Some of you have asked what happened to the Indigo challenge. The thing is, I go through phases in cooking. I was in the exotic main dishes phase when Indigo challenge started, but for the last couple of months, I only seem to be thinking of making desserts.
I am possibly watching too many reality cooking shows, but as all the funky creations by contestants of Top Chef : Just Desserts went past, it had me thinking only one thought. There's so much I don't know. See, I only started baking a couple of years back so there never was much time. And I haven't tried some things, like creme anglaise, because I dislike desserts with an eggy smell. Others, like souffle, because I am plain scared. All of which is about to change with the PASTRY WARS.
It's the quest for the perfect version of every basic recipe that needs to be in a pastry chef's arsenal. And it's simple - we just keep at something until we find our perfect version. If I try the classic version and it tastes eggy, I'd look for a variation without eggs.
The first basic recipe coming your way is the cream patisserie or the pastry cream. Thick, rich, creamy - it's filled in tarts, piped into eclairs and zillions of other french desserts. There is, in short, no better place to start.
I've tried making pastry cream once when the daring bakers made tiramisu and I liked the recipe (it surprisingly didn't taste eggy). This one's also less scary than the classic recipes I read. There is no tempering of yolks with warm milk, so less chances of you ending up with scrambled eggs.
But the daring bakers version got a little too thick as it cooled so I figured a variation.
1/4 cup sugar
a tbsp of cornstarch
a tsp of lime zest
another tsp of vanilla extract
an egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
Whisk it all together until smooth. Cook on very low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add another 1/3 cup milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After 6-7 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble.
Turn off the gas. Check to see any signs of scrambled yolks or lumps. Pass through a fine mesh sieve if there are any.
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Press some cling film directly on to the surface and let chill in the fridge overnight. Don't taste while warm as it might taste eggy. The cold cream will be perfect.
This pastry cream will last 4-5 days in the fridge so next challenge : shortcrust pastry. Let the wars begin!