Oh man, I've got a fun submission to share with you today. Kathy sent this to us with the title "An Ultimate Pinstrosity". It's truly fabulous. Here is what she wrote on her blog:
I follow a blog called Pinstrosity. Basically, it's people who tried to do a Pinterest project/recipe/gift/whatever and ultimately, absolutely, atrociously failed. I actually like Pinstrosity better than Pinterest itself.
Now, I'd like to first point out that I've attempted several Pinterest projects before, and not to toot my own horn, but toot, I think they came out pretty decent.
For instance, I made this for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother's Day last year. It's a butterfly made out of Allie's footprints:
I've also tried a few hairstyles on Allie before that I found on Pinterest, and this was my favorite:
Then of course there's the famous watercolor projects that I love doing so much:
And the cute Valentine's Day treats that I made for Allie's daycare friends last year:
Food-wise, I've also been fairly successful:
|Peanut butter meringue pie Allie and I made for Pi Day last March (3.14)|
|The adorable desserts I made last Easter to take to my in-laws' Easter dinner|
|Pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispie treats for Allie's Halloween daycare party|
|Apple pie cookies I made for Allie's Thanksgiving daycare party|
So overall, I think I've been fairly successful with my Pinterest projects.
Then we get to this past Friday . . .
My in-laws were having their traditional Olympics Opening Ceremony party on Friday night. Since the Olympics are being held in Sochi, we decided to do all Russian-themed food and drinks. You know, pierogis (sp? pierogies?), blini, that cheese bread stuff that we actually represented with pizza, black Russians, white Russians, etc.
(Side note: If I were to choose a country to root for based solely on the opening ceremony outfits, the American team would be dead last.)
Anyway, I love to bake, and my in-laws rave about my desserts at our family get-togethers, so I naturally volunteered to make the desserts. I browsed Pinterest for Russian desserts, and settled on two traditional and delicious-sounding desserts: Russian tea cakes and a honeycomb cake.
The Russian tea cakes recipe was a sure winner, since whoever pinned it claimed that this recipe was used for the tea cakes served at the Moscow ballet. And really, how can you go wrong with the Moscow-ballet-tea-cake-recipe?
As promised, the tea cakes turned out delicious and beautiful, although my recipe made a little less than the promised yield. Probably because I made them more like giant Russian tea cookies instead of little dainty tea cakes. Because this is America and our food proportions are usually super-sized.
See? Not all that bad, right? Perfectly baked and rolled in powdered sugar and oh-so-yummy.
Then we get to the honeycomb cake. I'm not even sure if this is an actual Russian dessert, but it showed up when I searched Pinterest for Russian desserts and it looked amazing, sounded fairly easy to make, and (most importantly) I already had the majority of the required ingredients.
It was seriously one of the most beautiful desserts I'd ever seen:
|Picture on Pinterest|
|Picture on Pinterest|
I mean seriously -- gooey cherries wrapped in puff pastry and covered with a creamy frosting and homemade chocolate ganache -- I wanted to lick my computer screen it looked so delicious and beautiful.
So I followed the link on Pinterest to the website where you could find the recipefor this amazing creation.
The first step seemed fairly simple. Cut the puff pastry sheets into three even sections each, then roll them out with a rolling pin. Then line the cherries in each section and roll into a tube shape, pinching the ends to seal the cherries in. Easy.
Next step: take two of the cherry/puff pastry tubes, connect them at the ends, then spiral them around in a cake pan. Do this with all six puff pastries, two per spiral, resulting in three spirals. She even included a nifty little diagram of how to do this:
This is where I started experiencing some minor technical difficulties. When I tried connecting the two puff pastry ends, they didn't really want to smoosh together all that well. So I ended up kind of mashing them together into a little flat section of puff pastry dough. Then, I tried to coil the tubes into a spiral, keeping about a 1/2 inch between each coil like the recipe instructed.
Except when I tried to coil them, the tubes didn't really want to stay rolled and the dough kind of unraveled. The more I tried to roll them back up, the more un-spiraly my spiral got, and the more I tried to spiral them, the more un-rolled the dough tubes got.
After about 15 minutes of fighting with the stupid puff pastry cherry spiral dough tubes that would not stay rolled or spiraled, I finally got a somewhat successful result. Then I spent another 30 minutes doing the same process with the remaining tubes. While I worked on each set of two tubes, I baked the previous set in the oven as instructed.
Finally, all three spiral concoctions were baked and cooling. They looked somewhat decent, except they weren't really perfectly shaped spirals and the puff pastry was very, extremely, abnormally puffy. Puffier than what the picture showed.
After I made the cream frosting and chocolate ganache (both of which were uneventful and successful in their separate rights), it was time to assemble the cake. The first step of the assembly process was to stack the three sets of puff pastry cherry spirals on top of each other.
Assembly problem #1: Each set was a different size and shape, so instead of perfectly stacking on top of each other to form a perfect circle, each spiral haphazardly perched on top of the previous one and kind of leaned to one side.
But whatever, I thought to myself. That part didn't show anyways and would be covered in creamy frosting and decadent chocolate ganache. Which led to . . .
Assembly problem #2: When I tried to evenly layer the creamy frosting evenly inbetween each spiral layer, then pour the rest over the top to supposedly flow evenly and cover the entire cake, the frosting very thinly ran off the haphazardly leaning spirals and pooled into a giant puddle on my cake plate. Then I watched in horror as it started to kind of curdle and develop little white chunks.
Looking back, I think my two mistakes were: 1) Not waiting for the sweetened condensed milk to cool completely, but instead sticking the entire pot in the freezer for a couple minutes since I was running out of time and called it good. The cream frosting was made from three sticks of whipped up butter and the cooled condensed milk. Also 2) the dough cherry spirals were still slightly warm when I frosted them. Now in my defense, the recipe never actually mentioned waiting for the spirals to cool down, so that part didn't really cross my mind.
Next I put the spiral-y cream-y frosting-y leak-y curdling-y mess into the refrigerator to sit for 20 minutes, again like the recipe instructed. At that point, I still had hope that the chocolate ganache would beautifully cover the messy cake so far and it would taste and look amazing.
After 20 minutes, I opened my refrigerator and saw an entire shelf of my fridge covered in the creamy sticky frosting that had oozed over the edge of the cake plate. The cold air had helped the creamy frosting somewhat solidify, just like it was supposed to, but not only did it start to solidify on the cake, it was also solidified onto the shelf.
Also, the chunky curdles in the frosting were even more obvious now.
So now it was time to cover the cake with the chocolate ganache. And what could possibly go wrong with chocolate ganache?
Assembly problem #3: When I poured the ganache over the cake, it also thinned out, ran down the cake exactly like the creamy frosting had. Now it not only didn't cover the cake at all, but it also added to the liquid-y pooled up mess at the bottom of the plate and made it ooze over the edge even more.
So I shoved that entire thing back onto the already-sticky fridge shelf with the hope that it might magically somehow fix itself if I chilled it.
Yeah, no. Now the fridge shelf had sticky chocolate ganache added to the mess on top of the curdled cream frosting.
And adding the finishing chocolate sprinkle touch wasn't even in the equation anymore.
I was so tempted to not even bring the stupid not-very-honeycomb-like blob to the party at all, but like I mentioned before, the tea cake recipe made about half of what the yield promised, and I didn't think the cookies alone would be enough dessert for everyone.
Then inspiration struck. I make a dessert called Death by Chocolate. It's a very easy dessert to make, but it actually looks quite impressive and just melts in your mouth. You layer brownie chunks, chocolate pudding and cool whip on top of each other, then cover the entire thing in Heath toffee bits. I thought maybe if I dumped my honeycomb cake in a bowl or serving dish or something, then it might look somewhat like a Death by Chocolate facsimile.
I dumped the blobby, runny, curdling mess into a glass pie dish. Except now the cake just looked ridiculous because it was still tall like a cake but sitting in a wide low pie dish, surrounded by a moat of curdly creamy frostingy ganache. So I grabbed a spatula and pressed down on top of the cake to try to conform it to the shape of the pie dish and lower it. Instead, the ganache kind of blurped and spit straight up onto my clothes. And still looked horrible.
Admit it -- you're all waiting for the picture of this horrible Pinstrosity, aren't you?
Well there it is. Just blobbing there in my pie dish, very much resembling a disgusting gooey pile of dog diarrhea.
Me: (explained what the dessert was made of)
My inlaws: "ooooo!" "That sounds amazing!" "You made your own ganache?"
Me: "Okay, so before you see it, I have to explain something..."
My inlaws: "No, let's just see it!"
Me: (uncovered the pie dish)
My inlaws: "Euuuw." "What is that?" "Um... oh wow." "You are so brave to bring that."
In the end, everyone told me how proud they were for not only attempting the recipe, but also for then having the courage to bring it to the party. And even though it looked like dog diarrhea, it tasted absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that about 3/4 of the dish was gone by the end of the party.
However, I don't think I'll be attempting this recipe again.