Lately, we have been doing a lot of desserts – which if you know me this is not my favorite thing to do, it’s usually that dish I ask someone else to bring to the table. My best friend can impress a crowd with any baked good – she just mastered a creamy chocolate chip cheesecake, with a buttery graham cracker crust for my birthday. Also, my mom is practically a part-time semi-professional when it comes to baking and decorating cakes, so really why should I even try?
In school, the idea behind simple-ish desserts is to learn some must-know techniques like the proper way to fold in ingredients, how to measure precisely, how to roll out dough, and again, to practice time & temperature. So I faced this challenge and I have to say I’ve made some pretty desserts and a super delectable puff pastry.
I’ve learned how to make crèmes, coulis, lemon curd, whipped cream, cookies and cake. I now appreciate why desserts at a restaurant are so expensive – the recipes may seem simple, but the time it takes to perfect the consistency, taste and look of some of these, they have earned a $10 price tag. Husband likes dessert nights because I usually sneak away a sample for him; it’s a small gesture to show him how much I appreciate his encouragement.
Unrelated to the desserts – last week we also jumped right into meats! – I’ll write about that later. But as a side sauce for roast beef we made “LA SAUCE BEARNAISE” which is a derivative of the made-famous hollandaise sauce. Yep, that’s right, we had to make hollandaise sauce again – but this time we added a red vinegar reduction with diced shallots, tarragon and peppercorns, it was tasty! After exam night, I decided I would redeem myself, I would show the hollandaise sauce who was boss. I grabbed my ingredients, bowl and whisk as I walked confidently (hopefully hiding some of the fear left in me) to the stove and I did it! I made it on the first try! It was like all the stars had lined up (or I learned from my mistake). I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Early on in class, Chef J said that he can make hollandaise sauce in 5-6 minutes start to finish, and I’m shocked to say I think I did mine close 6-7 minutes. So now that I know I can do it, hopefully that means it will eventually become second nature and no longer a fearful sauce because it’s totally worth the effort – the béarnaise sauce was so delicious; I dipped everything I had on my plate in it!