Lately I’ve had two ideas for seasonal ingredients that didn’t make the blog cut. The first idea was to wrap thin strips of puff pastry around turkey ham, wrapped around asparagus with a sliver of emmenthal cheese. The problem was that I ended up with pastry that was too dry, and it wouldn’t curl to wrap. Was it the whole-grain flour? The tweaking I did to use buttermilk? Or the fact that I left the dough uncovered when I chilled it? I’m betting on that, but the result was a failure. Everything tasted good but had none of the elegance I envisioned.
Tonight I made tart shells for strawberry tarts. I used a scaled-down version of one of Darina Allen‘s pastry recipes. I figured I could get the tarts the right size and shape by draping the dough over an upside-down muffin tin. They slid in spots, leaving holes. I think that the oven needed to be hotter (as in, preheated) and the dough needed to be colder when it went in the oven, but I could be wrong.
Despite these two recent flubs in pastry, I’m not giving up. We learn as often from what we do wrong as what we do right. Sometimes I hear parents who try to avoid having their children ever fail. Frankly, I think that’s a bad idea. Experimenting, failing, and succeeding are all part of what makes humanity so special. It’s how we advance. And if a finger gets nicked or a knuckle gets burned or a knee gets scraped, that’s all part of the process. And we ate all of my flubs, even if they didn’t look pretty enough for the blog.