On a very busy day I decided it would be nice to have cake, and turned to a packet mixture. I thought, how hard can it be to cook a cake in the microwave? I'd never done it before nor liked the sound of it, but cooking for 10 minutes right then sounded mighty tempting. For some reason the fact that it was to be artificially cooked didn't bother me, and I thought, "No one is even going to know". I followed the microwaving packet instructions and everything.
It came out of the microwave looking like vomit.
It was overcooked and dry in parts, and soft and gooey in other parts. Either my microwave has problems or I do. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter. Serves me right for using fake cake and fake methods.
Okay, that was pretty embarrassing. This other error I made gave me so much more joy and I actually worked with what had happened. It was a pleasant discovery.
I was attempting to make mini puff pastry tart shells for a party we were holding. I was going to fill them with curried tuna and cucumber but well, that never eventuated. I cut out small discs of pastry and pressed them into the bottom of the mini muffin tray and put them in the oven at 210C. The next time I looked at them, they were puffed up and very round, like pastry balls! I figured it must have been due to the higher temperature I set them at, as I had made shells before without a problem on a lower heat. Anyway I let them be, and waited until the tops had turned golden and crisped up, so that they wouldn't deflate when they cooled down. I ended up filling them with creme patisserie and dipping the tops in chocolate, sort of like faux profiteroles. Have mishaps with choux pastry and making the real profiteroles? This is probably a recipe for you then! They made great little petits fours at our cocktail party.
1 1/2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 cup milk
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. cornflour
20g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
150-200g chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 210C.
If you are not using a silicone mini muffin pan, grease a regular mini muffin tray (or mini cupcake liners would probably work too, see notes below).
Using a 5cm biscuit cutter, cut out 24 circles of puff pastry.Place each circle of pastry inside the mini muffin tray holes. Place in preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and crisp on the outside and have puffed up like balls.
Meanwhile, to make the patisserie creme, place milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
While heating, in a separate saucepan, combine yolks, sugar and cornflour and whisk over a low heat. When the milk has boiled, add a few tablespoons into the yolk mixture and whisk. Gradually add the remaining milk and whisk vigorously on a medium heat. Custard will thicken. Continue to whisk until boils, and remove from heat. Scrape into a small bowl and sit in a few inches of cold water or ice, to cease the cooking process. When cooler, add the butter in 3-4 installments, stirring until combined. Add essence, mix and refrigerate.
When the pastry is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
With a sharp knife, pierce one side of each pastry puff and twist the blade to create a small hole. Wiggle the knife blade inside the puff so that some of the pastry inside crumbles away and makes it more hollow. Empty each pastry puff of any crumbs. Fill a piping bag (fitted with a thin round nozzle that will fit in the hole) with the cooled patisserie creme. Fill each pastry puff.
Take the chocolate and place it in a microwave proof bowl. Heat for 20 seconds on high, remove, and stir. Repeat until the chocolate becomes smooth when stirred. The duration for this melting process will depend on the strength of your microwave.
Spread the tops of each pastry puff with chocolate and set aside until the chocolate becomes firm.
NOTES: You can make these pastry puffs without a muffin tray, if you place them on a regular baking tray. They do not appear as round when made like this but still have the same sort of effect. When the pastry is cooked in a mini muffin tray, they tend to rise more and are ball shaped.
Patisserie Creme stores for 2-3 days.