Monday. I know.
I hope you had a good weekend, though. Was it a long one, like we had here? Did you get to enjoy some sunshine? Did you indulge in something?
My weekend was all about my beautiful little niece Seraphine, who was baptized yesterday. I spent Saturday baking cakes for her party and I got to enjoy a sunny Sunday among family, celebrating in my brother's amazing garden. Good times. Good food.
I also learned a couple of things this weekend...
These may indeed be the "best scones ever"
I was a little skeptical about Renée Kemps's recipe at first, because the dough seemed very wet, but these scones turned out pretty yummy. Sweet, with a hint of tanginess from the buttermilk and a crunchy, sugary top. The perfect vehicle for some homemade lemon curd and a delicious way to start the weekend. It did take quite a while for them to bake, though - they were still pretty much raw after the prescribed 15 minutes - so I might tweak the recipe just a tiny little bit next time.
Making puff pastry with plain butter is annoying. Very annoying
In baking class, we use a margarine that is meant specifically for use in puff pastry, but since I couldn't find it in the regular shops, I thought I'd make my next batch with just plain butter. It turned out to be quite a hassle. Plain butter melts a lot easier than the professional stuff, so it can quickly start to seep through the dough. It all looked pretty good at first, though, but by the end of the third turn, I found butter seeping through and sticking to my work surface. On my second try, I made sure to keep the kitchen cold and to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for longer than usual, but I only managed to postpone the seepage to the fourth turn. I could still work with the pastry, but it wasn't easy and it took a whole lot of flour to get it rolled out without it sticking to the work surface. This messed with the flour ratios in the recipe, of course, so that the result was a little off. Still good, but not ideal. Next time, I'll be looking for the specialized puff pastry butter/margarine again.
Almond crunch burns easily
Almond crunch is just a mixture of sliced almonds, sugar and egg white (I used 1 egg white for 150 gr of almonds and 150 gr of sugar) that you bake until it's golden brown and then crush with a rolling pin. It's perfect for decorating cakes and swiss rolls and super easy to make, but you do have to keep an eye on it. As with most nuts, it can go from golden to black quite quickly.
Don't skimp on the ground almonds
Cheap almond meal may not get you the same intense almond flavor as the higher quality stuff. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Also, my niece is the cutest baby ever. But I already knew that. I simply can't get enough of her giant blue eyes, long lashes, puffy cheeks and awesome facial expressions. She mesmerizes me time and again.
I hope you find yourself mesmerized this week. If not... only five more days until the weekend!