Most Complicated Recipes
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Others say some of the most complicated are Thomas Keller recipes from the French Laundry. Again, many parts.
But if the recipe is well-written and easy for the cook to follow, it isn't really difficult. Time-consuming, but not difficult.
For difficult, any recipe that does not clearly explain the technique(s) used. I won't embarrass anyone by naming names here. :rolleyes:
1) The butchering
2) Making the stock and aspic
3) Making the farce
4) Making the pastry
5) Cooking it perfectly
6) Pouring the aspic
7) Cutting it perfectly! :eek:
8) Garnishing the platter
but oy! is it good!
Choucroute garni, especially if you make your own sauerkraut, sausages, smoked meats, etc.
Cassoulet, because the duck confit takes time to make, as do (again) sausages, etc.
Coq au vin, because there's the chicken, the mushrooms, the lardons, the onions, and the sauce.
Bisteya/Bastilla, with fillo-type pastry sheets, cooked chicken/pigeons, eggs, ground almonds and spices -- many elements, some of which take great skill to handle.
Mole -- some of the versions can have as many as 100 ingredients in the sauce; and that's only the sauce, not the meat/poultry and garnishes.
Then again, even good pizza could be considered complicated and difficult, if you make your own tomato sauce and are not used to working with yeast doughs.
And an amateur can struggle with just about anything, if s/he has not developed any skills and has no good advice to follow. :( One of the hardest things to learn is to cook a steak properly.
I believe each individual has strengths and weaknesses. What is difficult to one isn't difficult to another based on talent, skill, knowledge, science, and life experience.
I know, yadda,yadda, yadda all those who have the perfect recipe. Well water varies, eggs vary etc. So don't bother to post a method unless it is fool proof and one can find no way to mess it up.:lol:
Start in cold tap water, cold eggs suddently immersed in hot water is what causes cracked eggs. If you get green rings around the yolk, it means excessive heat.
1) Put the eggs (cold or room temp) into any pot with four inch sides or higher of any decent material that will hold the number of eggs you want to cook in one layer along the bottom (6-18). If you want the yolk in the center of the egg, plan ahead and put a rubber band around the egg carton. Tilt the carton on it's side lengthwise overnight.
2) Fill pot with cold tap water to cover eggs with one inch of water. Do not cover.
3) Bring to rolling boil over high heat. Immediately cover with lid and remove from heat. Set timer to 14 minutes. If using small eggs or for a bit softer texture, 12 minutes is fine. The timer can range from 10 - 17 minutes depending on how you discover you like the texture of your eggs and the color of the yolk. 10 - 13 minutes for a tender white and creamy yolk. 14-17 if you prefer them a little more dense. (Six minutes for soft boiled eggs.) I used to like 10 minutes and now I prefer 16.
4) While the eggs are sitting, prepare a bowl of one quart of water with one tray of ice cubes. When timer is up, transfer eggs with slotted spoon into ice water bath or put them under cold running water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking. Peel immediately. Peeling should be extremely easy because the egg contracts when going from hot to cold water. If you don't like peeling, crack the egg forcefully with a knife in half widthwise or lenghthwise (for deviled eggs) and scoop out with a spoon. Or don't peel and refrigerate up to three days.
The method is universal with very minor differences from sources including Julia Childs, Cook's Illustrated, Martha Stewart, Alton Brown, and Shirley Corriher.
Perhaps if you can start another thread and list your materials and technique in thorough detail, we can detect exactly what your culprit is. If you think cold is an issue, put them in warm water for five minutes first. In fact, when I was writing my post, I got hungry for some, used eggs direct from the fridge, and pulled one at 10, one at 12, and left the rest for 15. All were perfectly done since I ate the first two.
I'm not saying I can't boil eggs, we have egg salad everyday. We simmer for 16 min. uncovered and ice bath.
I just think it's difficult to create directions for the perfect boiled egg.
Try the method with 6 - 18 eggs in a saucepan and let us know how it goes. You can pull one at different times (mark with a pencil) cool for five and crack to compare the differences.
Jan, I got to assist a chef that made an extremely exstensive recipe....75 ingredients not including the garnish....the techniques were exact.....wonderful to eat but alot of labor to produce.....like 3 days worth and exspensive too boot.
I'd have to go along with pate en croute...though finding great pie has become difficult, getting the crust just right is an art as is the balance of texture/flavors.
As for your 'sources', which one is a renowned food scientist? At the moment the only ones I can think of are Hervé This and Harold McGee...
Hervé This recommends cooking the egg at a low temperature (62-68 degrees C), for a couple hours to get a 'perfect' egg. (62 degrees for a soft yolk, 68 degrees for a firm yolk). This seems as it would be the most consistent method, since the only real factor is temperature, which is controlled. Time is less relevant as long as it is sufficient since the egg will reach the temperature of the water and go no further. Of course, this method is impractical if you want to eat in 20 minutes, but would make for interesting experimentation if you have the time. That said, 'perfect' is completely subjective anyway, and Hervé This' methods are meant more as a provocation to create new recipes, not necessarily as 'the' way...
Did you try it before posting? ;)
All are easy to look up and confirm. Shirley Corriher is the renowned food scientist, and is a a frequent guest on Alton Brown's show Good Eats on the FoodTV Network. I just saw her last week talking about tempering and crystallization of chocolate in fact for the "Art of Darkness episode. Shirley Corriher & Alton Brown
"Shirley Corriher has been answering the "whys" of cooking for more than 25 years, counting among those who rely on her expertise Julia Child." "When Julia Child wondered why her baby spinach leaves turned bitter in the sauté pan, she called Shirley Corriher."
Shirley Corriher & Julia Child
"She also serves as consultant to Cook's Illustrated and Fine Cooking, and occasionally writes for Food and Wine, Martha Stewart Living, and others."
Shirley O. Corriher Profiles: Profile I, Profile II, An Interview with Shirley O. Corriher
The article on Hard Cooked Eggs from Cook's Illustrated addresses your concerns about pan materials. It's the first article I ever read from Cook's Illustrated and won me over in a heartbeat because it addressed any question I could have come up with which are the questions you're asking. What they found was that this method overcame the problem of individual cooks using different materials for pans, using different heat sources, and found that the cooking time it takes to get the water to a boil was not as critical as the time the water was brought to a full boil and the eggs were left to start cooking. No salt required at any time for this recipe. You can read the original article here. I believe it addresses all the issues you raise and more.
When you say "'perfect' is completely subjective anyway" I agree. Hence the range in cooking times provided above. However, most will agree that a yolk with a green circle would not fall into the category of "perfect", that cracks and rubbery or chalky yolks are not desireable, etc. CI's definition is "... a moist and creamy yolk, a firm yet tender white, and no trace of an unpleasantly green ring".
I hope this suffices as a response. Just try it, let us know how it goes. :lips:
Start eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and turn down to a rolling simmer. Cook 9 minutes and cool. That's it. I'm not saying this is the way, but it works for me.
As far as Herve goes That's ridiculous :beer:
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
I totally agree with your statement, and what brings me to this site is a strange conundrum I'm trying to figure out. This is it: I think it would be fair to say that I really can't stand cooking; I'm on the 2 side of a 1-10 scale of 'how much does one like to cook'. The rub is I am an excellent cook/chef. All who taste the food I make think so, even my previous high school teachers and the extremely food picky people I know. meh, I'm sure the most tenured chef would think so too, because I don't care and that confidence bourne of ignorance lends itself well when attempting to make new consumable chemical concoctions. The trick is the recipe has to interest me enough to make it. For instance, it has to be really difficult, yet not unethical to animals --foi de gras--or dangerous--Fugu (very toxic and an extremely poisonous fish to clean). The reason I'm trying to figure out this silly conundrum is that I recently received some expensive and absolutely beautiful cooking pots for Christmas ('culinary ware'). I like the look of them in the kitchen--as sculpture of course NOT TO ACTUALLY COOK WITH. Though I have to say it has been fun to use nice pots.
You are absolutely right, a recipe is only insipid when a pretentious chef cannot deign to actually write out his/her techniques clearly, and to write out a recipe in a straight forward fashion. If one simply has a minimal background in cooking (I got mine from my grade eight home ec course, and my mother's 2 ton cook book I read through as a kid), any recipe is really only time consuming.
One recipe I'd like to try to is Baked Alaskan--so cool. Ice cream wrapped in egg white and baked in 500 F oven without even melting. Then dousing with brandy and lighting it on fire (again the super hot thing) and still it's "ice" cream. I doubt I'd be eating it as it doesn't sound particularly tasty. Souffles are easy to make, complicated macaroons are a yawn. I don't even like the taste of these things, I just like the challenge of making them. Now I know I'm just being silly. I did just read a recipe on puff pastry without using filo sheets. It involves folding the dough when it is extremely cold but pliable. It takes two days to make.
As I've written this I think I've resolved my conundrum. Although I would rather eat pancakes morning noon and night (cold or hot, on the counter for four weeks, smelly, possibly moldy [picked off of course] or from the back of the fridge), I like the art of difficult dishes. The smoo and the foo and razz-a-ma-tazz of the project. Then I'll take pictures of it, serve it to my friends then go eat a bowl of popcorn and play a video game.
One technique I do notice that chefs don't often mention when making macaroons is that it is important to use a glass, ceramic or metal bowl when whipping up egg whites. Egg whites don't really mix well, or create the lovely white peaks in a plastic bowl for those who do it by hand.
If there are any really difficult recipes to make please post.