10 of the Most Difficult Recipes to Make at Home

Categories: Recipes, Top 10

lemon-meringue-pie.jpg
Photo by Kenny Louie
Perfectly executing the crust, lemon curd and meringue takes lots of practice.

6. Lemon Meringue Pie

Anything with a meringue is difficult to make, but add a lemon curd and pie crust to the mix and you're in for a strenuous and tedious task. But, luckily, you can make things much easier by purchasing prepackaged dough so all you're left with is the filling and the meringue. Try this recipe from Gourmet; the instructions and comments from those who made it are quite helpful - add more lemon juice and less water if you want the lemon curd to be more tart.

5. Anything Flambéed

Flambéing is awesome in restaurants when a professional chef lights a liqueur on fire, especially when it is table-side. But flambéing at home is not only difficult, but also quite dangerous. I flambéed a dish once. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. Sure it's easy to light a match on fire, but when that fear rattles through your body as you inch the flame closer to the pan, you're most likely not going to follow through with the flambé. Or maybe that's just me.

4. Paella

You've probably eaten a paella of some kind in many Houston restaurants, or you might have been lucky enough to enjoy authentic paella in Spain. But, nailing the crispy, caramelized crust on the bottom and cooking the rice so it has that excellent bite (al dente) takes some practice. Making paella is all about the technique and the tools -- you need a large round pan (a paella pan) to create that crunchy bottom rice layer and as noted in a Fine Cooking article, you must create a sofrito by sautéing a combination of ingredients, such as tomatoes, onions and garlic with spices and herbs, such as paprika and parsley. Aside from mastering the sofrito and cooking the rice perfectly, you must add in a variety of crustaceans and meat, like clams, shrimp, lobster, chorizo and chicken. It's a lot of ingredients and requires an artful technique.


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18 comments
FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

I make eggs benedict for my friends all the time, even though I typically over poach a few of the eggs, and half the time I need to redo my hollandaise.  Remember, eggs, butter, and lemons are all pretty damn cheap!  Personally I use this microwave method.  Yes, sometimes I need to redo it, but it takes less than three minutes and maybe an extra dollars worth of ingredients, so I don't mind. I typically poach my eggs in vinegar, and again, there are always a few that are overcooked, so I usually poach a dozen.  All & all, even with my mistakes, it takes less than 20 minutes.


http://www.food.com/recipe/no-fail-microwave-hollandaise-sauce-195437

paval
paval topcommenter

Masters of cooking were not born or made overnight. Cooking some of the dishes the article refers to, is not coming as the next step after being able to put a frozen pizza on the proper rack in the oven. 

There is a reason people who cook or prepare these dishes have spent a few years in culinary school, in crowded kitchens, etc. I am not expecting to repair my car after reading Popular Mechanics either. 

I have learned to cook a tad during college mainly by mixing together ingredients of frozen or canned nature with some kind of protein. Today I would not eat any of the dishes i used to cook back then. During my first real job the owner of the school allowed me to prepare the christmas dinner. 6 course menue for 20 people and i fared quite good but I worked my butt off for three days in a row. 

Here in Houston I happened to befriend one of the best chefs in town and I learned how to work with a mise-en-place as well as choosing good and fresh ingredients instead of canned or frozen ones or even any ones where someone had done the job. Nowadays I can put a 4 course menue for 8 on the table within three to four hours of toiling. 

yet I only cook for friends and they are generously overlooking my shortcomings. If I were to offer them homemade macarons I guess their generosity would be strained to the max. 


Perhaps this article should have been the culmination point of a series on: "How to master yourself from the basic sauces to macarons, boeuf bourgoignon and others" and then write an article on each level first. 

I agree with one of the other commentators that the tonality of the article goes a lot in the direction of: "Dont even try yourself on these dishes" instead of saying something like:

"If you ever want to master these difficult dishes make sure to read our series starting next week on how to master the most basic dishes in a kitchen, so you can one day also master the difficult ones"



Anse
Anse

Deviled eggs. I love them, but they are a massive pain in the butt. And since we hardly ever think to do them unless we're having a gathering of people, you have to do at least a couple dozen or just don't bother.

Daniel Tyrone
Daniel Tyrone

Bring it on!!! We know I can do eggs benedict and breakfast, and I'm going to knock out that Paella!!!

zquezada
zquezada

Are you kidding? Have you successfully made all of these. Eggs benedict is a pain to make. Plus the ingredients require you use almost 10 eggs. Macarons are even more difficult. Most of these dishes/foods I view as things I'd rather buy than try to make at home. It's well worth the money to avoid the time, stress and added cost of trial and error.

joyawe
joyawe

I have serious doubts about the culinary know-how of any person who claims making pancakes is difficult and rarely comes out right. I think I made pancakes without help starting at about age 7. If you think making any of the breakfast foods mentioned in this article is difficult, maybe find a new hobby because cooking isn't your forte.

jimbo1126
jimbo1126

My personal weakness at home, and I bet many others', is burgers. I cannot make a decent burger at home to save my life. It's really a complex art form, getting all the components just right, and I've never mastered it.

Nojusticenopiece
Nojusticenopiece

I'm sorry but I often find this person's writings completely pointless. Why do I need an article on recipes I would not want to make? And last I checked, "breakfast" is not a recipe! This is right up there with this writer's "how to grind your own meat" post which literally told you to put the meat in the grinder and turn it on. And of course who could forget Ms. Dunn praising the value of two breakfast tacos and beans for $10 bucks at Down House...

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@jimbo1126 A great trick is to pulvarize some bacon in a food processor, about two slices per patty, and then mix into the ground beef.  Not only will you get a nice bacony flavor, but the bacon fat makes it nearly impossible to overcook them.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@jimbo1126  

The problem is that most people seem to think they should be cooked outside on a grill.  Get a cast iron skillet, turn on the gas and get the pan freaking hot, make the patter wider and thinner than your instincts suggest, season the hell out of it, and cook it medium.  Done. And use something like 85/15 beef.

Anse
Anse

@jimbo1126  I used to think doing a burger was easy, but it's definitely a bigger pain in the neck than doing something like barbecue ribs. The ribs might take hours but you can spend that time drinking beer. You have to stand over the grill for the burgers. It's not as much fun or as easy to do well.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard

That's a good technique if you consistently overcook your hamburger. So you're cooking out the juices and replacing them with bacon fat. But if you learn how to cook a hamburger correctly, say medium or medium well, then you do not want medium cooked bacon in your burger.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

You haven't tried this technique, then. I got the idea from Tookies restaurant. The burger doesn't need to be cooked any longer than usual.

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