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Agave Nectar


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33 replies to this topic

#1 mckayinutah

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 05:47 AM

Hello all,

I have a banquet coming up on Saturday for a health group that does not want any sugar used for their meal. They want AGAVE used, which is a sugar substitute ( I have never heard of or seen this before ). I did my homework and found that I will need 3/4 the amount of agave for regular granulated sugar. The group has also agreed to supply me with the agave.

The question I have is this: their dessert will be a double decker pumpkin chiffon tart ( a thin layer of traditional pumpkin pie, baked, then topped with a pumpkin chiffon ) The agave should be no problem in the pumpkin pie, but with the pumpkin chiffon, I need to create a meringue to fold in to the pumpkin mixture. How is this Agave going to affect my meringue? It is a basic meringue in which I heat up the egg whites and sugar till warm , then whip to stiff peaks.

The banquet is for 600 people, so a lot of agave would need to be used for the meringue.


Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Jason

#2 Bicycle Lee

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:47 PM

well, my fellow Utahn, I have read and been told from various sources that the roots of agave/yucca were used by native americans as a foaming agent, so perhaps adding it to a meringue could lead to a fluffier product...I am no expert, however. This is just one thing I have heard and have been curious to experiment with.
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#3 Skwerl

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 01:03 PM

Jason, you might be a pioneer in the agave meringue field. I've never heard of using agave in anything but tequila and juices. Do you have a supplier that sells in relatively small amounts? You're probably going to just have to get some of the agave sugar early and experiment. I'd be interested in playing with the stuff too, since it might have some cool properties in the way that isomalt behaves differently than sucrose.

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#4 mckayinutah

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 01:54 PM

I just got the Agave from the group that we are doing the banquet for on Saturday. The are a health conscious group, not wanting any sugar or white flour products. They must be some sort of health food company, as the container of Agave is labeled as coming from their company.

I will try a sample meringue tomorrow and let all who are interested how it goes.

P.S. The Agave looks like honey ( same color ) but is alot thinner ( think olive oil consistency ) The taste is very good and not as sticky as honey, but also not as sweet :rolleyes: Now as I sit here with it lingering in my mouth, it has a tingling effect on my tongue and throat.

Take care,


Jason

#5 mckayinutah

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 01:58 PM

This just in: my tongue is now somewhat numb. :laugh:



Jason

#6 Skwerl

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 06:40 PM

Now I'm really curious about this stuff! "Agave! You'll know it's working when your tongue tingles and your throat starts to burn!" Gee, doesn't that sound like a delightful dimension to add to our pastry creations? If you numb the customer's tongues, it will remove the burden of making things taste good. Now we'll be able to load that lemon curd with gelatin and make towers out of it! Or better yet, forget the lemon curd and just use the gelatin. Somehow, life after the agave pastry revolution doesn't sound all that fun after all... :)

--JU
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#7 Alex

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 08:01 AM

I'm glad you started this thread, Jason, and am looking forward to hearing about your (and anyone else's) experiences baking with agave. Later this month I'll be making a Chocolate Raspberry Cake for my cousin, using a recipe out of Chef Sato's All-Natural Desserts (a great book, out of print but supposedly being reprinted). For health reasons she follows a macrobiotic-type diet, and so she requested several substitutions, including agave nectar instead of maple syrup. Jason, in your research did you come across any info about how to substitute agave for products other than granulated sugar? Thanks to all in advance.
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#8 mckayinutah

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 12:01 PM

THE VERDICT:


It worked :biggrin:

The original meringue recipe was 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, mixed with 8 egg whites, heated over a double boiler until warm to the touch, then whipped until stiff.

Used 1 cup Agave ( 3/4 x original amount of sugar )

Meringue came out tan in color, but that will be alright since I'm folding it into a pumpkin mix.


Jason

#9 Steve Klc

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 02:55 PM

What's the name of the business or supplier? Look at their website--and if you think this company might benefit from a real pastry chef developing some recipes and desserts for them, Jason, make your pitch. This sounds like a nice promotional opportunity you've stumbled upon, if not a paid consulting one. If they are in town, maybe do an additional dessert or two and have the marketing person in for a taste.
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#10 Kent Wang

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 10:34 AM

Thoughts on agave vs honey for use in tea? The flavor seems rather plain, not complex like (some) honey is. I'm sure it can be good for baking and other uses as a substitute for sugar.

#11 Jmahl

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 10:52 AM

When you say agave - do you mean miel de agave? As first I couldn't figure out what you were refering to. Is sounded like those translated menus that go for a cazuela de pollo to a pot full of chickens.

My wife buys miel de agave in Mexico - she says it has medicinal uses - we live five miles from the border so going to Mexico is an every day thing here. The product she buys is from Tlaxcala and has a full analisis showing 61% carbos.

Interesting product use -- I'll have to experiment. If anyone is looking for a suppler - let me know.
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#12 andiesenji

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 01:00 PM

I have used agave nectar in dressings for fruit salads. I am a diabetic and this product is 28% sweeter than sugar so less is used. It has a very low glycemic index.

The brand available in most stores around here is Cucamonga, a subsidiary of Western Commercial Corporation.
Here is a list of their products.
The page also contains the nutrient profile of agave nectar and functional properties.

If you have tingling in your mouth from the agave, you may have an allergy. It should not cause numbness or tingling.

Yucca is a totally differnt plant - the roots contain saponins and were used as a soap.
Only the yucca flowers are edible, the "desert candlestick" that bloom in late winter, early spring.

Yuca is yet a different plant and the tuber is edible.

Agave nectar is kosher.

Blue agave is the plant that is used to produce tequila.
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#13 beacheschef

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:06 PM

What have people been doing with agave syrup since this topic was last discussed?

Has anyone baked a cake substituting agave syrup for sugar?

Thanks for any info you can pass along!
Mary
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#14 CaliPoutine

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:29 PM

I bought this one about two months ago. I gave one away and I'm still on my first bottle. All I've used it for so far is on grapefruit and in my oatmeal.

I bought it because I'm diabetic and it has a low glycemic index as Andi stated above. I've never baked anything with it, but I'm not opposed to it.

#15 gfron1

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:54 PM

I use it fairly regularly and in fact used it in the pastry challenge round 2 for my sage ice cream.

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#16 duckduck

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 04:54 PM

I used it in my custard in my round of the pastry challenge. Haven't used it in cake yet.
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#17 andiesenji

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 07:11 PM

I use agave nectar in baked goods, breads, both yeast (yeast seems to really like it because I had great results with cinnamon rolls) and quickbreads, scones, etc., fruit pies, bread pudding, egg custard - the only thing which was iffy, not sure if it was the agave, was lemon curd. The batch I made with agave did not set up as firmly as usual.

As I mentioned above, I use it in dressing, marinades and have excellent results using it in fruit syrups and it was especially good in a toasted pecan syrup.
I have also used it very successfully in ice cream, gelato and ices.
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#18 beacheschef

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 07:14 PM

I use it fairly regularly and in fact used it in the pastry challenge round 2 for my sage ice cream.

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Have you baked a cake with it before?
I'm going to experiment with chocolate cake tomorrow, as that's what the customer has requested.

Other than reducing the amount of agave used in a recipe (3/4 agave for every unit of sugar, as in the earlier post), can you provide any tips for using it?

Does it have a bit of an aftertaste?

Thanks
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#19 gfron1

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 09:51 PM

I haven't used it in a traditional sponge or genois, but I have in dacquois and shortbread, so i don't think I can give you a helpful response. And as for an aftertaste, there is a slight dull taste, but I don't think it would be noticed. Let us know how the experiments go.

The only tip is that I normally incorporate it into another liquid that is in the recipe (ie milk) on the stove top and consider it part of the liquid ingredients if that makes sense.

So for example, if the recipe was 1 C. Sugar, 1 C. Flour, 1 C. Milk...I might try 1 C. Flour and .75 Milk/Agave...but its all playing and I also am doing altitude adjustments at the same time.

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#20 beacheschef

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 10:47 AM

I haven't used it in a traditional sponge or genois, but I have in dacquois and shortbread, so i don't think I can give you a helpful response.  And as for an aftertaste, there is a slight dull taste, but I don't think it would be noticed.  Let us know how the experiments go.

The only tip is that I normally incorporate it into another liquid that is in the recipe (ie milk) on the stove top and consider it part of the liquid ingredients if that makes sense.

So for example, if the recipe was 1 C. Sugar, 1 C. Flour, 1 C. Milk...I might try 1 C. Flour and .75 Milk/Agave...but its all playing and I also am doing altitude adjustments at the same time.

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For the recipe that I'm using for a chocolate chiffon cake, there doesn't seem to be excess liquid to reduce - to compensate for the addition of the agave syrup.
The liquid ingredients are yolks, oil, vanilla.

Boiling water is added to the cocoa powder/coffee powder - should I reduce some of this water? Eliminate the water and replace it with the correct amount of boiling agave syrup? Any thoughts on this?

The cake is in the oven right now, and I didn't decrease any liquid in my first attempt. THE batter was quite thin - will see how it baked.

Thanks again.
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#21 gfron1

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:47 PM

I wouldn't eliminate the water but you could do a water/agave mixture since its boiling and see what happens....I'll keep answering, but this is uncharted territory.

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM


#22 beacheschef

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 04:30 PM

The first cake was dense and rubbery - due to the additional liquid. I had followed the recipe exactly, except where I substituted the agave syrup for the sugar.

I reworked the recipe to remove the boiling water that was supposed to be added to the cocoa / powdered coffee and just sifted these items into the dry ingred. The agave syrup added almost exactly the same amount of liquid to the recipe as the removed water, and I added that with the yolks / oil / vanilla.

The reworked cake came out beautifully! And, due to the chocolate, I can't taste any aftertaste from the agave.

I have to say that I got out my Cake Bible and played with cake percentages to truly inderstand what was going on.

Tonite I'll experiment with Italian Meringue Buttercream (I want to see how the agave works when boiled) and some sort of chocolate mousse / fudge frosting that I can eliminate the sugar from.


Any thoughts on a good chocolate filling for this chocolate chiffon cake - one that I can substitute agave syrup for sugar (no semisweet chocolate allowed here!)

Thanks
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#23 beacheschef

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:44 PM

I made Italian Meringue buttercream with the agave syrup and it curdled.
The meringue was fine - but as I added the room-temp butter into the cooled meringue, it curdled. I continued to whip it as I added vanilla and a drop of lemon juice, but no improvement.

So, thinking that I had to do SOMETHING...I added more a bit more butter.
That actually made the mess curdle into larger clumps - like cottage cheese.
I refrigerated the mess, hoping I can rewarm and rewhip it tomorrow.

It looks like there's too much liquid in the buttercream...?

Does anyone have thoughts on how to create a buttercream with agave?
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#24 Tri2Cook

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:08 PM

In general (ice creams, sorbets, etc.), should it be a problem? I have a friend who can't have refined sugar (one of her many food allergies which also includes chocolate :sad:) and I'm trying to figure out what I can and can't work with when experimenting. I'm a newbie to using agave. I have a big bottle of raw, organic agave nectar to play around with but I thought I'd borrow some egullet knowledge on the subject before getting started.
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#25 Jean Blanchard

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 09:21 AM

I'm trying to cut back on sugar. I've seen a few recipes and am toying with buying Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano. Since this is so new to me, I'm wondering what results anyone else may have had making the substitution.

#26 tino27

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 12:22 PM

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#27 Sif

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 01:34 AM

I use it a lot, mostly because I think it has a really nice taste compared to regular white sugar. Just remember to adjust the liquid in the recipe.

#28 sugarseattle

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 10:23 AM

I love the flavor of agave...we use it all the time to sweeten our tea, and i often put a little squeeze over fruit salad...it gives it a nice floral scent.

i've been thinking about using it instead of corn syrup in my marshmallows...anybody ever try this?
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#29 andiesenji

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 12:51 PM

I have used it quite a lot. I am a diabetic and my nutritionist recommended that I use this as a substitute for other sweeteners in certain foods. In particular, I use it in egg custards (for some reason Splenda, which is fine in other foods, produces a slightly bitter taste in plain custards and plain rice custards, etc.

I have used it in tea, lemonade, other fruit drinks, etc., with good results.
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#30 pagosselin

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:57 PM

I love the flavor of agave...we use it all the time to sweeten our tea, and i often put a little squeeze over fruit salad...it gives it a nice floral scent.

i've been thinking about using it instead of corn syrup in my marshmallows...anybody ever try this?

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Sugarseattle, Here's a site with a demo using agava syrup. It's from the marshmallow thread. :smile: It is a site that also sells agava.
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