Hye Thyme Cafe: Finish This Sentence Friday ...

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, March 8, 2013

Finish This Sentence Friday ...


For this week's installment of Finish This Sentence Friday (which I keep forgetting about), the sentence we needed to finish was:

I tried to cook ...

Presumably, this was to get everyone to confess to a major kitchen disaster.  I'm usually pretty good at salvaging things, but that sentence immediately brought me back to Christmas of 2010, when "I tried to cook [make] a Strawberry Vacherin for a visiting dinner guest from France."  One of my nephews had a friend who was to be joining us, so I asked if he had a favorite holiday dessert I could make for him to feel at home.  He mentioned the Strawberry Vacherin, which was something new to me, but I'm always up for a challenge.

Now, I've made my fair share of meringue pies, but I had never made meringue cookies or used meringues in any other way.  This was described to me as a molded strawberry mousse slathered in whipped cream, then surrounded by the merinques and topped with strawberries. Sounded easy enough.  WRONG!  

I couldn't for the life of me get the meringues to cooperate.  I made a batch that looked beautiful and piped very nicely onto my trays.  The problem came when I tried to remove them from the trays - wasn't gonna happen!  






I ended up with two large trays of meringue shards!  Almost every one of them broke.  I don't specifically remember doing this, but it appears that I baked the first batch on waxed paper.  I have never baked on waxed paper, so I'll assume I read that in more than one recipe I looked at for reference.

Being determined to have this dessert there for Nick, I went back to the drawing board late on Christmas Eve and whipped up another batch of meringue.  This batch was slightly oozey - not nearly as nice as my first batch.  I recall posting on Facebook asking for advice about whether to try again on the waxed paper, switch to my favorite (parchment), whether the recipe needed to be tweaked, etc.  I was assured by one old high school friend that the absolute best method was to pipe them onto a brown paper grocery bag.  Hmmm?  OK, since she had experience with this and it had never failed her, that's just what I did.  The result?





Yup, more broken ... and not nearly as pretty as the first batch ... meringues.  Sigh! 

In the end, I managed to piece together a half-a$$ed version with whatever meringues I was able to salvage.  There should not be any space between the meringues, but I didn't have enough to go around otherwise.  Nick was happy with my efforts, but I was furious.  I fully intend to do this again and get it right next time!



This year, we were supposed to be having a friend from Germany join us for Christmas.  Lucky for me [and maybe for him], that didn't happen.  ;')



Next week's sentence:  I did something really stupid once, I...




Finish the Sentence Friday






19 comments:

  1. I couldn't wait to read yours. I said, "Surely she didn't mess up anything." As far as I am concerned you still didn't. Blame the broken stuff on the paper=) The recipe would have lost me at Vacherin.

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    1. Well, there was the other time when I tried to make an herb bread ring and had to serve it as a flatbread LOL. The first rise was beautiful, but when I kneaded and shaped it and set it to rise for the second time, it completely went flat for some reason. :(

      It still tasted good at least. :)

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    2. LOL!!! Hence that flatbread. LOL! Other recipes lose me at the work "Knead".

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    3. That's another good thing about a stand mixer if you have one - it does the kneading for you.

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  2. Oh I make straight vanilla/chocolate chip meringue cookies (a recipe from my MIL) for Christmas time and just spoon them on a regular cookie sheet and put them a heated oven that gets turned off once the meringues go in. If you leave them in overnight usually they will come out awesome. Hope this helps and know they can be tricky, but your dessert still looked and sounded delicious Chris. Thanks for sharing and linking up, too!! :)

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    1. Hmmm, I've never heard of turning the oven off right away like that. I can't remember the temp, but it seems to me there were baked for a somewhat long time at a low temp. I'll keep that in mind, thanks! :)

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  3. My guess is that your half-a$$ed version would kick the a$$ of mine! I have a friend from New Zealand who is a meringue wizard and makes Pavlovas all the time. She *assures* me that they are so easy, but I know better... Thanks for linking up with us today- the perfect post!

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    1. I have been contemplating making individual-sized Pavlovas because they look so pretty, but I keep hesitating because of this experience. Part of the problem is that we don't normally eat dessert. I have to remember to try it on a random evening rather than thinking about it around a holiday or having company over. A practice run would definitely be in order! :)

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  4. Your cooking mishap looks better than my culinary masterpieces :)

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    1. LOL - I'm sure there are probably one or two that I have conveniently blocked from memory. ;)

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  5. I don't even know what Strawberry Vacherin is...and then when you mentioned making meringue - wow, in a million years, I could never do that. I admire your perseverance to get this one right!

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    1. Well, this is [sort of] a Strawberry Vacherin with some shaved chocolate on top for good measure. :)

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  6. Wow, that is beautiful. Even though it didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted, it's gorgeous! So glad you linked up. I knew you'd have a good story. :-)

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  7. Geeze, thank you! I should have posted this back then - the comments would have made me feel better LOL. :)

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  8. Wow, I'm so impressed in general! Although, I suppose that I should have guessed from the delicious looking photos on both of your sidebars that you do not suffer from the "I can't really cook at all" syndrome that I seem to have. And your end result cake looks amazing! I think the meringues look perfect. :)

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    1. The first batch "looked" really good. I was all impressed with myself ... until I tried to get them off the tray!! :(

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  9. Hi there, lovely post! And I loved the photos. Well it just confirms my life philosophy. I don't cook, I merely eat! And at my age, that's getting to be an effort too! Oh well! Have a nice day!

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  10. It always makes me feel better to see really good cooks have trouble with a recipe. I don't feel like such a loser with my flops. I have had a meringue recipe in my book of recipes to try for years (I am old school pinterest, recipes cut from magazines and stuck in a photo album) but have never given it a whirl. After this, I've probably been set back another few years from ever trying it. :)

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    1. Awww, don't say that! I've never had a problem with meringue crusts, either a top crust like for a traditional Lemon Meringue Pie or as a bottom crust like I use for my Angel Lemon Pie - it was just making these piped meringues that didn't work for some reason. :(

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