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Everything posted by beacheschef

  1. I flew home with these two chocolate molds - haven't had time to use them yet. Will post photos sometime next week when I can catch my breath. Thanks to Chocolat-chocolat for donating them! Mary
  2. Lior: Thanks so much for the boxes of goodies you sentl. Wish you were there, but the goodies were an acceptable substitute. I brought home the chocolate halvah for one of my customers to sample - I'm hoping to use it in a filling for cakes I make for his restaurant. I also brought home the Chai tea and (what feels like) coffee, as I'll infuse these flavors in cream for some new amazing cakes for this same customer. I'll let you know what I do with these items as I get around to using them. Mary
  3. I've made many cookie trays for catering events and have found a couple of recipes that are winners. I make sure to include different flavors and textures, such as: chocolate brownies, gingersnap thins (Flo Braker's Sweet Miniatures), lemon or key lime squares, biscotti (let me know if you need a couple of recipes) with nuts, shortbread (I make rosemary lemon shortbread). I try to get a combination of rich, creamy, light and crisp textures, chocolate, citrus, nuts, spice, and custardy (creamy) flavors. If you want to throw in a few desserts, liquour-based custard filled cream puffs are always a hit. So are mini meringue shells filled with lemon curd and fresh berries. Small bites of cheesecake on a cookie crust (any flavor), mini tarts shells filled with custard and fresh fruit.... PM me if you want recipes or want to discuss ideas. And - I usually use AP flour for cookies, but have bread and cake flour on hand, when the recipe call for it. I mix bread and cake flour when I need pastry flour (70% bread flour - 30% cake flour. Sift well)
  4. I was able to taste the Champagne truffles from Teucher's and I have to say they are the most creamy truffles I've ever tasted. I don't particularly like Champagne truffles, so I didn't care for the taste of the ganache, but the consistency was amazing. You've made a good point about re-creating someone else's product and having the customer not be satisfied. I took this request on as a challenge - and I may still play around with a recipe - but will let the customer know to keep buying them from Teucher's.
  5. I've been asked by a customer to re-create these chocolate truffles for him. Has anyone made champagne truffles that taste similar? I've not tasted them. Thanks
  6. You can make rings out of the acetate, so you don't need the metal rings at all. Or at least you can remove the metal rings right after you add the mouse and let the acetate support it. ← Instead of metal rings - go to Home Depot and get PVC tubing and cut it - it will be less expensive and work the same way. Still line the rings with acetate and they will pop out nicely. b ← I also use PVC rings from Home Depot - just make sure to file the edges - they can be really sharp! It works great for frozen desserts. (downside is that you can't use them to bake in) We line PVC rings with either acetate or parchment - the mousse pops right out.
  7. beacheschef


    OK - I've gotten the subtle cardamom flavor with the fresh spice from Penzey's last night. Customer wants a bold flavor. Thoughts? ← How about sprinkling some powdered cardamom on the...crème brûlée before adding the sugar and caramelizing it? ← I agree with this last suggestion. Go ahead and infuse your cream with it, but adding it on top might give it a stronger presence if that's what the customer wants. I wonder, though, how it would survive the torching. I suppose with enough sugar it would be enough of a barrier to prevent or lessen any burning of the spice. Or perhaps caramelize the sugar first and then do a light dusting with the spice? ← Has anyone added spices to the sugar that's caramelized on top of the custard? Would it taste burnt or boost the flavor?
  8. beacheschef


    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Last night I used a combination of ground spice and whole pods - I ground the pods up and infused them in the cream for 30 minutes. Before I rewarmed the cream I added ground cardamom to the infusion. I noticed that when I strained the mixture that a good bit of the ground spice was in the botom of my chinois.... I tasted one today and was pleased with the increased flavor. Still not enough for my customer (who was smoking a hookah the last time I brought samples for him to try....), but I now know that I'm going to have to use more spice and infuse for a longer time. I'm thinking that an overnight infusion is probably the way to go.
  9. beacheschef


    OK - I've gotten the subtle cardamom flavor with the fresh spice from Penzey's last night. Customer wants a bold flavor. Thoughts?
  10. beacheschef


    Now that I have fresh cardamom, I will infuse it for 30 min and see if that makes a difference. Thanks
  11. beacheschef


    I'm testing a cardamom creme brulee for one of my restaurant customers and am having a much harder time than expected infusing the cardamom flavor into the custard. My base recipe is: 2 quarts cream 8 eggs 16 egg yolks 14 ounces sugar flavoring After bringing the cream and powdered cardamom to a boil I slowly add it to the egg/sugar mixture. Strain and bake in water bath until done. In making a recipe 1/4 this amount (1 pint cream) I added 1 tsp powdered cardamom. After chilling, the creem brulee had very little cardamom flavor in it. It's been this way when using crushed pods, as well as powdered spice. In fact, I purchased new spice from Penzeys yesterday in case my current spice was old. I've searched online and found recipes for Cardamom creme brulee but nothing different than what I'm currently doing. Anyone work with cardamom and can help me make a creme brulee with a more pronounced flavor?
  12. I've made round cakes a number of times and baked a couple of cake layers in 8 inch pans, as well as a cake in a 6 inch diameter metal bowl. I spray the bowl with pan spray, but don't even try to use parchment in it. Once the cakes are baked, cooled and filled, I stack them (using dowels, if necessary). Once the whole cake is really cold, it's time to gently carve around the edges of the bowl-shaped cake and the cake below it, using small pieces of carved cake to fill in the edges, if needed. Once it's crumb coated, you can smooth out any bumpy imperfections. If your cake is supposed to be 8 inches at its most narrow top, use a bowl that's 8 inches at the inside base diameter, with a 9-10 inch outside diameter. I have the best success using butter cakes for these projects; they're more sturdy for stacking and carving.
  13. I've been baking creme brulee for an Arabic restaurant lately and have infused my standard recipe with either cardamom or saffron. I'm not a fan of cardamom, but the saffron creme brulee is fabulous! I infuse the flavor into the warmed cream for about 30 minutes, then prepare the brulee, as usual.
  14. Even in humid Florida my transfer sheets are in good shape. In addition to storing them flat in a safe place, I also make sure they're sealed in the plastic bag they came in - for humidity issues.
  15. Does anyone remember the vanilla sheet cake that you poured jello over? Basically, you bake a vanilla cake in a pan with at least 2-inch sides. Since the theme is white-trash, I suggest a cake mix. Let the cake cool, then poke the top of the cake with a straw. Pour warm jello over the top of the cake, so it flows into the holes. Refrigerate to let the jello firm up. I think my mom used to put cool-whip on top of this when she served it to the family...
  16. Any advice about making? coloring? storing? using? subsequent packaging? The recipes all give some tidbits of information, but nothing takes the place of experience.... I work with royal icing often, so here are a few quick thoughts: Color the icing a day before you need to use it, as the colors intensify overnight. This is especially important if you're going to make dark colors (like red). Keep your bowl of icing covered with a damp towel, to prevent it from crusting on the side of the bowl. I have an oscillating fan blow across my iced cookies to help them dry. In Florida, where the humidity is high, this is a necessity. Once my cookies are dry, I package them in cellophane bags. If you have to package your lollipops and don't have bags, you can probably use plastic wrap or waxed paper. I make my icing pretty stiff for writing - your best bet is to make a batch of icing and practice with it to get the feel for how stiff you want it to be. I make my icing by "eye". You can always add more 10X sugar or pasteurized egg white to change the consistency. If you have any questions, you can PM me. Mary
  17. Using the tempered chocolate to create ruffles, curls, a quick demo of chocolate cigarettes. Since these techniques begin with tempered chocolate spread out on marble (or back of a chilled sheetpan), show how you can use tools like offset spatulas and scrapers from a hardware store to make curls, ruffles and cigarettes. Part of what you learn is how to tell when the chocolate is ready to be scraped into shape, and that's best learned by experience. I have to admit that I tore out the article from last year's Martha Stewart magazine on creating a marbled exterior for chocolate eggs. The technique fascinated me - and it was mainly dipping choc. eggs into white chocolate that has color marbled into it. Making coconut eggs and those Cadbury eggs - caramel center, creamy filling and chocolate exterior would be great.
  18. I purchase unsalted pistachios from a local Arabic grocery store. It's the only place that I could find them locally.
  19. When I first graduated from culinary school I bought a set of 4-inch cake pans - and thought they were "the bomb". I would bake my cakes in them, then line them with plastic wrap and build the wedding cakes in them (filling and cake layers). But, the more I baked, the more I found myself using my 2-inch pans for baking cakes and didn't need to go through the hassle of building the filled cakes in the lined pans, then cleaning it all up. I like the texture of cakes from the 2-inch pans, as JeanneCakes says. I have a better chance of getting cakes that are thoroughly baked through the center, without over-browned sides in 2-inch pans. I also find that I get more consistent results when baking 4 layers of cake in two 2-inch deep pans, where all layers are the same height. I'm not always as accurate when slicing one cake into 4 layers. My 4-inch handmade round cake pans sit on the shelves, but the 2-inch pans get used almost constantly.
  20. don't suppose you want to share that recipe, actually? sounds amazing. ← Just checking up on e-mails - sorry for the delay. Here's the recipe for the Pistachio Cake. I brush the cake with a 1 1/2 : 1 simple syrup that has 1 capful of orange blossom water added to it. The cake is filled with Halvah white chocolate mousse - it's really a great tasting cake! This recipe produces a very dense cake. To lighten it somewhat, reduce the butter an ounce or so. I received this recipe years ago from a friend. 20 egg yolks 14 oz. sugar 12 oz. cake flour 7 oz. unsalted pistachios, toasted and ground 5 oz. butter, melted and cooled (3 1/2 - 5 oz butter) 15 egg whites 3 1/2 ounces sugar Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and parchment 2 10-inch cake pans. Whip egg yolks and 14 oz. sugar until light and fluffy. Sift cake flour 3x, then add pistachios. Fold dry into yolk mixture. Add butter in a liason Whip egg whites with 3 1/2 ounces sugar to soft peaks, then gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean. I can't remember how long this takes to bake - so just kep an eye on it.
  21. One of my customers is Arabic and has been teaching me how to flavor dessert items using both orange blossom water and rose water. His rule of thumb is to add the flavorings to cooled simple syrup - no more than a capful to about a pint of syrup. He likes a subtle flavoring for the desserts he sells in his restaurant. Orange blossom water tastes wonderful in the syrup brushed onto the pistachio butter cake I make for him. In fact, most of the desserts I use it in have nuts (usually pistachios) in them.
  22. I'm in Florida and often order chocolate from Rader Foods in Miami (http://www.raderfoods.com). Since I'm in-state, chocolate ships quickly (1-2 days with regular shipping). And, I place huge orders for pick up when my husband heads to South Florida on business. I used to order from Culinaire Specialty Foods, also out of Miami. They were also very easy to work with - call them at (305) 635-1249. They e-mailed me a current catalog, which I used to place a couple of orders with them. It's worth the money to pay for cool-packs in chocolate shipments. The cost is negligable when there's a possibility that you could damage your shipment of chocolate.
  23. Very interesting topic, as I've made cakes for people who are alcoholics. They're VERY concerned about any lingering alcohol taste or content in the desserts. For flavoring, I've always substituted a non-alcoholic flavoring (vanilla, mocha...) for the required liquour. However, for painting luster dust on a cake, I only use vodka. I make it a point to mention using the vodka for painting, but let the customer know that I probably used no more than 1 teaspoon of vodka for the entire cake. That puts things in perspective - I've never had a client ask me not to use vodka for luster dust painting. As a side note - could cocoa butter be used?
  24. Thanks for the inforamtion. It sounds like this will be a good purchase for my business. Mary
  25. I've been using food-grade poly bags from ULINE for years to package my cookies. I'd fold over the edge twice and close with a sticker. Lately I've been looking into poly bag sealers, like the ones ULINE carries. I'm interested in "sealing" the cookies, not just closing the bags. Who has used these heat sealers, and what has your experience been? Would you recommend one brand over another? Is it worth purchasing the foot operated model, which is significantly more money? Thanks for the info - Mary
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