Our kitchen used to be a coat closet. Literally. Half of our counter is being used or blocked by the mini fridge that came with the apartment. So last month we bought a table to act as more counter space while dreaming of the day in which we go back to having a normal kitchen. It’s definitely made baking interesting, and I hope I’ve learned a few lessons about baking in such a small space. And about timing. Mostly about timing.
This month’s challenges:
I have no photos! I didn’t even think about taking any pictures for this bake until they were all eaten.
I had so many struggles with this one. The wrong flour, the yeast not activating properly, the apartment being to cold for the dough to prove, the proving bowl having a bit too much oil in it, and the griddle not quite being steady enough in temperature.
Even without all those things, I was stressing about the bake because I started it after 19:00 and needed to allow two hours total for proving, time to make the dough, and time to grill the large amount of naan I was making. I was overwhelmed and actually cried a few times. It ended up tasting more like pita than naan, and the bake just didn’t go well at all. However, I learned how to prove in an oven, better manage my time, and to double check the ingredients and quadruple check the directions before even starting the bakes.
Don’t ask me why I decided on such a technically challenging pastry as my first try…
But it went surprisingly well!
I did have to make two batches of the pastry because of a few issues with my first one. I wanted nutmeg, ginger and chocolate profiteroles. Nutmeg pastry, ginger crème pâtissiere, and chocolate ganache. The first batch of pastry I forgot the nutmeg! I also didn’t cook the flour properly and added one too many eggs. The pastries came out flat and more like sweet rolls that choux pastry.
The second batch turned out much better, but my piping skills definitely need work, as I ended up with cracks on the bottoms from my moving the nozzle around.
The crème pat came out the first time around, as did the chocolate ganache, which is astonishing to me still. I had wanted to put candied ginger in the crème pat, but it wouldn’t fit through the nozzle even finely minced. So instead, I put it in the ganache. Again, I struggled with timing, as I forgot that the crème pâtissière needed to cool before piping it into the pastry.
Cake: Carrot Cake
This was a fun bake (and Turner’s favourite). I used walnuts instead of pecans and only put it in the batter. I also substituted white, yellow, and purple carrots for the traditional orange. The flavour difference was subtle and wonderful. The flavour was almost like walnut bread, but still more similar to carrot cake. I used cream cheese frosting and used beet juice to colour it pink (one of Turner’s favourite colours).
I purposefully baked it late in the day and let it cool overnight so I could decorate it the next morning.
Lemon and lavender, one of my favourite flavour combinations.
I used a stand mixer to cream and mix all the ingredients. I had never done that for shortbread before, and I don’t plan on doing it again. It made the texture a bit more fluffy and less crumbly. Lesson learned.
Pudding: Sticky Toffee Pudding
Late night Halloween baking with the husband. I didn’t have time to bake during the day, so Turner and I made a night of it. He made the toffee and helped get things out and clean up while I prepared the batter.
This bake went the most smoothly of all the bakes so far. The biggest hiccups were me telling Turner to use a smaller pan to make the toffee than is best and then pouring toffee all over the table at the end of the bake because we don’t have anything that is big enough for displaying or storing it.
Have you baked anything lately? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!