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Why Use fondant?


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#61 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:23 AM

That light, dissolve on the tongue texture you described from mixes is due to all the sugar in them. Sugar is a tenderizer and turns the structure into cotton candy in the mouth.  It is like biting into air, lol. 

Experimenting with recipes and flavors is the best part for me, although decorating is fun as well.  I like cakes best that are simply decorated, fine lines and very little adornment.  Honestly, I hope it does not revert back to frilly swags and spaced tiers.  Let’s keep the Rococo period in the past, lol.

Best...

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Well yeah it's the sugar but it's also those 'plastic' fats they use too.

Simply decorated cakes require a greater degree of expertise and so are much more difficult to produce because you have to be uber exact and without the Rococo to slather all over & cover it all up--you gotta be real dang good at icing stuff
...or...use...f-o-n-d-a-n-t.

I like spaced tiers. I like stacked too.

I had a bride the other day look at a five tier cake with a symetrical fondant drape all the way down (page 246 in the 2006 Grace Ormond book, the green & white) with scrolls & blablabla and she says, "Oh that would be easy." I took a leveled look at her & said,
"A cupcake is easy." :rolleyes:

But truth to tell, the cupcake wedding cakes are so labor intensive they cost just as much as tier cake, or should cost just as much. Custom made stand, come on.

Less decor is much more expertise unless you stay rustic. Rustic meaning broad strokes and no fine lines, rough iced--which I like that too. But if you're after the smooth & sleek--it ain't easy, folks. Fine lines take expertise out the wazoo, roll out the fondant* or wield a wicked spatula.

*shhh, don't tell the Mayhaw Man :laugh:

Edited by K8memphis, 28 June 2006 - 06:27 AM.


#62 Kris

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:28 AM

...If you are looking for a good light, textured, fluffy but with a good tooth white cake, then try the Cook's Illustrated white layer cake.  I also have a slightly altered version out it from the James McNair's Cake book that makes it denser, if that is your ticket, just let me know.

That light, dissolve on the tongue texture you described from mixes is due to all the sugar in them. Sugar is a tenderizer and turns the structure into cotton candy in the mouth.  It is like biting into air, lol. 

Experimenting with recipes and flavors is the best part for me, although decorating is fun as well.  I like cakes best that are simply decorated, fine lines and very little adornment.  Honestly, I hope it does not revert back to frilly swags and spaced tiers.  Let’s keep the Rococo period in the past, lol.

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RodneyCk, I tried the Cook's Illustrated cake. I tried several white cake recipes from the Ultimate White cake thread on this very board. At first they tasted okay -just after being removed from the oven, while they were warm. But as they cooled, I found the texture to get crumbly/powdery and sort of dry. Maybe it's just my palate, maybe it's my technique. I brought in slices of these various white cakes to my co-workers/friends (my guinea pigs) and they all agreed that the white cake was inferior to the yellow/butter cake that I usually make.

Overall I prefer richer and denser textured cakes made with whole eggs vs. egg whites. For that same reason I don't like (nor make) angel food cake. It just has a crumbly and powdery texture that I don't care for.

I have a cake book by James McNair (I wonder if it's the same one you're talking about), but I haven't tried his white cake recipe. I will try this one next.

My main interest in starting out was learning how to decorate a cake. I'm no Colette Peters or Sylvia Weinstock, but I can get by with producing a decent looking cake. Now I'm focusing a lot more on the actual cake itself - the taste, the the texture, the right combination of ingredients & technique to produce great scratch cakes that are consistently good each time.

I'm with you - I hope that cake decorating doesn't revert back to that "rococco style" that you described. :laugh: It seems dated and over-the-top now. But funny enough, I've read where some decorators wistfully long for those days since they were able to put their piping & lambeth skills to good use.

With the popularity of fondant in America has come a stripped down, modern looking type of stacked cake with minimal piping (except for some lacy/embroidered techniques) and lots of gumpaste flowers. I don't see this trend going away soon.

#63 divalasvegas

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:41 AM

Wow, what a debate! Who knew that the pros and cons of fondant could inspire such passions? Well, obviously Mayhaw Man did! :biggrin: Almost as passionate as a discussion of whether one loves or hates okra--the QUEEN of vegetables. :wub:

The Old Foodie put it best when she asked:

I am speaking here strictly as an amateur who loves baking but does not do icing. I am puzzled. Perhaps one of the professionals posting here can de-confuse me.

Leaving aside the apparent possibility that there are individuals who LIKE the flavour and/or texture of fondant, the arguments FOR it seem to be, that it looks good, provides a good platform for decoration, and keeps good (and keeps the cake good) - my question is:

There are some incredibly clever and imaginative pastry artists out there - Surely it is possible for professional bakers to come up with something that looks good, provides a good platform for decoration, keeps good (and keeps the cake good) AND tastes good as well?


And Sugarella answered the challenge with:

I do use fondant, but I make my own and there are ways to make it taste less like a mouthful of straight sugar and there are ways to make it less chewy. And there are ways to apply it thin enough that it blends into the buttercream underneath and can't really be detected, but most cake makers I think stick to the prepackaged stuff.

If a cake design allows for it, I'm glad to omit it and just use buttercream. Or ganache. Or marzipan. Or anything.


Sounds like she's found the happy medium, so to speak, which satisfies the desire for a gorgeous cake that also tastes delicious. So Sugarella any chance you could post a pic or two of cakes you've made using your thin fondant over buttercream technique? I sincerely hope that you do patent it and make million$, laughing all the way to the bank. :wink:
Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

#64 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:00 AM

Overall I prefer richer and denser textured cakes made with whole eggs vs. egg whites.  For that same reason I don't like (nor make) angel food cake.  It just has a crumbly and powdery texture that I don't care for.

With the popularity of fondant in America has come a stripped down, modern looking type of stacked cake with minimal piping (except for some lacy/embroidered techniques) and lots of gumpaste flowers.  I don't see this trend going away soon.

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I just recently switched over to Sylvia Weinstock's butter cake, but I've used a certain butter cake forever. I call it 'golden cake'. To get around the 'white flavor' that Sugarella mentioned didn't exist. I just use part whole eggs and part whites--comes out pale golden. Appeals to brides :biggrin: gets me off the hook.

Umm, but how do you get a crumbly powdery angel food cake? They are so moist they would wad up well and make more ammo in the fondant fight fad mentioned upthread. But I do understand the powdery kinda flavor, is that what you meant? But crumbly??

But as far as trends and decor goes. The brides drive that. What they see is what they want. If they grew up wanting a lighted pink fountain cake with bulbous swags and shells and rainbow colored satelites all perched on gangly dangly white columns with staircases a plenty so be it. To quote RLBerenbaum's Cake Bible page 211, "...One of those hulking white Baroque numbers, adorned with plastic Grecian columns and insipid cupids."

Where the rub is there, is that some of today's decorators don't how to do that stuff. All that pipey sh*t is another learning curve. They/we do strings out of fondant now--what a great idea though--those buggers are murder to pipe--but once you got it you got it. If you can just squirt fondant out of a clay gun & attach 'em--guys, fondant ain't going nowhere. :raz:

Edited by K8memphis, 28 June 2006 - 07:02 AM.


#65 RodneyCk

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:33 AM

--those buggers are murder to pipe--but once you got it you got it. If you can just squirt fondant out of a clay gun & attach 'em--guys, fondant ain't going nowhere.  :raz:

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That is another point I was going to make. My instructor is suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome from being in the business so long as a cake decorator. After each class, I can see why she suffers. Piping takes just about every muscle in the hand, placing it in constant tension for long periods of time, sometimes all day. I am a massage therapist by practice, so I know what happens when muscles are overworked and stressed. So, if someone was ever looking for an argument for fondant, that would be one, lol.

In regards to the Cook's Illustrated white cake, yes, it is a very light, tender crumb. I would say you are looking for something close to the true "buttercake". Pass on the James McNair cake, because he literally took the CI cake and changed the leavening and flour ratio and just made it a bit dense, although still maintaining that angel food cake quality. The Joy of Baking, on their website, they have a white buttercake, separating the eggs to give the cake a light appearance, not true white, but yet maintains the buttercake qualities. I have not made it yet, but it sounds like it the direction you are headed.

Back to decorating... I agree that making a fine-lined cake is even more difficult than a pipe bomb. I am perfecting my smoothing techniques, wielding several spatulas of varying sizes like machetes, perfect leveled tops and a lot of dipping paintbrushes in water to correct the borders, lol. There are faster and easier ways to coat, to even make them smooth like fondant, but it requires a crusting American type powdered sugar frostings (the "cake ladies" are all over this technique), which is actually like a homemade fondant really, but I refuse to compromise taste and blood sugar levels.

“It puts the buttercream in the bucket…It takes off the buttercream from the cake…”

#66 annecros

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:04 AM

I agree that fondant is a nasty thing to put on a perfectly good cake. I agree it holds up well.

But, fondant in the confectionary? Indespensible. Consider your latest chocolate covered cherry.

#67 etalanian

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:38 AM

I agree that fondant is a nasty thing to put on a perfectly good cake. I agree it holds up well.

But, fondant in the confectionary? Indespensible. Consider your latest chocolate covered cherry.

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I agree. Fondant does have its place in confectionery. But candy is candy, and cake is cake.
K8Memphis is right - it's a texture thing in addition to the lack of flavor. Who wants a moist, tender, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cake and buttercream experience to be foiled by a chewy, plastic-like texture?

I went to a wedding last summer where the cake was actually made up of many small, tiered, simply but elegantly decorated, cakes - each about 4-inches in height - set up to resemble the basic form of a large tiered wedding cake. It was designed and executed by Bob Bennet of Miel Patisserie, quite the esteemed pastry chef in Philadelphia and environs. Each guest received an individual tiered cake as dessert, and there were containers to take the little cakes home if desired. The cakes were made with true buttercream, and were exquisite. Simple in their decoration, but striking in the overall appearance. A nice way to make a non-Rococo statement without the chewy flavorless stuff.

Eileen

edited by et for typo

Edited by etalanian, 28 June 2006 - 08:39 AM.

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#68 slkinsey

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:15 AM

That's what you get for liking cake more than pie, my friend.
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#69 etalanian

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 10:52 AM

That's what you get for liking cake more than pie, my friend.

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I'm not sure who your comment was intended for, but if it was for me, I would respond that, given the choice between cake and pie, I would choose a piece of both! As long as they were made with butter.


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#70 K8memphis

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:02 AM

That's what you get for liking cake more than pie, my friend.

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I'm not sure who your comment was intended for, but if it was for me, I would respond that, given the choice between cake and pie, I would choose a piece of both! As long as they were made with butter.


Eileen

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All diets aside, if I get to choose, I'll take my heavily cinnamon-ed apple pie made with lard and saigon cinnamon. And for cake, I'll take a crusty rum cake encrusted with all manner of finely chopped coconut and pecans & brown sugar (just a tid tad of flour so it adheres to the cake & relases from the sides of the pan. 86 the fondant! :raz:

#71 Dailey

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:27 AM

don't forget the vanilla ice-cream with that apple pie! :biggrin: and i agree about using lard, i get mine fresh from a little deli down the street. makes the best crust.

#72 annecros

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:19 PM

So, after reading page after page:

Cake or Pie?

That just isn't a fair question, is it?

The rest of my life? Please, if I can produce one, I can produce another.

:laugh:

ETA: I meant to say:

"An Other"

Edited by annecros, 28 June 2006 - 01:21 PM.


#73 slkinsey

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:23 PM

Read the OP's signature. And check out this thread.

I like cake. I like cake more than pie. Questions?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#74 alanamoana

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:22 PM

Back to decorating...  I agree that making a fine-lined cake is even more difficult than a pipe bomb.  I am perfecting my smoothing techniques, wielding several spatulas of varying sizes like machetes, perfect leveled tops and a lot of dipping paintbrushes in water to correct the borders, lol.  There are faster and easier ways to coat, to even make them smooth like fondant, but it requires a crusting American type powdered sugar frostings (the "cake ladies" are all over this technique), which is actually like a homemade fondant really, but I refuse to compromise taste and blood sugar levels. 

“It puts the buttercream in the bucket…It takes off the buttercream from the cake…”

View Post



:laugh: Silence of the Wedding Cake


but there is another way...you can glaze with italian meringue buttercream. perfectly shmoove surface, rounded edges...tastes great (but i won't say less filling).

#75 alanamoana

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:23 PM

I agree that fondant is a nasty thing to put on a perfectly good cake. I agree it holds up well.

But, fondant in the confectionary? Indespensible. Consider your latest chocolate covered cherry.

View Post


again, a different creature.

#76 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:08 PM

Read the OP's signature.  And check out this thread.

I like cake. I like cake more than pie. Questions?

View Post


I believe that it's important to take a firm, clear stand on the things that are important in this world. No need to mince words. Just consider the issue from a well informed point of view, weigh it out, and proudly let your choice be known

I don't need no stinking public opinion. I like cake.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#77 etalanian

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:24 PM

don't forget the vanilla ice-cream with that apple pie!  and i agree about using lard, i get mine fresh from a little deli down the street. makes the best crust.



If I could get fresh lard around here, I would definitely use it in my pies. You are so lucky.

Back on thread: I like cake, but without fondant. So there!

(You are a real trouble-maker, Mayhaw Man!)

Eileen
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#78 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:34 PM

If I could get fresh lard around here, I would definitely use it in my pies. You are so lucky.
(You are a real trouble-maker, Mayhaw Man!)

Eileen

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Make some. You'll be glad you did.

Ever had an egg fried in lard? You'll never go back.

Trouble maker? Well, Ok, but, really, I see myself more as a moral compass trying to guide the lost souls in this world to a land where pie is something to be enjoyed occasionally and cake, delicious cake, is something that will sit on the altar to be worshipped and studied-and then happily consumed at the end of the service.
Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

#79 RuthWells

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:35 AM

It was designed and executed by Bob Bennet of Miel Patisserie,

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Unfortunately for us Philadelphians, Chef Bennet is *formerly* of Miel Patisserie. :sad:

Edited to try to stay marginally on topic -- I'm not crazy about fondant covered cakes from a taste perspective, but I actually like the judicious use of fondant appliques over true buttercream. It adds another flavor and texture note that I enjoy.

Edited by RuthWells, 29 June 2006 - 07:39 AM.


#80 RodneyCk

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 12:00 PM

:laugh: Silence of the Wedding Cake

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I was wondering if anyone would get that reference. Actually, to stay on topic, I should have said;

"It puts the buttercream on the cake.....OR IT GETS THE FONDANT!!!"

:laugh:

#81 chromedome

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 05:34 PM

Y'know what? Icing is just the airseal on a cake, to protect it until it's eaten. It's packaging. That's it, that's all.

I've had pretty much every kind of icing you can imagine, and I don't like any of them. Not just commercial (ugh!) icings and fondants, either. One advantage of going to cooking school is that you get to taste them all when made from scratch. I still don't like 'em. As and when I put something on a cake for home consumption, it's basically only ever going to be ganache (for special occasions) or whipped cream. Whipped cream, after overnight refrigeration, sets up into a nicely thick coating which keeps the cake moist. And how can you not like whipped cream on cake?

Having said that, though, I'm a professional and I sell product. Icing is the packaging for the specific product called "cake," and packaging - on any product - is targeted at the desired audience. Give the people what they want (or at least what they think they want) and you can't go very far wrong.
Fat=flavor

#82 chefpeon

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:07 PM

I originally wasn't going to say much about this topic because a lot of various points have already been made.

But, from my point of view as a professional cake designer, I consider fondant only a medium. Just like an artist has oils, pastels, canvas, fabric, paint, stone, etc.......I have my fondant, chocolate, buttercream, marzipan, etc.

When I consult with a client, not only do I provide samples of cake, but I also have little samples of things like fondant, marzipan, modeling chocolate.....gumpaste.....anything that is edible. I use a flower cutter to cut out the little samples, so they'll look cute. I also provide tiny spoons for them to taste ganache and the like.

I always ask the client what is important to them. Or rather, MORE important. Are they all about the taste? Or is it going to be this big showy grand centerpiece? I explain the pros and cons of the different mediums and let them decide. Sometimes a bride will come to me with a picture from a magazine and say "I want that". I will say ''Ok, but this design requires that I cover the cake with fondant." Then I will give her a sample of the fondant. She will be so turned off by the taste of the fondant, she abandons her original idea altogether, and I help her come up with a design she likes the looks of as well as the taste of. If you take the time to educate your clients, you will have much less headaches later.

Personally, I don't think fondant tastes THAT bad, but it's not my favorite. But I will grant that some BRANDS of fondant are beyond horrible. I've always liked using Pettinice myself.

And <gasp>, some people actually LOVE fondant! So there you go.

One time I had a family consult with me, and they were from the South. When I showed them my cake books and explained some current trends to them, they were HORRIFIED to learn that people were actually putting FRESH FLOWERS on cakes. It actually grossed them out! For them, it was icing flowers or NOTHING. Diff'rent strokes you know.

When you're in the specialty cake business, and you need to make a cake look a certain way, sometimes fondant is a must. As long as my clients KNOW what they're getting, and I make sure they do, there's really not a whole lot to fuss about.

I think debating about using fondant, is like discussing whether or not Van Gogh was a great artist. Some will say he was brilliant, and some will say he was an overrated depressed one-eared worthless painter. Ahem.

This thread has the distinct possibility of going on forever. :raz:

#83 RuthWells

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:00 PM




:laugh: Silence of the Wedding Cake

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I was wondering if anyone would get that reference. Actually, to stay on topic, I should have said;

"It puts the buttercream on the cake.....OR IT GETS THE FONDANT!!!"

:laugh:

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THANK you -- NOW I get it!!
:laugh:

#84 etalanian

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 08:22 PM

Ever had an egg fried in lard? You'll never go back.


I grew up in Indiana, where a fried egg was ALWAYS fried in bacon fat. So, no, I haven't had one fried in lard, but why would I when frying one in bacon fat is so exquisitely delicious?

Unfortunately for us Philadelphians, Chef Bennet is *formerly* of Miel Patisserie.


Yes, we all miss him, but when he did the cake, he was still running Miel.

When I consult with a client, not only do I provide samples of cake, but I also have little samples of things like fondant, marzipan, modeling chocolate.....gumpaste.....anything that is edible. I use a flower cutter to cut out the little samples, so they'll look cute. I also provide tiny spoons for them to taste ganache and the like.

I always ask the client what is important to them. Or rather, MORE important. Are they all about the taste? Or is it going to be this big showy grand centerpiece? I explain the pros and cons of the different mediums and let them decide. Sometimes a bride will come to me with a picture from a magazine and say "I want that". I will say ''Ok, but this design requires that I cover the cake with fondant." Then I will give her a sample of the fondant. She will be so turned off by the taste of the fondant, she abandons her original idea altogether, and I help her come up with a design she likes the looks of as well as the taste of. If you take the time to educate your clients, you will have much less headaches later.


That is a most professional way to do it. I don't think a lot of brides or their moms understand how those cakes get perfectly smooth, and what fondant tastes (and chews) like.

This thread has the distinct possibility of going on forever.


Yes, and it sure is fun!

Eileen
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#85 RodneyCk

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:27 PM

I grew up in Indiana, where a fried egg was ALWAYS fried in bacon fat. So, no, I haven't had one fried in lard, but why would I when frying one in bacon fat is so exquisitely delicious?

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I grew up in Indiana as well, and my grandmother use to fry up the bacon, and then use the fat to fry the eggs. They are to this day, the best eggs I have ever tasted. Many people are grossed out by this. They just have not tried it. :raz:

A friend of mine uses it in his pastry crust. Best crust I have ever tasted. It is also, I believe, the secret ingredient in Jiffy pie crust, another Indiana favorite. I make my own crusts, but my grandmother use to use Jiffy doctored up with more shortening or lard. She made the best pies.

She also used it to fry chicken, again, the best chicken ever.

I miss her jars of bacon fat sitting on the kitchen counter. I always knew something good would come of it.

Edited by RodneyCk, 29 June 2006 - 10:28 PM.


#86 K8memphis

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:33 PM

RODNEY, ELAINE!!!

That's it!!! That's it!!!

Leave it to fellow Hoosiers to solve the dilema of the ages!!!

Fondant needs bacon grease!!!

:laugh: :laugh:

#87 RodneyCk

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:58 PM

RODNEY, ELAINE!!!

That's it!!! That's it!!!

Leave it to fellow Hoosiers to solve the dilema of the ages!!!

Fondant needs bacon grease!!! 

:laugh:  :laugh:

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LOL...nope. Not even bacon grease can save fondant.

#88 etalanian

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 07:58 AM

And lest we be fooled by that fondant-using decorator...I went to grade school with K8Memphis in Indiana (sorry for outing you, Kathy Dear).

Ah, it now becomes clear why she would make such a worthy suggestion for the improvement of fondant.

I say put bacon fat in everything .

Eileen

edited by me to correct a typo.

Edited by etalanian, 30 June 2006 - 08:00 AM.

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#89 Tippy

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:40 PM

I just don't know.

I've used fondant a number of times - but never without some disappointment.

sure, Wilton's is by far the worst - but even FondX and Pettinice aren't wonderful.

There is no escaping the 'chewy' texture - but it makes a beautiful cake.

The wedding cake I just made was covered in it - but after the bride and groom took the first piece - the largest layer was taken, stripped of the fondant and a layer of buttercream was put on.

Best of both worlds and (in my opinion) more cake decorators should offer this service.

#90 Kris

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 01:10 PM

...The wedding cake I just made was covered in it - but after the bride and groom took the first piece - the largest layer was taken, stripped of the fondant and a layer of buttercream was put on. 

Best of both worlds and (in my opinion) more cake decorators should offer this service.

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But didn't you put a layer of buttercream under the fondant already? I don't see why they should have had to apply a fresh new coat of it.