On Saturday night I posted the pic above on instagram with the following comment:
Already one #failure from this afternoons baking. Wine is needed to rescue the latest attempt…and loud music. Could be eating at midnight.
As it turned out, attempt no. 2 was a resounding success and we were at the table by 7.30pm.
What was I making? Rum Babas, or Baba Al Rhum. essentially these are light and airy yeasty cakes immersed in a rum based syrup.
It’s one of my husband’s favourite desserts and given that I was preparing his favourite meal (beef wellington), I figured I’d go the whole way. Cue applause, hallelujah chorus and dancing girls. #wifeoftheyear #domesticdiva #enoughalready
There’s nothing worse than solid babas that are like little nuggets of stale compressed bread, so to maximize my chances of success, I went straight to the master of all things Italian on my bookshelf- Guy Grossi. The book? Recipes From My Mother’s Kitchen.
I’d like to preface what I’m about to say next with this- I have all of Guy’s books, I’ve cooked many recipes from each, and I’ve never yet had a failure…until now.
The sponge part of the recipe had the following basic ingredients:
15g fresh yeast
680ml warm milk
500g plain flour
350g softened butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar.
The only reason I went to Mr Google was because I couldn’t get fresh yeast, so needed to check the conversion rate.
On Taste.com I came across another recipe. It contained the following ingredients:
7g dried yeast
125ml warm milk
450g plain flour
170g softened butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Did anyone spot the difference? Both recipes had similar methods, resulting in a smooth dough that needed to be popped away for resting. As you do.
Yet, the Guy recipe had 2 cups more milk, 2 more eggs, and double the butter for the same amount of flour. WTF?
I googled some more- other recipes leaned more to the taste.com quantities than the Guy ratios.
But this is Guy, I argued with myself. Guy is never wrong.
Maybe the milk doesn’t all go in at the start, I wondered, reading the recipe all the way through again. Nope. In it goes. Did I read the quantities incorrectly, I wondered? Nope.
But this is Guy, I told myself again. Who can you trust if you can’t trust Guy?
So I made it. Exactly the way it said to in the book…and after 6 minutes of beating, instead of having a smooth dough, I had a smooth batter- about pancake consistency.
Into the bin it went.
Back to google I went.
Round 2 was made using the taste.com recipe, plus Guy’s syrup…and they were the best babas I’ve ever done.
Maybe it was the daggy pop music that I was singing to that helped them rise to a different level, maybe it was the warmed tea towel, maybe it was something else.
The thing is, Guy is one of my culinary heroes….so my question is:
Have you ever been let down by a hero? Did it take wine, daggy pop music or something else to get over the disappointment?
Oh, in case you’re wondering- 15g fresh yeast equals roughly 5g of dried…