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Posts Tagged ‘creme patisserie’

It started so well.

Milk gently infused with dried almonds, rosehip, hibiscus, apple and blackcurrant…

Whisked into crème patisserie and folded with freeze dried blackberries…

And then, as if to remind me why I started this challenge in the first place, and swiftly deflate my sense of beginners enthusiasm, this happened…

Exhibit A…

Exhibit B…

Crumpled and deflated profiteroles with soul-destroyingly sad, soggy centres.

Before you say it, keeping them in the oven for another 5-10 minutes made no difference whatsoever. And should you be thinking it was just a one off beginner’s mistake…I have made them twice since Sunday and on both occasions I was left with exhibit A and B…not once, twice…heart breaking…

And so the first post in my technical skills challenge (choux pastry this month in case you hadn’t cottoned on by now) becomes a plea for help.  I did try and leave the first batch in longer to see if the dough would cook through but this only served to over cook the outside and leave the insides in the same miserable state. After attempt number one I thought I might have left too much moisture in the dough after the first step and perhaps had too hot an oven but switching to a recipe with slightly less water (150ml water to 75g flour and 50g butter) and adjusting my oven, which does tend to be a bit hot, to 190 degrees instead of 200…nothing. The same soggy middle and uninspiring flump as soon as I took them out of the oven. I realise the photos dont win any awards either but why you would want to take the time to properly photograph such a crushing defeat.

So I now sit here in front of my laptop in despair. The worst part is I had decided to combine my technical challenge with my flavour challenge in one recipe which means I have nothing to show for either until I get over my inexplicable nightmare. Which is where I need help… if any of you have made choux pastry before and can provide any insight into what I’m doing wrong, please please  send instructions! My culinary education and my pride (I cant fail at the first real challenge) depends on your help.

If you are as inexperienced as I am on the matter then at least take comfort in knowing you are not alone. There’s nothing more annoying than those people who can create magazine worthy creations on their first attempt…

…no danger of that then. ♥

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We may not be getting the weather that those living a little further south are enjoying  but despite some disconcertingly wintery days, it’s definitely spring. And spring means there are blossoms on every street in Edinburgh, on nearly every tree – a transformation that always helps to bring me out of the folds of January depression and rethink my annual resolutions to move back to somewhere with a more civilised climate.

This year spring is extra special because it marks the beginning of the run up to our impending nuptials (and I have the prospect of genuine Mediterranean sunshine and warmth to look forward to!). Unfortunately this also means things are even busier than usual so I’m finding even less time to write. And the pressure is on for the dreaded hen do, complete with humiliating outfits and party games which although intended to be a celebration of your last days as a singleton, have you doing things that no sane single person would ever contemplate.

As you can probably tell I had resolved not to have a hen, but when anyone asked Ross if he was ready for the big day his response was “yes, the stag is all organised!”. So I had to vacate my house last weekend while it was taken over by inebriated men who had been out partying all night. My cunning plan was to escape to a friends house and spend the afternoon in the sun with a jug of sangria and a mountain of tasty nibbles (any excuse to make party food). No pink cowboy hats. No collecting strangers pants.

Well things didn’t go quite according to plan – it rained nearly all day and the girls decided to ignore my threats of bodily harm and tried to dress me up in various kitsch accessories with a distinctly hen-ish theme. But it still turned out to be a generally pleasant experience and despite the lack of a BBQ we managed to eat ourselves silly, so all in all… a success. To give you some idea of the spread, we had everything ranging from cheese and pickle hedgehogs and mini burgers to scones with whipped cream and strawberry jam (seriously good scone recipe to be shared soon I promise). Unfortunately I was too busy arguing my way out of a veil and ridiculous glow in the dark sunglasses to take pictures of it all but I made more of these caramel tartletts with the left over ingredients afterwards.

The tarts are filled with a very light caramel crème patisserie, finished with a crunchy caramel drizzle and just small enough to pop a whole one in your mouth. Mmm, yum.

They keep relatively well in the fridge for a day so they are good for parties when you need to make things ahead and they are suitably delicate  for a spring party menu. In fact I could happily eat a whole plate of these without even noticing I had overindulged  so your waste line has been warned.

Spring Caramel Tartlets

Crème Patisserie recipe adapted from Nigella’s Feast.

  • 48 mini shortcrust pastry cases (I dont have the moulds or the patience for blind baking these myself)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml double cream
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp water

Warm the cream and milk in a pan. Cream the eggs and 50g of castor sugar and then whisk in the flour. Add the heated cream and milk into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan and whisk  over a low heat until the custard thickens. Add the vanilla and set aside.

Caramelise the sugar by combining 20g sugar and 1tsp water in a pan over a high heat until it turns a caramel colour. Whisk into the custard and leave to cool.

Lay out the pastry cases in a baking tray or tupperware and fill with the cooled crème patisserie. Caramelise the remaining sugar with 2 tsp water and drizzle over each of the tartlets (you could also add chopped nuts or a variety of other toppings). Cover and store the tartlets in the fridge until ready to serve.

Our cat was more interested in eating the blossoms than the cakes. She has always been weird.

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