Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mysteries Of Corning Ware - Corning Holiday Design P-93-B

I have discovered another Corning Ware mystery.   I don't make it a habit of collecting the "Holiday Season" designs, except when the year is significant such as the year I was born (1969) or the year I graduated from High School (1987) or some such other year of significance in my life.  But when I saw what the model # was, and what the shape was, I had to have it.  For I have never seen this particular piece before, nor have I read any information about this piece in either of the "codecies" (AKA: books) used by we Corning Ware collectors. 

Behold... The 2 1/2 quart round (and handled) saucepan

 Otherwise known as the mysterious P-93-B.

Due to the nature of the design, I can confidently state that it was produced in 1965.  (Just call me Capt. Obvious?)  but other than that, I can tell nothing. 

I have searched the internet and found absolutely nothing.  I am not even sure that it originally came with this lid.  Then again, since the Buffet Servers were released in the previous year...  if Corning was "testing" a new shape, chances are they simply used a lid that was already in production.  (Corning was very good at not "reinventing" the wheel)

I have no idea if this was produced outside of the "Holiday" pattern or not.  So there may or may not be a Wheat or Cornflower piece as well.  Black Trefoil was discontinued in 1965 so I doubt there would be a piece in that particular pattern. (then again, stranger things have happened)

Your guess is as good as mine.  I have looked for P-94, P-92, P-91, P-90 (in case there were other sizes) but all to no avail.  

If anyone has any information regarding this particular model and whether it was produced in any other pattern or if it is simply a special piece for the holidays, I would appreciate it.

Where is your Corning Ware??

Friday, September 19, 2014

South of the Border With Corning Ware - Tres Leches Cake

My youngest brother's Birthday is on Sunday and this is the cake he has been requesting every year for the last 3 years....

I will admit, that I have never baked a Tres Leches cake in Corning Ware before, but I was looking for a way to streamline the process a little and reduce the amount of dishes that were required.  The only real difference, is that the cake took about 5 minutes longer to bake.  Other than that, it worked out perfectly.  I will be doing it this way from now on!

One thing I cannot stress enough is that this cake should always be assembled on a plate with a rim.  The Stabilized Whipped Cream (whipped cream with gelatin) is capable of absorbing some of the moisture from the milk soaked cake, but may not be able to contain it all.  If the cake becomes too warm it is possible that the milks it has been soaked in will begin to weep out from underneath the Whipped Cream.   Better to play it safe than have a mess all over your table.

Please note, that I did not attempt this cake in the 8 inch Round Cake dish (P-321).  There was a very good reason for this.   This particular Tres Leches Cake does not respond well to the radial cutting that is required for slicing a round cake and when if comes to batter volume, an 8 inch square is equivalent to a 9 inch round, not an 8 inch round, so technically, the P-321 Round pdish is too small.    Besides, it's Hip to Be Square. (and the square pans are significantly easier to find)

Tres Leches Cake

For the Cake....
Parchment, Butter & Flour, for cake pans
7 large Eggs, separated
2 cups AP Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
3/4 cup Whole Milk

For the "Milks".... 
14 oz net wt (1 can) Sweetened Condensed Milk
12 oz (1 can) Evaporated Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream

For the "Frosting".....
3 cups Heavy Cream
2 TB Confectioners' Sugar
2 tsp Gelatin (1 pkg or Knox Gelatin)
2 TB Water

2 Corning Ware Square 8 inch Cake Pans (P-322)
1 French White 4 oz Ramekin or Centura Custard cup
1 Corning Ware Petite pan (P-41 or P-43)
1 Pyrex 4 cup Measuring Pitcher
optional - Pyrex Mixing Bowls

Cut 2 pieces or parchment to fit in the bottoms of the P-322 square 8 inch cake dishes. (they do not need to cover the entire bottom of the pan.)

Butter the Parchment pieces and place them in the bottom of the dishes, butter side down...  

Then butter (or oil) the entire inside of the cake dishes along with the parchment, and sprinkle lightly with flour, then set aside.

In a small bowl, combine Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt with a whisk, then set that aside as well. 

Place Sugar, Vanilla Extract and Egg Yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. 

Whisk on medium speed until pale and fluffy. 

Turn the mixer low and slowly add 1/4 cup of the Milk. 

Follow this with half of the Flour mixture. 

Another 1/4 cup of the Milk, then the remaining Flour mixture. 

Finally, add the remaining Milk, turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, place Egg Whites in a bowl and beat them until they hold firm peaks. 

Add 1/3 of the beaten Egg whites to the batter and stir to lighten it.

Fold the lightened batter into the remaining Egg Whites. 

Divide the resulting batter between the 2 cake dishes (P-322). 

Bake for 35 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Mixing the Milks and Soaking the Cake.....
While the cakes are baking, whisk 1 cup Heavy Cream with the Sweetened Condensed Milk and the Evaporated Milk, together in a Pyrex 4 cup pitcher (this will make it easier to pour over the cakes) 

When the cakes are done baking, remove them from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the surface of the hot cakes with a fork.

Begin pouring the milk mixture over the cakes, VERY SLOWLY, to allow it to be absorbed.  (this must be done while the cakes are still hot from the oven, or they will not absorb all the liquid) 

Once the "milks" have been absorbed (for the most part), cover the cakes with plastic wrap and move them to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably over night.

Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream....  (This is important, if the cake begins to "weep" milk, the gelatin in the whipped cream will help absorb it)

Bloom the gelatin in a small French White 4 oz Ramekin or Centura Custard cup for 5 minutes.

Place water in a P-41 or P-43 Petite pan and set over medium flame with the French White Ramekin or Centura Custard cup sitting in the water to warm the gelatin until it dissolves, then remove the Petite Pan (P-41 or P-43) from the flame but leave the Custard Cup/French White Ramekin sitting in the warm water to keep the gelatin from setting. 

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of Heavy Cream and confectioners' sugar.

Beat the Cream (in an ice bath) until it holds firm peaks. 

Set any electric mixer aside and opt for a hand whisk for this next part.......

Whisk in the warm gelatin.  (Whisk quickly and thoroughly to be sure the gelatin is fully dispersed or you will end up with lumps)

Remove the soaked cakes from the refrigerator.

Select a rimmed dish for assembly. (I know it's not Corning Ware, but I they didn't make a dish that would work for this)

Place the first layer down and cover with 1/2 -3/4 cup of the whipped cream.

Lay down the second layer and frost with the most of the remaining whipped cream.  (reserve about 3/4 cup for piping decorations)

Place any reserved whipped cream in a pastry bag and pipe some simple decorations. (You can also sprinkle with Coconut if you like - Do not decorate with Pineapple until right before serving, the bromelain in the pineapple will break down the gelatin and you will have a soupy top)

Now cover the cake and chill for at least 4 hours....  Keep chilled until ready to serve.....   ('40' candles are completely optional)


Where is your Corning Ware??

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In The Beginning - Corning Ware 1st Generation BPE (Before P# Era - 1958-1959)

So I have been photographing various chunks of my Corning Ware collection over the last couple of months.  This was for a 2 fold reason.   Firstly, I really didn't have anyplace that I could spread it all out and photograph everything all at once and second, well... there is only so much room for a photo on a blog post and I would have to stand back so far to get it all in that you probably would not be able to see much of anything except a bunch of little blue cornflower shaped dots.

Be that as it may, I decided that I was going about this the wrong way.  I should have been organizing my collection by Era and/or generations.  You see, there are several "Generations" of Corning Ware and those generations can be grouped together into Eras.  To make matters even more confusing, some of the patterns within generations can be broken down into "Editions"... Such as the Floral Bouquet pattern.  This is further complicated by the fact that there are separate "series" runs that occur for a short time within a generation that are retired, but then resurface again later...   So lets just start at the beginning...

In the first Era (AKA: Fin Lid Era), which encompasses 1958 - 1961, there were actually 2 generations of Corning Ware.... an embossed bottom generation and a blurry blue ink generation...   but today I am going to concentrate on Generation 1 (numero uno) from 1958 thru 1959.

In the beginning of the beginning there were no P, B, W, N, A, C, S, DC, F, G, U or L model numbers..   You see, Corning was unsure how well their cookware would be received by the American housewife, so they made a limited number of pieces for the initial release in the fall of 1958 to test the waters.....  These would be the 1 quart, 1 1/2 quart and 1 3/4 quart saucepan with fin lids (similar to the Pyrex FlameWare design) along with the 10 inch skillet topped with the infamous pyroceram lid adorn with more cornflowers.  With only 4 pieces, it was pretty easy to keep track of what was what, so no model numbers were really needed at this point. That does not mean that there WEREN'T model numbers.   They existed, but were only found on product order forms, not the dishes themselves.

Corning Ware was such a hot seller that, by Christmas, retailers were screaming for more.  So, in spring of 1959 Corning unveiled 2 additional skillets (9 inch and 7 inch with fin lids), a larger 2 1/2 quart Saucepan and the famed 8 cup & 6 cup pyroceram lipped percolators (which would later be referred to as P-108 and P-106).

All these pieces, percolators aside, have an embossed stamp on the bottom stating either "Corning Ware" with a volume measurement or, in the case of the skillets, width in inches. (7 inch skillet-top, 1 3/4 quart saucepan-bottom)

or simply "Corning Pyroceram" with no other identifying marks.  (bottom of 2 1/2 quart)

There ARE alpha-numeric characters embossed on the pieces as well, as is evident above with the A-19, D 16 and B-34, but these are by no means model numbers... they are glass mold numbers used for quality control purposes.  The model numbers we all know and love would not be applied to pieces until the second Era of Corning Ware in 1962 (3rd Generation) with the the P & W series followed shortly in 1964 by the B-series (and the C-series for Centura coordinated casseroles)

As mentioned before, they existed for ordering purposes, but were not present on dishes or lids.  While the dishes are the same as later, marked pieces, the official fin lid numbers are a little different.   There are only 2 lid sizes and the Pyroceram lid for the 10 inch skillet. 

The 7 inch fin lid is a P-11-C and fits the 1 quart, 1 1/2 quart and 1 3/4 quart saucepans as well as the 7 inch skillet.  The 9 inch fin lid is a P-2 1/2-C  and fits the 2 1/2 quart saucepan and 9 inch skillet.  The pyroceram lid is known as a P-10-C.  The later glass replacement lid was originally released as a P-10-C-1, but after the pyroceram lid was discontinued all together, the model number of the glass lid was changed to P-10-C.

So there you have it....   The 1st Generation of the 1st Era of Corning Ware.

Where is your Corning Ware??