Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Skwerl

  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. 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!
  16. Thanks, Zoe. According to the author of the book, these products do exist, although I've had trouble finding them. As the "Apple Essence" mentioned in the recipe is capitalized, I assume this is a brand name. "Natural apple oil" is suggested in the recipe's description as a substitute, and immitation is strongly discouraged. All I found in my neck of the woods was "apple flavoring," and it had a nasty artificial green apple scent. Alana, I will check out the site and see if I can talk them into selling a small quantity to me if the have it. Thanks for the link! And yes, it HAS been a long time! I've been very busy, but am now happily re-immersed in pastry land. It's good to be back! Josh
  17. I picked up a copy of Andrew Schotts' book last week and was particularly interested in the candied apple ganache recipe. I have been unable to find the "Apple Essence" or apple oil, the recommended substitute, locally here in Kansas City (shocker). A few Google searches didn't turn up any vendors, either. Have any of you seen the Apple Essence product (or natural apple oil) for sale somewhere on the net? Thaks for suggestions! Josh
  18. Ah, someone else in my back yard growing it in their back yard! It's an annual for us here, though, isn't it? I'll see what happens when I bring it in for the winter. Thanks for the link, Russell. I added those recipes to my collection. That does sound good! I do enjoy canning jams and jellies (Black raspberry/blueberry is my favorite), so I will give this a shot. Now the problem is that I am going to have to wait for these plants to grow before I start snipping at them. I have ordered half a pound of dried lemon verbena from Glenbrook Farms, so let the good times roll!
  19. I've fallen in love with this herb, so I think it deserves its own thread. I have three questions for you guys. First, have any of you tried growing it? I found and ordered a pair of the plants on eBay today, so I thought I'd ask if anyone else had had any luck with trying to grow these either indoors or in USDA zones 5 and under. It looks like it's an annual unless you're in at least zone 8, so I hope these little beauties will be able to produce a bunch for me over the summer. Second, I haven't had any luck finding a supplier for fresh lemon verbena, and I haven't tried using dried. Will it still do the trick almost as well as fresh? If you feel it's still potent when dried, I might order some more plants and make sure I get plenty to keep on hand during the cold months. And finally, does anyone have a recipe in which the herb is a star ingredient? It has always been a background flavor in panna cottas, parfaits and the like in desserts I have had it in. The herb seems to be very good friends with red raspberries. What other flavors would you recommend pairing this herb with? I guess that was four questions after all.
  20. I need to go canvas the Asian markets then. Thanks for the tip! Would you consider a mixture of tangerine and lime juice to be a reasonably close substitute?
  21. Hi Behemoth. You might try making a cucumber sorbet. Puree some cucumbers (get rid of the seeds first) and add a small amount of sugar to taste. I like to add some fresh dill and a tiny pinch of ground celery seed. In the summer I like to add a quenelle of this on a plate beside a salad of baby field greens and then drizzle a salty vinaigrette of white wine vinegar and basil oil around the sorbet. If you freeze it solid, it makes a very nice refreshing granita, too. Another one I REALLY love is tomato sorbet. You need to use very ripe homegrown tomatoes for this. Supermarket tomatoes that just look red have no flavor, so you can use whole canned tomatoes if fresh ones are not available. Just seed the tomatoes and puree them, adding salt (to taste), some lemon juice for tartness, and then some simple syrup to sweeten it back up a bit without making it "sweet." Sometimes it's nice to add a tablespoon of tomato paste if you want to intensify the flavor a bit more. So sorry for the lack of precision. I never measure anything when I do this because so much depends on the qualities of the tomatoes, which are always a bit different. Before adding this to the ice cream machine, add a healthy amount of finely chopped basil. I use about three tablespoons of chopped basil for every two quarts of sorbet. If you really enjoy your machine, Behemoth, consider getting a pro-sumer model. I have a Musso Lussino and I can't say enough good things about this machine. No bowls to freeze, no rock salt- Just press two buttons and away it goes! The texture it produces is very nice as well. Watch for the machines on Ebay and such and you might get lucky- I've seen them on there for as low as $400. Good luck, and happy churnin'!
  22. This probably all comes down to something like personality type and personal tastes. I'm a young computer programmer into modern art, contemporary decorating, bright colors, and the edgy look of Madison Avenue graphic design. I like my chocolates to look (and taste) the same way I like everything else- bold, unique, and exotic. Someone who is a parent, enjoys casual design and comfort foods for example might appreciate hand-dipped chocolates that look and taste familiar and homemade. There will always be markets for both styles just as there are both of these kinds of people, so you should just craft your own style of chocolates around your own philosophies and what you prefer. Like Cheffette was saying, I don't think this is a valid way to establish that something is hand-made, or at least made by hand with care. This sounds like a quaint way to make actual defects into something that looks intentional. "Yeah, yeah I meant to do that!" A hand-etched signature on the bottom side of a plate should be sufficient to convince someone it's hand-made.
  23. Calamansi... That's a type of lime, isn't it? I'll have better luck finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow than calamansis here in KC! It was the spiced pineapple that was of particular interest to me. I couldn't quite figure out what it was for some reason. I thought it was a mixture of several different fruits. Perhaps the other flavors threw me off. At any rate, it's incredibly delicious. Thanks for the info, Neil. I think I'll try playing with those flavors this weekend. The combination is magical.
  24. Okay, I can't take it any longer!! Neil, if you can, please tell us what's in the fruit compote-ish center of the Exotic. I've been jonesing for it for the past two days. The flavor was incredible!
  25. I have to agree with JSkilling. For high end chocolates, I much prefer a exotic high-gloss finish with edgy colors or design (Christopher Elbow) to something rustic and quaint. Aside from that just being part of my personality, I think if one KNOWS that said chocolates are not manufacutred by a machine, perfection is indicative of mastery. My two cents...
  • Create New...