If you are anything like me and love to read through food blogs, you may have noticed a few commonly used phrases being used. Some of them are great ways to cover up the fact that your dish has not turned out exactly how you envisioned. Here are a few that I like to use.
1. “Dust with Icing sugar” – This usually means I have messed up a dessert, for example, a cake that has had far too many cracks on the top and I needed to cover the cake with some icing sugar to hide the imperfections.
2. “Dust with Icing sugar and Cocoa Powder” – Wow… this is when the cake really turned out bad and you need to use more than just icing sugar to cover the mess you made.
3. “Caramelize” (as opposed to saying brulee) – you burned the damn thing so now you need to tell everyone it was intentional. Used in a conversation:
Complaining Restaurant Customer: You burnt your apple tart.
Celebrity Chef: No I didn’t. It was caramelized.
Complaining Restaurant Customer: No, it was burnt.
Celebrity Chef: No. It was very caramelized that it looks almost burnt. I pay big bucks for this in Paris. Do you want to see a picture?
Complaining Restaurant Customer: No. I just like to complain.
4. “You are going for that rustic look” - I would use this when making a tart and the pastry has shrunk or come out very uneven.
5. “Meringue Cookies” – One I’ve seen on the net and loved. Someone attempted to make macarons but the macarons did not have feet.
6. “The recipe did not work for me” - hehe… I like this one. I can’t remember using this one but I see it a lot. I usually translate to mean the end product did not taste very good or look very good and was beyond remedy but was posted anyway.
7. “Adapted From” – giving credit to the recipe’s original author.
Let me show you what I mean in the example below:
This Caramelized Ginger Tart was adapted from Bourke Street Bakery’s new cookbook. The tart uses a sweet shortcrust pastry which is also featured in the book. It is flaky, buttery and absolutely delicious. Don’t worry too much about rolling it out too nicely on the tins, with this tart, you prefer to go for that rustic look.
Recipe (I only used half quantity)
- 360 ml 35% fat cream
- 2.5 cm ginger piece, finely sliced and peeled
- 1 cardamom pod, bruised
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 5 egg yolks
- 40 grams caster sugar
- extra sugar for burning
- sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
- Put the cream in a saucepan over high heat with the ginger, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Heat until it boils and place in a container overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
- The next day, reheat the infused cream before using over high heat and set aside.
- Place the yolks and sugar and whisk until combined and sugar has dissolved. Pour over the warmed cream and continue to whisk until combined.
- Place this mixture over a saucepan of simmering water and make sure that the base does not touch the water, otherwise it will curdle. Whisk the mixture like a sabayon until thick, it took me 25 minutes although the recipe says 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and place over a bowl of ice and water and continue to whisk until cool.
- Cover with a plastic wrap which should be placed directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate a few hours to set.
- Roll out the pastry and set in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
- Blind bake the pastry in a preheated 200c oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove, allow to cool.
- Pipe the custard over the tart shells and place back in the refrigerator to allow to set for an hour (the recipe calls for 4 hours)
- Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar over each tart and caramelize with a blow torch.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 200 grams unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1.5 cm cubes
- 10 ml white vinegar, chilled
- 50 grams caster sugar
- 85 ml cold water
- 335 grams flour, chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Note: I have used one method in the book which was using a food processor. The book gives details as well if you are going to make the pastry by hand. I do encourage you to get a copy of the book. There are many excellent recipes and techniques worth learning.
- Put the vinegar, sugar and water in a bowl and stir well until the sugar dissolved.
- Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse in 1 second bursts about 3 or 4 times to partly combine.
- Tip this over in a clean work surface and sprinkle the sugar/vinegar mixture. Use the palm of your hand to smear the dough away from you and then gather together again and repeat the smearing process. You may need to do this 2 to 3 times more. You should still be able to see streaks of butter marbled through the pastry.
- Wrap the pastry and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
- Remove the pastry 20 minutes prior to using. Sprinkle a little flour on the bench and rub some as well on your rolling pin. Working from the center of the pastry, gently roll the dough away from you then turn the dough about 30 degrees and roll out again.
- Repeat the process until you have a flat round disc, about 3 mm think. Sprinkle extra flour as needed but try to use a little as possible.
- Brush the tart tins (you will need 10 which are 8 cm in size or I used little muffin pans as well) with melted butter.
- Cut the pastry into the shape you need for the tart tins (eg. if using 8 cm, cut the pastry using an 11 cm cutter – the trick is to cut 2 cm larger than the diameter of the tin).
- Again, as mentioned earlier, no need to be too fussy – you are going for that rustic look.
- Set the pastry cases aside to rest for at least 20 minutes in the freezer so that the gluten relaxes and holds it shape.
- You are now ready to use the pastry and continue with the recipe above.