This weekend I’m preparing a big Easter feast for my son and his wife, my baby granddaughter, and my son’s in-laws (our co-grandparents). Am I nervous? You bet. You see, we moved into a condo a few months ago, and I’m still getting used to the new glass-ceramic cook top stove in my kitchen. Its smooth surface is a dream to clean, but so far this stove has spelled doom to more than one dish I’ve tried to cook on it.
Last week’s St. Patrick’s Day corned beef roast was its latest victim. I placed the roast in a deep cooking pot, doused it with a large can of good Guinness stout, set the pot on the stove and turned the heat to low. However, the burner has an inner and outer ring, and when both are turned on even a low setting can become really hot fast.
The roast was supposed to cook slowly on the stove for 2-3 hours. So, I left the roast to “simmer” while I went on a short errand and when I returned (about a half-hour later) it was to find that the meat had almost incinerated. The stout had evaporated into the heavens, leaving a thick, brown, bubbling and impenetrable crust on the bottom of the pan. My husband was home; he noticed the dense cloud of smoke coming from the kitchen and turned the heat off. I had to pry what was left of the roast out of the goop.
As you can imagine, the pot itself was a total disaster. It was an old Dutch oven I’ve had for decades, and I decided I could either dedicate the next two weeks of my life to trying to scrape it clean or just toss it and chalk the loss up to experience.
Guess which option I chose. Let’s just say my cupboards are a bit roomier now.
No wonder my daughter-in-law, who’s also had experience with a glass-ceramic cook top, calls it a Chernobyl stove. I can see why, after my pot nearly melted down.
Anyway, my St. Patrick’s corned beef mishap makes me fear for the fate of my Easter dinner. You can bet I’ll be watching anything I cook on the stove very carefully.
Have you had trouble getting used to working with a glass-ceramic cook top? I’d love to hear about your experiences, and especially any tips you may have.
One menu item I’m not too worried about is my hot cross buns. I use an old family recipe, and so far it’s been pretty reliable. It makes over 3 dozen, so it’s just right for a big holiday feast.
Hot Cross Buns
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup shortening (or 1/2 stick butter)
- 2 eggs
- 5 cups flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- 1 cup currants
- Soften the yeast in the warm water and set aside.
- Scald the milk; add sugar, salt and shortening. Cool mixture to lukewarm. Add flour to milk mixture to make a thick batter. Mix well. Add softened yeast and eggs. Beat well. Add spices and more flour to make a soft dough. Stir in the currants.
- Turn dough out on a lightly-floured board or pastry cloth and knead until smooth and satiny. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough is doubled in size (about 1-1/2 hours). When the dough is light and has risen, punch it down. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide dough into walnut-sized pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place 1/2–inch apart on greased baking sheets. Let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).
- Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Make a cross with white icing on each bun.
Make ahead tip: Prepare the buns through Step 4 and put them in the refrigerator overnight. Bake right before you plan to serve them.