January 15, 2011

An epiphany regarding failure...

About this time last year I went on a little ramble about the yearning for traditions. I suspect it had a lot to do with my starting afresh in a new space and figuring out how to get by when, due to various devastating experiences, life had been thrown askew. Being myself, I find that when things get too serious it always pays to be flippant - and so rather than any deep introspection, this was to be about new baking challenges and most importantly, pastry.

In my moments of searching, one of the cuter traditions I'd come across was that of l'Epiphanie, a delightful French holiday that ticked all the boxes regarding tradition, fun and pastries. Naturally, having decided this was something I'd like to adopt, I wasn't about to let the fact that I'm not French, nor religious and am notably sans familie come between me and a perfect excuse for delectable pastry treats. So I made my first attempt at galette des rois - from scratch - and, while I didn't go so well recruiting anyone to share it with, was rather pleased with the delectable flaky results.

Of course, the trick with traditions is that you do them more than once, and while I again missed l'Epiphanie proper, the French thankfully consider it fine to celebrate throughout the entire month of January. So when a cool enough day finally came to pass, a beautiful puff was lovingly and meticulously rolled, and this season's galette des rois was turned out.

butter package (*snicker*)

homemade puff pastry

crème d'amande et pistache

Now, those of you who were playing along last year would probably be expecting something like this to happen next:

Sadly that was not the case, and rather what did eventuate was one of the more spectacular kitchen failures witnessed in kitchen TPB for quite some time. Maybe it was because I tried a new crème recipe? Maybe it was the decision to do smaller ones that proved fatal? Maybe it was the weather? It may also have been all of the above, although I somehow suspect it was the executor most likely at fault...

But in the interests of ensuring our posts are more frequent I shall sacrifice all professional integrity, offer an admission of absolute failure, and present what a galette des rois should not look like:

  there shall be no l'Epiphanie had here

What made it particularly disappointing was that my pastry worked perfectly, and would have been so lovely to share.

 at least the puff puffed...

Perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing though. After all, I'm still working on finding la fève, and there remains a notable Royal absence, so at least the strive for perfection will keep me occupied for some time yet. 

And I guess at the end of the day it never hurts to remind oneself that we're fallible. That said, it also doesn't hurt to distract from our baking ineptitude with a spot of peach, basil and lemon thyme sorbet either... 

 meilleurs vœux

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