After a recent 2 day stretch of baking non-cooperative macarons, I decided to throw in the towel for the time being and turn my focus on doing other things, before I pull out all my hair in angst :(
I'd been wanting to make financiers for a while, after acquiring this silicone financier pan. The only thing was I had no idea how it would taste like. the recipe called for two forms of butter: plain melted butter and clarified brown butter to be added to the batter. I have never made brown butter before (made by heating butter till the milk solids settle to the bottom and the mixture turns brown) and as I took a whiff, notes of caramel, coconut and vanilla came wafting up my nose. Whoa.. pretty intriguing stuff. So this is the end result - it tastes like an extremely rich butter cake, though I'd probably use pistachios or hazelnuts next time.
Meanwhile, I was in the mood for some Japanese style strawberry shortcake but I was wondering what to use for the cake. The biggest problem I always have with making sponge cakes is achieving a super light and tender texture. I liked the texture of bakeries where the crumb was tight, but the crumb of all my foam-cakes, regardless of whichever recipes I use, always turn out very loose. I'd been told that commercial bakeries actually use a lot of emulsifiers to make it soft, so probably achieving that texture is difficult (?) at home, unless one uses Ovalette or other emulsifiers. Anyway, I decided to make a genoise, as seen here. While it came out soft and wobbly on the day of baking, the next day it was a different story despire soaking the cake in a tonne of syrup, the texture left much to be desired. I would try the whole recipe again using Wondra flour, if I can find it!
So this is what I've been working on for today.. salted caramel and chocolate tarts. This is really one of my favourite desserts and a little goes a long way. You can't really see it from here but it has 3 layers: the caramel at the bottom, a chocolate cremeux in the middle, and a glaze on top. If anyone wants the recipe, i got it here: http://www.farine-mc.com/2010/02/chocolate-tarts-with-salted-caramel.html
I followed the recipe to a T, but doubled making the amount of caramel and I would probably reduce the glaze recipe by 1/4 next time and it would just yield about 12 individual tarts.