Friday, February 25, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: French Desserts

I've recently become beyond obsession with Julia Child and have decided that I would like to take a stab at mastering the art of french cooking. With this in mind, my awesome and adorable husband got me two Julia Child cookbooks for Christmas...and this lady has been in heaven.

After some serious reading, I put my game face on last week and took the plunge...and learned a few lessons that I'd like to share with you.

Part I: Vanilla Souffle
I've never had souffle. My husband has never had souffle. I'm feeling ambitious. It's Valentine's Day. I took a chance. {maybe i should of re-thought this...} It started out awesome! I measured out all of the ingredients...preheated the oven...and had no mercy! ...until...the egg whites just didn't seem fluffy enough...or were they?...maybe that's how they're suppose to look...I've never done this before. I'm sure they're fine. {wrong} Forty minutes later when the "glorious" souffle came out of the oven, it about an inch and a half tall. {what happened?}

...time to consult Julia...

This is what I learned:
• if any yolk intermingles with the egg deal! you can whip those egg whites into submission...and they will still fall flat!
• if any grease {including butter} touches the egg whites in the process of whipping {maybe from the whisk that you just whipped butter into the egg yolks with}'re in for a bad time...
• you can't use a glass bowl to whip the egg whites...they will never reach their true potential and will slide down the slippery bowl.

Hmmmm....thinking back...I did all of these things. A tiny spec of egg yolk may have made it into the egg white bowl. It was a glass bowl...and I know that I used the same whisk...awww...snap! Maybe I should of consulted page 159 {again} before attempting the recipe in the back of the plan...start over!

With the knowledge gained in round one...I made a lovely vanilla souffle {again} and felt relieved that it worked. Sadly...the Mannerings learned that they are not souffle fans that evening, but it was worth trying it out. Now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

Part II: Ladyfingers
With the souffle disaster and recovery a day behind me...I decided to try something new. My Dad kept talking about ladyfingers at Christmas time, so I thought that I'd give them a whirl. With my new and exciting egg white discovery in my hip pocket...I had no fear! They turned out delicious {first try}, but were not the prettiest pastries that I've ever seen.

Next time...I know to:
• Use a pastry bag! {not a spoon...and my fingers} The recipe told me to use a pastry bag, but in the excitement of the batter turning out how it was suppose to...I just winged it!
• Only place them in the upper 2/3 of the oven. With two trays of pastries, I placed one in the upper 2/3 and one in the lower 1/3. The lower tray turned out a little crispy...lesson learned!

All and all it was an awesome adventure of trying new things out. I'm no Julia Child...but I'm working on it. I hope that my new knowledge helps you out if you're a rookie like me. adventurous! Try something new! And don't let the yolk touch the egg whites when you're whipping them! Happy Friday!

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