In an effort to bake a better bread, I've been reading Alton Brown's I'm just Here for More Food - Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking. In among the tidbits, techniques and tips is an intriguing pineapple upside-down cake recipe made in a cast-iron skillet. Now, I often get the baking bug on weekends and figured this would be a great cure (despite the fact it uses an entire stick of butter and two cups of sugar - yikes!).
Unfortunately a quick inventory of my pantry revealed no pineapple. I always have pineapple! But...I am pretty good with improvisation when it comes to cooking, so I started to look around. I did happened to have three mangy apples on the counter left from a Christmas fruit basket and decided they would do quite nicely. The recipe also called for pineapple juice, but having no pineapple also meant I had no pineapple juice. Further scouting revealed that bottle of apple brandy! Substitutions in hand, I proceeded with the, uh...pineapple (?) upside-down cake.
-Combine 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour, 1t baking powder, 1/4t salt.
-Combine 3 large eggs, 5T apple brandy, 1 cup white sugar (7 ounces) and pour onto flour mixture.
-Mix just until batter comes together. Do not mix smooth. Lumps are ok.
-Pour batter evenly over apples and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
-Invert on large plate and eat.
This un-pineapple upside-down cake was so good, but it started me thinking about substitutions:
1. What can and can't one replace in a recipe and get away with it
2. Why does one makes recipe substitutions: allergies, health and diet concerns, and my favorite reasons - ingredient availibility and creativity
3. At what point does the recipe cease to be the recipe one started out to make. (And, does it really matter?)