Jun 01, 2018

If It Doesn’t Pan Out

By MaryAnn Miano

If it doesn't pan out

What do you do when a recipe doesn’t “pan out” quite the way the lovely, glossy photo in the cookbook shows it to be? Even the most knowledgeable and experienced cooks have an occasional failure. According to Barbara Bloch, author of If It Doesn’t Pan Out: How to Cope with Cooking Disasters, if you’ve never had a failure, you’ve never cooked.

The book is available at Colts Neck Library, part of the Catherine Henning Cookbook Collection. If It Doesn’t Pan Out tells you how to cope with those failures in the kitchen – and how to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Bloch breaks cooking disasters into several categories:

• Some can be corrected. Her book shows you how.

• Some can be rescued by turning the dish into something quite different from what you intended.

• And some failures cannot be saved. On these, just sigh and begin again.

The first thing you want to know when something has gone wrong is “Can it be fixed?” If It Doesn’t Pan Out gives you quick solution charts. Check your problem against these charts, and you’ll find out whether or not it’s immediately correctable. The charts are in every food category – chicken, eggs, food processors, gelatin, meat, pasta, pie crusts, rice, sauces, gravies, souffles, vegetables, and seasonings.

After the crisis has passed, you’ll want to review what went wrong and learn how to stay away from the problem in the future. “Checklists for Next Time” give you that kind of help in easy-to-read form.

If It Doesn’t Pan Out also provides clear and understandable text, useful conversion tables, and disaster-proof recipes. This is one book about cooking that will make all your other cookbooks more useful.

The following recipe gives suggestions to rescue angel food cake, a cake that is light but tricky to bake. When an angel food cake falls, it is heavy, gummy, and not very appetizing. Instead of throwing it away, make Chocolate Angel Delight instead:

Half of a fallen angel food cake

1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1 cup chopped almonds or other nuts, divided

Cut cake into bite-size pieces or small cubes, and place in the bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler; remove from heat and let cool slightly. Slowly add eggs to chocolate, beating until well combined. Pour chocolate mixture into large bowl and fold in whipped cream. Add almond extract and ½ cup chopped almonds, and stir. Slowly drizzle chocolate mixture over cake. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup nuts and refrigerate several hours until firm. Cut into square portions and serve.

NOTE: If you want to use all the fallen cake, double the chocolate recipe and divide cake into two pans (you can freeze one). Or, double the chocolate recipe and make dessert in layers.

Recipe from If It Doesn’t Pan Out, pages 29-30, by Barbara Bloch. Publisher: Red Dembner Enterprises Corp., 1981.