It’s finally fall and baking is back in vogue. The crisp cold outside inspires me.
I have spoken lovingly about the enormous tree in my front yard before. When I sit on my couch in the living room lazily reading the Sunday paper and looking up into the tree branches as the colors change it is truly one of my favorite places on earth. That is, of course, until this tree starts dropping those lovely leaves and the pile grows as big as a Volkswagen. Thankfully that process has not yet begun in earnest so for today I am happily baking an elegant dessert that may find its way to my holiday table sometime over the next few weeks.
HOWEVER…this is my second baking experience of the week and I have to vent about the first one first. The blogs and the Food Network have been full of Macarons for a while now. It is not a macaroon as I first thought those coconut cookies that show up in coffee houses dipped in chocolate or in abundance around Passover. Those I have successfully made. These are a different thing altogether. A Macaron is a lovely French sandwich cookie. They have a crispy, shiny exterior and a tender moist interior with filling in between. I read a number of blogs that went into extreme detail about humidity, the fineness of the almond meal, Dutch process cocoa versus non-Dutch process. In my extreme arrogance, I thought (no I BELIEVED) that I was a pastry chef because I have watched A LOT of Top Chef Just Desserts and other similar shows. You all know, I began baking at age 9 and worked in a Mediterranean pastry shop for my first job.
Unfortunately these macarons have humbled me. I am not a pastry chef; I don’t even play one on TV. I am a modest home baker with a pretty good repertoire but macarons will not be joining it anytime soon. I tried and failed to produce anything close to the lovely little cookies I saw on line. My almond meal wasn’t fine enough, who knows about the humidity, all I know is they were BAD!!! My filling, however, was lovely- a Raspberry Mascarpone frosting that is delicious. So I threw the evil Macaron experiment in the trash and set about making a very elegant Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mascarpone Frosting that redeemed me. With my self esteem restored I am heading back to the couch to read a book and glance up into my tree from time to time. Life is good.
Tags: baking mistakes, chocolate cake, fall, holiday baking, raspberry frosting