Baking with Moe

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{Started writing this with breakfast at 8 am, it’s going to be 12 am and I’m eating dinner!}

The past weekend was more hectic than usual. I ended up walking more than 8 kms everyday, apart from it being a preference, I barely had a choice between the overcrowded trains (there’s no good way of describing them) and the traffic. The bustling people around me were proof that I wasn’t the only one with a bucket load of tasks. My friend who’s into a lot of dramas was hosting a bake-sale at her house on Saturday for which I was contributing to. It was quite funny when I picked up the ingredients, as she told me she had issues with her tart shells, and I picked one up that seemed good only to have it break off mid air. I couldn’t have gotten away with it since her mom was right there in front of me, thankfully they had enough shells. Secondly, didn’t know they actually had a recipe for cake pops, I mean I’d always just use trimmings from cakes and brownies. Bind them together and glaze it. Who knew you needed a recipe for that?!

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I paid a visit to my cousin after 7 months of stalling. She gifted me another rad baking tool I didn’t hesitate to use! So everything was planned out, a timed schedule taking into consideration the lack of organizing skills in government offices. However throw in last minute calls, invitations, family, acts of kindness, a few jinxes and it seemed like apocalypse is near.

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Started out with the bake-sale preparations, I decided to do the macarons at a friend’s place since all I had was a microwave oven. One too many blood tests and I was drained, like really. I settled to baking them in my microwave oven. Such a long word, microwave oven, a short would be ‘M.O’ or Moe. Fits perfect, the only other person named moe is a fictitious bartender on the Simpsons, and he’s always a screwed up story waiting to happen, much like my oven and anything I choose to bake in it. Almond flour is a pain to hunt for in Mumbai, you either order a huge load else you’re going to have to settle on making your own, which I had to do.

Take off that hat, Pope getting into a taxi! huh?!

So I played an episode of friends and started peeling /the almonds. I really think the type of almond matters, since I’ve made my own almond flour before and I found a big difference between the almonds I usually bought from a nearby store to the almonds I had in my hand at the moment. These almonds really did bend after blanching as opposed to the almonds I generally work with. Didn’t think it’d be a problem until I started pulsing it in the grinder. Even though I took caution to not over-grind it or let it heat up (which results in almond butter), it started clumping together in the sieve. Another issue, couldn’t really grind these almonds as fine as I usually would, so even though it was a powder, it was still chunkier than usual and wouldn’t pass through the sieve. Eventually used one with bigger perforations.

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In the nude

Unlike the fiasco at the Squib’s kitchen, wherein I had to beat an Italian meringue by hand, I had the relief of using a electric hand whisk. After all the blood I’d given earlier, believe me, it was quite enjoyable. I left my egg whites out (For reasons will be specified when the recipe is up on What Nemo Bakes, whenever that pops up) which helped with the macaronage, though the chunkier almond bits were still visible. Add to that no colours, since food colour gels and powders are close to non-existent in the city. Too late to fuss about that, I decided I’d just colour the fillings. I lined almost any flat surface that could fit into ‘Moe’ (Don’t) with butter paper. My old oven was much larger than Moe and so are the baking trays. Silpats definitely won’t get in there without bending more than those almonds did. I over baked the last line of the first batch, as my sister pointed out that the oven had unusually started heating up well over the set temperature. An inserted thermometer and well, she couldn’t be more right. I can’t explain how much I despised Moe at that moment.

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A few more trays into the oven, and I had some pretty decent yet unshapely macaron shells, they had feet, just not all that round. I don’t know if it was the day’s exhaustion, lack of a better equipped kitchen or Nargles, but it definitely wasn’t my best work. I made three fillings, a coffee white chocolate ganache, lemon curd, and finally dulce de leche that I coloured green, since it resembled the coffee ganache. Piped it, sandwiched it and placed them in the freezer. I had a few unidentifiable shapes that I sampled myself and gave one of my sisters who liked them beyond my disapproval of their shape. They were still macarons, and as always I loved them.

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It’s ganache, nothing else!

I slept really late past 2 in the morning, woke up at 6.30 am and had to get ready to go to my dad’s house since he invited me over for lunch. What I should have expected is that I had to cook lunch, and with what he had planned for the day, there was no way I was leaving. So thankfully I had my sister drop off the macarons on her way to work and missed out on the final prep, and eventually the bake sale itself. Quite disappointing to have not been there, however I did cook up an awfully good biryani, more successful than the unshapely macarons.

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I stayed over, entertaining my nephew who I have to say is quite naughty, apart from being cute. Cue the next morning and I’m walking the distance between two houses to cook yet another dish. A few calls regarding the bake sale and it was all sold out. The drama friend really baked quite a few items, so it was a bit gratifying to know it went well. So I continued cooking, and my sore legs from walking places the whole week to my general exhaustion, more like laziness was lifted away. It was quite relieving above all else. To cook a meal.

P.S. I returned to my bed back home and passed out. Whatever was lifted away just came crashing down. Till the next post!

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