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Everything posted by reenicake

  1. Temperature really does play a part. Room temp or warm whites beat up faster and more stable than cold ones. I've warmed them over a water bath or with a blow torch while whipping to get them there. Something about the proteins unwinding and being able to absorb more air. As for the yolk-in-the-whites thing, I think it is proportion. I was trying to be healthy and decided to make scrambled eggs with 2 yolks and something like 5 whites and it got pretty frothy but didn't even double. I've also used whites pooled from several days of separating by different people (in the days of 60+ creme brulees a day, and now at school) with bits of yolk and they have whipped up just as high as fresh "uncontaminated" whites.
  2. Add some corn syrup or more cream to the topping so it does not cook up so hard... or maybe make individuals to completely sidestep the cutting thing! Honestly, caramelized nuts will never cut cleanly unless they are chopped up finely; if they are in a pretty solid topping you'll always make a mess because it is so much harder than the cake beneath.
  3. I love Chicago Metallic commercial weight. On eBay I got these really heavy coated muffin/cupcake pans (24-cup) that bake the most handsome product you have ever seen (I don't like papers on muffins that I bake for my own consumption) and they are a snap to clean. Chicago Metallic, Wearever or Matfer loaf pans. Always coated. Have also tried the one with the pebbly surface, forgot the brand name. For baking sheets, commercial sized half-sheet pans 18-gauge or heavier. They have a rim to grab onto and stack perpendicularly with stuff on them.
  4. boo, I can't go because I have to cover for other people that are going. 4 or 5 teachers and a group of students from my school will be there. Have fun and take pix, lucky ones!
  5. If knowledge is what you seek, then maybe you need to ask how much your time learning is worth. If they are offering you a large salary and benefits, there may be expectations beyond your comfort level... especially with regard to production versus service of plated desserts. I have worked as a small fish in a very large and swanky Manhattan high-life pond and as a big fish in a small cozy "had complete creative control but only did 60-100 desserts a night" pond. In the former I was one of 6 service crew and in the latter I was production and lunch service except on weekends, when i was dinner service. I moved from the big pond to the small one becasue I grew tired of the company drama, and wanted to reconnect with my Asian background, but I would not give up either of those learning experiences.
  6. Applicable to pastry only: (sorry, it's all I know) On the day that you really need a cool kitchen, (like when prepping 200 chocolate garnishes), the line guys roast 12 braisiers of bones and leave them all over the counters. The chef de cuisine will demand all your eggwhites to clarify consomme just after you fill the oven with meringues. You look high and low for your best copper sugar pot only to find that it is holding some server's stolen tomato and beans lunch under a napkin. Some line guy thinks it's funny to eat the last container of vanilla ice cream right before a kids' party.
  7. Personally, I think it is key that chefs who marry chefs and have kids have a plan. My husband and I worked first separately then side by side (I on pastry, he on the line as poissonier) until just before our wedding. We knew starting a family meant one of us would need a "regular" job or we would never know our kid(s). So I pursued what had been until then a temporary, "stopgap after 9/11" teaching job at a cooking school, while he stayed in the kitchen (it's an independent restaurant but in a large hotel, so we get hotel employee benefits) for the health insurance. Our son is now almost 3, and I've swung into working 12 4-hour classes a week at two schools, 6 days out of the week (right now it's 7 days a week, I have two half-days). Typically: up at 7 and off to 8:45 class while DH makes breakfast and looks after the kid, drops him off at preschool 3 days a week before working the dinner shift, supersitter picks up DS and stays until we both get home at 11:30/12. I work all weekend 9-6; Saturdays are granpa/granma time and Sundays are Daddy day. Some weekends I work a triple (9 AM-11 PM) because we don't have to pay the sitter. It makes me crazy, thinking about how much money for a good education, a house, college, etc. Would we have this problem if we were lawyers or accountants? No. We would just not be able to stand the sight of ourselves in the mirror. We're a line guy and a former line girl turned chef instructor, and we've got a brilliant son who is growing up knowing the value of loving what you do for a living.
  8. Some aluminum molds were made for baking cakes or for chocolate, but some are for gelatins or steaming only. A lock or latch would be used to seal it for retaining moisture, or for making a hollow chocolate mold -- the chocolate ones would usually have a sliding clip. I second the need for pix...
  9. I have just recently eaten a very good black cake made by a Caribbean student, and although I don't think anything can compare to having made it for years and years (Since she was 3 years old, and she's in college now), this recipe sounds close. What size is a cheesecake pan? And is a cake mold one of those pudding-type bucket molds? Can I use bundt pans? Thanks and I hope to start soaking my fruit soon.
  10. If the stuck chocolates are all in the same area of the mold, check that you are not slightly warming the surface of the mold with how you grip it when filling or emptying out... this is not usually a problem with the actual shell but with a thin coat of colored cocoa butter the warmth of your palm is enough to make it unfriendly and stick.
  11. Sprinkle some kind of crumbs in between the board and the cake below, to about 1" from the edge of the smaller tier. This way you'll still get a flush look, and that edge will still stick, but the center will not. I use cake or cookie crumbs for this, some people use coconut.
  12. two words: spray gun. Actually, make that spray gun and blast chiller. If you get good enough or desperate enough at hand-dipping, try dipping two or three in each hand at once. This is what we did many years ago when someone decided that it would be a spectacluar petit four to have chocolate ice cream truffles in carved-ice goblets for a VIP New Years' dinner. It was 90 degrees outside.
  13. They work best with things that do not particularly need to bake crisp, or that you would like to retain moisture with. One great way to use them is baking thin sheets of sponge cake for roulades. If you ever make tuiles (aka tulipe cups, or cigarette cookies) they will save you a lot of grief as well. They bake evenly and retain enough heat so that you can get the cookies off and shaped without the usual trauma.
  14. cooking for half an hour probably busts the cocoa molecules in the chocolate and swells the starch in it, thus creating a thicker frosting. Also the long cooking time probably causes enough evaporation to change the liquid/fat/sugar proportion, like fudge. I hate the flavor of chocolate chips so I have never been tempted to try this particular recipe, but their high sugar content and amount of emulsifier is what would make this work.
  15. If you have some cardboard you can make a two-layer in your square container by just making a cross shape that is the height of 1 cupcake and placing the cupcakes around it. more cardboard over that then more cupcakes. Hard to visualize, but imagine a collapsible card table. I vote for the rice crispie treats too. You can make them with any combo of cereal, even Froot Loops for color.
  16. Oh, the cuff! I forgot to mention the cuff! Actually I completely missed out on the filling of the bag. My bad. Only I do it (and teach it) holding the bag under the cuff in one hand, scooping the stuff in with a spatula or spoon, then closing your hand (the one under the cuff) around the spoon or spatula to get all the stuff off it into the bag, then pulling the spatula out. If your hand is large, you can sandwich the bag above the tip between your pinky and ring fingers to prevent the gush out of the working end. With disposables, i fill first, then cut the plastic to expose the tip.
  17. I hate cleaning pastry bags!!! For ease of use and hygiene, disposable plastic bags are the way to go. I like Hygo, Patisse and kee-seal, all of which come on a roll with perforations to separate them. Hygo also has the individual ones. DON'T get the crunchy cheap ones because they are slippery and crack easily. Ateco has some heavy-duty disposables that are okay too, I can give you SKU's if you need them. If you really don't want to do disposable, the best to get are flex bags -- they are light (not hard to maneuver like canvas) but not floppy like nylon and are dishwasher safe. Wash in hot soapy water and air dry; if you do a lot of savory stuff keep a separate set. (Anchovy smell never washes out...)
  18. Dry crumbs also make a great layer to prevent the cakes' cardboards sticking to the one below it when you tier soft-iced cakes. In a restaurant setting, fried ice cream breading. Also, grind fine and sift, then mix with cream fondant for a great modelling material that is not too sweet. Good for rose centers that will be eaten. I also seem to remember using coarser crumbs in something like a rice crispie treat (mixed with melted marshmallow) with a bit more weight/character.
  19. Very easy to make butterflies with rice paper and color them with edible markers. For 3D effect use piping gel and sprinkle on crystal sugar, or crystal sugar mixed with luster dust. Piping gel used alone or tinted makes the wings transluscent.
  20. Practice, practice. Writing with a small tip and using the bag as a kind of flexible funnel for foodstuffs are totally different, but easy to get used to. I'll talk you through the latter first. Get some bags (I like the 18 inch size, but you can go smaller or bigger depending on the size of your hand) and some tips (bigger is better when you are learning, I like the large star tips such as Ateco 824) and something pipeable but non melting like commercial mayo or smooth mashed potatoes. (Okay, spackle will also work but hopefully soon you'll need the bags and tips for food!) Don't fill too much, only about halfway. Shake so that there are no air pockets, then twist the top closed (you can also keep the top closed with a binder clip). Your writing hand is the working hand, the other guides, especially if the stuff is heavy. The working hand stays firmly on the top/side of the bag, with the rounded top of the bag in between palm and thumb, fingers on the side; guide fingers/hand go about midway but don't exert pressure. From here on out it is just squeeze, stop and pull away for stars. Squeeze, twist in a c-motion, stop and pull away for rosettes. Plain tips give you circles, or domes, or spirals depending on size and wrist action. Seriously it is just practice, no magic. For cake-top piping also the same, but with smaller tips like 2, 3 or 4, or just snip the tip so you have a small opening; or a paper cornet.
  21. Pectin works! Basically you can make a pate de fruit/fruit roll-up. Once, I made it, poured it into the cake pan 1/4 inch thick, and let it set up. Voila, no trimming no spreading no ooze and a perfect fit. It was mango/apricot and superyummy with white chocolate butter cake. Granny Smiths -- pits cores and peel -- have lots of pectin, but either Pomona's Universal or the thermoreversible from Patisse work. Do a pate de Fruit search here and you'll find lots of info, just don't cook it to as high of a temp.
  22. Regular water-based gel color worked for me. I've even used supermarket liquid color in place of some of the water/milk in the recipe. Candy color will also work because there is enough sugar/fat in the recipe to carry it.
  23. You can also add the liquid color to your liquid/egg mixture. I've made some pretty intense colored cookie dough (more like play-doh that you can eat in terms of color) this way. Be wary of blue and lavender though, it sometimes bakes out especially at higher temps. Best to bake at 325 even if recipe calls for higher.
  24. I feel for you. I bake without dairy because our son has continued to be allergic to it even beyond age 2. (I have the additional challenge of not using eggs.) On the advice of a vegan baker friend (lcs on here) I like rice milk for most baking. Soy milk usually has additives to prevent it from separating and I've found that it doesn't set with puddings and bakes unpredictably. If the cornbread is otherwise fine, add a pinch of baking soda -- that will help with both rising and browning.
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