Last week I had the most fantastic apple dessert. It was light and luscious, beautiful and delicious and it only took a few minutes to make.
That’s what K, my friend told me. I lost no time in getting the scoop on this fabulous apple petal flour pastry dessert. I mean, a five minute dessert that tastes amazing and utilizes apples and looks like a gorgeous flower petal! Everyone needs this recipe in their bake-to-impress artillery.
My cooking group was meeting on Sunday night and this was the perfect dish! I was going to be the cool, impressive friend who brings an amazing dessert and, when asked how I made it, shrug my shoulders, wave my hand and say, “oh, it was a piece of cake. Just took me five minutes. I’ll show you how.”
Just in case you aren’t catching my excitement for the dessert, I’ve got to share a picture of what the recipe is supposed to look like. You can go to this website to see how delicious and pretty they are.
Did you look?
Pretty breathtaking, right? K’s looked just like this, a dozen gorgeous edible dessert petals on their tray. I enjoyed every last morsel of my dessert, anticipating going to the store to buy the ingredients and make these gorgeous apple petals. I watched the instructional video on youtube (on the website, click this link to find). I followed the directions to the last minute. It was bound to be a success; I could feel the excitement in my bones. I love making pretty pastries, but don’t often take the time to. This would be my quick fix for a fancy fall dessert.
If my mother were reading this, she would shake her hand and say, “Pride goes before a fall.”
Oh. So true.
They were awful. Here’s proof of the sad dessert (made three times).
And a group picture:
My apple flower petal desserts looked nothing like the pictures. I know where I messed up the first time: I bought phyllo dough instead of puff pastry dough. Lesson learned. I’m not sure where I messed up the other two times. These pastries weren’t pretty at all. The apple flower petals looked like dead, dark rose petals, sticking out of some golden dough.
By the third time I made the flower petals and they bombed, I was frustrated. I was also entertaining thoughts of doubt at my ability to ever make anything good in the kitchen again. Ahem. I was feeling a tad dramatic.
It’s super frustrating to work hard at a recipe and have it turn out so poorly. At the end of the third time, I decided to throw in the towel and make an apple tart. On further reflection, I thought of a few lessons I could apple on future epic failures in the kitchen.
- Keep things in perspective.
One bad recipe does not mean I’m a bad home cook. It means this recipe and I aren’t getting along. It means I’m doing something wrong. More research needs to be done.
- Assess how important the recipe is to me.
If I want, want, want to get this recipe right, I can keep working on it. This isn’t brain science, it’s a dessert recipe with 5 ingredients! Try, try again. But…….
- Assess the worthiness of the time, money and energy spent on the “failure.”
Do I need to perfect this recipe? There’s lots of other recipes to make that I’d like to enjoy. Maybe this is one I enjoy from K’s kitchen while I work on other apple desserts for fall get-togethers. It’s not worth the emotional and mental energy I gave it. Back to Lesson #1: Keep things in Perspective.
- Figure out the quickest way to recipe happiness.
If I decide a recipe is one I need to make to make, how can I decrease the ‘fail’ rate and get to my desired outcome: perfectly pretty and delicious apple petals. The quickest way would be to call my friend K and ask her how she made it. Maybe I could watch her make the apple flowers. Perhaps she would listen to my technique and give me pointers. Talking to someone who’s mastered a recipe is a better way to go than moaning and wringing my hands.
- Remember that there is more recipes in the sea.
I don’t know why some recipes work for you and not for me. And vice versa. There are so many variables: types of ingredients, temperature of the oven, the type of flour used, how exact I was with measuring, etc.
Some of us are more inclined to knead our own dough and others of us prefer to whip up stir fry without measuring a single ingredient. That’s part of the joy of being a home cook. We’re cooking and baking for love and nourishment, for our friends and families, to feed our families and take care of our own souls. Most of the time, we don’t need to cook or bake to impress anyone. I want others to admire my food, but that’s more about my ego and not about the essence of home cooking.
If you’ve been agonizing over a recipe that isn’t coming out quite right (or if it’s turning out to be an epic failure like mine), is it time to let it go? Or time to do a serious investigation and figure out what the problem is?
What do you do when a recipe goes south? Any funny stories to share? I’d love to hear them.
And by the way, this apple flower dessert will NOT be appearing in the upcoming Melody mystery: Attack on Apple Haven. 🙂