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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. Very good point. Eating memories. I like that. Pastry forensics, huh? Do you think we could sell a CSI show to the Food Network?
  2. Ok, here's the demo thingy I promised. First, make your swiss roll, and once you've successfully rolled it up, stick it in the freezer. Once frozen, remove it from the freezer and cut off each end at an angle. Stick the flat side of each end against the log in whatever fashion you wish and attach with chocolate buttercream. Next, use a lighter chocolate buttercream to pipe the rings onto each end of the log. This is just one way of doing this. I actually prefer to take a palette knife and smooth on the lighter colored buttercream on each end and make the rings with an airbrush. But the piping way is faster for me and I have to crank these babies out, so I'm not using my airbrush this time around. Next, use the darker chocolate buttercream in a pastry bag with a large plain tip and pipe the buttercream on in "stripes". Make sure the ends of the buttercream "stripes" extend out over the ends of the log. You'll see why later. You don't have to be neat about it. Actually the less neat, the better. Here's the log with all the stripes on it. Now it's going into the freezer for a little while to firm up the buttercream. About a half hour. Take the log out of the freezer, and with a sharp knife cut off all those pointy things that were extending out over the ends of your log so the buttercream is now flush with the ends of your log. Next, take the pointy end of your paring knife and go nuts making grooves all over your log. Deep ones, shallow ones.......and don't be neat about it. The less neat the better. Now, with very very clean hands, use the warmth of them to smooth out the grooves you just made. Scrape off the excess buttercream from your board and the log. To give the grooves extra depth and realness, use an airbrush with black color and spray into some of the grooves. That's what I did on the log that is pictured upthread. Back in the day when I was in a shop that allowed me to fuss. Here is a picture of four of the logs I made that day. You can see that two of them had lighter rings and two had darker rings......that was so I could tell the two different flavors of cakes apart. And voila.....the fun part..........I added a modeling chocolate cardinal, holly, berries, and a banner, then sprinkled with a product I have called "Sweet Snow" (it looks like powdered sugar, but won't dissolve under refrigeration-it's actually cocoa butter sweetened with dextrose.) Then I sprinkled it with edible glitter (hard to see), and I'm done. Just one of many ways you can finish off a Yule Log. To make my job extra fun, when I'm making these guys, I sing this song, from the Ren and Stimpy Show: Have I been doing this job too long???
  3. I just got a request from a customer to make this, and I too, found from internet research,that there are the two types.....the ones with the yeasted dough and the ones that are actual cakes. At first I wondered which one might be better or more authentic, but then I deduced from gfron's comments that because the cake has to be stored under refrigeration (the custard), and the yeasted dough can be a bit dry, I will make the cake-like one for the sake of better shelf life.
  4. For buche de noel advice, do not ask FoodTV celeb Tyler Florence. I watched Iron Chef America: Battle of the Holiday Desserts last night, and watching him try to roll his espresso soaked lemon chiffon (huh?) was a laugh riot. Not to mention seeing the filling that was supposed to be italian meringue buttercream, which was actually soup. Of course, I have to give kudos to any chef who thinks that they can whip up 4-5 spectacular desserts in less than an hour......you can't. That's why there's not too many pastry chef battles on Food TV.
  5. So, Drew.....I'm just wondering.......how much time do you spend doing stuff like managing people, costing out menus, creating the production schedule, doing inventory, ordering product, and various other office type jobs vs. actually spending time in the kitchen? When I was the production manager at a wholesale bakery, I spent so much time in the office, I didn't even feel like a pastry chef anymore, which is why I left. Office work (and managing people) makes-a-me crazy........
  6. Just as an aside to this topic, I think I must mention how much of my OWN equipment I use on the job, and this includes cake pans, my torch, all my decorating tools, molds, colors, transfer sheets, pastry bags, tips, etc etc etc. I know many other PC's who travel with their own equipment.....you almost have to, because you certainly can't count on a lot of the crap the employer provides, and if it is provided, it almost certainly is in lousy condition.....at least in my experience. So that's another "cost" of being a PC........
  7. Ain't that the truth Bruiser? They have no problem "promoting" you, but somehow the jump in pay that comes with more responsibility, doesn't come so automatically. You usually have to end up asking for it, and for some reason it feels awkward to do that, even though it shouldn't. I HATE asking for more money, even though I know I'm perfectly justified in doing so.
  8. chefpeon


    I learned early on that egg wash is not a good option for sealing puff pastry. Use water. Water works wonderfully. Also make sure you don't "contaminate" the edges that you wish to seal by getting any of the filling on them. After you have brushed your edges with water, press the two disks firmly together with the tips of your fingers. When I say firmly, I really mean firmly. Almond filling is a notorious leaker. For a more decorative look, draw the tip of a paring knife inward toward the center of the pithivier, between your fingers as you press the dough down. This also helps in sealing.
  9. I'd like to add that you just got two answers from each end of the scale. There's alana, who HAS done the big city pastry chef gigs, and.... there's me, who's lived mostly in small towns, and except for two jobs in large scale bakeries, I've worked mostly in mom 'n pop shops which are where you would expect to find the lowest wages and no bennies. There's a lot of stuff in between, and like alana said, it's hard to generalize.
  10. If you're looking for a lucrative career, being a pastry chef ain't it, I can tell you. That's why a lot of people tell you you have to love it, because most of us don't do it for the money. I never have. Of course I need the money, because like everybody else, I gotta pay the man. I can pay the man, but there isn't a lot left over for luxuries or even money to stash away in savings or IRA's. The most I ever made doing this job was $16.50 an hour. Right now I make $15 an hour and I have 17 years experience. Granted, it all depends on where you are, and what exactly your job entails. I would say that the $60,000 a year figure belongs to executive pastry chefs in NYC, Chicago, and LA and Vegas. You stand a better chance of making money if you stick to these metropolitan areas. Most of the time, unless you are in a hotel, large corporation or grocery, you get no benefits either. I'd say $25,000 a year is more the average wage, but even that's a little high. Remember, schools are going to sugar-coat the wage thing, because, they are a business too, and they really want to get you enrolled. Be wary. My best advice to you is to think about what your money requirements are, and realistically, if this is the type of career you should choose based on that. Because even if low wages don't matter to you now, they will at some point. I wouldn't be able to get by unless I had my husband's salary to count on too.....that's why I can "afford" to be a pastry chef.
  11. I know of several shortbread recipes that call for browning the butter, chilling, then mixing up the shortbread as you normally would. Perhaps if you can't find that exact recipe, you might just try any shortbread recipe and brown the butter.
  12. I was tempted to try this when I heard about it, especially in my larger cakes. So I tried baking one cake without the inner core (some use a flower nail, some use foil) and one with. I observed absolutely no difference in the baking time, or texture of either cake. I was really hoping it would work or I would see some improvement, but I saw none. I tend not to believe in this methodology unfortunately.
  13. How many can you make at a time, Jennifer? What are your molds shaped like? Sort of half cylindrical? Personally I think mousse in a mold with sponge on the bottom sounds far tastier than the ganache filled, rum soaked sponge roll that I use......! I also love that look of the velvety sprayed cocoa butter! You don't happen to know where your bakery purchased their molds, do you?
  14. The cardinal is made out of modeling chocolate, as are the holly, berries and the banner. You had asked me in a PM if I happened to have more pics so I could post a demo. Well, I don't at the moment, but since I'll be making a ton of these things over the next few weeks I'll snap some pics during the process when I make some this week. You wouldn't believe how easy it is to make a Yule Log like this. I actually did the one in the picture about 13 years ago, when I was first starting out. My cardinals actually look a lot better now. Demo coming.
  15. Ok, here it is.......new and improved, since I blurred out the cruddy background.
  16. # 1 1/2 cups almond paste # 2 eggs # 3/4 cup white sugar # 1/4 teaspoon almond extract # 1 pinch salt I might mess with this.....like add just egg yolk, and perhaps cut in a little butter too. There's no flour in it to risk giving it a cakey feel. Funny what you said about "banket". At work, we call it "Blanket" or "Blanky" just to amuse ourselves.
  17. There's an almond filling that I use in a Dutch pastry called "Banket" that I might try in the Stollen. It's not "cakey" at all. I will probably give that a go first and see how it goes.
  18. I'd like to know if anyone has tried, rather than using pure almond paste or marzipan down the middle, something like an almond filling, like frangipane in their stollen. My bakery is planning on doing stollen but the owner wants to stretch out the almond paste since it's so expensive. Anyone tried it?
  19. Thanks Beanie. That article just reinforced my suspicions that the night pastry crew doesn't keep their dough as cold as it could be. I am interested in obtaining a sample of the gold label yeast......I will probably give it a try.
  20. I thought I'd pose this question on an existing thread rather than start a new one, so hopefully it will get noticed........ Anyway, I thought I'd heard about a certain yeast that you can get that is formulated for freezing in an unbaked unproofed dough. Am I imagining it? Does it exist? What is the name of it? Who is the manufacturer? The bakery where I work uses fresh 1 lb blocks of cake yeast exclusively (much to my dismay). We go through them fast enough that they really don't have a chance to get old, which is fortunate. Apparently, they have tried before to shape croissant and danish and freeze it, then thaw, proof and bake at a later time. They have told me that that "doesn't work", because none of the danish or croissant comes up as nice as when it's made fresh. I don't think the problem lies completely in the use of cake yeast, but perhaps part of it. I know that if those guys don't keep their croissant and danish doughs as cold as possible when they are working with them and shaping them, the yeast is more active, and that action is lost when you really need it at the end. I also know that if you don't get your product frozen in a fairly quick fashion, you lose yeast action in the cool down process. Would switching to an instant yeast or an active dry yeast help with this problem? Is there a specially formulated instant yeast that is geared toward a good freezer life?
  21. If you read through the thread you will find some good links.
  22. Actually, that plate looks pretty cool. Just needs color! Some swirls or dots of cranberry coulis and voila!
  23. I'm invited over to my bosses' house for T-day dinner, and I'm bringing the dessert (of course). Three of us loathe pumpkin pie, so I'm off the hook in that regard. I also want to make something simple because I'll be baking my a$$ off the Tuesday before. So I'm making this Chocolate Cranberry Tart.....and my own special touch.......yes......"Turkey Tuiles".
  24. Your wish has been *granted*! I posted the recipe for all in the RecipeGullet here. I posted the "easy to tell when done" home size formula. When you convert this sucker up to bake a full sheet pan of these, waiting til the toothpick has moist crumbs means it's overbaked. At work I have to reduce the oven temp by about 25 degrees and pull 'em when the toothpick is still gooey. At home these brownies are a cinch....at work they make-a-me-crazy, but they're good.
  25. Fudgy Brownies a la Annie Serves 16 as Dessert. This is a fudgy brownie recipe, as opposed to chewy or cakey. 5 oz butter 5 oz bittersweet chocolate 2 oz unsweetened chocolate 1 c granulated sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 tsp salt 2 large eggs 1 large egg yolk 3 oz all purpose flour Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 inch square pan with wax paper or parchment, and grease the pan and paper with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Melt butter and chocolates together in microwave...let cool a bit. In a medium bowl, add the melted chocolate and butter to the sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, stirring til each one is blended in. Add the flour, stirring til thickened and smooth. Pour into prepared pan, and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter). Bake time guideline: Between 35-45 minutes. Keywords: Easy, Brownies/Bars, Dessert, American, Chocolate, Snack ( RG2047 )
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