Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is why we're fat

I don't know what's taken me so long to post the Googooberry Pie** recipe, but as soon as I saw this New Yorker review of several "weight-gain books" (as opposed to the more common "weight-loss books") -- all studies of or attempts to account for this country's obesity problem -- I knew I could no longer hold off.

You would think that reading this article would have the opposite effect; upon learning, for example, that 40 percent of young women are too heavy to join the U.S. Armed Forces, I should be more inclined to write about cabbage. But, as we all know, and as this book review elaborates, the human mind is a "calorically demanding organ," so it only makes sense that I immediately thought of the one recipe I know by heart that contains two sticks of butter, a block of cream cheese, three eggs, a whole box of powdered sugar, and a cake mix.

What else could it be but the creation of Paula Deen, Reigning Butter Queen? (Full disclosure: Gooey Butter Cakes are really a St. Louis specialty, but only Paula Deen had the guts, so to speak, to add a cake mix to the mix without apology.) Her Gooey Butter Cakes are so delicious and so popular at her Savannah restaurant, The Lady and Sons, that a Google search yields a countless number of variations: carrot cake, peanut butter, pumpkin, double chocolate, lemon, and on and on till the cows come home -- that is, if they don't tip over first.

At a glance, gooey butter cakes are easily mistaken for ordinary blondies or brownies, but their taste is otherwordly. The cake mix, egg, and one of the sticks of melted butter form a chewy crust, which is then filled with a cheesecake-like mixture of cream cheese, the other stick of melted butter, a pound of powdered sugar, and a big scoop of cocoa powder if you choose to go the chocolate route.

I've made thesed dozens of times, and I've found that Paula Deen's recommended baking time (37-40 minutes) is too long for my oven. You will want to check them first before removing -- the top should be a bit browned and crusty. The fork test will not work here. Gooey butter cakes are supposed to be gooey, after all.

There's not really any need to slice them and remove them from the pan. In fact, it's very un-American to not finish them all in one fell swoop, preferably by yourself, standing over the stove, in nothing but a size XXXL t-shirt. Don't hold back, fatty: eat the whole batch. You're in good company.

Recipe: Googooberry Pie, a.k.a. Gooey Butter Cakes
Adapted from Paula Deen.

**Googooberry Pie: Gooey Butter Cakes' unofficial and more melodic nickname, a result of a hilarious verbal misunderstanding on the part of a family member who will remain anonymous for the time being.

For the crust:
1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick melted butter, slightly cooled

For the filling:
1 block of plain cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick melted butter, slightly cooled
1 t vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 (16 0z.) box powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, and butter to form a fairly stiff dough. Press it into the bottom of a 13" x 9" metal baking dish to form a crust. Set aside. Rinse the same bowl, and in it beat the cream cheese till smooth. Mix in the butter, vanilla, and eggs. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and crusty. Remove and let cool before slicing into squares.

Recipe: Chocolate Googooberry Pies

Follow the recipe above, but use a chocolate cake mix for the crust, and add a half cup of cocoa powder to the filling before adding the powdered sugar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I reckon I done heard of a googooberry before!