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Posts posted by cookman

  1. 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.?

  2. I actually use a plumbing torch, not one of those clever little ones designed for the kitchen. If I were to bring that along, it would cement my reputation as an over-the-top foodie. Which is to say, the others--including my husband--would think I was completely nuts. Maybe I'd better go with something else this time. It's just that you guys made the milles crepes look so luscious.

    I, use a plumber's torch, too, to brulee the top of my mille crepes. I say make the cake and torch it on site with the big torch-- that should impress your guests! Anyone who doesn't like baking is going to think that you're "over-the-top" anyway if you are willing to spend the time assembling the 20-plus layers! :wink:

  3. Does the"pine nut crust" make this tart..or could I do an almond crust?  And...is this tart better the day it is made or could I make it the night before?  Thanks!

    You could use any tart crust that you like, although I really enjoyed the unique taste of Keller's pine nut crust.

  4. Just went back and read the NY Times article on the Mille Crepes, and think I found part of my fork cutting problem.

    In the article is says "The crepes have to be baked thin enoug so that when you cut through with a fork, it can't be an impediment."

    Back to the crepe pan for me...  Mine aren't bad, they just aren't perfect...

    I made one change to this recipe which I think was an improvement: Instead of using 1 1/2 cups of flour, I used 1 1/4 cups of flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch. Due to the lower protein content of the batter, the crepes were more tender, with less "chew", which I found preferable. They cooked up beautifully.

    I can't seem to find the instructions on eGullet for how to upload a photo. If someone would be so kind as to let me know how to do this, I'll upload a photo of my cake, with all of its 27 layers! :smile:

  5. What's the typical pore size on a chinois? Instead of cheesecloth I currently use an 80 micron piece of nitex.

    Likewise, how does the pore size of a chinois compare to the strainer you have from Lehman's?

  6. In this same amusing series of videos, there is an instruction to soak a block of tofu briefly in salt water before using it in stir fries to keep the neatly-cut pieces of tofu from breaking up as they cook.

    The trick is a salt water soak before cooking. Anyone know what the video says regarding how much salt and how long to soak?

    Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1tts94jyGM&search=urawaza

  7. i'm in love with this bistro shelf...but i can't quite wrap my mind around the price.  i've tried searching the web for food supply equipment (bistro shelves, pastry shelves), but i've had no luck.

    does anyone know where to find this thing, but for a better price?


    thanks very much in advance.

    cheers --

    I found this bistro shelf two years ago, and also really liked it. It seemed very overpriced to me. I searched the web for a while and was also unable to find it anywhere else cheaper. I guess an alternative would be to have the glass shelves cut at a glass cutters, and use plexiglass rods to support the shelves.

  8. The sponge was great - very moist, but very chocolatey, too.  The mousse had a really nice texture - very smooth, and it felt almost light in the mouth - very silky, but still very, very rich.  The walnuts studded throughout were a great relief from the smoothness of the cake.  The ganache was very dark and almost smoky, and was an incredibly thin layer - maybe as thick as two sheets of notebook paper.  All in all, very good.  Definitely one of the better mousse cakes I've had.

    Megan, thanks for checking it out. Sounds great. I will definitely need to try a slice next time I'm in NYC. Now we just need some pastry chef spy who has worked there to tell us how to recreate it at home..........

  9. Hi everyone,

    Been reading your posts and learning a great deal from it. The demos, discussions and pictures are really great. I have learnt a great deal over the past months just by reading from this forum.

    I am wondering if any of you could advise which one of the professional range of baking books (Bo Friberg, CIA, Wayne Gisslen) you would recommend a home baker trying to move on to the next level. Which are the ones more self explanatory, clear and easy to follow from a home baker's point of view. Please tell me of any other I should be considering too..

    Many thanks. :smile:

    I highly recommend Flo Baker's "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking". The recipes are written in great detail, to ensure success. There is also a lot of explanation to go along with each step of her recipes.

    Here's a link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/081184109...5Fencoding=UTF8

  10. After reading your experience yesterday, I consulted a friend who has also done a lot of candying of citrus and other fruits.  She lives in Vista and has several kumquat trees and several rare and unusual citrus.

    She can't figure it out either.  She suggested trying a very small batch, parboiling them briefly in a couple of changes of clear water - as one would do with citrus peel, then go through the candying process with three times the amount of syrup as fruit. 

    Her regular process is virtually identical to mine except she adds half a cup of light Karo syrup to 2 quarts of sugar syrup.  I can't see how that small an amount could have much effect.  I have never used it, mainly because I never have it on hand. 

    I am going to stop at the middle eastern market on my way home and buy some kumquats and go through my usual process and see if I have any problems. 

    I am really stumped by this.

    I am also going to see if my microwave method will work on kumquats.  I have never tried it with anything except orange, lemon and grapefruit peel.

    I thought the parboiling for citrus peels was to remove the bitterness in the orange or grapefruit rinds. I would have thought it was unnecessary for kumquats, where the rind is sweet. I wonder whether it might have been better NOT to "core" the fruit before beginning to cook it. It seemed to me that that small hole in the kumquat enabled the juice to quickly "leak" out , at which point the kumquats "deflated". If they weren't pierced, maybe the sugar solution would slowly go into the fruit, and they would not collapse as they were cooking. I also couldn't see how a covered pot would enable the sugar solution to get more concentrated with time. The kumquat juice and condensing steam off the crockpot lid just seemed to further dilute the cooking liquid. How about cooking on low, without the lid, replenishing the sugar solution only as needed to keep the kumquats submerged?

  11. I friend of mine, who lives in NYC, and generally is not a big fan of chocolate desserts swooned over having recently tasted the gateau au chocolat from Lady M's Cake Boutique. She said the textures of the cake were different than anything she had ever previously tried.

    Their web site (http://www.ladymconfections.com/gateauchocola.html) has a photo and description of the cake, which is a sponge cake, mousse, walnut and ganache confection.

    Anyone out there ever tried this cake and have an opinion on it? Anything unique there?

    Cookman, I've never tried their gateau au chocolat, because I'm forever distracted by the mille crepes cake. However, in the name of research and helping out a fellow eGulleteer...I promise to try it this weekend. :wink:

    Megan, thanks for sacrificing yourself and doing the research.

    In case you had not previously seen it, the NY Times had an article on the mille crepes cake a few months ago. I made the cake according to their published recipe, and it came out beautifully. In case you missed it, here's the link:


    I look forward to hearing your opinion on the gateau au chocolat.

  12. I friend of mine, who lives in NYC, and generally is not a big fan of chocolate desserts swooned over having recently tasted the gateau au chocolat from Lady M's Cake Boutique. She said the textures of the cake were different than anything she had ever previously tried.

    Their web site (http://www.ladymconfections.com/gateauchocola.html) has a photo and description of the cake, which is a sponge cake, mousse, walnut and ganache confection.

    Anyone out there ever tried this cake and have an opinion on it? Anything unique there?

  13. I, likewise, had trouble getting this technique to work for the kumquats. I pierced each fruit as noted above, and put a batch in a covered crockpot with plenty of the simple sugar syrup, on low setting. After 6 hours, several of the kumquats looked deflated, and light brown in color. Let it all rest overnight, then did another 6 hour simmer, covered. The cooking liquid never got any thicker (wouldn't the juice of the kumquats actually serve to dilute the whole mixture?), more kumquats deflated, and they all turned a yucky brown color and got pretty mushy. After another overnight rest, I looked at the pot contents and figured there was no way this was going to improve with additional cycles of cooking, so in the garbage they went. (A real bummer, since I had gone out of my way to purchase organic kumquats!)

    I'm still not sure what I did wrong here. I've successfully candied orange peels in the the slow cooker before, but kumquats are obviously tougher to do properly.....

  14. I've been scouring the Internet to find pastry weights.  Cooks Illustrated said they were the best thing to use with prebaked pie shells -- better than beans, rice, etc.  But no one seems to have them for sale.  Maybe I'm not using the right term for them?  Do they have a more descriptive name than this?

    Another thing that works well is a piece of lightweight chain, coiled around the inside of the pastry shell. (I bought mine at Lowe's). Easy to pick up and remove.

  15. The syrup will concentrate as the water cooks out of it over the long period of cooking.

    I only tried one time to do it with the increasing concentration of sugar and got an unsatisfactory result.  The sugar crystallized and the fruit had hard lumps in it, instead of remaining flexible and chewy.

    Sorry to belabor this point, but to make sure I understand your technique, do I keep the crock pot covered during the entire time that the kumquats are in it cooking?

  16. Not a problem, they can easily be done "whole" - however it takes some prep.

    You get a better, and more rapid, result it you remove the core, or rather punch a hole in the center from the stem end to the blossom end.

    The easiest way to do this is to use one of the "leave-in" oven meat thermometers with a round dial that is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  I place the dial face down so the probe sticks up and push the fruits down on the point.  This is a lot safer than trying to hold the fruit and punching something through it. 

    Andiesenji, thanks for the detailed info. Should the probe be pushed all the way through the fruit, or do you stop right before you push it through the blossom end? Any advantage to also poking small holes around the rest of the fruit with a regular needle?

    I thought a read somehwere that the sugar syrup that is used each day needs to be increasing in concentration each day. Not true?

    Do you keep the fruit cooking covered the entire time, or do you need to uncover the pot and let the water evaporate, to concentrate the sugars?

  17. I would love to do the cupcakes in the ice-cream cones with my baking class on Friday. Do I put a cupcake liner in the cone, then fill with batter and bake as usual? Or do I put the batter directly in the cone? Thanks  :smile:

    Ling, I've done this for my daughter's class, and they all loved it. Buy those flat-bottomed cones, you know, the ones with the texture of styrofoam. The muffin batter goes right in them, with no liner. Don't overfill the cones, since the muffins need room to expand as they bake. If you overfill them, they will spill over the edge, and make a big mess. (I speak from experience!)

  18. To avoid the concentration of batter at the bottom, try setting  the filled molds out on a preheated baking surface before placing them on the center oven rack. When I learned to make caneles in Bordeaux, Chef Antoine's bakers switched the trays from the top to the bottom racks midway.

    Paula, how do you feel about baking caneles in a regular or convection oven? When I use a convection oven, they seem to bake more evenly. I don't usually change the rack position, however, as they are baking. Which oven do you think is preferable?

  19. I'm becoming very fond of my Silpats (I have Exopats, actually, but everybody calls them Silpats anyway), but have found that my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe (the Nestle Toll House recipe with double the vanilla and an upgrade to better chocolate) is too "spready" when baked on Silpats. In other words the cookies spread out very wide and thin, almost comically so, when baked.

    Does anybody have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that specifically works well on Silpat surfaces? I'd be especially interested in the theory of how to modify my current recipe or oven temperature (again I follow Nestle Toll House here) to make it less "spready."

    Try chilling the dough first, before scooping it on to the Silpats. Cold dough spreads more slowly, and will stay thicker when cooked.

  20. Canola oil does develop  an awful smell when heated to a high temperature. I don't know if it leaves a smell in the molds because I've never used it.

    What I use is my version of the Bordelais  "white oil." This is a combination of grapeseed oil, clarified  butter, corn oil and a small amount of beeswax.

    That certainly could explain the problem. I was loosely following the recommendations in your cookbook "The Slow Mediterranean Cookbook", which suggests mixing 1 c oil with 1 oz beeswax.

    Do you have specific ratios for mixing the white oil from grapeseed oil, clarified butter, corn oil and beeswax? (Sorry if this is already listed somewhere in this thread-- I don't recall reading it.)

  21. Bordeaux-based  Patissier Daniel Antoine told me he boils the molds once a year. I assume he did this to remove that funky odor. Then he said to simply re-season them.

    I had the same problem so I boiled them and did the ritual seasoning. It worked but it took baking off one or two canneles to get everything back to normal.

    Paula, thanks for the great suggestion-- I'll give boiling a try.

    Do you think the type of oil that I mix with the beeswax has anything to do with the "funky" smell the molds develop over time? I used canola oil, since it was easy to find, but I wonder if another oil might be preferable.

  22. The molds (copper), never cleaned, are coated with the beeswax/butter with a dedicated brush that's just barely narrow enough to swipe all the way to the bottom of the mold, then they're set on a sheetpan open side down so that any excess drains out. Seems to work fine for us.

    I'm using a beeswax/vegetable oil mix to coat the insides of my cannele copper molds. Following the recommendations of others from this thread, I have not washed the interior of the molds. If there is any residue left after unmolding the cannele, I just burn it off in a hot oven. However, I've noticed that the molds have taken on a slight rancid oil odor to them if I sniff them, and I think I can taste this in the final product. The beeswax/oil mix itself smells fine, so I think it's the residue on the cannele molds that I'm detecting. Washing them in soapy water seems to make no difference. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions on how to fix this?

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