31 October 2012

Delicious Discoveries - Pear Streusel Pudding Cake

Halloween is here and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is winding down. With both of these events in mind, we’re wrapping up our Food & Wine recipes with a little something sweet from the 2010 festival’s Desert Kiosk.



1 Can Pear Halves In Juice (drained and thinly sliced)
1 Cup Prepared Vanilla Pudding
1 Egg
¾ Roll Prepared Cookie Dough
¼ Cup Cream Cheese (Softened)
¼ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ Tsp. Butter (melted)
1 Cup Streusel Topping
                1 Cup Flour
                ½ Cup Sugar
                ½ Stick Butter (melted)


For Streusel Topping, combine flour and sugar in a medium bowl, add butter, and mix with a fork until large crumbs form.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a paddle, mix cream cheese, sugar, and flour until smooth, do not whip. Add egg and mix until smooth. Add heavy cream and butter, mix until smooth.
Press dough into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch tart or pie pan with a removable bottom.
Spread vanilla pudding on top of dough evenly.
Pour cream cheese mixture over vanilla pudding.
Evenly place pears on top.
Sprinkle streusel topping over pears.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until cake feel firm to the touch and streusel is golden.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Bring to room temperature before slicing.

I apologize now for my photos and the cake, as it may appear a bit distorted. I used a 12-inch pan and had to adjust the ingredients accordingly.

This cake was fairly simple to make, and is a study in tan. From the crust to the pudding to the pears, this is a cream colored celebration, and tastes very, very sweet. The cream cheese mixture does a nice job of cutting the inherent sweetness of the pears, pudding and cookie dough crust. The streusel works as a way to bookend the cake with a cookie-like topping and keeps the pears from burning in the oven.

While I wouldn’t call this a healthy dessert by any means, it may be a nice change of pace from the candy that will be overrunning our houses for the next couple of days and weeks. With its simple, straight-forward preparation the Pear Streusel Pudding Cake would be a great dessert to get the kids involved and excited about making with you!

30 October 2012

From Hollywood's golden age

Seeing as how tomorrow is Halloween, I thought we'd look at one of the early announcements for one of Walt Disney World's spookier attractions.

The March 4, 1993 issue of Eyes & Ears had a covered story dedicated to the 1992 Stockholders Meeting for The Walt Disney Company. Specifically, the story dealt with the upcoming plans for Walt Disney World. Hidden among the rest of the plans for a town called Celebration and the revamped Tomorrowland, which was being constructed around the Alien Encounter experience, were a few words from President Frank Wells speaking on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and a gorgeous piece of artwork featuring the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Here’s an excerpt from the article, which I think could be used today to describe the experience that anchors Sunset Boulevard!

“ ‘Work is under way,’ Frank continued, ‘at the Disney-MGM Studios to construct a whole new section call Sunset Boulevard.’ The first adventure to open here with be the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in 1994. In this attraction, Guests will travel through an abandoned hotel from Hollywood’s golden age, with frightening twists and turns, and they will end the adventure with the most memorable thrill ride anywhere – a 13-story drop in a runaway elevator.”

29 October 2012

We have ice cold coolant

The Art of Animation is detailed down to the most minuscule details seen in a resort, particularly in a value level resort. For my part, I don’t believe you get a larger quantity of tiny story elements than in the Cars section of the resort. The signage here, and I’m not even talking about the billboards or character businesses that anchor the entrances of the buildings, simply blows me away. Let’s take a little bit of a closer look today, shall we?

28 October 2012

Disney This Week - 28 October 2012

This week we’ll be launching a refurbished Gazette Roundtable with an emphasis on the week’s Walt Disney World headlines. Be sure to check it out on Thursday!

Walt Disney World announced frozen beer coming to Japan this week, and AJ Wolfe sampled the frozen Kirin brew for The Disney Food Blog.

Richard Terpstra has a Hitchhiking Ghosts pumpkin carving kit to share over at DesignerLand.

Breakfast at Kouzzina is the meal of the week from Sarah Holodick and Eating WDW.

Estelle Hallick walks readers of This Happy Place through the thought process of deciding to visit Walt Disney World.

Imaginerding features George Taylor talking about and showing pictures of Spaceship Earth with the lights on.

Melissa Knight Coulter headed out to review Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for Disney on Wheels.

It’s all about perspective when Greg Grimsley stops by Casey Jr.’s for the first time at The Disney Obsession.

Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley takes a gander at the Halloween decorations at Fort Wilderness for Mouse on the Mind.

CarsLand features cars that look like rocks, not the other way around, as reported by Richard Tobin at Mouse Troop.

26 October 2012

Melody Time Brass Horn Band Co.

The entrance to Pete’s Silly Sideshow in the Magic Kingdom’s Storybook Circus features a cutout of Pete, beckoning to the masses to come and visit his attractions. While Pete isn’t a full-fledged barker here, he is leaning upon a rather curious calliope. The Melody Time Brass Horn Band, featuring Toot, Whistle, Plunk, Boom, harkens back to a day in Disney animation when music was the story.

Melody Time Brass Horn Band, also noted as the Melody Time Brass Horn Band Co. on the calliope, obviously refers to the 1948 anthology feature, Melody Time. Melody Time was made up of seven shorts: Once Upon a Wintertime, Bumble Boogie, Johnny Appleseed, Little Toot, Trees, Blame it on the Samba, and Pecos Bill. The package film was not as wildly popular as some of those that had come before it, but still had some incredible segments. Blame it on the Samba, which may have felt more at home with either Saludos Amigos or The Three Caballeros, includes some incredible special effects. Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill both feature beloved heroes who have become Disney staples in the years since. Meanwhile Bumble Boogie highlights some surreal animation, a possible side effect to the abandoned Destino project that would have brought together Disney and Salvador Dali.

Toot, Whistle, Plunk, Boom, on the other hand, tell their own story. The tale comes from the 1953 self-titled short, Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom. Professor Owl is illuminating his class on the origins of musical sound, the four basic sounds that are the basis for all music, Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom. These basic sounds evolve before our eyes into basic and then more advanced instruments, culminating in a full orchestra filled with toots and whistles, plunks and booms! Shown through a stylized form of animation, rather than a realistic form, and filmed in CineScope. Disney had drawn sharp criticisms for using the stylized animation for several years, which the critics considered to have slid into the realm of the obsolete. The critics were silenced by Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom, which would go on to win the Best Animated Short Academy Award that year.

Storybook Circus has found many ways to pay respect to the animated features and shorts of old. The calliope in front of Pete’s Silly Sideshow is just one of this nods, and reminds us that music can be just as powerful in animation as the ability to draw a character audiences relate to.