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  1. I'll second the 'standard hotel pans don't fit in them' thing. Tried...deceivingly close, but not quite. You can, of course, order them from Mol d'Art. Otherwise...they are indeed excellent at the narrow but significant task they perform.
  2. I used to use a regular home stick blender, a cuisinart or something. That kind of thing is fine, depending on how much you use it. However, if you're going to become a serious user...I now use a professional robocoupe one...it's great, but it isn't exactly cheap. So long as you're not going to use it enough to overheat, I think you'll do fine with any of the decent home kitchen models.
  3. While I've ordered from PCB direct before, and you're right, it is a lot faster than local, I've ordered their transfer sheets only through US importers. The US importers have the sub-list of FDA approved transfer sheets, and have always warned me (for a couple years now) that ordering anything not on the list risks getting held up by customs and, in their experience, has a number of times in the past. So...maybe they don't always bother checking at the border, but it's not anything new. France simply allows some colouring ingredients which the US has not declared safe on the GRAS list yet.
  4. Ahhh...I wondered about that myself. I typed the Ramirez part verbatim out of the booklet handout at the event, and thought it looked at little suspect. Thanks for the correction.
  5. Vincent Pilon won both of the two awards presented...one for taste, as well as the overall competition.
  6. 2007 U.S. National Competition of World Chocolate Masters... Held at the French Pastry School in Chicago on May 19th to decide who would represent the U.S. at the World Chocolate Masters finals in Paris on October 20-22nd, 2007. http://www.worldchocolatemasters.com/en/ Competitors were graded on a chocolate showpiece (minimum 1 meter tall), pralines (both dipped and molded), and on a plated dessert created from a mystery box of ingredients. I was at the competition (thank you Geoff at Barry Callebaut for the invitation by the way) and took the following pictures of the final sculptures and cho
  7. Are you saying DON'T let it come to room temp slowly, or DO? ← I am saying...do let the ganache warm up slowly, or at least don't start mucking around with it physically until it has warmed up a bit. Otherwise, it will break very, very easily. That said...I believe chefpeon is right that ganaches with significant corn syrup and/or butter will break even easier than simple chocolate and cream ones.
  8. Are you letting the ganache come up slowly to room temp out of the cooler before you stick a scoop or spatula in there...it will break very easily that way. In so far as adding the 'old' batch to a fresh batch, that is a great way to fix it. In general, slowly adding a broken emulsion to an established one is an excellent way to go. Optionally, you can toss a little of the broken emulsion into a robotcoupe (not one you share with garlic chopping and the like) and letting it run until it is fixed (you can hear the awful sloshing sound suddenly disappear and it will run silent)...then slowly a
  9. rraaflaub

    Candy Pads

    This sounds interesting...I'll try contacting Qualita. Meanwhile, I've dealt with both Chocolat-Chocolat and Murnane for years, and I know they don't have brown throughout for the interior of their pads. In fact, I've been to Murnane (they're local for me) and they count among the years-of-experience manufacturers who've told me they don't know of anyone in the US who makes it.
  10. rraaflaub

    Candy Pads

    Very good question. I've asked this question to several of the big American manufacturers & distributers and the answer seems to be...nobody does that here. They all can handle gold, white, or custom printed tops on your candy pads...but first, custom is expensive, and second...absolutely nobody has the facilities to do the wavy interior layers in brown. You can get them (such as through Glerup Revere), but they are importing them from France. If anyone can prove me wrong (and for me the real big deal is the interior layers, not just the tops)...I'd love to hear it. Mean time, I've got
  11. This is a very quick and handy method of making a one-off mold when needed...but one of the primary drawbacks you should keep in mind is that the molded chocolate surface will look awful...it will bloom like crazy and look prtty sickly. That is all fine, so long as you have a plan to spray it, cover it, whatever. Otherwise, this is a good technique, which will allow a surprising amount of detail to come through.
  12. "....What I hadn’t paid much attention to before was proper cooling. Too fast and the temperature dips down into the range where the unstable crystals form and compete with the good crystals for the cocoa butter. Too slow and the crystals form coarsely for a poor result as well. I’m not clear on the mechanism for that however. If anyone can enlighten me on the subject feel free to speak up...." My two cents (four by the time I finished this...sorry): A common tempering problem is coarse crystals...it results in a less shiny, sometimes even slightly mottled looking surface. This can result fro
  13. If you are using wafers, it is difficult to obtain anything both fine and consistent. However, I find blocks far more convenient...cutting them is much more under your control, and they oxidize slower (and take up less storage space). If you do try blocks, I also use a serrated knife and slice off appropriate thicknesses...it is quite fast and easy. However, rather than balancing the block on its edge, I simply cut it while it lies flat. The issues with this are...it takes more force to slice the entire width of the block at once, but you quickly get used to it...also, it is difficult if
  14. Correct, and co-incidental timing! In fact, I had found La Gentile in Italy and sent them an email a week ago, and had not heard anything back...until this morning. I received an email and a follow-up call from these guys earlier this morning. They do have them in stock regularly, not all the options, but the others they can get (they order every 6 or 8 weeks apparantly). The cost is around $9-10/#, which isn't bad (2kg bag increments). They are shipping some out to me today by UPS, I'm not sure if I'll get them by Friday or not...but I'm rather excited to try them out. Meanwhile, thank yo
  15. An update here...it seems virtually everyone imports their hazelnuts from Greece or Turkey. I've followed all the leads here, and there were quite a few by the time you include all the hazelnut importers listed by the hazelnut board (and I mean all...I called every one on the list). So far...not a one. I know this exists, and I'll keep up the search. Meanwhile, thank you for all the posts and helpful links. Randall
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