Notes From a Kitchen Nerd and GTB v2.0

I think when food stops looking more like a science project than food, it’s time to step away for a little while and do something else.  Ever since I discovered burfi, I’ve been playing kitchen scientist almost nonstop.  I’ve made 3 kinds already — green tea, chocolate/cardamom and coffee, none of which I’ve reconciled to my vision of what it should be.  The chocolate/cardamom and coffee were two layers of one pan.  The coffee really came about because the pan was too big and I didn’t have enough chocolate to form a thick enough layer…so I made a second layer!

…Necessity is truly the mother of invention.  I topped it with a thin layer of ganache and sprinkled hazelnuts on top.  The overall taste was pleasing, but the texture…texture seems to be my issue.  A little too creamy and it gets a little sticky at room temperature.  But still good.  Of the two, taste vs. texture, I am of the camp that thinks taste is more important — that is, if I had to choose between the two.  However, texture should never be underestimated in the overall tasting experience.  Texture somehow has the power to bring up other forms of imagery in the brain that makes one consider the experience either pleasurable or horrific.  For instance, if I ate a slimy crème brulée that had perfect, to-die-for taste, I would be less likely to consider the whole experience heavenly than if the texture had been just the right balance between firm and soft.  Slimy is associated with other not-so-pleasant things and so it takes away from the experience in a small but significant way.  But moving on…

I redid the green tea burfi tonight, Green Tea Burfi V2.0 if you will.  The jury is still out on how it’s going to be because although I tasted the mixture while warm, the flavors don’t quite settle into themselves until it’s all solidified and cooled down.  I kicked up the green tea maybe 2 notches and added some thickening agents — maida flour and milk powder to  make it less creamy.  I noticed though that it wasn’t quite as sweet after the addition of these two ingredients even though I used the same amount of sugar as the last time.

Who put Slimer in a pot and cooked him?!?  (Ghostbusters reference, in case it flew right over your head.  You can go “Ohhhh” now…that is, if you grew up in the 80’s.)  I am hoping that the taste of this batch is similar to the first, only with amplified green tea flavor (but not too amplified).  The first time, the taste was very subtle and the ricotta came through for the most part, causing some to comment that it reminded them of cheesecake.  It lacked a milky taste.  Which is what I hoped to fix by adding the milk powder.  The maida flour I learned about this morning while looking through the internet for solutions on how to fix the softness of my burfi.  Basically I was looking for a way to make it stiffer.

What is this Maida you speak of, kitchen girl?  Maida is a form of wheat flour made from the inner part of the wheat, which is white (whole wheat flour being Atta).  It’s also used in a lot of other Indian pastries and breads.  I think I read somewhere that it’s also sometimes used in poori, a light Indian bread that’s made by frying flattened discs of dough that puff up while being fried.  I’m going to have to make poori soon.  I have childhood (ok, teenagehood) memories associated with this bread…

I haven’t included any recipes here because everything is a work in progress.  I’ve taken to cooking burfi with notepads close at hand and pens too.  This is because sometimes I put my ideas on paper and come execution time, I find that what looked good on paper did not, in fact, come out so good in practice — like a lot of things in life.  🙂  So I’d have to make adjustments along the way and write down what I did so I could make notes on my notes.  I’m going to buy a notebook at some point so I can straighten my notes out and have my revisions of recipes in a much more organized place.

I have a feeling that GTB v2.0 (Green Tea Burfi v2.0) will not be the last release.  It is going to be a beta release, I think (sorry, that’s the programmer geek in me coming out).  Still some issues I will have to work out after this, probably.  I suspect the next time I will have to take down the green tea.  We shall see.  I am going to step away from the burfi world for a while and return to more conventional baked goods that everyone and their mother has had.  Not to say it’s boring, just that now that I’ve been exposed to new things, maybe I can apply some of this new stuff to the old.  Expect a lot of green tea-related posts in the future — I’m going to end up finding ways to use this healthy little ingredient that I’ve never tried before.  I’m thinking of green tea truffles somewhere down the line.

The process is frustrating sometimes, but this is where all the learning happens.  It’s all about the journey…the destination is just the reward.

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