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cookman

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  1. I have made them before.

    This is the site and recipes I use/refer too. The site owner is also very friendly and responded to my e-mails kindly.

    Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. On the webiste that JustKay cites, it makes a point of saying that the ideal butterfat content of the cream should be 25%. Heavy whiping cream has 36% butterfat, and regular whipping cream varies from 30-36% cream. I recall having troubles with using anything less than 36% butterfat cream.

    Also, when you add the tartaric acid (or vinegar) to the cream, are you supposed to see the mixture just thicken slightly, or are soft curds supposed to form? This is why I ended up adding twice as much tartaric acid as recommended to my cream-- no curds seemed to form at the 1/4 tsp per quart dose.

  2. The procedure seems so simple, but...

    Most recipes are simply: Heat cream to 180 degrees, add 1/4 tsp tartaric acid, refrigerate, drain and spoon off mascarpone.

    In reality, I have not found this technique to be foolproof. I have used both pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized cream, and couldn't tell any difference. On one occasion, I couldn't even get the "curds" to form. When I tried again, I needed to use twice as much tartaric acid to induce "curd" formation, and, even then, the final product seemed too thin.

    Was I correct in using the highest-fat heavy whipping cream I could find? Are the curds supposed to form as soon as the tartaric acid is added, or only after refrigeration?

    Any other specific part of the process I'm missing here?

  3. I candy a lot of ginger, in big batches, using crockpots for smaller batches and a large electric roaster for big batches (10 pounds and more).

    The last time I tried to make candied orange peel (with pith left on), I used a crock pot. While I agree that the crock pot makes it easy to cook the peel slowly for long periods of time, I kept having problems with "hot spots" in the pot that were clearly running hotter than other areas (even when cooking on the low setting). The fruit in certain parts of the pot started to burn. As a result, I felt that I needed to stir the peels to keep the heat better distributed. Even doing this carefully, however, I still got a lot of broken peels.

    Is the problem that I need to get another crock pot? Do you find you need to stir your peels? Other suggestions?

    I rarely stir them but if the peels clump up in one place I use a shallow skimmer or a silicone spatula and slide it under the fruit and turn it over and shift them around so they are evenly distributed in the syrup.

    I haven't had problems with hot spots in the crockpots I use for candying - even the big electric roaster doesn't do this. The type I use are the ones that have the heating coils around the crock insert, not just on the bottom.

    You might try placing an ovenproof plate or platter, depending on whether your crockpot is round or oval, upside down on the bottom of the crockpot. The syrup will still be heated the same way but the fruit will not touch the bottom of the crock.

    Or, you can use a wire basket if you can find one that will fit in your crockpot. I do this when I candy whole kumquats, they are slipperly little devils during part of the cooking process and it is easier to keep them contained in a basket rather than have them slipping off a skimmer and bouncing onto the floor (or the toe of my shoe - which ruined a good pair of Uggs).

    I found a round fryer basket with removable handle that just fits one of my round crockpots and even has little "feet" on the bottom so it is held up off the bottom.

    Have you seen my "microwave candied citrus peel" it is in RecipeGullet. It is quick and fairly easy for small batches.

    andiesenji,

    Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions. I never thought of using an electric roaster for making candied peels. Since these machines actually allow you to set a temperature, it seems that they might be easier to control the temp with some precision. Am I right?

    I have tried your microwave technique for small quantities, and it works very well!

  4. I candy a lot of ginger, in big batches, using crockpots for smaller batches and a large electric roaster for big batches (10 pounds and more).

    The last time I tried to make candied orange peel (with pith left on), I used a crock pot. While I agree that the crock pot makes it easy to cook the peel slowly for long periods of time, I kept having problems with "hot spots" in the pot that were clearly running hotter than other areas (even when cooking on the low setting). The fruit in certain parts of the pot started to burn. As a result, I felt that I needed to stir the peels to keep the heat better distributed. Even doing this carefully, however, I still got a lot of broken peels.

    Is the problem that I need to get another crock pot? Do you find you need to stir your peels? Other suggestions?

  5. I will post a favorite recipe for peanut (or almond, or ??) made in the microwave.

    Easy and pretty much foolproof.

    andiesenji--I'd love to see your recipe, if you have time to post it. Thanks.

    Here's a good recipe for microwave peanut brittle from Bon Appetit:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/2122

    I forgot to mention my favorite thing to add to this recipe: If you like spicy things, try adding 1/2 tsp (or more!) hot pepper flakes, when you stir in the baking soda at the end. That spicy kick is a good foil to the sweetness of the brittle.

  6. I have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree that I move inside for the winter. Every year, the plant gives me about a dozen large lemons to cook with. :smile: Last year, I used them, fresh off the tree during the winter, to make lemon pound cake, lemon pudding cake, white chocolate lemon tarts, lemon tarts, etc. I'm curious if you all have special lemon-based recipes that you feel would be particularly suited for those fragrant Meyer lemons.

  7. ^Wow, thanks for typing all that out, Steve. That's the version I'm going to use from now on. I think there was one more adjustment that you left out--nightscotsman suggested subbing in butter for some of the veg. oil.  :smile:

    You're right about nightscotsman's butter addition, Ling -- thanks! He reduced the oil from 3/4 c to 1/2 c and added 4 oz. of melted butter to the coffee-chocolate mixture.

    Here's the updated version:

    Double Chocolate Cake

    1½ oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

    1½ oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

    1½ cups cocoa powder (regular or Dutch process)

    1½ cups hot brewed coffee

    1 TB espresso powder

    4 oz. (8 TB) unsalted butter, melted

    1½ cups white sugar

    1 cup light brown sugar

    2¾ cups cake flour

    2 teasp baking soda

    ¾ teasp baking powder

    1¼ teasp salt

    3 lrg eggs

    ¾ cup vegetable oil

    1½ cups sour cream (or buttermilk)

    2 teasp vanilla

    1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease two 9”x2" pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper/parchment and grease paper.

    2. Into a medium bowl, pour the hot coffee, mixed with the espresso powder, over chocolate, cocoa, and melted butter; blend till smooth. Let mixture cool slightly, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.

    3. Into a large bowl sift together sugars, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

    4. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a stand mixer). Slowly add oil, sour cream, vanilla. Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined well.

    5. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

    6. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes (watch carefully--timing may vary).

    7. Cool layers completely in pans on racks.

    8. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper.

    Ahead of time note: Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

    Just to be precise, I think that this recipe should now read: 4 oz butter, and 1/2 cup, not 3/4 cup of oil, right?

  8. I've made an apple tart with puff pastry, and it was delicious, but my favortie is Patricia Wells' recipe for Thin Apple Tart from her Paris cookbook. Fairly easy to make and gets rave reviews.

    Also delicious, but a bit more time consuming is the Rustic Apple Tart that was in Gourmet a few years ago.

    (edited to add link)

    Do you by any chance have a link for Wells' recipe for Thin Apple Tart? I'd like to try it for Thanksgiving!

    Thanks!!

  9. I have a chocolate-cherry-coffee-pecan fruitcake in the fridge, waiting to be splashed with a little more bourbon when I get back from the liquor store tonight. 

    That chocolate-cherry-coffee-pecan fruitcake sounds great! Would you mind posting the recipe?

  10. Why do I always end up adding more water, and still end up with crumbly dough?  Is it because I am so afraid of overworking the dough in the sprinkling phase that I don't toss aggressively enough?  Is it that I just really need more water? 

    I think it's Alton Brown who suggests putting the water into a small spray bottle, and then misting it evenly over the flour/fat mixture, to distribute it initially more evenly. You could try this technique.

  11. I have a glass cooktop.  When we purchased it, they said no cast iron.  So my 60 year old skillet is now stored away. Can't I use it because it's so heavy that they're afraid you'll drop it and break the cooktop, or is there some kind of heat reaction that will harm the cooktop? 

    The problem is only that the rough cast iron bottom surface of the pan can easily scratch the glass cooktop. These is no other reason that you can not use that pan.

  12. If you have an instant thermometer, one trick that I've learned is to start with the butter block at 60 degrees, and the dough at about 42 degrees (usually right out of the refrigerator). This seems to be the ideal temperature for the initial incorporation of the butter into the dough.

  13. While we're on the topic of profiteroles, I'm curious what everybody thinks of baking them in a convection vs regular oven. Some suggest that they rise more dramatically in a convection oven, while others say the outside dries out too fast in a convestion oven, limiting their initial rise. I'm curious what members of this forum prefer.

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