I still don’t really know what to use this Tumblr thingy for so for now I’ll dedicate it to my new thing: baking.
Not that baking is a new thing, exactly; but this year I’m trying to bake something new every week. Something I’ve never made before. It’s an immutable, must-do thing, like having dinner with R every evening, no matter how busy work is.
Anyway, I’ve not recorded what I’ve done so far particularly well, and I think it’s time I start. I made a swiss roll the other week and learned that there’s a fine line between letting it cool enough that the crust doesn’t come off when you roll it and letting it cool too much so it cracks. Before that I did something else I can’t actually remember. Oh yeah - cookies, from my Nigella book, and I learned that our crap oven never browns things quite enough and you absolutely have to take cookies out a little while before you think they’re done as they harden more even after you get them from the oven.
Yesterday, though, I did fruit tarts with creme patissiere, and a pastry experiment. One was a normal batch of sweet shortcrust pastry, which I made a little too wet (I’d halved the recipe but put too much water in) and then saved by adding flour - making the pastry basically taste of flour (and a little tough - I overworked it as well. The other was orange sweet shortcrust pastry - using a tiny bit of orange juice instead of water to bind it. I think it might be possible to use less egg yolk and more orange juice to bind it but I’m wary of that. Anyway, the taste was pretty much just sweet shortcrust but with the tiniest hint of acidity - I think perhaps stronger flavours would be better. Maybe flavour essences, or distilled flavours? Perhaps even cordial concentrate, although that’s pretty much all sugar, and the bit of the orange juice would probably be better with the amount of sugar in sweet shortcrust pastry.
I made some little cases - blind-baked - and filled them with my first ever creme patissiere. Again, a Nigella recipe, and a little simpler (and a lower quantity) than most; and my god it tasted incredible. I have no idea where creme patissiere has been all my life. I think I’m going to marry it.
I filled the cases with the creme patissiere and topped with blueberries and an apricot jam/water glaze (which needs a lot more water than I thought to get it runny enough to paint on). The taste was incredible. Such a simple recipe, and such an amazing flavour! The only real issue was that the creme patissiere was a little runny - I’ve since found out that it doesn’t thicken that much once it’s taken off the heat, so it should have been left on the hob for longer. I had been expecting it to firm up a lot more as it cooled, but no luck.
Anyway, here’s a little photo. They tasted amazing. I’ll be doing this again. Come to dinner. I’ll make you some.