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Skwerl

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    Austin, TX

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  1. The Wybauw and Bau books contain some interesting info on shelf life. That invert sugar should help some, but it might also be prudent to slightly increase the chocolate content as far as you can (without killing your desired texture) to further reduce the moisture. Holes in the bottom sound like the ganache was too cold when capped. I've noticed certain fillings poking little holes in the caps when I have been in too much of a hurry and pressed my luck with cold centers. When I put something in the fridge for "just a minute," I'm usually saying "oh, crap!" twenty minutes later when I remember that I put it in there, so I have seen this before a few times.
  2. Patrick, your experience with the Tahitian species matches mine. I'm not overly fond of the Tahitian variety because it does tend to be more subtle, and much more floral in flavor. When trying to get a lot of vanilla flavor by using a lot of the Tahitian beans, I often find the resulting flavor a bit sickening because the floral tones almost start to taste a bit "off." I know a lot of people live and die by the Tahitian ones, but everyone's tastes are different. The planifola beans will give you that nice vanilla wham to which I think most of us are accustomed.
  3. Skwerl

    Mystery Pectin

    Thanks for the suggestions! The label says "Golden Ruban" pectin. In searching for things similar to that on the web, I've found mention of "ruban" in a couple places in conjunction with apple pectin (though it's not necessarily conclusive), so tha's what I am betting it probably is. I'll go searching for those articles, andiesenji. Thank you!
  4. Wow, I didn't realize Chris had moved. He used to be right around the corner from my place, but now I will have to walk a little farther. Guess I'll strap on the Rollerblades. Robert, I can't imagine anyone being anything but impressed with Christopher's chocolates, and his pate de fruit (do not miss the strawberry if it's in stock) is some of the best I've had. The only thing that I have not loved is the coffee, but I attribute that to the beans coming from a local KC roastery that's pretty mediocre in my opinion. Everything else is top notch, so it's hard to go wrong. I'd like to give TruffleGuy's statement about the herbed flavors a 180. If traditionally savory flavors in confections have turned you off before, consider giving Chris' chocolates a shot. TruffleGuy mentioned what a fanatic about flavor Christopher is, and that really shines through in the calculated harmony of his flavors. I've had some chocolates where the presently trendy herb/spice flavors border on putrid, but Chris does it very well. He has a knack for keeping the flavors crisp and identifiable, yet they harmonize well with the chocolate in the ganache and the shell. If any of you visit Kansas City, be sure to dine at The American Restaurant while you are here. A friend of mine is the pastry chef there, and he does a fantastic job. Incidentally, Christopher Elbow was the PC at the American before moving on. Check it out here: The American Restaurant.
  5. I'm no expert, but I've yet to encounter hybrid chocolate types used for molding in books, so there's probably a reason it's just not really done. In my experience, the results of the temper have never been as long-lasting as a good temper of a single type of chocolate. I don't think there's necessarily a reason for this other than it just being a bit more challenging and requiring more experience/luck to get things right when the chocolate is an in-betweener. Plus, despite trying, I've never found milky darks or whiter milks to be all that tasty and thus worth the effort. A couple alternatives you can try is mix differing varieties of the same chocolate type to achieve unique flavor profiles (El Rey, for example, has a really earthy flavor that can add a funkiness to other chocolates), or do your hybrid types in the fillings so that tempering isn't as much of an issue. You're likely to get more flavor mileage there, too.
  6. I haven't worked with pectin before, and I've found that some of my recipes call for specific types. I recently purchased a pound of pectin (I wish my name were Peter Piper), and there's no indication on the labeling as to what type of pectin it is. Is anyone familiar with a battery of sugar/acid tests I can run to determine what type of pectin I have blindly bought? Is price a good earmark of pectin type? It seems to be cheap stuff at $35 per pound. Thanks in advance for any suggestions, everyone.
  7. Thanks so much! I will get right on it. you guys have given me all the info I need. I can taste the leaf croquant already...
  8. Oops! Okay, noted. I didn't think they got that hot, although I burn myself on them all the time...
  9. Thanks so much for the replies, everyone! Hmm, so basically I just need to figure out a way to mount a 250 Watt halogen bulb so that it doesn't fall. This looks like it could be quite a bit more portable than a commercial model, and it sounds like a project I can tackle tonight! Is there any particular reason that the support is a box? Is that designed to keep more heat in, or is that simply a design choice over making something with legs instead? What did you use for your box, Tweety? It looks very glossy like acryllic.
  10. Hi Gulleteers! I tried making leaf croquant the other night, and it was a dismal failure. I just couldn't keep the caramel hot enough to keep it foldable. I think what I need is a heat lamp to keep it warm, and I could use one for pulling sugar as well. I am hoping you guys could give me some suggestions for what to get and where I should order one. This won't be something I use every day, so I don't want to spend a fortune, but I do want one that will work well to keep small quantities of sugar warm. Any suggestions are appreciated!
  11. Thanks so much for the welcomes, Pam and John! Work, school, remodeling and selling a house, moving, and something like a divorce have kept me really busy this past 18 months. My temperer and I have been spending a lot of time together now that things have quieted down. I now live not even a block away from Christopher Elbow's shop, so he's a constant inspiration every time I drive by on my way home. I have chocolate fever again, so I'll be hanging around here a lot more often now. Back on topic, sort of, did anyone else notice that the recipes in Andrew's book all call for glucose or corn syrup (I forget which, exactly) instead of invert sugar? Perhaps this was just an effort to help the home cook, but now that I keep Nulomoline on-hand, I would prefer to use it. Can I substitute Nulomoline ounce for ounce, or is it not that simple?
  12. I thought it might take some work to find pastis where I live, so I tested using a little anise extract instead. It's a very nice flavor combination, so now I have no qualms about doing the footwork to find pastis. I slowly added miniscule amounts of the extract until I thought the flavor was right. This might be an adequate experiment for you to use to test its palatability.
  13. Randi, thanks for the suggestion. I ordered a bottle of their apple flavoring, so I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Fred, hello again! I thought about getting in touch with Amoretti, but the guy at their booth treated me like I was trash off the street at the last WPTC that I attended. I don't plan to buy from them. The author of the book responded to my query in another forum thread, saying that the apple essence he uses is a flavoring used in Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops! It's sold only in large volume and should be available at candymaking supply stores. I'll report back when I make the ganache!
  14. Thanks so much for the speedy reply, Drew. Is it green apple flavoring? Large volume, eh? Sounds like I'll be making apple ganache, apple sorbet, apple ice cream, apple taffy, apple hard candy, apple gianduja, apple jaconde, apple caramel, apple caramel apples, apple yogurt, apple mashed potatoes, applemeringue, apple... Oh, my poor friends...
  15. Humblest apologies for temporarily hijacking this thread, but it was suggested I post here to catch the attention of Mr. Schotts. I’m having trouble locating the Apple Essence product required for the candied apple ganache. Nor have I found natural apple oil to use in its place- only nasty green apple flavoring. Do you know of a mail order/on-line source where we civilians would be able to find either of those? I love the book so far, and this is one of the filling flavors in which I am most interested! Thanks in advance!
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