I’ve been procrastibaking a whole lot lately. I have a heck of a lot of work to get done, and instead I find myself daily in the kitchen elbow deep in dough making more sweet treats than any one girl could ever eat by herself, or with the help of a friend – or shouldn’t anyway, I’m having a fair crack at it though. No wonder my winter blubber coat isn’t going anywhere fast.
I am admittedly a terrible procrastinator; in that I am terrible for the amount I procrastinate, not that I am terrible at it. I am, in fact, very, very good at procrastinating; it is unfortunately one of my great skills in life. And my favourite way to do so is to bake. Baking at least gives you the slight feeling that you’re accomplishing something, like all your time wasting at least will end up with a tangible result. Hours on Facebook won’t get you anywhere, but baking ends up in treats! Besides, as a very smart man once said, “baking is science for hungry people”. Too true sir, too true.
After the snickerdoodles of last week, I have baked again on three separate occasions. In fact it might be more, but I only remember three – sugar rots your brain as well as your teeth children! Come to think of it, there really is a high proportion of baking posts on the old Eat And so far. I promise next post to talk on something that is not sweet, nor baked. But baking just makes me feel so happily domestic, like I’m wearing a cute apron, surrounded by puppies, getting fat and happy cooking sweets in the kitchen of my country estate, ready to call my strapping man in from the fields for a cup of tea and a biscuit (or more likely an aperitif, or at least a café corretto – this idyllic country daydream goes nowhere without alcohol).
First baking foray was madeleines. Anyone that has been in my presence for at least a minute knows of my intense love of Cumulus Inc.’s madeleines filled with lemon curd. They’re little! And warm! And baked to order! You can have breakfast dessert! What’s not to love there? So after finally procuring a madeleine pan, it was time. And damn, these things are easy. And delicious! I suppose I always thought that they’d be a wee bit more difficult just because they’re so damn tasty, but no, it’s like making a sabayon and stirring the rest of the ingredients in. I went with plain ones with a little lemon zest for a lift, but next time it’s passionfruit curd for my own version of Cumulus.
I actually made these twice with the same mixture. I just refrigerated it overnight and baked another batch the next day, and they turned out just as good – slightly crisp on the outside, buttery and soft on the inside – though the dough itself was able to be rolled, it had practically solidified.
I had wanted to cook the Saffron and Pistachio cake from Damien Pignolet’s French. I adore this cake. Manfriend and I refer to it as crack cake. It calls to you from the kitchen, enticing you to slice off another sliver, just a tiny bit, oh and a bit more why not, every time you walk past. It’s beautiful. But after walking to the shops to get pistachios (which I later found were already in the pantry), I discovered there was no saffron. No saffron! And without saffron there can be no saffron cake, so it was not to be.
Instead I turned the page and made Lemon Syrup Cake instead. I had a bag of lemons begging to be used so it was quite serendipitous really. Simple lemon syrup cake is one of my favourites – I love the way the tart syrup soaks into the top layer of cake making it slightly gooey after it’s sat for a while. I always eat it hot with lashings of extra syrup. It’s a winner.
And lastly I was requested to make some Ginger Beerpigs. These are based on the Ginger Beermen recipe from manfriend’s upcoming book (due out late October, how’s that for a free plug), but we finally found a cookie cutter in the shape of the noblest animal, the pig (surprisingly hard to find – a rhino or a giraffe is common, a pig not so much) so pigs it was to be. The recipe is similar to gingerbread but has the addition of stout for a bit of depth, and of course I up the ante with double the spices. I can’t help it, I love spices. No recipe for this one I’m afraid, you’ll have to buy the book! (And I know I’m biased, but it’s actually completely awesome. If I wasn’t assured a free copy, I would be first in line at the shops, that’s how good it is. And free plug finished).
Now of course there are far too many delicious treats in the house, so I might have to quit procrastibaking and get on to the work thing. Cash flow projections here I come! Though there is a Salted Butter tart that I’ve wanted to try…
PS Don’t worry, truffle post is still coming, I’ve just been procrastinating from that one as well. And what does something that smells like old socks have on sweet baked treats anyway? Well as it turns out, a lot, but shhhhhh shhhhhhh let’s not talk of that…
Makes about 18
2 free range eggs
¾ cup caster sugar
185 g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon
Icing sugar, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease the your Madeleine pan with melted butter or oil.
Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk continuously until the mixture is pale and has doubled in volume.
Remove the egg mixture from the heat and stir in the melted butter, then carefully fold in the flour and lemon zest. Spoon into the pan and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and serve dusted with plenty of icing sugar.