Daring Cooks December Challenge: Beef Wellington
|Beef wrapped in mushrooms, wrapped in prosciutto, wrapped in a buttery, flaky crust. What could be better?|
The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online
Well apparently.. I'm not the beef wrapped in mushrooms, wrapped in prosciutto, wrapped in a buttery, flaky crust kinda gal. This just didn't thrill me. Not only did I have HUGE problems with the pastry dough, but the final product just wasn't very "BOOYA" if yanno what I mean? Which kinda floors me, because okay - so the crust sucked, pick it off and eat the rest for crissakes, yes? But the Parma ham just got all greasy tucked in there.. the mushrooms were okay, but they were minced so kinda hard to enjoy them.. and the steak, although done perfectly and seasoned well.. just wasn't all that tasty. Did it all steam too much in it's pastry shell? Are my tasters off? I just don't know..
This is not to say that I am saddened by this month's challenge. I am always grateful to learn a new technique and recipe.. and a shortcrust pastry dough was something I'd never heard of before. And yes, I am grateful that I learned a new dough recipe, but this is one I won't be trying again. Gah. After we had dinner that night, I thought to myself that I MUST have screwed up - because, hey, that's what I do. Especially when it comes to baking and doughs, right? So I just sat on it for a day but it bugged the bejebus outta me, so I went back over the recipe and I know I didn't screw up.. but, I still ended up with uhmm.. cracker crumbs? Have a look!
Sorry for the poorly lit photos - but it gets dark here at like 9 in the morning! (okay well not that early, but way too fakkin early these days [5ish in the evening])
See? Crumbly dry bad juju stuff. And this photo was taken after it had been wrapped in cling wrap and refrigerated for a few hours. I weighed my ingredients AND I even put in more water than called for! So yous guys tell me.. what. the. hell.?
Anyhoo.. I ended up having to smoosh more water in there to get it to come together and roll out.. and that did work.. but I assume having done that plus the extra kneading, didn't make for a flaky crusty outcome.
I also vented my dough to let the steam out.. but everything inside was still.. uhhh.. steamy. Maybe I'm just a grill or pan fry steak kinda gal? Maybe I like my beef crusty - as in crust from seasoning and a cast iron skillet or over a hot grill. I dunno.
I do know that lots of members had great luck with this and I have to say that the challenge was to make whatever filling we decided on, be it beef, salmon or another fish, vegetable, pork, chicken, you name it, wrapped in dough. We did not have to make the shortcrust pastry dough recipe that was given to us by Simone. We could have used store bought or another recipe for the crust.. so I do not count this as a failure. I did learn how to make wellington and maybe on some special (it'd have to be pretty damned spectacular) occasion I'll make it again with another dough recipe and maybe I'll really crust up that meat with lots more seasoning and leave the prosciutto out.. and maybe I'll like it a lot better.
And before I end this.. I have to say one more thing.
HERE'S A BIG F.U. TO TRADER JOE'S FOR DISCONTINUING THEIR PUFF PASTRY. BITE ME! YOU SUCK TRADER JOES' PERSON WHO DECIDES WHAT IS KEPT ON THE SHELVES AND WHAT ISN'T BUTTWAD.
Course I'll still shop there.. cuz I love it.. but damn, it was the ONLY place where I live that I can get puff pastry made with REAL BUTTER and not disgusting shortening. *sigh* And please.. don't even tell me to make it myself. Have you ever read my Daring Baker posts?? I'd have better luck milking my own breasts, churning my mammary gland juices into butter using a bucket and a broom handle and then paying someone else to fold it into a dough 5000 times. GAH.