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Patrick S

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Everything posted by Patrick S

  1. Define confection, please. If you mean stuff like molded chocolates, it's because a properly made chocolate will have the filling sealed off from the environment. ← In addition, the "water activity" (Aw), which is essentially a measure of how much water is available for use by microbes, plays a major role in determining shelf life, and two different products, even though include the same list of ingredients, can have very different Aw, and therefore different shelf lives. Bacteria and molds grow very poorly on materials with Aw below 0.6, even those that are rich in cream and sugar. Chocolatiers generally are aware of this and generally design their product to have an Aw that allows for a longer shelf life. In addition, many mass-produced confections will include preservatives like benzoate as well.
  2. IMHO, nothing beats the scale when it comes to measuring things like honey, corn syrup, and molasses. Even with the Wondercup, which is an awesome invention and probably the best way if you don't have a scale, you have the extra steps of measuring into a measuring cup before adding the ingredient to the rest of the recipe, and cleaning the measuring cup itself.
  3. The third recipe I tried is the tartest lemon tart. Of course, lemon tarts are some of my favorite things, and my all-time favorite lemon tart is probably Herme's lemon tart, a version of which is in Baking, but which I first found in Dorie's Desserts by Pierre Herme. The tartest lemon tart caught my attention because it uses whole lemons, and though I've tried a lot of lemon tart recipes, I've never tried one that uses whole lemons. While this tart was not my favorite, I thought it was pretty good, and enjoyed trying something different. Better-quality Flickr images: #1 #2 #3
  4. 1C of AP measured by dip-and-sweep method is about 5oz. ← Patrick, I realize this. But presumably, the author of any cookbook measures out the flour in some way, and consistently uses this method throughout the cookbook. For me, anyway, it would be useful to know what a cup of flour weighs, as measured by the person who wrote the recipe. MelissaH ← I agree, and Dorie does makes it clear, on p. 482, that the flour in all of her recipes should be measured by the "scoop and sweep" method, which is why I cited the 5oz weight.
  5. 1C of AP measured by dip-and-sweep method is about 5oz.
  6. I think the highlighted reasons are most likely -- the problem is that it can be difficult to trace the provenance of all fresh spinach, so that even though at the present time there is only 111 cases of illness in 21 states linked to E. Coli (a very large geographic distribution of cases, but not nationwide yet), its not clear yet how prevalent the contamination is. And in any event, as I understand it, the FDA itself is not at the present time recalling anything -- they are simply advising consumers not to eat any fresh spinach, for the time being. It is producers (Natural Selection brands and other brands that are supplied by them) that are voluntarily recalling the spinach. FWIW, the following brands are the onces being recalled: Natural Selection Foods, Dole, Trader Joe's, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature's Basket, Compliments, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Coastline, D'Arrigo Brothers, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Pro-Mark, Snoboy, The Farmer's Market, Tanimura & Antle, President's Choice, Cross Valley and Riverside Farms, River Ranch Fresh Foods
  7. That looks great, Elie! This is one of the first recipes that caught my attention when I first looked through the book, and even though I just made a recipe with the caramel/peanut/chocolate, seeing your tart makes me want more. . .
  8. Awesome -another example of your great skill when it comes to cake.
  9. Something has gone very wrong if the top of the cake is burnt -- either the oven is too hot, or you've baked too long. Personally, I have not had favorable experiences with silicone cake pans, except for my silicone loaf pan, which I mostly use to mold fudge and things like that. If I were you, what I would do is chill the cake in the frudge, then use a plastic knife or something like that to try to free as much of the cake from the side of the pan as you can. For the bottom of the cake, I guess all you can really do is reach your hand in there, and try to pull it from the bottom as best you can. If you mangle the cake, you can always cut off the top and bottom.
  10. I tried the marbled banana/chocolate loaf cake over the weekend, and it is also very good, if a little dense on the bottom (probably should have mashed the bananas more). I have a picture of it on Flickr. ETA: Here is the smaller, ImageGullet version:
  11. As I recall, this cake was more than sturdy enough to support some lemon curd. ← Great picture and Thanks. I am bad at foam cake and would like to try this... what pan did you bake in? and what is the approximate height of the finished cake? Any warning before i jump in? Thnks ← Sorry I missed your questions, iii_bake. I baked this cake in a 10" tube pan. The finished cake is about 4.5-5" tall. Tips: seperate your eggs while they are cool, but beat your whites at room temp. Fold the ingredients together gently, but also make sure you do it thoroughly -- the batter should look homogenous -- no streaks or egg whites or of the flour mixture. Don't open the oven til your ready to test the cake for doness, and when you do that, be quick. Don't put the tube pan on top of a baking sheet as an insurance policy against drips -- air needs to be able to circulate through the middle of the tube pan. That's all I can think of. Good luck!
  12. Very cool! Those look really elegant, and refreshing.
  13. I'd be happy to show you some more pictures. I'm also going to start adding links to my larger and higher-quality images on Flickr, since ImageGullet always resamples my images to lower quality/smaller file size versions. Here are two more images of the caramel peanut-topped brownie cake. Photo1 Photo2
  14. I've strained it and not strained it, and I prefer the strained version. Even with several minutes of immersion blending, I find the zest quite noticable and not desirable.
  15. I recieved Dorie's new book last week. Its a large book, with 300 recipes, and I can tell already that I'm going to have a lot of fun baking from it, for a long time to come. This past weekend, I tried my first recipe from it -- the caramel peanut-topped brownie cake (p. 264). Its delicious!
  16. I keep a sheet with a list of common ingredient weights taped to the inside of one of my cabinet doors. I consult that as I'm assembling ingredients, so I weigh everything the first time around, rather than each time measuring out volumes and weighing them.
  17. People have different ideas of what fudge should be like, but my preference is for ultra-creamy, slightly soft fudge. I tried several recipes for PB fudge, and by far the best recipe has been one shared in the Pastry and Baking forum by eGullet user devinf. His recipe is as follows: If you're doing your fudge in a large pan (like me) and not on a marble slab, let it cool to about 120F, then add you vanilla, then stir like crazy just until the fudge starts to lose its gloss, then scoop it into your container. It can be tricky, because if you stir a little too long, the fudge will get very firm, and you'll have a hard time getting in the pan. If that happens, just cover your hands with something, and form the fudge into the pan. I usually use a loaf pan, either a silicone loaf pan, or a metal loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. This fudge is slightly soft, and will cut better if you chill it first.
  18. Actually, Canola is a special variety of rapeseed that was bred to have little or no erucic acid and bitter-tasting glucosinolates, and tastes different than traditional rapeseed. Its not simply another name for rapeseed.
  19. Patrick S

    Unset Jam?

    I've never tried this myself, but I know that xanthan gum and other gums are used in addition to pectin or instead of pectin to thicken some low-sugar jams and jellies. Advantages would be that you would only need a very small amount, and you would not have to reboil the jam, so I imagine it would be a quick and easy method.
  20. I filled a wedding cake using the egg-rich recipe I posted a while back, and it worked out fine -- no squishing out of lemon curd when the cake was cut, even on the 12" tier. But if you want a lemon filling that is pretty much gauranteed to be firm enough, you could do a cornstarch-thickened lemon filling, as you would do for a lemon meringue pie. ← Patrick, do you have any pix of the wedding cake to show off? I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd love to see it! ← Thanks, Ruth, but me showing off my wedding cake here, in the company of true cake decorating black belts, would be like entering a rusted-out 72' Ford Pinto in the car show . . . I'd rather not! I'll describe it though -- three tiers, 6", 9", 12", each tier filled with lemon curd, and covered with vanilla mousseline buttercream. A small red ribbon was around the base of each tier. I was asked to do the cake like 2 days before the wedding (nephew's shotgun wedding), so it was rushed.
  21. I filled a wedding cake using the egg-rich recipe I posted a while back, and it worked out fine -- no squishing out of lemon curd when the cake was cut, even on the 12" tier. But if you want a lemon filling that is pretty much gauranteed to be firm enough, you could do a cornstarch-thickened lemon filling, as you would do for a lemon meringue pie.
  22. As I recall, this cake was more than sturdy enough to support some lemon curd.
  23. That looks and sounds delicious, gfron! The oat jaconde sounds very interesting too. Tell me about it. Is that an almond cake with oats added, or do the oats take the place of almonds?
  24. Patrick S


    In theory, yes, 1 t. will thicken a cup of liquid, but in practice... you'd end up with a gloppy stringy slimy mess. Commercially, xanthan is almost always used either in small amounts or in conjuction with other thickeners. It has an especially good synergy with guar. I always combine the two. ← That's what I'm reading in the Food Product Design articles -- that the best effects are usually achieved with mixtures. I'm very much interested in hearing anything you want to say about how you have used these gums, singly or in combinations, and the successes and failures you've had. I'm curious in particular whether you've experimented with using these in ice creams.
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