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Everything posted by reenicake

  1. Thanks everyone... so little heat and no water should prevent transfer of BPA. Not incidentally also a mantra for chocolate! Will scratches/surface gouging make a difference do you think? The students can sometimes be pretty hard on the molds we have for classes. I think I should put together a sheet about chocolate mold care to hand to them.
  2. If the flavor is still good, you can probably make small balls/sticks and dip them with a fork... I agree the color is not that appetizing but having added the spirit that gave you enough liquid to re-emulsify the oils... or try making a nougat with it! That would probably taste very yummy.
  3. mango and lime (dipped in milk chocolate or the lime ganache made with milk chocolate, this is incredible.) five-spice blueberry and white chocolate cashew ganache -- sorry, this is one of my all-time faves, spun off of the flavor combo I did for my wedding cake. Sort of like pb'n'j but with a zing. blackberry and Guinness or malt passionfruit and vanilla
  4. My least favorite thing to clean is teeny petit four pans... that rust like crazy if you don't get them completely dry and clean. After that it might be the whole kitchen after someone careless/really tall/ overenthusiastic makes spun sugar. (ah, the memories...) And chocolate or caramel messes without hot water. And pots where something (especially protein, pastry cream or chocolate sauce or caramel) has burned. Ehem. sorry. I worked my way through school doing dishes in a workstudy program... only to become an intern and do more dishes!! a long time ago.
  5. Hi everyone, I have not been on here in months (blame life getting in the way!). With the current uproar over BPA in plastics, I am worried to know that polycarbonate has very high amounts of BPA. All my good chocolate molds are polycarbonate!! I tried a search on eGullet but did not find any info on this. Granted, chocolates do not spend half as much time in the mold as, say, ice cream in a freezer container, but I am concerned about all the scraping and wiping releasing bad stuff into the chocolate. Do you think I should be concerned? I really don't find anything else as good or as efficient as the polycarbonate molds, they are workhorses. But especially for kids BPA is very bad. Any info/links appreciated.
  6. citrus oils themselves are quite bitter... with lemon it does not come through as much because of the sourness. Yuzu and orange are much sweeter so you taste the bitterness much more. Cooking helps eliminate this, (as is used with curds and sauces) but straight juice with zest will be quite bitter. HTH!
  7. I too am thinking of batter-type rather than dough-type doughnuts, to get the lightness and sharp cider flavor. My best experience of a cider doughnut was in a small ice cream shop in Tarrytown, NY -- they had a special that was a warm cider doughnut in the bottom of a paper cup, topped first with cinnamon ice cream then whipped cream and walnuts. Lots of sophisticated temperature and flavor juxtapositions and yet the kind of thing people who work with this stuff all day long would come up with when they are bored.
  8. 1)maybe it was cooked to the point that unwittingly you caramelized some of the sugars. Basically caramelized sugar will set hard as a rock but sugar in solution will not. I do know that this is how they make a type of candy in the phils except that they start with some caramel, add the mango puree and boil the heck out of it. 2)I didn't think mango had a lot of pectin, (I tried to make pate de fruit with it once, the Boiron site tells you to augment with apricot because of mango's low pectin) but I guess some varieties do. Maybe you can try it come summer and make a fruit roll-up type thing. hmmm, sounds promising!
  9. Toba Garrett has one in her cake book, the piping says Glorious Divorce. I think it should be whatever the celebrant wants -- ie goodbye to making compromises and making way for another person's likes and dislikes! This reminds me however of a party we threw when we were just out of college -- it was for all the dateless singles like us on valentines' day. My best friend and I planned it so there was a pasta bar and an ice cream bar -- nothing "had to go together" and you could match up whatever you wanted.
  10. Emerging from nowhere to say that I did not do any baking this year. Not for work, nothing. No chasing after holiday cookie classes or make-your-own-Yule Log classes. Even the cookies we served at a work reception on the 18th were made by a co-worker. The closest thing I did was peppermint truffles decorated with crushed starlight mints, and some Christmas-themed transfer sheets on dipped caramels and magnetic molds -- probably only about 30 each. No cooking either except for some porkchops in mango-apricot sauce that I did not intend to taste like Chinese sweet-and-sour but did, for a lunch with friends on the 23rd. My soon-to-be-sister in law's family bakes a lot and she obligingly brought boxes of cookies, caramel popcorn, etc. For Thanksgiving I had made a fabulous turkey, but for Christmas my mother-in-law got a 10-course lauriat from the Chinese place and made lasagna. No contribution from me. It stems partly from discovering that our son is allergic to wheat and yeast (aside from the ones we already knew, eggs, dairy and nuts) which become airborne, so no baking at home. I got depressed about that earlier in the fall, and thus threw myself into knitting things for him instead of baking him things. And partly because I'm in that bah humbug mindset too.
  11. dark rum buttercream or rum creme fraiche ganache with banana cake or ginger cake vaniila-pineapple-kirsch strawberry-chocolate-Grand Marnier whte rum-tequila-lime-pistachio i could go on and on...
  12. there is not much option to add natural fruit flavor to straight chocolate because chocolate itself is a balance of ingredients that form an emulsion. Berries on the other hand taste the way they do because of the water content. If you are okay with thickening and siezing, then you can use any fruit-based flavor you like. but if you want to be able to temper then moisture is not an option. If you want fruit flavor in chocolate, the best idea is to chop up bits of dried fruit and add them to the chocolate, or sprinkle freeze-dried bits or powder on top. Citrus fruit is another story, you could try exploiting chocolate's natural tendency to absorb odors by wrapping the chocolate tightly with some rinds.
  13. If you have a lot of whites left over from using the yolks in fillings, you might want to try a meringue buttercream, as a previous poster suggested. I like swiss for smaller amounts, italian for bigger ones, although I have made a 3-quart eggwhite batch of swiss meringue in a 30-qt mixer. Basic technique: 1 part eggwhites, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts butter. (this is cups, pounds, whatever. it is marvelous this way, you can just make exactly what you need.) put the whites and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Bring a pan of water to a simmer and whisk the whites/sugar mixture over the water until it is hot. No need to constantly whisk, just enough to prevent scrambling. (I usually add a pinch of salt at this point too.) Feel with your fingers to see if the sugar is completely dissolved. I usually go to 140 degrees for safety's sake. Take the bowl off the hot water and put it on the mixer with the whip. Beat on high speed until the bottom of the bowl has cooled off and you get a billowy meringue. Meanwhile cut the butter up in 2" cubes. Stop the mixer. Add about a third of the butter; at first the meringue will fall, this is fine. It will help get it out of the innards of the whip. Switch to the paddle and beat in the rest of the butter in two or three lots. Then beat on medium speed until it is very light. if your butter is soft you may need to set the bottom of the bowl in ice water; if the butter is very cold set the bowl back in the hot water briefly. Beat a good 10 minutes. it may break but it will always come back together. Flavor and enjoy. I ice pretty much all my buttercream cakes with meringue buttercream -- www.reenicakes.com. A nice idea for an ivory color is using part brown sugar.
  14. also, it may seem obvious but make sure you have enough dough to produce a nice crust. if it is rolled too thin or stretched to fit, it will tend to sink down. A good rule of thumb is one ounce of dough for every inch diameter of your pie or tart pan. When you roll, think even, don't think thin or big circle.
  15. Does not have to be tedious if you bring the milk/cream up to a full boil before tempering in the yolks. This way it only takes a few minutes. Stirring all the time, wait for the foam to disappear then get it off the heat immediately. I also use the thermometer when teaching as students almost always bust their first one. Straining the sauce right into an icebath prevents overcooking as well.
  16. I have not made one of these in years, but it comes to mind that for construction purposes, a dough that has a lot of structure (IE gluten) and does not change in texture much between rolling and baking would be best -- I am thinking liquid fat, bread flour, liquid sweetener. You don't need or want aeration/puffiness so no creaming. Basically a pane morte with spices (for that suitable gingerbread smell)... and low, slow baking to dry out without coloring/caramelization, and even drying, possibly baking on a vented sheet pan or turning halfway through to prevent warping.
  17. The article makes the point that most piecrust recipes are stingy with the water so as to limit gluten development, but that not enough water makes the dough cracky and crumbly once cold. They decided to use vodka as part of the liquid because ethanol does not form gluten like water does, but gives you more liquid to make a dough that holds together. (So, 4 oz liquid but only 3 1/4 oz water.) When I read it, I was thinking along the lines of infused or flavored vodkas adding a kick to holiday pies -- say, orange vodka with a cranberry pie, or raspberry on raspberry.
  18. reenicake

    Gold Leaf

    yep, it's real gold, bashed super-thin. It is the same stuff used to fill/ bling teeth, so you know it is safe to put in your mouth. As said before, it passes through the digestive system unchanged. Whether it bunches up like gold ingots (ready to panned out from the sewers?) I don't know!
  19. buttercream or ganache will work well. If you want to have more of a contrast, do a meringue-based buttercream; for more tone-on-tone and chocolate flavor, do a ganache buerre. I'd do one of both so guests would have a choice, or switch inside and outside for the two cakes... but I'm known for making life harder than it has to be. Both will refrigerate nicely, and hold up for the duration of the party.
  20. Thanks, both! I'll check them out. Yay, to be able to welcome the rain bottle back into my baking life.
  21. I don't mean to be overly simplistic, but maybe you might be simply not using accurate measures (if going by volume rather than weight), or your oven needs checking. If nothing seems to be turning out, those are common threads in baking that would consistently not give good -- or expected -- results. Borrow or buy a scale and get an oven thermometer. You owe it to yourself and to your vision of the best possible cake, for the sake of your neighbors, and and your "daughter". By the way, as someone who made her own wedding cake, whatever you put in it will not matter as much as the love and effort -- it will still be the perfect cake.
  22. dyrn. I would be so into this, but I'm going on vacation with no access to an oven. And I'm not going to contemplate all chilled desserts fitting in a hotel minibar fridge!!
  23. I would second D'artagnan, their saucisson sec is really good stuff. I think Zabar's carries it.
  24. try the calcium-reacting variety of pectin (Pomona's Universal) rather than regular; it works better with less pulpy higher-acid juices and produces a sliceable mass with a wider variety of bases. You might also try adding a base puree such as apple or pear to give it body. Check out the Boiron website for pates de fruit.
  25. Another point while you're learning, don't try to quenelle something that is too soft. Start from a fresh point on the bowl each time, not with the melted stuff that dropped from your spoon before. I like to quenelle with a warm spoon -- dunked in hot water, the moisture shaken off on a towel every time.
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