Charmian is funny, a great writer and obviously, a great chef.
And a great blogger friend for being today's guest poster!
Charmian Christie is the blogger behind Christie’s Corner where she lives up to her motto: Real food. Real life. It ain’t always pretty. A seasoned Meal Fixer, she shares her hard-earned knowledge via a handy app, Kitchen Disasters & Fixes. It’s available on iTunes with an Android version coming out before June.
The Baking Rules
1. Never bake when tired.
2. Never bake when tipsy.
3. Never bake when boiling with rage.
4. Never baked when rushed.
And that’s just the short list.
While cookbooks will tell you pan size, oven temperature, and measurements to the gram, not one of them will tell you what you really need to turn out a light cake, a golden-crusted pie or a chewy cookie. A baker can always work around equipment failures and inferior ingredients. The only trick you need in your pastry kit is Mental Focus. And not the kind you get from knocking back a Red Bull. You need the I Haven’t A Care in The World kind of concentration that hovers between Zen and hopscotch.
I learned each and every one of the above baking rules the hard way. I blame fatigue for forgetting the sugar in the dark chocolate cake. All my University-days culinary disasters can be pinned on baking with friends and a bottle of cheap wine. Beating all my frustration into the batter has turned out more tough muffins than answers, and two tiny minutes spent rereading the recipe would have made a big difference to the brick-like pan of gingerbread I baked without the much-needed leavening.
The Rules are as important as using the proper flour, room temperature eggs and fresh baking powder. And even though I know them, wrote them and quote them, I just as often ignore my own advice.
For example, just this past Saturday I broke #1 and #4 simultaneously while making pavlova for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t eaten dinner, it was getting late, and I had to make the meringues that night while writing my Mother’s Day post and feeding the neighbor’s cat. Instead of making two big rounds, I decided to pipe a dozen individual nests to cradle the lemon curd my mom requested. I preheated the oven. I got out the parchment. Drew the circles. Filled the bag and piped – from the outside in, not the inside out.
The result? Meringue snails.
Not the end of the world, but not the neat little nests I’d intended.
Will I bake again? You bet. Because Rule #5 is Never give up.