Most difficult dish you've ever made?

What was the most difficult-to-make food/dish you’ve ever made?

The one with the most complicated recipe, or the one that, for another reason, was the most difficult you’ve ever made?

(Not sure if this belongs in Cafe Society or IMHO.)

Do you mean it turned out too? I rate some failed items as the most difficult, because they failed.

Indian dishes are very complex because of the spicing. Many dishes call for a combination of quickly-sauteed spices and raw spices. I make my own masalas and don’t use OTC curry powder. The challenge with these dishes is to have everything come together at about the same time, if you’re making more than one dish.

The most difficult, however, was when I was trying to teach myself how to cook. I made shrimp Creole, which had a fairly long list of ingredients. I would come to an ingredient I didn’t have and run out to the store to buy it. A few more items down would be another I didn’t have, rinse and repeat. I burned up a lot of gas on that dish and can’t for the life of me figure out why I didn’t just read the whole recipe and make a list. :smack: Came out pretty good, though.

A black and white cake. It was moist and delicious but such a pain in the neck I’ve never made it again. There’s a really dense cake that is baked in a loaf pan, then cut into many thin layers, then filled with a white chocolate ganache, then topped with a dark chocolate ganache several times. It doesn’t seem like it would be that bad, but it took hours to create.

Orange chicken from scratch is on the time consuming side, but not as difficult. I still don’t make it as often. Sadly, it’s hard to find a restaurant that does a good job with this one. Most versions I’ve tried manage to taste almost but not quite entirely unlike oranges.

My husband loves nasi lemak, which is a Malay specialty. It took me many years of practice to perfect a recipe, due in no small measure that I can’t eat it myself and refuse to taste test. It is a combination of rice made with coconut milk and a chili based sambal made with dried anchovies and served with sliced egg, cucumber, roasted peanuts, and fried chicken. I dislike anchovies so it’s not a dish for me, but sometimes I will make a separate sambal made with shrimp and that, to me, is delicious and the perfect combo of flavors: sweet rice, savory and spicy sambal, crunchy peanuts, cool and crisp cucumber.

It is labor intensive - takes about 3-4 hours to make, including all of the slicing and dicing, and our house smells of deep fried anchovies for days after I make it. But my husband and our Malaysian friends love it, so I go to the effort for special occasions.

Whole roast pig and it didn’t turn out too well.

I only started cooking aged 55.
Therefore my most difficult dish was an English breakfast fro my mate recently.

Omelette (fried) + bacon (grilled) + baked beans (microwaved) + toast (toaster.)

I used my critical path analysis skills to decide in what order to start everything - and it was all ready simultaneously. :slight_smile:

Seafood risotto. Turned out great but I’ve never been tempted to make it again.

Spaghetti and meatballs based on the recipe my ex-wife gave me after we separated. It worked out OK, more or less, surprisingly.

It wasn’t a problem because of spite or anything; it was because she is one of those cooks who throws in a little of this, some of that, and a bit of the other thing. I’m not. I’m an OK cook, but I need to follow directions. Still, it worked.

Beef Wellington was difficult for me. It turned out very good although it was very rich.

Difficult? Probably spherification. If you try it without a lot of specialized equipment, it’s tricky to get right. You either end up with big amorphous blobs, or you don’t get the chemistry quite right and they just melt, or something else happens that makes you wonder why in the world you wanted spheres in the first place.

But if we’re talking time-consuming or “most complicated”, I’d have to say things like holiday dinners are right up there. Christmas and Thanksgiving are often several days prep, then on the day, there’s always 3 or 4 dishes that need to be timed correctly to get to the table at the same time. Plus add in the wine the cook had to drink during the day (:D) and things can get tricky.

The recipes themselves, however, are not typically very hard. It’s the sheer mass of them that make it difficult.

The same goes for Indian food. I find it easy to cook, and fun, because it’s cool to play with all those spices. But a real Indian dinner usually involves 4-6 different dishes and assorted condiments, so doing it all for one meal is time-consuming.

Oh, and Asian Dumplings. They’re difficult to form nicely. Sure, I can churn out a couple dozen blobby looking dumplings, but when you want them to look all purdy, that’s a whole other ballgame.

If we’re talking about a single item than I have to say making demi glace is a royal F’in pain in the ass. It’s fantastic but I don’t think I’ll even make it myself again.

The biggest pain in the ass was making turkey mole (I think it was mole poblano–I can’t remember exactly right now) from scratch. Not so much difficult as just took a long friggin’ time to get everything toasted and ground up or blended.

Good one - mole requires serious dedication

Roux can rouxin your day. Time consuming, constant stirring; ten seconds too long and start all over. Same with ghee.

I just microwave my roux these days. I can do it stove top, but microwave is much easier, although it still requires some some attention.

I love to cook and am pretty good with dishes of different styles (Indian, Asian), and I also like to bake both breads and cakes. I tend to run through fads and do whatever interests me for a while before moving on to some other cooking interests. My Indian friend from work once gave me some informal cooking lessons which I greatly appreciated.

I’d say the most difficult thing I made in terms of time and effort were a couple of Buche Noel cakes I made a few years ago for a family Thanksgiving dinner.

I made a vanilla cake with almond mousse filling and a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. I spent about 2 days working of the decorations for them. The logs had cut ends that I iced differently than the log and stamped with a coil dipped in cocoa to simulate the tree’s rings on the cut ends. The logs also had a “cut off branch” and were decorated with meringue squirrels and mushrooms, some foliage and some berries, all with a sprinkling of powdered sugar snow.

I can’t say that these cakes were difficult as much as I spent a lot of time on them. They were very, very pretty.

I think these stand out to me as hard because the family member that hosted Thanksgiving that year served us some Stouffer’s frozen lasagna and greasy grocery store prepped garlic bread. These cakes were really out of place with this dinner and I don’t think they were much appreciated by many of the family members. However, I enjoyed making them (and eating them) very much.

Another one for me is manti (specifically kayseri mantisi). It’s not particularly difficult, just absolutely tedious. I already think making pierogi is tedious enough that I don’t like doing it, but kayseri mantisi are much smaller. You’re basically cutting dough into 1/2 inch squares and stuffing them with a tiny dab of meat mixture. They are freaking delicious, though, but I’ve only had the patience to make them once (which at least yielded two meals, one for that day, and one frozen), but man was it boring stuffing all those tiny squares of dough.

I do mine in the oven, almost foolproof

Tempering egg, because I am totally impatient with it. Every single time.

I am a bad temperer. So, they will eat their chocolate chip bread pudding with faint streaks in the whiskey sauce and like it. If they know what’s good for them.