Sunday, February 05, 2006

a disastrous recipe

A firm believer in the power of the written word, with great faith in the efficacy of editors and proofreaders, I tend to trust recipes that have been published in books. Last night, that trust eroded significantly.

I was making a crepes-stuffed-with-peaches dessert that had five steps. Step one: Make the crepe batter (I used my mom's recipe for that since I know it works and I know how many it serves). Step two: Melt sugar into water and poach orange zest in it to flavor it. Step three: Make honey sauce by reducing grapefruit juice mixed with honey. Step four: Saute peeled peach cubes in butter with brown sugar and lavender (I substituted raspberries for one of the peaches). Step five: Assemble the crepes by filling them with peach sauce, pouring honey sauce over them, and sprinkling with mint, more lavender, and strawberry slices.

Sounds luscious and decadent, doesn't it? But it was a disaster!

The honey sauce was bitter and not very thick, tasting exactly like strong grapefruit juice with some honey in it. The peach cubes got mushy in their sauce, which the lavender blossoms gave an odd texture to (and they tended to get caught between your teeth). And that step two, the orange-flavored sugar syrup? The recipe didn't say what to do with it! And Mr. Tart and I couldn't figure it out. The peach sauce's consistency was fine--if I had added a cup of sugar syrup it would have ended up extremely watery and not good for stuffing crepes with. It also didn't seem a good idea to add it to the honey sauce, because that was so thin (and yucky) to begin with. And I couldn't use it in the crepe batter because I'd already prepared a double batch of that.

As we were expected soon at a dinner party, I dumped the bitter honey sauce and decided to use the syrup as a sauce over the crepes. I hoped the lavender would soften up in the peach sauce and opted not to garnish further with it. While the dish did turn out okay--no one turned up their noses at it--it did seem like an awful lot of trouble for a recipe that perhaps no one had ever cooked before! Next time I'm just going to take peaches and raspberries and throw them in a crepe with a little whipped cream and be done with it. If we feel like a sauce, well, there's always maple syrup and Hershey's syrup in the fridge.


Blogger lis said...

sorry about the recipe, sarah! I hate that when a recipe doesn't work, especially when it's a multi-ingredient one with complicated steps. where did you get it? I always think, anyway, that crepes are best with lemon and sugar.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa B. said...

yes, you must tell the source of the horrible recipe--this is important information, and we're all vulnerable till you give it up. If you don't say which cookbook this awful recipe came from, the terrorists win.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Lori said...

Yes, please tell me the name of the cookbook so that I can avoid it in my quest for new and useful cookbooks!

4:17 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Don't's from "Seduction and Spice: 130 Recipes for Romance" by Rudolf Sodamin, a red-velvet covered hardbacked tome with gorgeous photos (none of these crepes, though). It's chock-full of over-the-top aphrodisiac-inspired recipes like "Scallop Canapes with Caviar" and "Pepper-crusted Yellowfin Tuna with Papaya-Ginger Relish and Beet Chips" and "Oven-roasted Quail Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese." The only other recipe I've made from it so far was a simple sauteed fig dish, which turned out well. The blurb from Jacques Pepin on the back cover praises this cookbook's delectability and indulgences.

Take that, terrorists!

7:50 AM  

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