Did you figure out what is our aim, at Chocolates & Figs? First, I’d like to help you in anything you want to be better at. Weather you want to create elaborate desserts, or able to bake foolproof cakes, or learn to understand the difference among the ingredients we use in baking (i.e. for instance, there are so many flours; how you select which one to use for what type of pastry?); I’d like to be the site you go for the answer.
Then there are situations, when you created a cake for your family and friends; you followed the recipe to the letter, yet it turned out to be nothing like the one on the picture you selected from. What you should do in this case? I know many people that are quick in getting rid of baked goods that are less than perfect; and it is too bad.
First, you spent energy and time in creating this product. Second in these difficult economic times we shouldn’t throw out things that made with top quality ingredients, unless it is really hopeless (which I find rarely to be true); at the least I will deliver some of these lops to my neighbor that owns a very cute terrier, and you should see how she licks the bowl (My best critic).
But seriously, there are many ways that you can save a cake or cookie and at times you can even adjust it to an extent that is ready to be served for guests. So next time, if you do not know how to correct a mishap with a cake, please send me a note and I will leave no rocks unturned until I find how to help you to save your creation.
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and understanding in the preparation of creative desserts. Particularly, as a Grandma, who loves to treat her grandchildren to their favorite treats, I feel it is just as important to treat my readers/visitors to this blog with the best recipes I can create.
I am not sure I told you earlier, but many of the desserts, cakes and cookies that you see on his blog are not the “first time creations”. At the least I will bake everything twice, if for nothing else, then just to make sure that the directions are written in a way that anyone can follow and re-create. There are recipes that I have revised them at least 3 or 4 times before I decided that they are good enough to be presented to you.
I also document errors and mishaps and if possible I like to show how I corrected it. I am sure you heard from some wise Granny, that mistakes are good – because we all learn from mistakes. Excuse me? Did you think that it never happens to me? You are not serious, right?
I had cakes that looked great in the oven, but after I let them cool off and the turned the bake ware around to take out the cake, I got cake crumbs. I had cookies that were supposed to be chewy and gooey and came out to be crunchy and crispy. I even had a situation where I was supposed to deliver favors made with chocolates for a wedding and I used molds to create two hearts. Unfortunately, I rushed the process and did not double-check if the chocolate was in temper (and you guessed it; it was not); I could not release the chocolate pieces from the mold even if I would try to knock them out with the largest hammer you have ever seen (I was real lucky to find an excellent chocolate artist who agreed to do a rush order; and she made a great job).
So, as you can see, mishaps, particularly with baking, do happen, but most of the time they can be amended; particularly, if you keep records about the events and how you managed to fix it. This is one area where being a Grandma is an advantage (at least in one area, getting old means getting better, like wine?) You become an authority on how to create fool-proof baking goods and when some things turns out to be less than perfect, you are the one that people consult.
I have a small example here that I want to share with you; but the operative word is “small”. If you recall, I created a pavlova dessert for a friend of mine, as a guest post (we shared the post, dough), and during one of the batch, I simply forgot the meringue in the oven, despite the ringing of the oven timer like a maniac. Did it ever happen to you the same thing? When I took out the little cakes from the oven, this is how they looked (I have placed side-by-side the good-looking ones, vs the over baked ones)
As you can see, I roasted some beautiful plums and prepared the over baked ones with Chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream), topped it with the roasted plums and drizzled the entire cake with chocolate sauce, and Wallas! we had a beautiful dessert to enjoy after dinner.
I confess, that in this case I was contemplating to get rid of these and forget they ever existed. They are made with egg whites and sugar only; economically not a big loss and did not feel to work for nothing. The reason I changed my mind was the texture difference. You see the successful ones’ skirt (the outer part) is crispy and the inner part is chewy, gooey, soft and moist. It is teasing our taste buds with its combination of different textures within the same bite; that is what makes it delightful. The over-baked one, however, lost this quality. I wanted to have our tasters’ opinion about that. I was sure that everybody will reject the over-baked one due to its boring texture, because it was soft, chewy and moist throughout. Surprisingly I was wrong, quite a few people liked the taste of the over-baked one, particularly the male tasters. Furthermore, some people actually prefered the over-baked one over the original ones. They said:”it felt more like a cake and gave them more satisfaction as compared to the original ones that they would need to eat 2-3 pavlovas to have the same feeling of satisfaction. So it was a great experiment; don’t you think?
Please visit us often and you’ll always learn something new. Of course I love nothing better than to show you a cake that epitomize perfection. But you also know that it would not be reality.
BTW I think we should have a reality show about a few of us baking and cooking-up desserts and see how many times we need to work our brain in correcting unexpected events. What is your opinion?