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About andiesenji

  • Birthday 03/23/1939

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    Southern California

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  1. I Bought a Tutove--Now What?

    I don't really have “extensive experience in pastry making.” I originally learned the basics when I went to Dunwoodie Baking school in 1956/57 and then worked in my mom’s bakery. I did none while I was in the Army. I took it up again when I married and we entertained my husband’s business people quite a bit. That was when I attended Chef Gregory’s French cooking and baking classes. After my divorce, I decided to try some personal chef work - which I got into quite by accident, helping one of our patients when her caterer quit abruptly. This is also when I met Henri, a patient who sort of adopted me, treating me like a daughter. I just did a lot of watching when I would visit Henri - he would put me in a chef's coat and one of those little round white caps on my head and I would hang around and he and I would talk while he worked. Occasionally I got to separate eggs or retrieve something from the walk in or other minor tasks. No one ever questioned me being there because he was the boss of his space. The executive chef thought I was cute and would wink at me but never asked what I was doing there. Meanwhile, after this discussion began to expand, I got in touch with a friend who is a Brit but has lived in France for many years, has a lot of friends in the business. (she used to be a food writer and asks that I not use her name) She says that a few bakers in France use them, most do not and she has seen different kinds, developed for bakers who thought there might be a better way to achieve the preferred effect. Usually they are just displayed as curiosities, like the carved pins for decorating cookies or other pastry. She described the ones she remembers. Most have ridges or grooves end to end, some are large ridges, some are small. Some have grooves or ridges straight around the pin. Some have ridges that zig-zag around the pin. She says she has seen pins with what looks like "hobnails" on them but never in use and doesn't know if they were intended for use as a tutove because some are identify as “lefse” pins. I sent her a copy of your original post and she says that if your friend is as competent and "starry" as you say, he or she will be impressed just by the fact that you have made the effort to perfect the pastry and even more so for purchasing a tool to make the process better. She says that the bakery in her village is owned and operated by a woman in late middle age who uses one of the old fashioned tall wine bottles to produce "fantastic" pasty that is the true mille-feuille and not the "ersatz" commercial stuff that is sneaking into many of the commercial establishments nowadays. She works by a window where people on the street can watch and there are often tourists standing and watching her work. This of course, draws people into the shop where her daughters are happy to take their money. My friend says she has in the past asked about the use of the bottle and the woman told her something like it was to hand. Doesn't quite translate. Her wooden pin fell on the stone floor and a chunk split off. Middle of the night, no way to replace it but she had this big wine bottle so cleaned it and use it and it worked so well she kept using it.
  2. I Bought a Tutove--Now What?

    I have known several chefs, French, German, Swiss and my friend of many years who was a pastry chef at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. I never saw one use a tutove, although they may have done when I was not around. Henri used a regular wood pin for all the preliminary work and for the final roll-out, he had a huge heavy steel pin. The main thing is, if it works for YOU that's great! Anything like this should be personal preference. Just like knives, or skillets, or whatever. If you like something and it makes your cooking and baking experience better, then that is why we have a million different things. Something for everyone. I like my cheap "bread" knives because they work for me. I have a homemade French pin (as well as a few other pins) and I don't care if other people want something different, that is THEIR choice. And it's good.
  3. I Bought a Tutove--Now What?

    I haven't made puff pastry for quite a while. But I would make a double batch of butter, while it was still soft, line a 1/4 sheet pan with heavy plastic wrap, spread the butter in the the pan, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, place another 1/4 sheet pan on top, squeeze to level it edge to edge and place in the fridge overnight. Sometimes I would have two or three batches ready for the next step.
  4. I Bought a Tutove--Now What?

    I just read this thread. No, I do not have a tutove, never felt the need for one and when I took classes in French cooking from Chef Gregoire back in the early '70s, one of the other women in the class said she had seen a tutove at Jurgensens (very high end food store that carried some pots, pans, utensils &etc.) and asked if they worked better than a straight French pin for pastry. It was very expensive -as was most of the stuff at Jurgensens. The Chef had one word, "merde" and said, "don't waste money on it!" In fact, earlier when we began the class and were being told what we would need, he had suggested that we go to a lumber yard, ask for a 2-foot length of maple or oak round 2 inch banister, buy some coarse sandpaper and round off the ends and work it with finer sandpaper till it was smooth, oil it with mineral oil, wipe it as dry as possible and then rub it with the back of a spoon until it was slick. I think most of us did. I still have the one I made. The method he taught us involved a lot of beating on the slabs and the weight of the maple pin helped a lot. Over the years I successfully produced a lot of puff pastry, and other pastry, worked with that pin.
  5. The blade is too short to be effective that way. It is a 5 inch blade.
  6. I still prefer my CHEAP "scalloped" edge "slicers" for cutting bread or cake. They work on very hard, crusty artisan breads, dense pumpernickel that I want to slice extra thin, on brioche and panettone, cakes, sponge cakes and angel food cakes. They do the job with the least effort on my part which is GREAT for my arthritic hands. I have tried several other "bread" knifes and not one performed as well on ALL those types of bread. One might be fine on crusty bread but mashed softer breads. Non-serrated blades do okay on cakes but not on soft breads that might have a bit of tough crust and they don't work at all on crusty breads.
  7. The Dish Towel

    I have some that won't get used. These are "decor" in my kitchen and on a wall in the hall between my kitchen and laundry room. One is from the DISCWORLD EMPORIUM in England and refers to a Dwarf restaurant that shows up in many of the Terry Pratchett books set in the city of Ankh-Morpork the setting of many of the books. Dwarves consider rats a delicacy, especially the "free range" rats!!! It is 18 x 31 inches The others are oversized tea towels - I have four sets - They are 25 x 36 inches. They came with one patterned and one solid color. This one green. The others are the same pattern with orange solid color, yellow solid color and tan solid color.
  8. Bensdorp Cocoa

    In my opinion the King Arthur Double Dutch Dark cocoa is better than the Bensdorp. I have used both. I buy them from Amazon - and I also buy the Black Onyx Ultra-dutched cocoa powder which I have been blending with the recently purchased Gerkens Garnet Cocoa powder which is also 22/24 high fat. It too is alkalized and has a wonderful rich flavor. $12.99 a pound. For hot cocoa and for other liquid application, my favorite for many years is the Valrhona which is now available in one pound bags from Amazon. More costly than some at $20.08 but considering I used to have to buy this in 5 kilo bags when I was catering, I am happy it is now available like this. The fat content is 21% and it blends nicely with milk or cream for drinking or for liquid sauces. Hight fat is great in baked goods but can be a bit too much in other applications. None of these have required refrigeration, although my pantry is always rather cool, 58°F - even during the summer. What cocoa were you using?
  9. I have a couple like that. I don't wrap my fingers around the handle, I hold it like a wand with one finger on the back of the blade. This Global "utility" knife is one such. A real knuckle banger.
  10. Countertop Rotisseries

    It has been many years and I don't recall exactly but I think it was boneless turkey breasts and rolled and tied pork roast that was worst.
  11. Countertop Rotisseries

    The one I had did. I had to cover the kitchen table with newspapers, otherwise it was a bitch to clean. It was a wedding gift and I used it a few times but I eventually gave it to my sister in law.
  12. Countertop Rotisseries

    I probably used it more for steaks and chops on the grill pan with it all the way up for plain meats. I would move it down a level for stuffed chops and game hens, gratins and other dishes needing a few minutes under the grill. Move it down another levels for things like garlic bread, Welsh rarebit, and casseroles that needed toasted tops.
  13. The Manchego War

    I like both. The Mexican "queso tipo manchego" which I buy is made from a combination of Cow milk and Goat milk, has a lovely buttery flavor and MELTS PERFECTLY and does not overwhelm other flavors in cooked dishes. The Spanish manchego has a stronger flavor, a table cheese that goes well with fruits. I don't care for it in cooking. My favorite SPANISH cheese is Idiazabal.
  14. Countertop Rotisseries

    This is the large one that I use out on the deck. It is terrific and very versatile, but it "SPITS" and you have to wear a heavy apron, long sleeves and gloves when standing in front of it. I bought it new in 1962 and I have taken very good care of it. Note the address - this was manufactured before the postal zip codes were adopted. And the phrase, "They don't make them like that nowadays" is 100% true. It is heavy, very well made and should last another 45 years! And note how the spit is constructed. There are additional tines at each end, that nailed into a roast, a chicken, turkey or ?? will keep the item secure on the spit. I did roasts, including rib roasts, pork loins on the bone, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and leg of lamb and hams.
  15. Countertop Rotisseries

    This is the one I have. Regal - about 20 years old, only used a couple of times because I got the Sharp combi convection/microwave oven, which did the same thing only more rapidly.