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Old 01-27-2007, 09:25 PM   #1
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Help! Aioli Failure!

I haven't had a kitchen failure in a very long time. I know I did something wrong and have a couple of ideas, but I'm really not sure what happened. I followed a simple and, I think, fairly standard aioli recipe which I could post if necessary, but basically I used my food processor and blended everything but the olive oil first and then added the olive oil in a slow, steady pour.

I thought I followed the recipe exactly, but I did think at the time that my Cuisinart food processor was too large for the amount of aioli the recipe was supposed to make. (Called for 3/4 cup olive oil.) I eyeballed my small food processor and it really looked too small so I proceeded with the standard sized one.

It seemed that the blades did not reach the ingredients well in the first processing, and when I started the slow, steady, stream of oil it took a moment or two for the volume to increase to where the blades were doing their job. I carried on pouring but the mixture never thickened as it should. The result was a tasty but runny concotion with a little bit of what looked like proper aioli clinging to the sides of the bowl and floating on top.

I thought of trying my blender next time, but before I make another attempt ... any thoughts? TIA

Franca

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Old 01-28-2007, 12:00 AM   #2
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Could be several things, but posting the recipe would help as I don't know the egg yolk-to-oil ratio that you used. Most recipes call for a ratio of 2 egg yolks to 1 cup of oil. You might've added too much oil which would've broke down the emulsification. If you posted the recipe it would be much more helpful rather than us throwing out a ton of speculations because we don't know exactly what went into the aioli besides eggs and oil. It also could be that there was nothing wrong with your recipe, but simply that your eggs were old. I *think* that the older an egg gets, the amount of lecithin lessens which is what the emulsifying agent is. I don't have my Harold McGee book on my so I'm not totally sure on that.
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:56 AM   #3
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You also might've blended the egg for too long before adding the oil.
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
Could be several things, but posting the recipe would help as I don't know the egg yolk-to-oil ratio that you used. Most recipes call for a ratio of 2 egg yolks to 1 cup of oil. You might've added too much oil which would've broke down the emulsification. If you posted the recipe it would be much more helpful rather than us throwing out a ton of speculations because we don't know exactly what went into the aioli besides eggs and oil. It also could be that there was nothing wrong with your recipe, but simply that your eggs were old. I *think* that the older an egg gets, the amount of lecithin lessens which is what the emulsifying agent is. I don't have my Harold McGee book on my so I'm not totally sure on that.
Mmm, OK, sorry! Here's the recipe (I got it from Cook's Illustrated):
Aioli

Use this sauce as a condiment for meats, fish, and vegetables, or spread it on sandwiches. If necessary, remove the green germ (or stem) in the garlic before pressing or grating it; the germ will give the aļoli a bitter, hot flavor. If you do not have regular olive oil, use a blend of equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and vegetable oil. Ground white pepper is preferred because it's not as visible in the finished aļoli as black pepper, but either can be used. The aļoli will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Makes about 3/4 cup
1 medium clove garlic , peeled 2 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon lemon juice , plus 1 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon table salt
ground white pepper (or black, if white is unavailable) 3/4 cup olive oil
1. Press garlic through garlic press or grate very finely on rasp-style grater. Measure out 1 teaspoon garlic; discard remaining garlic.

2. In food processor, combine garlic, yolks, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste until combined, about 10 seconds. With machine running, gradually add oil in slow steady stream (process should take about 30 seconds); scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and process 5 seconds longer. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, and serve.

So, looking at the recipe again and taking into account your thoughts:

1. I don't have "regular" olive oil and failed to dilute the EVOO - my eyes must have skimmed right over that and gone straight to the ingredient list which just said "olive oil" and I didn't read that to mean "not EVOO".

2. One of the egg yolks may have been old - I had one left when I bought new - but eggs don't usually hang around all that long in our house so while it's possible, it's not probable.

3. Too much oil doesn't seem likely ... could it have been not enough?

4. I used less garlic than called for (no green bits) and added a little bit of dried thyme and dried rosemary because I didn't have fresh.

5. I don't think there's any way the egg yolks were overbeaten; the food processor blades barely touched them, and I didn't beat them at all before putting them into the food processor. At the time I wondered if I should have beaten them a bit first.

So, does any of that help? Thanks for your input!
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:38 AM   #5
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Hmmm...taking all that into account as well the recipe, and eliminating what wouldn't have caused the problem, then it could well be that the eggs were just not whipped enough to create the volume and emulsification once the oil was added. The small FP's normally have a 2 cup capacity so it actually would've worked. The EVOO wouldn't have made a difference other than give you a stronger olive oil flavor. The garlic and herbs wouldn't have made a difference. An immersion or stand blender would've also worked if you have one of those on hand.
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Old 01-28-2007, 04:31 AM   #6
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OK, that seems to agree with my original assessment. I hate it when I ignore that "little voice". I think I will use my standing blender next time. It is narrower than the FP so that volume of aioli should reach the blades properly. My "small FP" is not a Cuisinart; I think it holds about a cup and is really more of a chopper. It might work for about half that recipe's amount of aioli, but (come to think of it) it's quite unhandy for pouring a slow stream of liquid while whirling. I do have an immersion blender as well, but upon consideration I think the standing blender would be easiest and tidiest. Standing blender it is. Thank you!!!
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Old 01-28-2007, 05:34 AM   #7
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Your choice of oil was fine, in my opinion. I think you were correct in the first place about size. We made aoli in a recent Provence cooking class--in an industrial strengh and size RobotCoupe with about 8 egg yolks--and very fine olive oil. Talk about a LOT of aoli!! But it was delicious.
But your post is very timely. I want to make some and I will use the small bowl of my KA food processor. Thanks for the idea and heads up.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candocook
We made aoli in a recent Provence cooking class--in an industrial strengh and size RobotCoupe with about 8 egg yolks--and very fine olive oil. Talk about a LOT of aoli!! But it was delicious.
But your post is very timely. I want to make some and I will use the small bowl of my KA food processor. Thanks for the idea and heads up.
Wow - 8 egg yolks, my goodness. I can't imagine ever needing that much aioli! I'm looking forward to trying again now. I'm pretty sure it will turn out just fine when I use the right tool for the job. I'm sure yours will be yummy, too!
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franca
Wow - 8 egg yolks, my goodness. I can't imagine ever needing that much aioli! I'm looking forward to trying again now. I'm pretty sure it will turn out just fine when I use the right tool for the job. I'm sure yours will be yummy, too!
We definitely didn't need that much. It was just an exercise for the class--4 tables of us--each table bringing their ingredients. It was more to fit the size of the FP--any less wouldn't have "done" correctly, as yours apparently didn't. It was gorgeous fluffy stuff however, and a lot got taken home. We were using it as the garnish for a kind of bouilliabaise made with monkfish--also good stuff!!
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:35 AM   #10
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I've never had this before but it sounds lovely and I want to try to make it. How long does it keep after it's made?
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