to a glass measuring cup (with a pour spout). Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Arrange six oven-safe six-ounce ramekins on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (these cakes WILL spill over). Stir maple mixture and spoon two tablespoons into each ramekin. Divide batter between dishes, spooning it loosely. Pour remaining maple mixture over top.
Bake at 450 F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool several minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.