To My Dearest The Martha... I laugh in the face of your saggy ass crepes!
|*Recipe caused severe stress, nail biting, and mysterious stains on my kitchen and dining room walls.. therefore there will be JILLIONS of photos. Prepare for thy computer crash...*|
Two weeks ago we had some friends coming up to our neck of the woods to join us at our favorite restaurant for dinner. After dinner, the plan was to come back to our house for dessert. I had planned on making this month's Daring Bakers' challenge, and I thought it'd be nice to share it with friends.
We were to meet them at the restaurant at 6:30. At 4:30 I called and asked for an hour's extension. I knew with two more hours to go that I wasn't even close.. no fakkin way. What looked like a beautiful and reasonably simple recipe, turned out to be the recipe from hell. At 5:30 I called them back and told them I didn't need that extra hour, but there wasn't going to be any dessert. "How about drinking though? Would you like to drink?", I asked her.
That was my first attempt at The Martha's crepes. I've never made a crepe before so I wouldn't know if the batter was "crepe like" or not. I noticed it was kind of thick, but what the hell that meant, I had no idea. Amazingly my first crepe turned out quite nice. I was happy and figured the rest would be a breeze.. oh hells no. I couldn't have been more wrong. Every single crepe thereafter tore, ripped, got stuck to itself, was thrown across my kitchen into the dining room, etc. I had even bought a cute lil French crepe pan and a special crepe spatula (sucked in, yes I know) ALL FOR NAUGHT.
I left my house in a sour mood.. but after a few glasses of wine and fun conversation with good friends, I felt better. It was a traumatizing experience though.. so much so that I didn't even think about trying this recipe again until this weekend.. nothing like waiting until the last minute!
The good thing about waiting so long was that I got lots of tips and advice from the gals who had already made theirs. I guess I learned from their mistakes? Bless each and every one of them! *smoochies* I also had a TON of help from Helene, my baking guru. Oh how I love thee..
So I woke up early Saturday morning to take my mom to a couple appointments (she got her neck brace off WOOO!!) with full intentions of coming straight home and immediately starting on the crepes. Here's how my day went instead:
1:00 - home to see the husband off for the night.. yes, i told him he'd better find something to do far away from our house because I was attempting that "f*ckin' cake" again.
2:00 - multiple e-mails to Helene for support and advice before I dived in
2:30 - lunch of cold spags & balls, followed by watching DVR'd shows (Boston Legal [Alan Shore *swoon*] and Divine Design [Candice Olson *swoon*])
4:00 - Sister calls.. chit chat with her for an hour
5:00 - More e-mails to Helene
6:00 - Yet another search for something I can use for a filling..
6:30 - Burned a compilation music CD for the occasion. Lots of loud, funky, disco-y, pop-y, fun to dance to while alone with no one else watching music..
7:00 - Mise en place
7:10 - First crepe.. FABULOUS! Turned out perfectly.. followed by 22 equally perfect crepes. I couldn't believe it.. total shock they all came out. All thanks to Helene's suggestion of letting them sit for close to 2 min. before flipping.
8:30(ish) - Making of the curd for the mousse filling
9:00 - Beating the egg whites and cream, then awkwardly folding them together
9:10 - Folding eggs & cream into the curd
9:13 - Watching the whole mess coagulate and separate
9:15 - Smelling something reminiscent of ass
9:17 - Daring to stick my pinky in for a taste and promptly gagging because it tasted like ass.
9:17:20 - Pouring out filling down drain.
9:19 - 10:20 - Total daze, can't remember much - think I blacked out.
10:21 - Frantic email to Helene about WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO NOW??
10:25 - Back out in the living room, pouting on the sofa
10:30 - Passed the hell out.
1:00 - Woke up and dragged my dead tired ass to bed
Need me to define "frantic"?
Subject: WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO NOW?????
"The filling. Oh dear God I fucked up my filling. I decided to go with an orange mousse. So I dug out the key lime mousse recipe I found when searching for the perfect HHDD mousse. I followed it to a T other than I doubled the recipe and I subbed blood oranges for the key lime...
Before I knew what I was doing.. I realized that i was in the process of making curd again! ARGH!! I got very very scared. But 'lo it turned out beautifully this time. No scrambled eggs! WOO! Now here comes the part that I just don't understand.
The next step was to whip the egg whites until they formed soft peaks. And so I did.. and I thought I was doing it the correct way as I had to do it for both the chocolate AND the banana mousse last week.. nothing different with this recipe. When I stopped the kitchenaid, and lifted the whisk, I got nice soft peaks.
And then I did the cream.. whipped it until soft peaks - no problems.. added the sugar and beat it until it was stiff. No. Problem.
And then I folded my egg whites into my whipped cream like the recipe said to do.. I suck at folding, I always end up losing some fluff.. but it seemed to be going okay.. until I had to fold that into the curd. Holy hell. The first thing that struck me was that SOMETHING I don't know if it was the cream or the eggwhites, but SOMETHING separated. Or curdled. Or some other HORRIBLE thing. And then next I noticed the smell.. it did not smell like sweet oranges or sweet whipped cream.. it smelled like ass. BUT I was brave and I continued to fold and even took a small lil dip of the finger to taste... BLECH it tasted like ass too.
i dumped it down the drain.
I have no filling.
What the hell am I going to do? I only have about 1 c. of cream left, 1/2 doz. eggs, no oranges left in the house although I've got orange juice.. If I wanted to do lemon I've only got 4 lemons - they certainly aren't going to give me enough juice to make enough filling for 23 layers.
I do have a small jar of Italian lemon marmalade.. and the same size jar of Italian plum jam.. thought maybe of spreading one of those every other layer.. but I still have the dilemma of the cream layer.. what the hell am I going to do??
Someone got into the Nutella.. there isn't even a 1/2 jar left. I'm thinking maybe about making the chocolate mousse I made last week for every other layer.. but you probably wouldn't even see layers once it was cut..
And it's 10. I have not ate anything, my feet are killing me and I'm in a whiney ass mood. Is it noticeable?"
Yeah, and I thought I had it bad a couple weeks ago when my crepes didn't turn out.
Well, bless her cotton socks, Helene wrote back with many suggestions on how to use the ingredients I had on hand to whip up a fabulousss filling. I particularly liked the idea she had for a quick mousse made with the lemon marmalade, although I only had about 1/4 of a packet of gelatin left. So as I was writing down her instructions, I remembered how badly I've always wanted to try to make Italian meringue buttercream. Yanno the stuff.. you whip egg whites and then drizzle smokin' hot sugar syrup into them at the same time? I mean, how hard could it be?? It's not like I had already managed to scramble the eggs in the first curd I tried, or severly burned my hand the last time I attempted honeycomb candy. I mean, really this is a safe recipe, right? All you have to do is drizzle the molten sugar between the edge of the bowl and the whisk attachment that's whizzin' around at 40 mph. This is EXACTLY the thing I should attempt the morning of the Daring Baker Challenge Post deadline.
Well guess what all of you nay-sayers! You non-believers! You didn't think I could do it'ers! I not only made a perfect Italian meringue buttercream, but I made it even better than the author of the recipe, Jacques Torres! And do you want to know how I made it better?
I should keep it to myself because you didn't believe in my stellar capabilities in the kitchen.
But, what the hell? I'll tell you already! The recipe called for unsalted butter. I do not have any unsalted butter in this house, so I said "FAKK IT!!" and I used salted butter. TWO AND ONE FOURTHS CUP + 1 TABLESPOON of SALTED butter.
Oh. My. God. The creaminess, the thickness, the saltiness and the sweetness.. all rolled up into one heavenly light and airy buttercream. I may or may not make this frosting again and serve it in a bowl to MYSELF for dinner one night. It's THAT good. Well.. it's that good if you are into the salty/sweet combo that I absolutely *swoon* over.
Holy Son of a Motherless Goat this is how damn good the buttercream turned out - behold the tracks of my finger licking. If I could have shoved my head in that bowl for quicker access, I would have.
The rest of the components of this cake went pretty quickly - the chocolate glaze was a snap and the decoration was quite easy as well, thanks to a fantastic recipe from one of our Daring Bakers, Ilva of Lucullian Delights. She made these Ginger Candied Orange Wedges that about made me fall out of my chair with desire. Go look at her pictures, I'll wait.
Fell out of your damn chairs didn't you??? Mmm hmmm.. so I knew that when I decided to go with an orange flavored filling (I added Grand Marnier to the buttercream, forgot to mention that!) I had to make these candied oranges for my decoration. Slight problem though. I made 10 wedges. Only 6 made it to the cake. Whoops! Wonder where those other 4 disappeared to?? Hmm..
Moving right along.. it was time to taste this monstrosity! I carefully sliced a relatively small slice - for photo purposes - and took many upon many photographs. Course I needed a photo of a bite taken out of the cake, it's only reasonable. WOW. I was expecting a "eh?" kind of reaction.. the live with it / live without it, not very impressive kind of reaction. Well since this cake is mostly that fantabulous buttercream (did I mention the super hazardous and deadly making of the Italian meringue buttercream that I not only attempted but KICKED ASS at?) the cake was amazing. I kinda think the crepes are more for the show-stopping appearance than any real added taste to the overall cake. I was happy to find out that they were not rubbery, which is what I really expected. And the bittersweet chocolate glaze was perfect with the sweeter buttercream.
All in all - an amazing cake.
Will I ever make this cake again? NO. NO. AND NO. Not worth the 3 weeks of stressing over it. But I will cover anything and everything with that buttercream from now on. ;)
Okay I'm done.. FINALLY. Dear God will she ever learn how to write short posts?? Now.. go click on the other Daring Bakers' blogs --> over there in my sidebar. Prepared to be awwed and amazed and I suggest a plastic sheathing for your keyboard, what with all the drooling that will ensue.