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Everything posted by stuartlikesstrudel

  1. I've made a piecaken! Two actually. My sister-in-law knows I love making ridiculous food on occasions and she sent me a link to it from a blog she read. I did an apple pie inside vanilla tea cake and a cherry pie inside a chocolate cake (a la blackforest). Basically, it's as you guys predicted. The cakes were overcooked and the pie crust was soggy/indistinguishable texture-wise. The cherry one looked cool, with the dark cake and white pie crust, but the vanilla one you couldn't really even see. Some guests liked the taste of them (having a big layer of apples in the cake is nice, but achievable with the right apple cake recipe IMO) but the general consensus was that we'd rather eat a slice of pie and/or cake, only novelty is gained through the combining of the two
  2. If you're keen to follow the no-lye rule, you could bake your baking soda for a better dip... I haven't tried it yet but people suggest it's the best option if you can't use lye. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/dining/15curious.html?_r=0
  3. Thanks for the replies everyone - after all your agreement r.e jam I went out and got a nice one (couldn't find bakery jam) and it was a much better result than i expected. I also tried mixing the cooked raspberry filling with some buttercream and that was a fresh and creamy tasting filling so I might go with that, or the jam ganache. Cheers,
  4. Hi, I'm making a friend's wedding cake and am getting a bit stuck with fillings: The cake itself is a rich chocolate cake and I originally planned to use a coconut filling along with a raspberry filling (alternating layers) however they now don't want coconut, so i'm reverting to just raspberry as the flavour profile. Tonight, in some experimenting, I mixed up some white chocolate raspberry ganache (using white chocolate and raspberries) as well as a batch of raspberry filling from this fantastic post. I love the taste of the second filling, the ganache not so much (though i'm going to try whipping it tomorrow and see if light-and-fluffy suits it). However I don't like the idea of just using the raspberry filling - it will require a LOT of raspberries and is quite strong tasting. I wonder if anyone has a dark chocolate ganache recipe using raspberries or something like this filling mixed with chocolate. My ideal filling would be smooth and not too sharp tasting, but still with a fresh burst of raspberry. And of course, needs to be stable for multi-tiered construction. Alternatively, I'm wondering about spreading a little ganache and then a bit of the raspberry filling on top, so two mini-fillings between layers. Any ideas?! I have found a number of raspberry ganache recipes online but would rather not just try a whole bunch aimlessly if someone here has a good one... and most of those online seem to use jam, which in my head wouldn't be so tasty, but who knows... Thanks so much!
  5. Hi everyone, I'm ordering some pastry things and thought I should add in a few flavourings - I've just (finally!) obtained Greweling's book and am keen to step up the chocolate work and maybe a bit of other confectionery. But my limited experience with essences/flavourings in the past is that they usually don't give the effect I want - that is, they taste quite artificial or just a bit strange. So my question is, are there some flavours that are definitely GOOD to have in essence form? I imagine some just work out better than others, and maybe work well in conjunction with puree or just as an extra boost to natural infusions? I'm going to get some mint essence, and wondering about stuff like passionfruit, raspberry, lemon, lime. Coconut? What are your go-to flavourings?
  6. Just popping in to say I loved reading this thread! A bunch of people helping each other in the name of cake... kinda restores one's faith in humanity and the internet BrooksNYC, I hope you bake something amazing! You sound like you have such a great attitude to life and I really like that you're doing those "one day" things we all stash away. May Saint Honore, the patron saint of bakers, smile upon you!
  7. Thanks for the suggestions! I haven't looked into roasted rice powder, sounds like it might be an appropriate thickener in keeping with the cuisine. Ditto with the glass noodles, that'd be quite an interesting addition. I do currently cook veges, squeeze tofu etc, but I guess the reminders here to do it thoroughly reinforce the importance of that... What I still can't figure out is the meat-texture dilemma... I know it's difficult to replicate but all my attempts revolve around modifying ingredients/technique but the end result is still a bunch of individual things inside the wrapper, no real connection between them (so if i eat half a dumpling, random bits of tofu or spring onion might fall out, which doesn't really happen with meat ones). Maybe I need to look into egg as a binder.
  8. Hi everyone, Been a while since i've posted much here, but I am again faced with an issue that's plagued me for a while and I'm hoping to get some ideas from you... I like making vegetarian dumplings (the asian potsticker/gyoza type) and can never get the fillings to play nice - they're usually too wet and don't hold together very well, making the construction process frustrating, and the eating process less satisfying than the meat counterpart, in my opinion. There's a certain toothsome-ness that I'd like to be able to achieve, but without the meat that usually brings it. I've improved my process by sweating down vegetables to remove some of the moisture, limiting the liquid seasonings and sometimes used a little cornflour to thicken, but it's still not quite where I'd like it. The fillings vary but often incorporate mushroom or tofu, carrot, cabbage, spring onion etc. I'm wondering if perhaps there's a hydrocolloid/magical modernist powder that might be of assistance... i had some vegetarian dim sum recently that really had that firmish, slightly gelatinous texture. See here for the picture (the two on the LHS), you can probably imagine the feel from that. If something like agar would work, I imagine it could be mixed into a tofu-centric filling that would bind everything a bit more. Any ideas? Even just general technique/tips would be welcome (i.e is there anything similar to the breadcrumbs or flour we put in other things to bind and thicken that would do the job without muting flavours)? Thanks, Stu
  9. If you have an ice cream machine, make batches and batches of this. It is my favourite ice-cream I've made (which, with under 10 flavours under my belt isn't much of a call but still...) http://365scoops.com/2011/05/19/tiramisu-ice-cream/
  10. I've never had an authentic American pecan pie, so I'm not sure exactly what's expected, but I can say that I made this last year and it was very very tasty. From memory I didn't include the chocolate chunks, but they would have been a welcome addition. (it's also corn-syrup-free which wasn't a concern for me but could be handy for folks avoiding it ) http://www.chefeddy.com/2012/11/port-chocolate-pecan-tart/
  11. Minas, please tell me that blueberry rock candy was for a Breaking Bad party or something... looks very meth-like
  12. This isn't really an answer to your question, but I just thought I'd chime in to say that I recently made a filling with one part ripe strawberries (blended smooth but seeds left in) and 2 parts chocolate, and was surprised how well the strawberry flavour came through. If you dropped it down to 1:1 I reckon you'd have a pretty strong berry flavour, and the texture would probably still be fine for moulded chocolates.
  13. I would think that the thicker you made a ganache, the more it would be a cohesive layer and would eventually get to the point where it could be peeled off "like a blanket", particularly since it was probably in a cold display (?) and the layer below (perhaps cake or mousse?) could be texturally quite different, so the ganache may not stick to it (or at least, wouldn't really bleed into it and bond strongly). Chris, your cake looks pretty similar in many ways (and pretty cool, too!) but to me that picture above of the slice looks almost like the topping is getting a bit smeary/smooshy, which I don't really think of fondant doing even when it softens. YMMV though.
  14. Oh alright, add me to the list of 'recipe please' chimers!
  15. Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. The humidity doesn't tend to be too bad here (or at least I don't think about it so I don't think it's so significant). Gap, appreciate the local tips I lifted a previously-made chocolate out of the freezer and just sat it at room temp for the day to see what it would be like at the end, and it was a little soft, though it stlil held structurally. I think i'm going to give it a go anyway this time, it's only a small batch and can't go too wrong, but good to know that in general the heat will interfere, i'll just stick it out for a bit longer and plan what i'll do in a month or so!
  16. Hi everyone, Melbourne (AUS) is having a bit of a warm spell at the moment that's looking to continue - 30+ celcius for about 2 weeks straight. I want to play around with a bit of chocolate making but it seems... foolish! In the mornings, the ambient temperature in my house is maybe 23, and i'm wondering if this would be ok for dipping (perhaps a quick trip to the fridge to help them set up for a few minutes?). With moulded pralines, it seems the brief fridge steps that some people recommend make sense since the whole tray is done at once, but it seems impractical for hand dipping, since i'd have to either wait till a whole tray was done (and perhaps moot the point) or otherwise do tiny batches! I guess a related question is that if i made a ganache to slab, would it even set up properly overnight? I was thinking that the crystals would still form as it cooled, but I don't know. Any tips for working in warmer weather (where climate control isn't possible)? Am I best to just write it off over summer and pick it back up when things cool down a bit? The one positive I can think of is that it'll take longer for my tempered chocolate to cool down, so less reheating! Cheers, Stuart.
  17. Booze! Add some dark rum and use it as a topping for icecream or something like that, i reckon. Or what about blending it up into a sorbet (since they're normally quite sweet to get a good freezing texture, depending on HOW sweet yours is exactly).
  18. Yeah I was thinking along the lines of what Chris and Keith were saying - if it's a recipe from a top notch chef, you'd probably do well to consider how they serve it... if it's with no accompaniments, as in this case, that's probably for a reason (it's not like they don't know how to make icecreams) and maybe that's all it needs!
  19. Even as a hobbyist I find all this quite interesting, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me. A 1:2 ratio produces a pretty firm ganache, doesn't it? I feel that for moulded pieces especially, the textural contrast and smooth creamy fillings is one of the most appealing factors... and I would think that 1:2 would be slabbably (hehe) firm. Similarly, 25% invert sugar sounds like it would make incredibly sweet fillings (especially if you're starting with milk or white chocolate). I recently ate a few chocolates from a local place, and they had great textures and no noticeable alcohol taste, but I presume they'd still be shooting for 3 to 6 week shelf life...?
  20. Mmmmm tiramisu. That's one of the few flavours of ice cream I've made, and it's probably one of the best icecreams I've ever eaten... so good!
  21. Ahhh, melting them separately is a great idea, I hadn't thought of that! Ditto with leaving my spatula in the bowl.
  22. Yeah it certainly feels like i spend a lot of time heating (and watching it quickly cool again!) which really breaks my flow, and temper apparently. I'll have to have a bit of a think about this since I don't have any controllable heat sources. Would sitting the chocolate in a bowl of warm water (30ish degrees) work (presumably better than nothing, since the water would take a bit of time to cool at least). Although I guess then there's a lot of water around which may not be such a great idea.
  23. Reviving this topic... I've been having another play in the kitchen, and am running up against some mess with my tempering/dipping. I should have taken a photo but let me instead just describe it, i guess. When I melt the chocolate and seed and cool it all is going fine, but as it reaches the low temperature of 27 before I bring it back up for working, the chocolate starts getting pretty clumpy - I guess the bits around the side have cooled down quicker and start solidifying. I can either leave all this gunk around the sides, or scrape it back into the mass, but it doesn't remelt much, just sits there in clumps. And similarly when it starts to cool again while I'm working and I remelt for a few seconds in the microwave, some of the buildup on the side of the bowl remelts but some just sits there (or again comes off in clumps so i don't have a pure pool of chocolate). I'm trying not to stir much up onto the sides to begin with, but some seems inevitable, and when i'm scraping (i don't have a wire set up at the moment so I use the side of the bowl) it all starts to clump there as well. Not to mention my tools, which get cooled chocolate all over them which I need to either scrape off (same problem) or melt with the hairdryer, which works, but perhaps is messing with my temper (i'm still getting minor streaking over my pieces). Is there a trick to all this?!
  24. Fantastic! They must have been so thrilled with the final result... I think i'd be quite overwhelmed to see it all for the first time I can see some very cute bunnies in a patch of it.
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