Smoked Crud: A Nightmare Before Christmas

Smoked Crud: A Before Christmas

I started out trying to put together a PieCaken, but what I ended up with was Smoked Crud. It truly was a nightmare before Christmas. For whatever reason, the universe was doing it’s best to stop this abomination from being born.

You might be asking what a PieCaken is? It’s the new Turducken. What’s a Turducken? It’s a chicken inside a duck, inside a turkey. Yes, you read that right. A PieCaken follows the same idea but involves a pie inside of a cake. I cook a mean apple & caramel pie and I love a white chocolate mud cake so…

However, that wasn’t enough. I wanted my pie to have some smoke flavour. That’s right: a smoked caramel & apple pie inside a white chocolate mud cake. I was trying to think of a clever name for this and through the course of putting it all together it came to me: Smoked Crud.

The next step is to put the smoke in your Smoked Crud. This is really straightforward. You just need to set up your BBQ for Indirect Cooking, core, peel and chop your apples and pop them on the grill. Then add some chips or chunks. Keep the smoke short and light: 20 minutes tops. It may be named Smoked Crud, but you just want a hint of smoke, not a heavy smoke like on a brisket. That twenty minutes is the perfect time to whip up your caramel. I love a caramel with honey and double cream.

The next step is really simple: throw in the smoked apple pieces, pour over the caramel and then put the top on your pie. I love to use a crumble because it tastes like an ANZAC biscuit: another one of my favourites. Then it’s into the BBQ to be baked for 90 minutes, rotating it half way to make sure it cooks evenly.

The Usual Suspects...
Setting up for Indirect Cooking...
Coring, Peeling, and Chopping...
Smoking the apples...
Yummy yummy yummy...
A delicate smoked colour...
A smoke ring on a piece of apple? Lordy!
How good does this look already?!
Pie in the pit...
Don't eat it yet...

The next step is the hardest part. You have to let that delicious pie not just cool, but chill in the fridge for a few hours: you need the caramel and the pie crusts to solidify and set before the next phase. Unfortunately, this is where things started to go awry.

My four year old son asked me what I was doing. When I said I was going to put a pie inside a cake he said ‘I’ll help!’, grabbed the pie out of the fridge and promptly dropped it on the floor. Somehow, and I don’t know how, all that happened was the top broke off: it didn’t shatter all over the floor. I thought ‘Phew, that was lucky’, but had no idea what the rest of the evening had in store…

I made a white chocolate cake mix, but I won’t tell anybody if you use  a store-bought mix. Start by pouring about half of your mix into a cake tin. Then you need to get your pie into that cake tin. You can do this by upending your pie in its tin into your cake mix and lifting the pie tin off. It didn’t work out so well for me…

The bottom of my apple & caramel pie didn’t want to go into the cake mix. I had to scrape it off and then try and fit it back on as best as I could. Fortunately I was going to cover it all up with cake mix, right? Well, almost…

Time for the cake!
Ever wondered what the inside of a caramel pie looks like?
Cake in the BBQ...
After four hours...
More Dramas...
It's not child slave labour: I let him lick the bowl...

A regular cake cooks in about 45 minutes at 350F (180C). A cake that has a pie in the middle it therefore has less cake mix and should take a shorter period of time, right? Nice theory. I put mine in the BBQ at 7.30pm and took it out at 11.30pm… Fate wasn’t done with me yet though.

Now, at almost midnight, it was time to turn out the Smoked Crud to cool. And promptly tore the top off the cake when removing the pan. For those keeping score, that’s the top of the pie, the bottom of the pie, and now the top of the cake, all having to be manually reconstructed… At this point I called it a day and went to bed.

With my cake already looking like it had been baked by Dr Victor Frakenstein I decided I needed help. My four year old was once again happy to assist. Fortunately, mixing up a ganache is a good job for a four year old: it’s surprisingly easy. Mix up some chocolate and thickened cream and there you go.

The final product, well what can I say? This Smoked Crud is rich, sweet, creamy and smokey. It’s so rich, sweet and creamy that I can only eat it in small slices. And it goes to show the power of icing to hide  a multitude of sins: remember, this monstrosity has been torn apart and put back together three times in its long and painful birth. Thank goodness Christmas only comes once per year. I can’t go through this again…

Merry Crudmas!

Merry Crudmas! 
From the ashes...

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