Friday, April 22, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - mustard batons

Mustard batons...gotta say, I was not even a little bit excited about making this recipe.  Why, you might ask...well I have a deep, dark secret.  I HATE mustard!  That's right...for my entire life I've had a mustard phobia.  I hate mustard so much, that if I have to cook with it and I get some on my hand, I kind of freak a bit.  I wonder if I was abused as a child and mustard was involved?  Not only do I hate mustard, I'm not a fan of anything mustard related (like wasabi or horseradish).  I have been known to bypass eating all together if mustard is involved.  So, of course, the idea of mustard, smeared on puff pastry just sounded pointless.

Then I remembered that I had some interesting mustards in the cupboard that we got in Dijon last summer.  When we were in Dijon, it was the thing to do to go into mustard shops and buy lots of mustard (even though, as I've mentioned, I HATE mustard).  But somehow, all the pretty bottles were quite alluring.  We ended up buying about 50 jars of mustard (no, I'm not kidding).  The boys like mustard and I thought they'd make great gifts too.  Plus, the flavors were just too interesting to pass up.  I have actually been using a bleu cheese mustard in our salad dressing recently that is beyond amazing.  So amazing, that I have ventured a taste of the mustard on its own.  That's right, I've let straight mustard pass my lips.  And, guess what?  I didn't die.  Unbelievable!

So, when faced with this week's FFwD recipe, I decided to go to the cupboard and see what types of flavored mustards we still had.  I discovered this jewel of apricot and curry!  Sounded interesting and enticing, so I decided to give it a try.  I also decided to follow Dorie's bonne idee and make my own tapenade (something I'd never done before, given how easy store-bought is to buy)...just in case I couldn't stomach the mustard batons.

The tapenade took less than five minutes to whip up.  It was very tasty...totally salty, a little lemony and I got to use some fresh, French thyme from my bathroom herb garden.

Puff pastry spread with tapenade

Puff pastry spread with apricot & curry mustard

Mustard batons after being cut

This is an incredibly easy recipe...especially if you use store bought puff pastry (which I did).  Thaw the puff pastry, smear the goods on it, fold over, cut with a pizza cutter, wash with egg wash, sprinkle with poppy seeds, bake, eat!  I only baked up 8 of these (4 of each flavor) to sample and froze the rest.  I'll be taking these to my brother's for an appetizer at Easter dinner.

Still Life on the Counter

Batons with egg wash and poppy seeds

Final product!

The verdict?  Quite lovely.  Great crunch and the tapenade was wonderful (although I used too much and the tapenade batons kind of exploded).  The apricot and curry mustard was pretty good (a little too mustardy for me...but not so awful that I had to wash my mouth out) and these batons came out perfectly.  I think my palate is expanding, since I even considered eating mustard and then actually did.  I probably will never be able to ask for mustard on my sandwich or dip anything into a honey mustard sauce, but having mustard added in to things is becoming less of a traumatic experience for me!  Unlike the experience below.  Can you guess what these are?


Oh so sad!
Yep, I made a batch of Mocha Macarons with Chocolate Ganache filling.  The macarons were a complete failure (sorry Mardi, I followed your tutorial to the nth degree) as they totally cracked, sank and had no feet.  Of course, as we all know, ugly macarons still taste good.  My ganache was a failure too.  I was in a hurry, melted my chocolate in the microwave, then added the cold cream (without stirring the mixture over some boiling water).  The cold cream hardened the melted chocolate into tiny pieces (of course it would, duh!  What was I thinking?)  So, while tasting didn't firm up and was a runny mess.  Nevertheless, I spooned the running filling onto the incredibly ugly macarons and got them all settled in our macaron container.  I turned to go to the sink, hit the container and macarons flew across the kitchen.  All of them except four!  I started to pick them up (using the five second rule), but the first one had a piece of cat hair on it, so I decided the whole batch had to be tossed.  Really, really sad.  And, look how brave I am, sharing these photos which also show an incredibly dirty kitchen mat (another total mistake...I bought these cushion mats for the kitchen in a beige color and they show every drip and don't come clean...they are about to be replaced with black cushion mats...I really don't know what I was thinking!!!)


Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Poor macarons! :( Your batons look fab, though!! Great work!

Denise said...

Steph - That is so awesome you were in Dijon and visited that store, or mustard boutique it seems! Apricot curry sounds incredible! I bet it would be fun to make your own mustard. I'm glad your palate is becoming more open to new tastes - sometimes that happens when we grow up and try to forget some of those childhood memories. Speaking of bad memories, my first several attempts at macarons were failures also, but I'm getting up the nerve to try again.

Ms. Hobby said...

Your batons look great, and you've made me want to visit Dijon, even though I'm not much of a mustard person. Sorry the macarons didn't turn out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for saying you hate mustard! I was beginning to feel alone in my dislike of the condiment. Even though I didn't even bother with the mustard, I was contemplating trying this with the tampenade. Yours look great!

Cher said...

Oh Steph, sounds like you needed a hug after your cookie disaster.
It sounds like you feel about mustard the way I feel about mayonaise! So you get the great, big trooper award for your efforts. (And 50 bottles of mustard from Dijon, that is just awesome.)

amanda @ fake ginger said...

Ooh, I'd love to have 50 jars of mustard in my pantry. I love the stuff! Your batons look delicious!

Kris' Kitchen said...

Funny how many people HATE mustard. But it brings out your creativity and your batons look great!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

1. Love that your palate is expanding :)
2. Cannot wait to be in Dijon this summer.
3. I love the idea of tapenade - must do this soon.
4. REALLY? You beat the whites for 9 minutes? You did 40 strokes of the spatula for the macaronage? You baked them on two trays to prevent them burning? You turned them half way?
:( I am so sorry. I have made over 300 macarons in the past month and only my jelly roll tray batch cracked. I think you need to come and visit so we can do a macaron tutorial....

I love your posts - they always have such great stories and make me smile!

Have a great Easter weekend!

Lizzy said...

I did the same two fillings in my batons...and, even though I enjoy mustard on a sandwich, the tapenade ones were definitely my favorites.

Thanks for sharing your macaron this is a huge fear of mine. I need to set aside a whole afternoon without distractions to try them. I know your next batch will be successful.

Foodiva said...

I so enjoyed this post, from the 50 jars of mustard from Dijon to your macarons adventure. How diverse and interesting! The apricot and curry mustard sounds delicious, I wouldn't mind giving those batons a try. And of course, macarons are still in the twilight zone for me, I have yet to make them!

Sis. Boom. said...

Who needed those macarons anyways when you had such great batons! I want 50 jars! I do. I love the stuff.

Betsy said...

I can't believe you don't like mustard. The apricot and curry mustard sounds intriguing. My next batch will be tapenade.
A new macaron bakery just opening this week in my little town. I'd never actually had them before and I am so excited! Sorry yours didn't turn out this time.

tricia s. said...

Never would have dreamt that you did not like mustard...and that appears to be the understatement:) Love how you still managed to score 50 jars at Maille - great job. I don't even recall seeing the Apricot curry version in the Paris store and have decided that Nana and I officially have to go back and see if they have it in stock :) And bravo for even trying the macaroons. You are braver than I. I will wait for Laduree.....which is around the corner in the Madeleine area. I am so ready !!!!

Anne Marie said...

I love your still life photo. So lovely. Sorry about your macs on the floor--with cat hair. Eeuuww.

Anonymous said...

so fabulous that you bought mustard straight from Dijon!!! i didn't realize there are so many mustard varieties. must go to Dijon myself and check things out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear the conversation at Customs when you brought the 50 jars of mustard through! :)

Your batons turned out beautifully and as for the macarons, I think practice makes perfect - and the failures are still delicious.