cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Québec Fudge...Revisited

the magic of a microwaved mess up

What do we do when we fall off the horse? We get back on it. But what do we do if the horse starts doing the cock-a-doodle dance of mockery as you sit in the dirt rubbing your sore ass? Well, we could remind the horse that in Iceland minced horse meat pies are common occurrences at the family dinner table. Or, look that sorry lump of undercooked caramel straight in the eye and proclaim the battle ad interim. hehe. Who am I kidding, there's no sappy drama here, only dumb luck and a microwave baby. on y va.

But wouldn't it be great if i could draw out a tale of perseverance mixed with with a message of overcoming the obstacles to laugh senor surrender straight out of town. Create a salty sweet Odysseus out of molasses and sugar. Would you agree that there is nothing in life that cannot be manipulated into allegory for one's need. The notion of resilience; knocked down but still coming back for more. That milk toast of a philosopher Pascal would put it l'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature--but a reed unbreakable none the less, Winston held us on repeat, never never never give up, and who first said if at first you don't succeed... Humans love the underdog; the struggle, the failure followed by redemption. There are six Rocky films aren't there? If we mess up we try again, the product a lesson learned from our mistakes. To err is human. So perhaps to come back then is to laugh at humanity for having found the loophole.

When the sun comes out we think it a sign. The wind dries the puddles and pavement so you can finally wear your new shoes. One small pin prick lights the satin sheet of star-less night sky that seemed to have smothered you with unfortunate bruising details only the night before. A whisper, a nod, a note at your heart from afar, perhaps these small seemingly inconsequential happenings are all that it takes really in cliche to turn that frown upside down. Just one small right among what appears unbearably to be so many wrongs to make us feel right again. A weakness? Maybe, but it is better to pretend the rocking horse a Pegasus than to wallow in a horse-less reality.

Did that happen here with this bloody fudge? Was I in a bad mood turned happy by stumbling upon a cure? No, but look it gave me premise for a story now didn't it. About three weeks ago i attempted the creation of Québec fudge, or Sucre à la crème (recipe here) to sit atop an autumnal cheesecake, while i posted it, it was a, well a failure. The fudge did not work out; instead of a crumbly sandy color fudge i was left with a dark gooey caramel. And in my dramatic hot head fashion, after securing squares of the made "caramel" for the cheesecakes, i piled the grinning lump of maple caramel into a box and shoved it in the back of the freezer, mumbling to myself in haughty blackness myriad curses upon all things French Canadian. Out of mind out of sight eh? We don't like to be reminded of our mistakes. Though as my anger ebbed, the lump emerged from the freezer before my trip to Seattle with my clownish smile of ooh perhaps R and G (brother and sister) could use this to make caramel apples! So I'm a failed candy maker, move on. Or so I thought...

G and i heated a little cup of the caramel to drizzle over pink rice crispy treats we made together (i only like pink marshmallows) and as the caramel set into zig zag formations across the sticky rice squares, it began to opaque; huh, that looks like fudge. That looks like fudge! Throw the whole box of caramel in the microwave. One minute later--pour into a greased pan. The next morning: set, opaque, crumbly fudge. Oh yeah. I meant to do that the entire time.

The principle: fudge needs to be cooked to a certain temperature, that is why a candy thermometer is necessary. But if you f* it up, it can be redeemed through a little dumb luck and a trip through the microwave. We triumphed through our peril and overcame the beast of failure through steadfast perseverance! No not really, but it's a nice thought. It is not easy to fix a sticky mess, but it is possible. Allegorize and personify your fudge, because if at first you don't succeed...


à bientôt

8 comments:

Christy said...

Yay!!! You fixed the fudge!! Great work. Sometimes it takes some luck (and some mistakes), to make us learn the true nature of how ingredients behave when put together (or a fudge). Some of the best foods are invented by the making of mistakes, and sometimes, mistakes are what makes a recipe truly your own.

Love your photos of the rain!!

Aran said...

well, you came out triumphant and that first photo is glorious. the cuts... cuts like that are so exciting to me... seriously, i couldn't be bigger nerd.

Mallory Elise said...

oooooooh thanks! but what's nerdier--saying it or being so puggishly pleased with hearing it? Yay cuts! damn caramel certainly wouldn't cut...

hey christy i think you're right, i feel like i own this recipe now as it will haunt me forever...maybe i'll send it as christmas presents.

Tartelette said...

That looks fantastic! I totally second the "Yeah to cuts"...
Re-cookie book: Anita leaves in San Francisco so I am thinking she might come up your way. Does not hurt to ask.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...

I want a sticky mess! I want one! :P

P.

Mallory Elise said...

hmm you are a sticky mess. :)

Helene said...

I'm from Quebec and we love making fudge. Yes you need the right temp., but also let it cool for 20-30 min. before you beat it until it's ready to pour in a square pan.

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