How long was that? 2 seconds? Okay, I failed this silence challenge. Like I knew I would. I can never stay silent long enough if it saves my life. The only time I’m able to stay silent is when:
a) I’m in the presence of someone I don’t like.
b) I’m in the presence of someone who is grieving
That is not to say, however, that I dislike someone who is grieving. I stay silent in those two occasions for two entirely different reasons.
a) I’m too afraid to say too much in the presence of someone I dislike because I don’t want to say something mean or disrespectful that reveals my feeling. Being an impulsive person who often speaks before thinking, I’ve learned to say as little as possible in this kind of situation, so I don’t end up saying something I’ll regret. Besides, my parents taught me to be polite and respectful of any person, regardless of how I feel about them. Staying silent is my way of being polite.
b) I don’t think I should say too much when I’m with someone who is grieving. First, I think of it as a way to show my respect and sympathy. Second, my parents taught me that the best thing to do to show support and sympathy to a grieving person is by listening, and not by talking. Listening does a lot more in a situation such as this.
Other than in those two situations, I can’t think of any other moments when I can stay silent. I’m just too talkative. I’ve been known to try to elicit conversations even from people who are reluctant to talk to me. Sometimes to my own detriment. It’s a flaw in my character. I was born this way.
I’m that person who talks over you and when I pose a question to you, I would not wait for an answer from you. I would answer it for you. It’s a flaw in my character. I was born this way. I also tend to repeat myself again and again.
So annoying! I even annoy myself! I think the only way to shut me up is by giving me something to eat. Well, what d’ya know, I’ve found a third way of staying silent. And it’s probably the best way. So,
c) Feed me, and I’ll shut up.
Feed me this Krantz Cake, and I’ll shut up for hours. Besides, my parents taught me to never talk with my mouth full. And with Krantz Cake in front of me, oh boy, my mouth will be full for hours.
Chocolate Krantz Cake
From Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, with a few modifications.
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 pkgs. fast-rising active dry yeast
grated zest of 1 small lemon (optional)
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
Oil, for greasing
The chocolate filling
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cocoa powder
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp superfine sugar
The sugar syrup
2/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1. Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest (if using) in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low-speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and milk and mix on low-speed for a few seconds, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together. Add the salt and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing until it is incorporated into the dough. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny. During the mixing, you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times and throw a small amount of flour onto the sides so that all of the dough leaves them.
2. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight.
3. Spray 2 loaf pans (9×4 inches) with non-stick spray and line the bottom of each pan with a piece of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and keep one-half covered in the fridge while working on the other half.
4. Make the filling by mixing together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter. You will get a spreadable paste. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15 by 11 inches. Trim the sides to make them even, then position the dough so that the long side is closest to you. Use an offset spatula to spread half the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a 3⁄4-inch border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the chocolate, then sprinkle half of the superfine sugar.
5. Brush a little bit of water along the long end farthest away from you. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.
6. Trim about 3⁄4 inch off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent. Repeat the whole process to make the second cake.
7. Preheat the oven to 375°F, making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towels, place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and leave to cool down. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush all of the syrup over them. It is important to use up all the syrup. Leave the cakes until they are just warm, then remove them from the pans and let cool completely before serving.