( Firstly, I have a bad head cold, so this may seem more like rambling than a composed post, so I’m sorry. However, IT’S MY BLOG, I CAN RAMBLE IF I WANT TO! *throws fit on floor* Being sick sucks.)
Carried in with the new chilly breeze blowing through our chic little city, comes my affinity for cooking and baking. When the temperatures drop, much to the chagrin of Geep, the kitchen maintains a certain level of mess. At least it is a tasty mess. Since we did not go to Greece due to our combined level of sickness (mentioned in the previous post), I have been keeping myself busy. It was better to distract myself from the head cold and stomach cramps by moving around the kitchen, than wallow in self-pity. It started with the idea of making soup again; this time using an oven-roasted chicken carcass left over from the previous dinner for the stock base. So, why not make a dessert, too? We were going to be home for the foreseeable weekend-future anyways.
I found a simple recipe for an apple tart and figured I would give it a try. I went to the market to procure my puff pastry, apples, butter, and an actual pie pan. I had no idea there were so many options for sizes of pie pans in France. The shelf of our local junk shop had about fifteen choices. My recipe did not exactly specify, so I choose one that seemed reasonably middle-sized. I started following the directions and immediately stumbled upon a split route dilemma. The recipe wanted me to pre-bake the crust, but the crust wanted me to bake it with all the fillings. Decisions, decisions. I pre-baked the crust a bit to just give me time to cut up the apples. After my alarm went off to pull the crust, I was a little taken aback to see what looked more like a pizza crust than a tart. The puff pastry, had indeed, puffed. Not big deal, I figured, it would sag a bit as it cooled. Cutting the apples was a bit time consuming, but really not too bad. It said to slice them thinly and place on the crust in a rosette pattern. With the apples cut as thinly as I could manage, I painstakingly placed them in the prettiest pattern I could. Yes! It was starting to resemble what I see in the patisseries! I measured out my sugar and butter and started to shower the rosette with half the sugar. It seemed like a bit much, but I decided I would check on it during baking to see if I would add the rest. I realized the recipe was probably for a much larger pan than I had purchased when I started to “sprinkle” the little pieces of butter all over. My god, this is a LOT of butter… I couldn’t bring myself to add the full amount. I put it in the oven and hoped for the best. Apparently, when they meant cut the apples thinly, they meant like, paper thin. This thing was nowhere near cooked at the 15 minutes mark. It took an additional 20 minutes, and some foil protection for the crust, to get it baked through. The first thing Geep said when presented with the “tart” was that it looked like an apple pizza. Sigh. Failure number one. (Though caloric, it was pretty good!)
My second dessert attempt was not actually mutant. I made a simple apple crumble one evening to get rid of the excess of apples I had. It was pretty easy and perfect for a fall evening. Apples+Cinnamon+Crumbles= Yum. Simple.
My third baking endeavor was less than attractive and took on a life of its own. I decided to make Dark Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with a Hot Cocoa Milk Soak, *drooooooool*. Cupcakes are pretty easy and who doesn’t love’em? I made my batter, filled my forms, baked them for 15 minutes and……
WTF? WHY? The funny thing is this photo was of my second batch, the first ones completely keeled over and made little soup puddles down the side. I wish I had known the oven tray had a slight gangster lean before I used it. Merde. As mutantly ugly as these suckers were, they were freakin’ tasty little chocolate-banana pillows. After I trimmed off their hemorrhages, added the hot cocoa milk soak, and frosted them to make them look as normal as possible, I crumbled up a few of the fallen soldiers and added them to the top. Apparently, my make-a-cupcake-look-normal skills are decent. Did I mention these are to DIE for? However, now that I made them, I don’t want to eat them (Chocolate Overload from licking fingers and checking batter). I need cupcake-eating volunteers STAT.