Nothing will make you feel better about your cooking failures than watching chef Gordon Ramsay excoriate a hapless member of his kitchen brigade. So when my second attempt at a berry dessert crashed and burned, I watched an episode from the recent season of Ramsay’s The F Word, which is where I saw this recipe.
He made it look so easy:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz0Rvn7rWi4
Wouldn’t that make you want to try it yourself? If not, why are you reading this? Waiting to read about another failure? As if.
I made the lemon curd first, weighing out 170 grams of unsalted butter and 400 grams of sugar to go with 4 lemons and 6 eggs. (The amounts for everything are doubled; I made the recipe for eight.)
I zested and juiced the lemons, and beat the eggs.
All of this yellow stuff went into a saucepan over low heat.
I stirred the mixture constantly until it thickened, then I passed it through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the zest.
The curd waited in the fridge while I made the phyllo crisps. I thawed out a roll of phyllo sheets, laid down a single sheet, spread it with beaten egg white, the repeated the process two more times until I had three layers.
I used a biscuit cutter to cut the phyllo into rounds.
I need to point out that working with phyllo is exactly the same as handling an ancient Egyptian papyrus document in the British Museum: you work in terror of having it crumble in your hands.
Ignoring a confusing step in the recipe, but taking a cue from the video, I dusted a tray with confectioner’s sugar, placed the rounds on the tray, and then dusted the tops. I fried them six at a time over medium-high heat in clarified butter until they were puffy and crisp.
When I was done, I let them cool on a rack while I moved on to the berry prep.
I washed a quart each of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, then trimmed and quartered the strawberries.
Time for the final assembly: I placed a spoonful of the curd on each plate, topped it with a crisp and then more curd.
A layer of berries was next, then another crisp and more curd.
More berries, another crisp, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and then the remainng berries were arranged around the plate.
This might be the perfect summer dessert. The combination of textures — firm berries, soft curd, and crispy phyllo — work well together. And the taste was a perfect balance of tart and sweet.
So I can cook a berry dessert, with almost the same ingredients as before. Maybe I just need to avoid whisking for a while.