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David Israel

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About David Israel

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    Edmonds, WA
  1. Streusel problems

    What if you froze the streusel before putting it on the pie? Also, in the Pie Bible RLB--in her recipe for Apple Crumb Pie (which I'm going to try for Thanksgiving)--states, "a high oven temperature (400 degrees) is necessary to set the streusel and keep it from being greasy."
  2. Favorite "Bark" Recipes?

    I've done a white chocolate bark with dried cherries and pistachios -- looks nice for Christmas. Another one I like is dark chocolate with hazelnuts and candied lemon peel.
  3. Culinary Communion, a cooking school in Beacon Hill, has been making their own bacon and, I believe, selling it at select Farmer's Markets around Seattle. You can also purchase their bacon at the school. I bought some of the bacon after taking a charcuterie class recently, and thought it was excellent.
  4. Chocolate by Ramon Morato

    Not quite there yet. We are up north right now and Anna is working her way through the book. I have been making some of my ganaches using his technique of 40º C chocolate and cooler cream, they seem to set up quickly, and have excellent texture. I'm sold on his proportions of ingredients for shelf life (as shown in to the Excel spread sheet linked to by Schneich) after giving a moldy, not very old chocolate to a fellow chocolatier a couple of days ago. When we plugged the recipe into the spreadsheet it failed badly! I did make a recipe using the clarified butter that was modeled on his recipes - it was a chai latte - used some of the chai powder that I bought at the spice house, white chocolate, clarified butter, cream, lipton powdered tea (not sweetened or flavoured) and an alcoholic infusion of chai tea that I had in the cupboard. It was quite lovely - quite a bit of booze though, I was feeling a little woozy after licking the spatula (I'm a cheap drunk). I'd report back after I've had more time to go through the book and try a couple more recipes. ← Kerry - you cited an Excel spreadsheet, but I didn't see a link to it; where can I access this spreadsheet?
  5. Sorbitol - Where to find it?

    In Jean-Pierre Wybauw's most recent book (Fine Chocolates - Great Ganache Experience) many of the recipes call for Sorbitol. I've checked several places in the Seattle area--including a beer- and wine-making shop--but have not found any that carry Sorbitol. Does anyone have suggestions for where it can be purchased? Also, I have found Xylitol - can this be substituted for Sorbitol? Thanks for your help!
  6. When I've made ganaches from Greweling's book that call for "massaging" the butter into the chocolate, I've added the very soft (i.e., around 85 degrees F) butter into the tempered chocolate and stirred it until it was incorporated. I believe the key here is to ensure no lumps of butter remain; if needed I've worked any such lumps between the side of the bowl and the spatula to smooth them out. Once the butter's added you'll see the chocolate thicken considerably. Now, if only the ganache would massage me!
  7. Herbal Desserts

    I've made a bonbon with pineapple pate de fruit layered over basil ganache, which was a good combination. Another combination that Michael Recchiuti has in one of his chocolates is tarragon and grapefruit. I second the thyme and berry combination, too. For example, I've made a blueberry cobbler with some thyme added to the blueberry mixture, which worked well (I'd think lemon thyme would be particularly good).
  8. Fall French Dessert

    One more suggestion, if it's not too late -- the Far Breton recipe in "Baking: From My Home to Yours." Perhaps not the most elegant dessert, but certainly fits the autumn theme. I made it last year and was extremely pleased with it, what with the Earl Grey-infused dried fruits and Armagnac-flavored whipped cream along side.
  9. Freezing Chocolates & Confections

    What I've learned, such as through Jean-Pierre Wybauw, is that it's fine--and a frequent practice among chocolatiers--to freeze chocolates, provided it is done carefully. Steps to take to maintain the quality of the product include: a. Filling the container as full as possible to minimize air space; b. Wrapping the container well or, ideally, vacuum sealing the container (although the amount of vacuum can't be too high, otherwise the chocolates will be damaged; I'd like to learn more about the vacuum sealing process myself); c. Placing the sealed container in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to freezing; d. Upon removing the container from the freezer, placing it in the refrigerator for 24 hours; and e. Removing the container from the refrigerator and allowing it to sit at room temperature for 24 hours before opening it. The process of slowly thawing the chocolates prevents formation of condensation on the surface, which in turn would lead to sugar bloom. I believe there's more information about freezing in Peter Greweling's book.
  10. The best pate de fruit that I've bought was from Thomas Haas, in Vancouver.
  11. I agree that if the white choco you've got to start with is not going to get too much sweeter by "truffelizing" it. If I remember correctly, you're probably going to be something like 75% white choco to 25% cream to get the right consistency. There shouldn't be sugar in your truffle recipe, but if there is I would omit it. Also, you mention wanting to add candied lemon zest...you might consider beefing up the lemon flavor with fresh zest or even a teensy weensy bit of lemon essential oil. Are you going to enrobe the truffle? I'm thinking a nice super dark choco would be an awesome contrast. But not to ignore your original inquiry, I think 10% cocoa butter seems like a nice start. B utter might do well also, and would help save exhorbitant ingredient costs! ← Actually, the original recipe contains no cream; the ingredients are essentially butter and milk chocolate, with some invert sugar and the liquor/flavorings. Your idea of adding some fresh zest and/or lemon oil is a good one, and I agree that enrobing the truffle in dark chocolate would provide a nice contrast and help mitigate the sweetness of the ganache. As far as the substitution of cocoa butter for the chocolate, 5% - 10% seems like a good beginning point, without increasing the cost too much. I'll play around and report back. Thanks for your help!
  12. I'm wondering what guidelines you could share for substituting cocoa butter for a portion of the chocolate in a ganache recipe, to reduce the sweetness while maintaining the same consistency? For example, Wybauw has a recipe for a butter truffle with Kirsch, which uses milk chocolate in the ganache. I've made the recipe in the past, using candied orange zest and Grand Marnier in place of the Kirsch, and it's great. I'd like to adapt the recipe using white chocolate, to make a truffle with candied lemon zest. However, I'm concerned that replacing the specified quantity of milk chocolate with white (recognizing that a larger quantity of white would be required to result in a similar consistency) would make the ganache too sweet. So, I thought replacing a portion of the white chocolate with cocoa butter would reduce the sweetness. However, I didn't know what amount of cocoa butter to use (e.g., 10% of the total initial quantity of white chocolate?). I'd appreciate any guidance my eGullet compatriots could provide! David
  13. I do a mix of enrobed and molded pieces, and the ratio is still working itself out. I won't be storing chocolate there much, if at all, since I'm just making to order and not maintaining a stock. One of the challenges of working in a space that's not just mine is how to manage air-drying/crusting times. Ultimately, I'm going to investigate getting some sort of enclosed cabinet that I can use for that (like this one, although that's really much bigger than I need), but for now I'll just be managing my work times around their schedule. Fortunately, they are closed on Sundays, so I can leave things out overnight on Saturday. Anyone have any thoughts on whether using a fan would help speed up this process? Although I expect that sometimes I'll have to "cheat" and use the refrigerator. ← I wonder if a climate-controlled wine storage unit would fit the bill as a way to store the chocolates overnight and facilitate the air drying/crusting of the ganaches?
  14. I, too, would like to thank Nightscotsman for the recipe. I've made it several times, in variations including the strawberry (with bittersweet chocolate lines drizzled on top) and cinnamon, and they've consistently turned out great (and have been much appreciated by co-workers!). An upcoming experiment will be to do S'more Bites -- vanilla marshmallows cut into small pieces, and pieces of graham crackers, mixed with tempered bittersweet chocolate and formed into clusters. The only thing missing would be the gooey-ness of the toasted marshmallow and melting chocolate of the original S'more...
  15. Where to buy almond paste

    L'epicerie (L'epicerie) sells almond paste, both in one-pound and 3-kilo quantities. The price for the one-pound container is $8.85; the 3-kilo container is priced at $49.60 (approximately $7.50 per pound). They have a large selection of ingredients for pastry and savory cooking.
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