I’ve decided to take a different approach to Alchemist this time. In a lot of ways, this will read a lot like a reflection of what’s currently going on in my life. Kind of like me talking to myself, which I do A LOT. In other words, I’m planning to do this like a traditional blog. Though I can’t discount science, so I’ll have a “Science Quick Hit” section in almost every post. Also let me know in the comments if you’d prefer for me to keep it more personal or if you’d prefer more of the science. I’m flexible.
So what’s new?
Well, I’m towards the end of my final year of medical school. Let the choir say Amen! Let all the bacteria on my hand scream in ecstasy! Ding dong the witch is dead! Am I conveying my excitement enough? I hope so. Only 5 more months of direct clinic/hospital time. Plus today marks the end of my Emergency Medicine month, which while not bad isn’t what I’m interested in. Plus I worked a lot of 2nd shifts and it sucks being off the same schedule as everyone else.
Right now I’m conflicted between lots of future paths. Too much to write right now, but the biggest thing is residency applications for my medical career. “What’s residency?” you might ask. Think of it as a paid internship. Mine is 4 years long because I’m going into Psychiatry. Why Psychiatry? Well, there are a ton of reasons I’ll put in another post, but mainly because it’s awesome.
Here are the big highlights.
- I get to finally get paid! Hooray for making loan repayments. The government needs its money back and I’ve been told by radio ads that the IRS has an army of collectors with 9mms, grenade launchers, and GPS trackers that stop at nothing to get their money. I don’t want any of those problems.
- Also I can go anywhere in the country for it. The options are limitless. It is fun to think about, but also terrifying in its own way because wherever you end up, you’re there for 4 years. So you better make the right decision or prepare for 4 years of misery, which is a real thing by the way. I’m not making that up. There are a lot of really miserable residents out there. Especially, surgery residents. I don’t wish that training on anyone.
- There are some really flexible programs that’ll let me explore my other interests that connect to psychiatry. I have a ton of ideas for education programs and business ideas that I want to eventually initiate. Though if I don’t enact them before residency ends, I may never do them because I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to open up a few dessert spots.
Science Quick Hit
For some reason, I’ve always had a hard time making custards on the stove. It’s weird since I never have a problem with baked custards like crème brulee, pot de cremes, or even cheese cake. I guess every cook has their weakness. Even celebrity chefs. I used to call myself “Black Bobby” referencing Bobby Flay, the Foodnetwork chef. Ironically, he hated baking, which is my main thing. I just like the way it sounds to be honest. It flows off the tongue. Very poetic, I think.
To get back to the subject, I recently figured out where I was going wrong when making éclair custard. It’s actually really an obvious solution, but sometimes even the smartest people make dumb mistakes. I was trying to strain the custard after cooking it on the stove, when I should’ve done it before cooking it. My reasoning was that when the custard cooks on the stove some of the eggs curdle. Which is true, to an extent. However, the only way the custard can get through the strainer is if it’s thin, so I’d have to remove the custard from the stove before it was ready. Basically, my stove custards were always a little to a lot too thin. My new approach is to strain the custard after I temper the scalding milk into the egg and sugar mixture. Then cook it. To stop the eggs from curdling you have to be vigilante about stirring. This is especially important the hotter the custard mixture becomes. So if you have to grab something you forgot to do, do it before the custard gets hot.
Really quickly. Custards and puddings work by trapping a liquid mixture in a starch or protein matrix. Recipes that call for flour, cornstarch, or pectin are using a starch matrix. Recipes that use eggs or gelatin use a protein matrix. Proteins tend to be stronger than starches at this, but the problem is that if you overdue it you could end up with jello. Also proteins curdle, which taste disgusting, meaning you have to watch them closely. Starches are easier to work with than proteins, but require larger amounts to work. They can also add a slightly grainy texture when too much is added or its not cooked all the way through. Both methods have effects on texture, color, and taste.
The recipe I use for the pudding for my cupcake uses both. Neither method is difficult though, so no need to worry. Once you try it for the first time, it’s super easy the next time around.
This cupcake might seem complicated, but it’s actually not so bad. Each of its individual components are easy (except the frosting, that can be tough). Because of that I’m only posting the recipe for the cake and the buttercream. You can buy the vanilla pudding and caramel from the store or make it yourself. You can buy the frosting from the store, make it your self, or make an American Buttercream, which is much easier than this recipe. It’ll taste great either way.
Macro Ingredient List
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup of vanilla pudding
½ cup of caramel syrup
1 1/3 cup sugar (280 grams)
2 medium sized, ripe, yellow bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour (310 grams)
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup of heavy cream
½ cup of vegetable oil
4 large egg whites
2/3 c whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat over the 325F
- Mash the bananas into a paste in a large bowl.
- Mix the sugar into the bananas.
- Combine the Wet 2 ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Mix 1/3 of the dry mixture into the banana mixture.
- Then mix 1/3 of the wet ingredients into the banana mixture.
- Repeat steps 5-6 until all ingredients are combined.
- Fill muffin tins slightly more than ¾ full.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes or until done.
Makes 16 cupcakes
1/4 cup water (as little as possible to dissolve sugar)
2/3 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg yolks
1 ½ sticks of butter, chopped into pieces (NONSALTED)
1 tbs of vanilla extract
- Bring water, sugar, and cream of tartar to 230F
- Beat egg yolks with mixer.
- Slowly pour syrup into egg yolks while mixing on medium speed.
- When all of the syrup is added, turn mixer to high and continue beating until cool. It should look like a glossy, not well-formed meringue.
- Beat in butter, adding small blocks of butter slowly.
- When all of the butter is added, it should look smooth and ribbon- like. Stop adding butter when this happens.
- If it doesn’t look ribbon-like after all butter is added or looks broken, continue adding butter in pieces until it forms properly.
- Mix in vanilla extract.
- Add to prepared piping bag then refrigerate for 5 minutes or less. Use only on cooled down cakes.
- Using a medium sized spoon to remove the top center portion of each cupcake. Save the tops that you remove to be added back later.
- Use a smaller spoon to hollow out the cake center. Do not hollow out completely to the bottom of the cake.
- Fill the cupcake craters with vanilla pudding.
- Add tops back to each cupcake.
- Frost with buttercream.