Well it seems there won’t be any end to the photography problem anytime soon (what they heck did I do to my software?). But that’s not to say I can’t still run my fingers about what went right and wrong with this weekend’s dessert adventure. As you may recall, I was planning a (fairly) standard crème brûlée (i.e. made in a ramekin) infused with coconut and laced with rum, and on the side, an old-school coconut macaroon. At the last minute, however, I got more ambitious and decided to try a tart-bottomed crème brûlée made in a ring. How did that go?
Well let’s just say I’m glad I attempted 8 when I only needed 4, because I only got 3. The main problem was that the tart dough shrank up quite a bit during the par-baking, so much so that the edge of the dough circle receded under the edge of the ring (creating an incomplete bottom), or the dough inside the ring receded inward, creating tears. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: I was using scrap dough instead of fresh made.
What does that have to do with it? Simply that any dough that’s been worked even a little (poked, pinched, folded, balled up, rolled, what-have-you) will have at least a little (and probably a lot of) activated gluten in it. That gluten will cause the dough to shrink to at least some extent as it’s baking. I allowed for this by giving it lots of relaxation time, but I still lost three out of eight dough circles in the par baking stage. The other two simply leaked, since all that shrinking caused quite a bit of dough cracking. Still, it was a worthy effort, and the ones that worked were spectacular.
The macaroons looked great. As I mentioned last week, I love that fluffy dust mop presentation of a coconut macaroon. Especially when it’s the large-flake coconut, and more so if the coconut has been toasted, they’re fantastic looking things. And the texture contrast was spot-on. I will say that I put a bit too much rum in the custard, which make it a tad soft (and rather strong to boot), but that’s not a big deal. Next time though, I’ll cut back the rum to 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup of half n’ half.