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Everything posted by KarenS

  1. Trigger start is the word. Don't buy anything less. I just bought the last two at Sears- cause I live on an island, and brulee is on the menu, and the holidays are coming... The others: must be started with a match. can't be turned upside down (not much help for creme brulee) you are never sure if the gas is on or off. My Sears is always sold out on these. I use them to heat buttercreams, sauces, torch meringues, burn brulee, make swiss meringue, cut every cake (heat the knife)etc, etc, etc... This is a very important tool for a Pastry Chef.
  2. I never spray the sides of the pan (and only spray enough on the bottom that the parchment sticks). I want the sides clean and dry so that they rise (and hold on) to their fullest.
  3. KarenS

    Poached pears

    I just started poaching pears last week. I believe that they will last a few weeks- me I end up doing them every third or fourth day. I use them for many things (and people learn to love pears). I use wine, sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, used vanilla bean, cloves, orange, freshly grated big island nutmeg (plus the mace), pepper and bay leaf.
  4. Hmmm... You could add a couple of yolks. It should be very thick- did you see it scramble? I remember that Las Vegas does not have very good cream- you just may need the extra yolk. Full boil (boiling in the center of the pot). Usually when it doesn't set, it was not cooked enough- my assistant used to do that, she was scared of burning it. Let me know how it goes (we make it like that every day).
  5. As a Pastry Chef, I can assure you that I don't make wedding cakes with mixes. It is a British tradition to make them with fruitcake (not American, and not French- they make a croquenbouche). I have never been asked to make a fruitcake wedding cake (lots of vanilla bean, chocolate, carrotcake, genoise, fruit filled, lemon or other curd filled). I have made very many croquenbouche though. In New Zealand, Australia, and Canada- plus England- you will find fruitcake wedding cakes.
  6. No, it is not German. The French and the English use yolks/ whole eggs. I just think it is too much with the butter and cake too. That is just my opinion though
  7. Oh yah, about the puff. Fill your custard right to the rim. Hold your torch not too close (so you caramelise slower). We would trim off any drips with scissors after. Hope this helps.
  8. Wendy, I use 2c pumpkin puree per 24 yolk batch- it is freshly roasted and pureed, so not as tight and thick as canned would be. If you are using canned, you can reduce your yolks probably up to four. (vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger)
  9. KarenS

    Nut Crusts

    I use a nut crust for cheesecakes often: 2# flour 3c nuts 8 oz sugar 1# 8oz butter- melted 1T kosher salt Grind the nuts (I like a bit of texture- not too fine) with some of your sugar and flour in the robot coupe. Mix everthing together and divide between seven 9 inch springform pans. Press in by hand. Bake till golden (no resting needed)
  10. Neil, Here is a stovetop recipe. 1 1/2 qt cream 24 yolks pinch salt 1 vanilla bean 8 oz sugar Bring the cream, bean, and salt to a boil. Turn off heat, add sugar and whisk to dissolve. Temper yolks and add back to the pot. Whisking constantly (bottom and sides), plus turn the pot ot avoid hot spots- bring to a boil in the center of the pot. Yes, you want the custard to break- this will ensure that it will set in your dishes (you are taking it just over the proper temp). Strain (medium strainer) into a container and place in an ice bath. Beur mix the custard to smooth (make sure that the ice bath is up to the same level as the custard. Cool slightly before pouring (if I am putting berries in- I cool it till it is thick enough that the berries won't float.) This is the technique that I learned at Postrio in the early 90's- we were selling over 60 per day in puff pastry shells (and yes- we made the puff and lined those shells everyday, with perfect sharp corners!). This was Spago's technique made for mass production (at Spago the brulee would be placed over a water bath for 45 minutes aprox- but they had time to do this, as they only served dinner- they had all day). We usually did a 96 yolk batch. These days I'm doing a kabocha pumpkin creme brulee- a 72 yolk batch This method is great for a consistant product- and no worrying about baking time, oven space, etc...
  11. Hmm... I've never made an Italian meringue with yolks- only whites. I don't understand how it would be considered a meringue with yolks in it. These days I pretty much only use Italian meringue buttercream.
  12. I still don't use the Scott recipe- I like the one I have much more. I also alter mine when needed by adding some great Valrhona chocolate. etc... I make about 40-50 a week.
  13. I've cracked lots of them- sometimes we'll get a case that is mostly doubles. In addition to pastry- we produce 400 plus popovers every day (its a full time job for one baker) We use 3-4 cases per day.
  14. I live in a one bedroom apt with two burners, fridge, and microwave. I purchased the DeLongi convection/ rotisserie (I love it- have not used the microwave in a year!). I have not felt limited- still roast chicken, make stocks, etc... I bought a Le Creuset grill pan that I use a lot too. i think that most Americans are used to having "too much" kitchen- you really don't need much...
  15. KarenS

    Cake Opinions

    TP, your "man" is lovely. I will reccomend you to the Michelin people! Actually, I would have really never have made such a good rendition (we are producing a standard of 400 desserts per day). Adding the "tire cake" is a kind of scarey nightmare-but I will deal with it.
  16. KarenS

    Cake Opinions

    I LOVE you guys, and I am really glad that I put that cake here! My pastry world is so small here; I really appreciate what you contribute!
  17. KarenS

    Cake Opinions

    Thank's you guys! I did not know that I could buy black fondant (in Hawaii it may be still achallenge- I'll try tomorrow). I like the buttercream tread under the fondant idea, I'm going to try that this week. I too thought about a new tire being glossy (the armoral affect). I was thinking of clear glaze- the alcohol and gel is also an option to try. I agree about the board Sinclair- maybe I'll make it look like concrete. good ideas!
  18. I'd love to have opinions from some other pastry people. I have an order from a local tire company (the founders 90th birthday). They want a cake the size and shape of a tire (they want me to even put a real rim on top). Michelin is paying for part of the cake! Anyway, I'm planning to do it in black fondant and paint the tread- but I am interested in ideas from others. This is going to be a very big cake!
  19. I love my Boos block and prefer it over any other cutting board I have (I can't stand plastic). I have bamboo also- but prfer the Boos (which is maple).
  20. Use your mixer paddle on medium speed to prep your buttercream- this helps remove the air bubbles. Keep your spatula straight up and down (hold it upside down), spin the wheel. Focus on the center of your spatula for preasure (not the tip). Whe your sides are fairly smooth, turn the spatula so that the focus is on the center EDGE of the spatula- and not the flat of the blade. Do the top the same way, pull straight towards you with the center of the spatula. Clean your spatula off EVERY time. When almost smooth, turn the spatula so that you are using the center edge. Pull straight towrds you and turn- keep doing this all the way around the cake. I agree with Steve, the quality of your spatula makes a big difference. Thin and flexible ( I have found the best to be made in France)- I used to joke that if I lost my favorite spatula- I would retire (I have almost lost it a couple of times, and once had a loyal sous chef who dug around in a dumpster in a garage to look for it- he knew what it meant to me!). So now I have three flexible French favorites! You can also mist your cake with a spray bottle and heat your spatula with a propane torch. I have never used a sponge...
  21. KarenS


    Cheesecake, mascarpone custard tart filling, mousse, panna cotta, bavarian, cake filling etc... You can whip it too (use superfine sugar). Whip on high and watch carefully (it can break very easily iff overwhipped). I don't use egg in tiri mi su anymore- I whip it with sugar, cream and gelatin with (brandy, grappa, strega, etc..). It is a "modern" classic dessert, as it was developed in the 70's- near Venice.
  22. Chez Panisse pools tips, but they also pay everyone decent wages. Also, it is a service charge on the bill and not a "tip".
  23. KarenS

    Saving basil

    Also, duck fat stored for a year is not a good idea. Fresh basil should be stored in fat (and for not more then 6 months). That is where dried herbs came from!
  24. KarenS

    Perfect rice

    I have to laugh a little, cause most of your rice would be rejected in Hawaii (except yours Alanamoana!). In Hawaii, where rice is offered at every meal- it is VERY important. We don't go in for the "haole style"- each grain separate kind of rice. It needs to be moist and sticky- but not too sticky. You always wash the rice. The rice of choice is medium size calrose (never long grain- though often jasmine). i have never used a rice cooker, I am fine with just a pot and water. Wash your rice- 1c rice to 1 1/2c water, bring to a boil. Turn down to low and steam until finished, do not stir, and add nothing else.
  25. KarenS

    Pot de Creme

    Redsugar, I strongly disagree, both creme brulee and pot de creme are custards. They can BOTH be made in the oven or on the stovetop. I have been making stovetop creme brulee since 1984- when Wolfgang Puck showed me how. If you read Harold McGee, he explains why a sirred custard is creamier then a baked custard. It is about the protein bands. A stovetop custard you are more in control of , so all will be consistant. You can also place fresh fruit on the bottom (instead of having it cooked).
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