10 of the Most Difficult Recipes to Make at Home

Categories: Recipes, Top 10

molten-lava-cake.jpg
Photo by Andrea Goh
You won't know if you did everything right until you break into the cake.

3. Molten Lava Cakes

Move aside soufflés, molten lava cakes take things to a whole new level. There's a reason this dish was a pressure test challenge on MasterChef; it's one of the most difficult desserts to perfect. You won't know if you accomplish cooking the outside of the cake and maintaining the "lava" of chocolate on the inside until you take a bite. Undercook it and the entire cake falls apart; overcook it and you essentially made a cake -- whoop dee freaking doo. Practice makes perfect, but I don't recommend practicing for dinner guests. Here's an awesome Vimeo depicting each step in making this luscious dessert.

2. Boeuf Bourguignon

Just read the ingredient list for boeuf bourguignon. I bet you're still reading. It's a crazy long list with an even longer list of instructions. Trust me, when Julia Child's recipe fills three pages of her cookbook and references two extra recipes to make brown-braised small white onions and mushrooms sautéed in butter, you're going to be cooking the entire day. Be careful not to overcook the beef cuts, or all of your hard work will be wasted.

eggsbenedict2.jpg
Photo by Molly Dunn
If the Hollandaise breaks, you messed up.

1. Eggs Benedict

Any dish with multiple components that must be properly executed creates a lot of challenges, especially when everything must be perfectly timed, like with Eggs Benedict. The easy parts are toasting the English muffin and searing the Canadian bacon or ham, but the difficult parts are poaching two eggs and making a Hollandaise sauce that doesn't break. Try this cheat from All Recipes for making the sauce by emulsifying all of the ingredients in a blender -- it's much easier like this than by hand. Then, take a look at this video for an excellent step-by-step explanation of making the entire dish.

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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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