I liked working on this project. It was challenging and relaxing at the same time! I made it on Tuesday which is why I’m blogging today since I served a babycake to my husband last night while watching TV. We were watching SPLASH – if you don’t know SPLASH it’s a realty show competition of celebrities doing dangerous dives while trying to avoid getting seriously hurt (some did nonetheless). Anyway, in diving there are scores from 1 to 10.
And while celebrities were getting scored, I guess my husband got it into his head that I would like a score. (Not really. . .)
This is a 9.5!
Hmm. . . I didn’t ask why he didn’t consider it perfect. I just shoveled another bite into my mouth.
Baby Cake Served. Score: 9.5
So easy that I had to do it twice to cover my mistakes from try number 1!
I got over confident and sloppy and ended up with two good ends and a wet middle! (I added extra potato water to the flour – didn’t listen!)
Rustic Potato Bread with an unhappy center
After admonishing myself for not following directions. I decided to take it on again. So I returned to the grocery store and weighed about 18 different potatoes just to find the correct weight (as suggested in the recipe) and finally decided on two whoppers that came close to the suggested weight. Then I went home.
Two weeks later when those potatoes started to leaf out. I trudged back to the store and bought two more, carefully weighing them again. This time when I returned home, I started the bread.
Second try and with more careful deliberation, I had two excellent loaves that I used for toast, grilled cheese and just sandwiches. My husband loved them and I am willing to do this again soon!
Potato Bread that’s done inside
Ready for Sandwiches
Madeleines. French pastry. Little sea shell pans that say, “Elegance!”
To get into the mood, I started to read Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Surely Marie Antoinette ate Madeleines while she was buying all those shoes (4 pairs a week according to Madame Fraser). The reference to Proust and tea made me think of my ultra gracious friend, Dorothy, who attended the Sorbonne and enjoys high tea. Then I thought of Madeleine of the children’ book (a character that I adore to this day); all that romping around Paris and getting into trouble with the nuns.
So once I got into the zone (and Amazon delivered those sea shell pans), I attacked the recipe. Carefully I planned it all out making sure that I followed the directions precisely. When I pulled them out of the oven 3 minutes short of the outside range to bake, the tops did not brown, but the sea shell side did. I really didn’t know what to make of this – was it supposed to be that way? They smelled both good and a bit overly done.
I wondered what Marie Antoinette would have thought of them. Would she look at them and toss them aside? Would she stuff them into her high hairdo for the birds? Would she go shoe shopping? I don’t know what Marie Antoinette would do, but I know two things: 1) I would only have Madeleines at high tea with Dorothy; and, 2) I don’t buy 4 pairs of shoes each week.
Madeleines straight from the oven
Once again, I missed an adverb in the directions.
I decided to break up the cake into cupcakes so I could give away single serving sizes. I had high hopes for a cute presentation with the bourbon icing. Well, I followed all directions perfectly, but somehow I missed ‘butter the pan lightly.’ I missed ‘lightly.’ I guess I read it as ‘butter the pan liberally.’
So I did.
I slathered the cupcake liners with enough butter to choke a cow. About a stick of butter on 12 cupcake tins.
This may have been a little too much, I think.
When I took the cupcakes out to cool, there were tiny pools of melted butter at the bottom of each tin. I immediately thought of my arteries.
Still, they came out with the crispy top. But within seconds, the centers caved into tiny craters that looked as though the Russian meteor hit them. Consequently, putting the icing on the cupcakes wasn’t a workable possibility. So there went my presentation. Nevertheless, there is always an alternative. Once these little guys cooled down (interpret as: the butter had finally congealed), I was able to use a fork and apply the double dip method: fork the cake right out of the lining and double dip the fork into the icing – then eat. It worked to near center of the cupcake where I had to stop as the center was more of a batter like center. For the first third of the cupcake, it wasn’t bad at all!
I’d make these again, but I’m watching for the adverbs.
Boca Negra Cupcakes with butter craters and bourbon icing for dipping
Several problems were encountered with this recipe and solutions are offered.
Problem 1: I wanted to have this for our Super Bowl dinner. But I started too late to allow the dough to set for 36 hours in the frig. So, I decided to bake one of the doughs on Sunday afternoon after a 17 hour rest and the other two after they hit the 36 hour mark. The dough less rested came out well. But the other two were better. Solution: Drink a lot of beer before dinner, the difference between 17 hours and 36 doesn’t much matter!
Problem 2: I really don’t know how to work with fresh rosemary except to pull each little spindly leaf off one at a time. I found this time consuming and began playing, “he loves me; he loves me not. . .” It’s obvious, don’t you think? However, it never quite worked out the way I wanted it to, so I kept pulling those leaves off each stem. (The rule was to completely clear the stem.) At the end of each stem when I found ‘he loves me not’, I had to start another so that I could get to the ‘he loves me’ as the conclusion. This required a lot of rosemary pulling. And, in order for it to be true (‘he does love me after all!) I had to use all the rosemary leaves on the focaccio. This was a lot! So I generously sprinkled an herb that, in fact, I’m not that fond of. Unfortunately (or fortunately), most of them fell off when pulled from the oven. I wonder what that means???? Solution: Use balsamic salt with the rosemary as a topping. It stays on and is very good!
Problem 3: I took several pictures of all my focaccios. With my phone. Which chose this week to take pictures but not allow me to send them! So my husband lent me his camera and while he is figuring out the problems with my phone, my photos are on hold. Solution: Post them later.
Did we like it? Yes!!! AND He still loves me!
Update 12 hours later: Here’s the photo – not very creative, I’ll grant you that! Phone pics are still somewhere in cyberspace. . .
Focaccia on red cutting board
Instead of doing a single tart, I pulled out my tartlet pans from last February’s recipe. I liked the idea of single portion sized tartlets rather than a huge tart.
I didn’t plan this recipe out very well! I thought that it would be easy to do all in one day, with the exception of making the pie dough the night before. Boy, was I freakin’ wrong! These weren’t difficult to make, but the time commitment was a bear! I started at 9:30 a.m. By the time I got to the topping the tarts, the directions, “working slowly and carefully.’ was not going to happen, I’m sorry to say. My attention to detail, lack of patience and no skill at putting apple slices in a circle was as thinly sliced as the apple topping. I laughed out loud when I read, “If you have turned off the oven, . . .” Well, Leslie Mackie anticipated that one! Because I had, indeed, turned off the oven! I, so, wanted it over! Eventually, it was. Over, that is. After only four and one half hours, I finally had six warm tarts cooling on the rack.
Would I make this again? Yes, but I would plan it better!
So, the outcome is pictured below. Presentation sucks, but they were good.
French Apple Tartlets with Unusual Design