Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caramel Pipe Dreams

I am flummoxed. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty damn good at baking. Pastry and I have an understanding, a common bond, and a deep and abiding love. This recipe has beaten me though and I feel...betrayed. Let's begin at the beginning.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we'll be having a small gathering. Since I can't cook to save my life, my dad and I usually share the responsibility of prepping dessert. I had seen this recipe for these fabulous little sugar cookie tarts with caramel whipped cream drizzled with chocolate and immediately thought "You will be mine." Let me start by saying that I have never made caramel before in my life. My first attempt resulted in my melting a plastic stirring spoon and burning the caramel. If you think about it, caramel is just burnt sugar anyway, but there's a very specific level of burnt. Trust me, if you go too far it's really disgusting. You have to pay very close attention to your caramel because it can go from perfect to ruined in a matter of seconds.

On my second attempt I knew to look for the warming signs and, I'm happy to say, I hit the nail on the head. Per the recipe, I threw the caramel into the fridge for 10 min to cool while I whipped the cream after which I was to fold the cooled caramel into the whipped cream. This lead to many problems. Turns out that 10 min in the fridge (just what the recipe called for) had turned my caramel into a tasty little brick. So I threw it into the microwave to to soften it up. When I got it to a point where is was somewhat malleable I started to fold it into the whipped cream and my caramel whipped cream dreams came crashing down around me. Not only, did the warmth of the caramel turn my beautiful, fluffy whipped cream into soup, but the caramel turned back into a hard lump when it hit the cold cream. So there I was, looking down a sort of turd shaped brown lump floating in what looked like milk that had gone sour and I bit my lip to hold back the tears of frustration. Then I took the whole big mess and flushed it down the toilet.

I wish I had pictures to show you, but considering that tomorrow is the undisputed pig-out day of the year maybe it's better that there wasn't a camera within reach. Caramel poop in rancid milk does nothing for the appetite. And on that note I'd like to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

1 comment:

  1. Caramel poop....yum. For some reason Caramel and custard are both a bitch to make. Too hot your screwed. Too cool and the ingredients don't react properly...i feel your pain :(