Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flamm postscript: It's ok, Ray!

Well first off, let me say I got an outstanding surprise in the mail today. A friend from public school (let the record show the awesome person in question in one Corey Stewart), recently posted on facebook that he'd bought a bunch of bottles of St. Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout -- a limited release of 9,600 bottles. Naturally, being the kind of guy I am, I set out to set my hands on some of these babies. To my dismay (utter and total dismay, since we are supposed to have "flagship" LCBO stores in Ottawa) there were none to be found in Ottawa, nor in the SAQ across the border. (If you happen to be interested in a wonderful discription of the sometimes baffling history of booze and government control thereof, I heartily recommend Cheers: An intemperate history of beer in Canada by William Pashley -- it will make you laugh, cry, and (most importantly) want to drink more beer.)

ANYWAY, to my complete and joyous surprise, a bottle of this wondrous concotion showed up in the mail today. Out of the blue. From someone I haven't seen in 30 years!! Let it be noted here that the world needs more people like this. Random acts of supreme kindness make the world a better place. Three cheers for Corey and all those like him!

That beer disappeared pretty quickly in a few moments of total peace on my front porch. The next one, above, accompanied me through my flamm redux.

Now, as you may recall, I intemperately (I like this word -- cf. William Pashley, above) questioned the wisdom of the Cooks Illustrated gang in my last post by bailing on the parchment paper under the flamm recommendation. I knew this was a questionable decision, given the gazillion hours of testing that go into each one of their recipes, but when you have three days of recipe and 10 or 20 bucks worth of ingredients on the line, well, sometimes you hesitate. But, I still had a niggling curiosity, and when you have a curiosity like this you just have to do something about it. So...I did a flamm with parchment. It worked. Cooks Illustrated, you are forever rendered unquestionable in my mind. Here's the scoop:

A quick read of the parchment paper box reveals that they recommend that you wet it before chucking it in the oven. I didn't want to wet the flamm side, but the otherside was no problem. I also found that rolling out a dough on parchment is slippery business, so... I wet the counter top, then put the parchment on there (to help it stick a little), then added my sticky flamm dough, floured lightly, and rolled it out. To make things a little less flammable (hahaha), I trimmed the parchment so that there was not too much overhang. I transferred it to my trusty peel and then I dressed the dough with creme fraiche, onions, meat (inexplicably, I ran out of bacon, so went for some artisinal dry sausage -- a FINE substitution), and cheese.

Parchment on a peel is super slippery, which takes a great deal of the stress out of this recipe. It is much easier to get the paper/pie combination on the pizza stone than it is to get the pie on there solo. Once on the stone, I let it cook for 7 minutes and... fire! No carbonised bottom!! No inferno!!! I guess the paper can't get hot enough to ignite while the dough still has moisture in it, so the 451 F threshold never gets hit. Just slide your flamm off the peel and onto a cutting board, slip the parchment out, and you're off to the races!

Here's what the parchement looks like post-bake. Barely singed on the edges.

Happy eating!

Inspiration: An awesome surprise in the mail!

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