Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, December 14, 2009

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.


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.


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Comments on "Daring Cooks December Challenge: Beef Wellington"


Blogger Gina said ... (12/14/2009 1:55 AM) : 

Sorry you didn't like it..I'm like you, I like crusty meat, but something about this makes me want to make this right now.. I need to join this challenge.


Blogger Wic said ... (12/14/2009 5:06 AM) : 

oh you poor thing. I too like my steak with a nice crust and you will not have that in a pasty especially with mushrooms around it. so it was not you. the too had problems with the pasty and I like to add a egg instead of the water.


Blogger Jenny said ... (12/14/2009 6:27 AM) : 

Sorry you didn't care much for it, but glad that you don't see it as a failure. Great job on the challenge!


Blogger Barbara Bakes said ... (12/14/2009 6:30 AM) : 

Sorry your pastry was disappointing. Mine at least looked amazing. But I agree I'd prefer a nice grilled steak and a puff pastry dessert!


Anonymous Jason Sandeman said ... (12/14/2009 10:30 AM) : 

Oh, I remember the pain puff dough gave me in culinary school. I do not blame you for not wanting to make it yourself. Still, your meat looked fabulous. Here is a secret: Wellington usually has something like Foie Gras inside, so maybe that could be the thing that draws attention away from what you feel is wrong. Kind of a "lookout behind you!" tactic.

Honestly, your dish is not all bad. I have done worse, trust me!


Blogger Dragana said ... (12/14/2009 11:11 AM) : 

Once again, I am speechless! I praise you for trying, but don't do that breast milk thing....NO!


Blogger Simones Kitchen said ... (12/14/2009 11:29 AM) : 

O your post made me laugh! I am sorry that you didn't like the challenge so much and that the pastry didn't work (well, I came up with the challenge and even I didn't manage to make the pastry successfully! So blame it on me! :) But yes, you did get to try something new and on the bright side you now know that you do not like it! So no need to make it again!


Anonymous Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup! said ... (12/14/2009 12:46 PM) : 

You're too funny! Have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to wonderful DC and DB Challenges in the New Year!


Blogger Unknown said ... (12/14/2009 1:12 PM) : 

Sorry that it didn't come out as you had hoped! Maybe next time(if you decide to give it a try again) try just the veggie version and try maybe a pre made type of dough, at least you can have your meat outside the pastry that way :)


Blogger Lauren said ... (12/14/2009 7:44 PM) : 

I'm sorry it wasn't a favourite! It looks great and I'm glad you didn't see it as a waste =D.


Anonymous Simon said ... (12/14/2009 9:09 PM) : 

So, home made breast milk butter for the next challenge?

Sorry to hear that things didn't work out to a degree that you were happy with. I've been reading that a few people find that this is just not to their tastes. As you say, at least you've learned something :)


Blogger Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said ... (12/14/2009 9:34 PM) : 

Hah! I am glad it wasn't just us. I actually am a sucker for just about anything in a pie crust. Just not that crust. Live and learn, eh?

We had a lot more fun when we just ignored the recipe, but then that's always the way, right?

Have a wonderful holiday!


Anonymous syrupandhoney said ... (12/15/2009 12:12 PM) : 

Okay you're the second person (third, counting me) I've seen so far who had issues with the pastry. Sad, but that somehow makes me feel better :)


Anonymous Wolf said ... (12/16/2009 8:37 PM) : 

I think I'm glad I went with my leftover puff pastry from the Vols Au Vent Challenge. I've never really had luck with a shortcrust pastry either.

The main thing I'm not crazy about with beef wellington, is that I'm more of a well done beef person.}:P


Anonymous Lisa said ... (12/17/2009 1:53 PM) : 

Lisa..I have a foolproof, absolutely perfect wellington recipe linked on my blog (the 'go to' recipe). Trust me, it turns out perfect every single time! Regardless, I ended up blowing the shortcut pastry off and freezing it, just so I could use puff pastry.

That said, I think your beef looks perfectly cooked and the pastry..very flaky! LOL@ breast milk churning!!! *huggers*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/17/2009 6:52 PM) : 

Ok, so you know I love ya and I also know that you are harder on yourself than is warranted. I am sure that it turned out just dandy. And now I gotta say this....and you know me well enough to know I couldn't not say this......... I am not sure I understand the problem with "steamy meat"!! :-)


Anonymous kellypea said ... (12/17/2009 7:49 PM) : 

Honestly, I wish I had a piece of this about now. I'm starving! Thinking of making a version of this for Christmas Eve dinner.


Anonymous Jerry said ... (12/18/2009 7:12 AM) : 

Yup - had pastry problems too. We made the salmon version which turned out great - after I chucked out the pastry and used some I had in the freezer.


Anonymous Caroline@BudgetMeals said ... (1/19/2010 10:53 AM) : 

I've never made looks delicious though. Sorry it wasn't up to your standards- try it again with a different recipe


Blogger Sean Thomas McGill said ... (2/02/2010 6:15 PM) : 

I feel your pain! When I lived in Florida anytime I needed a puff pastry I went to a local baker who would sell me raw dough to use in my recipes. It is tough to make. You might have had fewer issues with internal steaming if you'd sauteed the mushrooms first Mushrooms are so full of water that when I make a sauce with them I'll tend to keep it a little dry until after the mushrooms have leached out, adding yummy "mushroom stock" to the sauce.


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