Rachael Ray credits this dessert for bringing it back to the pastry shop
Food Network star Rachael Ray has often admitted that she isn’t a big fan of sweets. the 30 minute meal the guru actually boycotted baking for decades after a few failed attempts. Thanks to his mother’s love for a special dessert, Ray decided to give confectionery creation another chance.
Rachael Ray says “I’m bad at baking”
In 2019, Ray published his book, Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals of a Sweet and Salty Life, which features personal essays and a plethora of recipes. She explained why she didn’t include a lot of content on sweet treats.
“You won’t find a lot of desserts in this book,” admitted Ray. “One of the reasons is that I don’t really like sweets. The other is that I’m bad at pastry.
Apparently someone else in the family had the baking goods. Ray’s older sister, Maria, has proven to be very good at the culinary arts, although Ray has tried a few sweets a few times. Discouraged after being beaten by his big sister in the bakery department, Ray stuck to savory dishes.
“I have a competitive nature so anytime I feel like a complete failure at anything it really stays with me,” she revealed. “I stayed away from baking for decades. … But it was the éclairs that finally brought me back to the pastry shop.
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Rachael Ray’s mom used lightning to relax
Ray shared that as a child, she was able to gauge her mother’s moods based on the amount of lightning in the house. They kind of became a barometer of her mother’s temper for the day.
“When we were kids, if my mom came home with lightning bolts, we knew we had to be careful,” Ray explained. “They weren’t meant to be a treat for us. They were a signal that mom was very angry with any or all of us.
The Ray children got used to seeing lightning as a sign of their mother’s need for calm, to be cheered up, or if she had a bone to pick up with someone.
“My mom used lightning as a pressure valve,” the cookbook author said. “If she was upset, she would have one. Two lightning bolts meant she was very angry. Three of the four lightning bolts in the box meant someone might not survive. They were his stress management tool.
Eclairs have become Rachael Ray’s go-to dessert
Inspired by her mother’s love for decadent baking, Ray decided to go back to baking and tried the éclairs. Thanks to their simple preparation, the éclairs became something of a bridge for Ray to hone his pastry skills.
“Eventually I started making them for her,” Ray wrote. “I’m not a baker, but if you know how to make choux pastry, the gougère dough (which anyone can make, including me), you can make éclairs. The éclairs are also easy to make, so I don’t really have to measure anymore when doing them.
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While éclairs are a popular dessert choice because of their impressive presentation and decadent textures, Ray has a different reason for making them his number one baked goods.
“I like knowing that if mom is sad or angry, I have a way to make her happy again,” Ray explained. “Just give him lightning.”