24 February 2013

Recipe Salvaging

Today's post was supposed to be on a new scone recipe that I wanted to try, but I ended up with a bit of a mess! I haven't made scone's in a while, and though this was a simple plain scone recipe, it all turned out somewhat sloppy. So I thought I'd do a post on salvaging recipe's that haven't turned out *quite* perfect.

So things are easier to fix than others; forgotten sugar can be easily slipped into a cookie or biscuit mixture whereas pastry must be approached with care.
Curdling can be dealt with if it isn't too severe -in mayonnaise, an extra egg yolk slowly beaten in can help to bring the emulsion back together; and if a cake mix starts to separate before the flour is added, gentle folding in of the dry ingredients can help.

Butter is a big factor. In pastry you want it to be really cold. I actually like Nigel Slater's suggestion of grating in really cold butter from the freezer. Just make sure that you only cool what you need as over-chilling it in the freezer can change the consistency of butter, spoiling it for anything else that you need it for. If you've used too-soft butter in a cookie dough, consider chilling in the fridge for 15 minutes. A lot of recipes suggest doing this for this reason.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I had to reheat some runny choux pastry. With a whisk and some elbow grease, the resultant chouquettes showed no negative effects. I think that the best thing that anyone can do to improve a recipe is to not worry. Do your best to adjust the consistency and quantities of ingredients, and remember to glaze or flour whatever you're making, because finishing touches make all the difference.
So what of my scones? I was worried about them being heavy from the extra work caused by folding in extra flour. And yes, they were a little small, wonky and crispy, requiring a lower oven temperature, longer baking time and foil cover. But you know what? Inside they didn't look any different to the expected results and, served warm with clotted cream and rosehip jelly, they tasted lovely.

Have you got any tips on sorting out misbehaving recipes?
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