A few months back I started reading a lot of food blogs. I don’t know why, I just found them all ever so interesting. A lot of them mentioned something called ‘Daring Bakers’ which always sounded funny to me. It’s a (very) large group of internet food bloggers, who, once a month, all bake from the same recipe and then discuss that recipe together. It would not have interested me were it not for the interesting recipes that are chosen. They’re all daunting sounding recipes using expensive ingredients in long drawn out methods, the kind of thing most people just buy from super markets because it’s easier. I decided that I ought to challenge myself- and I ought to join.
This is my first challenge, I’m afraid I’m posting it late due to being at Glastonbury Festival whilst the posting date was supposed to happen.
As you can see in the recipe (which is on both of the above blogs) there were an awful lot of steps in this recipe. Many steps, many opportunities for things to go wrong. And it did, oh boy, it did.
Making the ‘pastry’ or more, the dough was less like cooking and more like crying. Everything seemed sticky, so I added flour, then everything seemed hard and impossible to roll, so I put it in the fridge and gave up. Thankfully, returning to it later, found that all it had needed was a bit of a rest. I put in all the butter like a good girl and rolled it all out and felt like everything was on track, and in my head I had images of beautiful braids, all thick and tall and long and delicious looking.
Only, urr, what I got was this:
Road kill. Baking that resembles road kill. My main mistake was putting in a very sloppy rhubarb filling. My other mistake was assembling the braid on the work surface, then having to slide it on to the baking sheet, which was of course a total disaster. After proofing, it looked like mousse, so I just threw the whole thing in the oven and hoped for the best.
It did taste delicious, it just didn’t look it…
Thankfully, my pride has not totally been battered. The recipe yielded enough pastry for two braids, or one braid plus mini Danish pastries of any kind, and here is where I shone. I decided to make Spandaus because I think they’re ever so pretty (otherwise known as Envelopes) and I decided (whilst sitting in an English exam, staring at the ceiling) that I wanted to fill it with pastry cream and chocolate.
It was my first time making pastry cream and I was rather surprised at how well it went, I have little confidence in my ability to thicken liquids, and I was even more surprised by how simply beautiful the little Spandaus looked after I’d filled them with my cream and chocolate, folded them and then baked them.
Needless to say they were devoured very quickly and adored for much longer.