Everyone wants to be a domestic goddess, but what are the secrets to making mouth-watering desserts? Below are some top tips to help dramatically improve your culinary prowess.
Keep Your Cupboards Well Stocked
A good dessert chef should have the basic ingredients (sugars, flours, fat, chocolate) in abundance. They should also have all the paraphernalia for baking at home and a wide range of tools. It may take time to build these up, but the investment will be worthwhile as you only buy them once.
Buy Quality Ingredients
High quality ingredients will make a huge difference to the success of your desserts. You can taste the difference of organic and non-organic ingredients. Be specific about what you are buying. Do not merely buy sugar. Buy granulated Demerara sugar, or Muscavado sugar. Do not ever assume that a recipe is being unnecessarily fussy. Chocolate is an excellent example of an ingredient that will differ drastically according to the price you pay. The percentage of cocoa can vary widely between different chocolates.
An important aspect of success when attempting to make any dish is to enjoy what you are doing. Be playful with your choices. Adapt recipes to modify them to your tastes. Spend time thinking about what you want to make and how you might be able to improve on recipes. The more time you invest in this, the more confident you will become at creating popular desserts.
Try a Variety of Recipes
It is great to have a few ‘old faithful’ recipes up your sleeve that you can pull out of the bag at the last minute, but don’t get apathetic in the kitchen. Challenge yourself by trying complicated recipes or by using new ingredients you are unfamiliar with. This will deepen your knowledge and bring you greater confidence. We all learn by making mistakes. It is important to have the confidence to fail.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
One caveat to the above tip is to give yourself the space and time to fail. Trying a complicated new dish the night of a dinner party for ten is a recipe for disaster. If you have an event coming up that you would like to create something interesting and unusual for, then test the recipe out a few days before. This will allow you to become familiar with the techniques and ingredients. Practice really does make perfect.
Preparation is one of the most important aspect of successful baking. Read your recipe directions through a few times before starting. Make sure you have all the necessary tools and ingredients before embarking. Start with a clean kitchen. Measure out your ingredients into individual bowls.
Ask for Feedback
Do not be afraid to open yourself up to criticism, as you will always benefits from it. Ask people eating the dessert what they think. Ask them to be as specific as possible.
If you feel at all slighted, remember that everyone’s tastes are different and you cannot please everyone all the time. Sincere feedback is incredibly valuable, so get used to lobbying for genuine and thorough feedback.
Gemma Hickes is a researcher and adviser for a mainstream national baking television program. She is also a regular food and baking blogger, and publishes to other social media platforms such as Twitter. She recommends http://www.theonechocolatecompany.co.uk/ as a trusted source for purchasing chocolate to bake with.