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Posts posted by cookman

  1. Cookman,

    Janet hasn't seen your question, apparently about her cake.

    I have done the macerating, so maybe I can help --

    I used a cup of Grand Marnier and the honey and the amount of fruit called for.  The fruit entirely absorbs all of the liquid and becomes a wonderful gob of honeyed fruit.

    I have had mine macerating for several months and am about to make my cake, perhaps this weekend.  Will most likely end up freezing it as it is not an ageing type fruitcake.


    Thanks, Linda. One other question: the original recipe from Janet says to use either a chocolate liqueur or brandy/rum/etc. Do you think the fruit will be too sweet if macerated in a chocolate liqueur?

  2. Great thread, a big help. Can anyone advise on the best type of flour to use when baking Canelés? I'm in The UK and have access to wonderful flour from Shipton Mill (www.shipton-mill.com) including Cake & Pastry flour and French Type 55 flour. I can also get French Type 45 as well as Italian Type 00. Thanks....

    You want to use a low protein flour. I find that cake flour gives me the best caneles.


    1650 gm dried fruit.

    1/3 cup honey or golden syrup.

    1 cup alcohol of your choice (choc or choc-orange liqueur is good, whisky or brandy or rum)

    Just want to be sure: when you make this cake, do you drain the fruits, or add them with the rest of the alcohol that they didn't absorb when macerating?

  4. This post is directed to anyone who has baked in silicone pans. I taste a chemical residue in the bake goods whenever I bake something in a silicone pan. I have baked several different chocolate cakes in a French-made Flexipan, and, every time I do, I detect an unpleasant chemical taste in the final product. I think I can also detect an off taste when I bake cookies on Silpats.

    Am I the only one who finds that cooking in silicone pans leaves behind a detectable taste?

  5. I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

    Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

    I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter.

    Thanks, Patrick. The reason for my inquiry is that I have not been able to easily find a round cutter large enough to cut out a circle of dough that will be the right size to fit into a 4 inch tartlette pan.

  6. I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

    Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

  7. Has anyone made Alice Medrich's chocolate mousse which uses water instead of cream (or other dairy)?

    <Not trying to cause trouble, really!  :wink: >

    I've made it, and liked it. It was very soft, but had good strong chocolate flavor. As I recall, I thought it could have been improved with a little more sugar.

  8. Yes, but couldn't it happen soon if food writers educated the masses on how much more efficient the metric system is for baking? For instance, couldn't you have added metric measures in your book and dedicated a page in the introduction to using them?

    As a former pastry chef it really gets me that this system is not being pushed. It is not only more precise, but easier and faster. If the French and British can handle it, why can't we? And scales are so easy to use now that they are digital.

    I agree. I'm delighted when a new cookbook I pick up gives measurements in cups and grams. It gives me greater faith in the author and the recipes. The last breadbook I purchased lists ingredients in the following format:

    1/3 cup (80 grams/2.6 ounces) warm water

    I can't understand why publishers remain so reluctant to adopt this simple format.

  9. The only difference is that I bought a heating pad made for dogs (puppies actually) that is 100% waterproof.  (Actually I bought two, because at that time my basenji was in whelp and I needed one for the puppies too.)  I still have the one I use in the kitchen - it is also handy for gently heating cream and keeping it warm over a long period of time for making clotted cream.  There are a few other less common uses.

    waterproof heating pad

    the medium size

    Interesting product, andiesenji. The website says it keeps a consistent temp of 98-101. A bit off-topic here, but that sounds like the ideal temperature for slow-melting chocolate and keeping it in temper. Any experience with this?

  10. There's a lot of information on the web that you can find.  I'd suggest you do that, rather than listen to people here that might be uninformed.

    isn't that a bit strange...this is the web, isn't it? and there are some people here that are well informed...and there's other information on the web aside from eGullet that can lead you astray. hopefully people are smart enough to use their common sense to figure out what is right and wrong.

    I want to thank everyone for their well-researched replies. The reason I posed the question on eGullet is because I could find nothing on the web other than the statment that the FDA cautions against cooking in unlined copper pots. I knew that there had to be a more precise answer than this, and, as usual, the eGulleteers have come through!

  11. I know that unlined copper pots are supposed to be great for caramelizing sugar. I also read that the FDA does not recommend cooking in unliner copper, because of the risk of copper leaching into the food. I'm assuming that acidic foods would create the greatest risk. Is it safe to add cream to caramel being made in an unlined copper pot, or could the lactic acid in the cream be a problem? I guess what I'm asking is if there are ingredients that might pose a heath risk if added to sugar cooking in a copper pot.

  12. While leafing through this book again recently, I re-read PH's technique for candied citrus peel (p.257). He does the traditional 3 blanches in boiling water, but I noticed that he uses the same water for each of the blanching steps. I thought it was important to use fresh water for each blanch, as the bitterness of the pith is leached into the boiling water. It would certainly be faster to use the same pot of boiling water for each of the 3 blanches. Any thoughts on this?

  13. Kerry, I'd love to try the nougat recipe, thanks for posting it.  Question -- is there any substitute you can recommend for the edible rice paper?  Will heavy, coated parchment work, or will I be picking pieces of paper out of my candies?

    I'd probably butter the parchment to make it easier to peel off. Let us know how it works.

    In my experience, the parchment has to be coated with something or it will stick terribly. Butter or canola oil or even (God forbid) Pam will do the trick.

    Try brushing the parchment with cocoa butter.

  14. We keep comparing the Epicurious Double Chocolate Cake to the Hershey's Black Magic cake so I decided to get both original recipes straight from their respective websites and compare the two.  The first difference was that the DCC recipe is for two 10" pans and the BMC is for two 9" pans.  I used mastercook to scale down the DCC recipe for two 9" pans (scaled down by 1/3) and here are the two ingredient lists:

    Black Magic Cake

    2 cups  sugar

    1  3/4 cups  all-purpose flour

    3/4 cup  HERSHEY'S Cocoa

    2 teaspoons  baking soda

    1 teaspoon  baking powder

    1 teaspoon  salt

    2 eggs

    1 cup  buttermilk

    1 cup  coffee

    1/2 cup  vegetable oil

    1 teaspoon  vanilla extract


    2 ounces  semisweet chocolate

    1 cup  coffee

    2 cups  sugar

    1 2/3 cups  all-purpose flour

    1 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

    1 1/3 teaspoons  baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon  baking powder

    7/8 teaspoon  salt

    2 large  eggs

    1/2 cup  vegetable oil

    1 cup  well-shaken buttermilk

    1/2      teaspoon  vanilla

    They are indeed very similar.  The DCC has the addition of two ounces chocolate, 1/4 c more cocoa (a few grams less flour) and slightly less leavening.  The two do use different mixing methods, however, and bake at different temps.

    I kicked this thread back up to get opinions on adjusting the leavening in the Black Magic Cake. I made this cake for the first time recently (requested by daughter for birthday cake, with a meringue frosting). I'm not a big fan of cakes leavened with baking soda and powder, as I seem to be very sensitive to their presence in the final product, which always tastes somewhat off and "soapy" to me. 2 tsp of soda and 1 tsp powder seemed like a lot to me, and the DCC recipe uses just over half these amounts, with only slight differences in the other ingredients. How minimalist of an approach to these leaveners do you think you can go without compromising the texture of the BMC cake?

  15. This is a fascinating thread. I'm aware of Adria's techniques for making "liquid ravioli", and was thrilled to see that it's possible to try this at home.

    Is there a thread on eGullet that I missed that discusses the basic techniques outlined here?

    Are there some basic starter recipes that one can begin with? General ratios of food to sodium alginate? Discussion of when sodium citrate is needed? Fruits or other foods that won't work? Specific "cooking" times in the calcium chloride solution? Best way to heat the "spheres", if one wants to serve a food warm?

    Thanks for any advice. I've got to buy the stuff and start playing with my food!! :rolleyes:

  16. Back in 1983 Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey published a recipe in the NY Times for a chocolate mousse cake. You make the mousse, bake 3/4 of it, and use the remaining 1/4 to frost the cooled cake. It's spectacular. Recently, I unearthed the recipe and made it for a women's group dinner. Needless to say, I was asked whether the dish included raw eggs, and had to confess it did. Do others still make such throw-backs to a bygone era? I read on the American Egg Association website that the risk of salmonella is something like 1 in 20,000. What do others think?

    Lucas' mom

    There are probably a number of ways to make this cake "safely", depending on how the mousse is made. If you give us a better idea of the actual recipe, there may be some obvious solution to make it salmonella-free!

  17. cookman, that is beautiful!

    what did you use for filling?

    I used the pastry cream recipe that is now posted in the RecipeGullet. Having not seen the "original" from Lady M, I wasn't sure how thick to make the pastry cream layers. I knew I wanted very tender crepes, so I reduced the flour and substituted some cornstarch to make them less "toothy". I also didn't want to have the filling gush out with each forkfull, so I deliberately kept it thin between the layers of crepes.

  18. I like David Lebovitz's...his is the Chez Painisse or like the Chez Painisse one...

    Here's the recipe. And now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go buy almond paste. :biggrin:

    On the topic of almond paste, whenever I buy it, I always think about making my own. Does anyone bother making your own paste, or is the commercially-available product better, finer textured, etc.?

    At home I make my own since it's hard to find fresh almond paste at a reasonable price in stores. With a good food processor it's very easy. Maybe not as smooth as the best commercial brands, but perfectly fine for baking. I use the recipe we did in school:

    125 g blanched almonds

    100 g powedered sugar

    80 g simple syrup

    Grind almonds with powdered sugar in food processor until very fine. How finely you grind in this stage determines the smoothness of the final paste. Add simple syrup and process until a smooth paste is formed. You may not need all of the syrup, so add gradually.

    Thanks for the recipe. I noticed that some recipes use a 1:1 ratio of almonds to powdered sugar. Do you have a sense of what the "standard" commerical product ratio (like Solo brand) would be?

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