[Meredith Graves — Perfect Pussy frontwoman, Honor Press founder, Voice festival correspondent, etc. — loves making and eating food just as much as she loves making and listening to music. With Recipe for Disaster, her weekly column, Meredith will listen to a new album and pair it with a recipe that goes nicely with the music. Rick Ross is releasing Black Market on December 4, so Meredith tried to listen to the record and make a poached-pear gingerbread cake. One of these pursuits worked out. See below.]
I haven’t been to a basketball game since I played for Case Junior High. (I wasn’t very good either, mostly just tall.) I forgot how much I love watching basketball, and for that, I thank you. Nets vs. Suns, and Brooklyn wins by a pube. The announcer was a wildly charismatic white dude with long dreads, the spitting image of Jar Jar Binks. I spent my evening seated in front of an excited six-year-old, and behind a couple who ended up on the Kiss Cam.
I came to hear Black Market after the game. And then something went wrong and you weren’t there and nobody got to hear the record. I went to Shake Shack for the first time instead. Got lipstick all over my cheeseburger. And now I’m home, bummed as hell.
If I’m being honest — and I feel like I can be honest with you — it weirds me out that people are still doing songs with Chris Brown. Especially a song where Chris Brown is apologizing for cheating on a girlfriend, for having unprotected sex, stuff like that. Chris Brown would be doing something good if he released a song about how what he actually did was very wrong.
But the song itself sounds really good (as does the song with Nas, naturally). I just wanted to hear the rest of the album, without Chris Brown to ruin it. I’ll hear it on Friday like the rest of the world.
You looked cool as hell sitting courtside, with big shades and a whole bunch of necklaces on. I still think your verse on “Insomniak” is mind-blowing. And I had an excuse to make up a new cake, even if I can’t actually review the album it’s supposed to be for. I even poached the pears in rosé.
SHOUTOUT TO ALL THE PEAR GINGERBREAD
This week, the trajectory from idea to cake went as follows: a nice picture of a pear cake, a German recipe that, translated, means “slightly drunk pear cake” (I was told this by actual Germans; this cake was flavored with hazelnuts and pear liqueur), a few different iterations of the cake-in-loaf-pan model, and several hours of reading about fresh fruit cakes before some intense gingerbread research. Let this stand as the ultimate example of my preferred hybridization technique for recipe development. I had all my digits crossed when I put this in the oven, and holy shit, it’s a cake. I’m a boss. Bawss. Ross would be proud.
For the pears:
1 bottle rosé
3 large, firm pears (Bosc hold up pretty well)
4-6 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
Cloves, whole or powdered
1 cup sugar
For the cake:
1.5 c self-rising flour
2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tbsp ground cloves*
1 tbsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 c sugar
1.5 sticks of butter (12 tbsp), softened at room temperature
1 c molasses
One bar of good white chocolate. (Don’t buy the cheap shit, it tastes like bar soap. You’re not a child.)
*Note: A lot of the gingerbread recipes I read through called for a tablespoon of allspice. I didn’t have any, so I used stuff I did have.
1. Peel pears, then simmer in a medium saucepan with the wine, one cup of sugar, cinnamon, anise, and clove (2-3 if whole, 1/2 tsp if powdered).
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer (or a whisk and your gigantic muscles if your hand mixer happens to break two days before you move out of your house and leave for a month-long tour), whip the butter and sugar together until creamy.
4. Beat the eggs in one at a time and whip until incorporated. Beat in the molasses.
5. Dump the flour and spice mixture into the liquid mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
6. Pour batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan. Cut the bottom 1/2” off each pear so it will sit flat on the bottom of the pan, and press three pears into the batter until only the top and stem are visible.
7. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then slide a butter knife around the edges and turn out gently onto a board or plate.
8. Once the cake is cool, melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Drizzle in thin lines all over the top and sides of cake.
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