A word Of Encouragement For The Baking Impaired
I am no baker. I lack the precision and patience that makes for a good baker. Instead I stick to easy recipes that are simple, repeatable and delicious. Delicious is a word I use a lot. The reason for this is food is something that should be enjoyed. Food is more than a functional means to stay alive. Scones are easy and can be made in a savory or sweet fashion. The addition of fruits, nuts, cheeses and herbs can be combined in any number of ways to create variety. Ricotta torte is another wonderful recipe that can be altered in many ways to create unique flavors.
Less is more when it comes to baking for me. Predominantly use turbinado sugar in place of fined white sugar. Whole wheat pastry flour is a great replacement for white flour in most recipes. Lemon or citrus zest add an intense flavor to almost any pastry. Salt is also is also a wonderful flavor enhancer. Fleur de Sel is a delicate salt which has a flavor that cannot not be matched. Vanilla beans are my go to in place of vanilla extract. Scraping out the seeds then infusing sugar, milk or cream will make you never use extracts again. Vanilla beans are expensive since a little goes a long way you can make the lost of a little.
There are essentials that I keep on stock at all times so that when I decide to play baker I am able to experiment. Let’s start with flour. If you look in my pantry there is “00” flour and all purpose flour. Gelatin (unflavored) is a must for panna cotta, mousse and other similar dishes. Honey and yogurt are also pantry staples. They are great substitutes for eggs, oil and butter. Pectin is another always on the ready for making jams and jellies. A scale, measuring cups, parchment paper, spring form pan and measuring spoons are the tools I cannot live without. I will never be a great baker but I do okay most days.
Be bold, be brave keep exploring fellow Gastronomers!