Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mandelbrot Set

Last year I had a hilarious idea for a food-related Passover joke. It could be argued I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish law and tradition. However, that doesn't ever seem to stop me from knowing just enough about their holidays to completely ruin them when I try to emulate them. This would be more disheartening only if I put any actual effort into it.

So, last year, my "hilarious" idea never came to fruition. For the more than a year (thanks to the wild and crazy schedules of biblical holidays) this container of matzo cake meal has been sitting in my cabinet. Each time I open the cupboard door it mocks me with a reminder of my failures of the previous Pesach.

What's that? You're curious as to what this "hilarious" idea was. It's quite simple.

I was going to make some mandelbrot but I was going to make it in the shape of a Mandelbrot Set. There were a number of problems with this idea. 1.) It turns out that they don't sell cookie cutters in the shape of a Mandelbrot Set, 2.) It's difficult to cut this shape free form, 3.) It turns out that mandelbrot is not named after mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, and 4.) This was an incredibly stupid idea.

Instead I was forced to make my set in a slightly different way.

I started by making this batter using sugar, butter, and eggs then folding in the matzo meal and cornstarch. There are a few problems with this. Traditionally you are supposed to use margarine in the recipe. I chose to ignore that step since margarine has no place in any cooking or baking. Generally when I see the work margarine in a recipe I immediately look for a new recipe but since this was a kosher item I didn't hold it against the recipe writer.

I also used cornstarch in place of potato starch because who has potato starch just lying around?

I split the batter into three segments. To one I added pistachio nut paste and chopped pistachios. To another I added chocolate chips and peanut butter. The the last segment I added chopped almonds, dried cherries, and sour cherry preserves.

I baked them in the oven for about 50 minutes then sliced them and served them. Traditionally I think you're supposed to slice them and then bake them again to make them hard like biscotti. Since I really don't like biscotti (or really any crunch cookie) I opted to just bake, slice, and serve. Coincidentally this is how I do my biscotti as well. Technically I guess it's uniscotti.

Baked only once but twice as delicious!

So there you have it. I arrived at my mandelbrot set after all. It wasn't how I originally intended it but at the very least I will no longer have that container of matzo meal in the cupboard constantly reminding me of the previous year's failure.

Hilarious, I tell you!


Diane said...

I totally agree; I don't like biscotti or crunchy cookies either!

uberlours said...

I suppose it is OK if you have the same terrible taste in cookies as you MIL