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Everything posted by psantucc

  1. I'll arrive at my hotel in Niagara Falls proper (too good a deal to pass up for the Garden Inn) on Thursday evening. I very much want to go on the ChocolateFX tour; is the plan just to meet there at 10:30? In a similar vein, I'll have to have dinner Friday, and will happily join if there's a group. Left to my own devices I'll probably plump for The Merchant Ale House.
  2. Mobile phone woes probably resolved! Thanks for all the tips. I have two unlocked GSM handsets; at least one should be compatible with the PetroCanada Mobility system, which looks like the best budgetary option for me. I don't know the number yet, of course, but should have something to exchange once we all get together.
  3. Mobile phone tips? I face a problem I did not expect, and other US mobile phone customers may be in a similar situation. To safely keep my usual mobile on and active while in Canada for the weekend, I'd have to spend $70 - but my situation is made worse by the fact that the device is owned by my employer, and there is no way for the carrier to bill me. In short. I don't think it possible for me to use that phone during the conference. I'd like to have a mobile phone for road safety, emergency calls from home, and co-ordination with my fellow attendees. Anyone here have experience with a short-term cheap solution that would fill those needs?
  4. I'm in the midst of my vacation prep run-up, and realized I never made a request or suggestion for the topics that have me going lately - textures of cooked sweets. I've never managed a satisfactory halvah texture, I have a hard time getting some of my caramels to crystallise properly (high acid, but lots of precautions - still too flowy) and the exact right time to stop agitating fudge eludes me. I know, chocolate is the sexy part - and I'm not trying to skimp it! - but I'd be thrilled to play with any other devotees of the technically correct "candy". Ah, who am I kiddin'. I'm thrilled anyway.
  5. I tip my hat to the shoes. So much easier than the other way 'round!
  6. What did I make? I'm hoping you can tell me... This is an old family recipe. My I have it from my paternal Great-Grandmother Zaccarino; the family called her Grandma Sugar, and called the candy Grandma Sugar's candy. Technically, it's probably a kind of praline, but I'm convinced Great-Grandmother brought it from Italy and adapted it to ingredients a new immigrant could obtain easily. The recipe is my adaptation from her notes; ingredients are the same, but quantities and methods are more reproducible. If made this way, it is very hard and dry. That's the family tradition, but it isn't very appealing to modern US tastes. Cooking to 250 F instead of 275 renders something much more appealing. Do you recognize it, or anything similar? Recipe: Zaccarini (Grandma Sugar's Candy) Quantity Unit Ingredient Pre-prep -------- ---- ---------- -------- 350 g Sugar 85 g Cocoa powder 170 g Water 120 g Semi-Sweet Chocolate 340 g Toasted Almonds held at 275° F/ 135° C 3 g Almond Extract Combine all ingredients except almonds and extract in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Cook to 275° F/ 135° C. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and extract. Deposit by spoonfuls on aluminium foil or parchment and allow to set.
  7. Chocovision Sinsation available if you like; no offence taken if not . I don't use it much myself any more; low capacity and way noisy.
  8. The end of the backlog. I'm not entirely sure what I had in mind when I posed this shot: It's rustic almond milk chocolate truffle dusted with cocoa, with the secret ingredient standing watch.
  9. I'm glad you guys liked the video! I was very suprised at how it turned out, while I was working, I had no idea he was getting such close up shots. Some things I really cant remember how he got from different angles. Anyways, his website is www.handrawnpictures.com for those who would like to see some of his other work.Psantucc, I'm more then happy to share a parts list. Are you wondering about something specific, or general equipment?
  10. Great video - I particularly like the reference to accumulating the equipment. Sounds like home! Your layered gloves look very effective. Do you mind sharing the parts list?
  11. Some of last Easter: Peanut Butter filled chocolate bunny. Yummy, but my hobbyist grade ILA mould never really let me settle properly, and died as this batch came out. Here's to hoping the Tomric replacement on it's way is big enough; I know it will hold up. Mazetta filled chocolate eggs in natural shell. Very swank, and a massive annoyance to do - even with some extra cocoa butter it's the devil's own time getting the chocolate out once the inside of the shell is coated. Anyone done this with good success? About 1 in 4 of mine were way too thin or thick in spots, and broke in the shelling process. Cheers!
  12. Thanks for the kind words, keychris and RobertM! Going back in this thread only a few pages I find so much that is praiseworthy that it's hard to choose and probably a little annoying fanboy to enumerate everything, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention curls' lovely hearts, minas' candies (and hooray for more people showing non-cocolates some love!) and the gorgeous hand-dipped caramel discs from keychris. Digging up some more photos now for later post. Pat
  13. I've been reading the forum again since I found out I was able to go back to the conference workshop this year. I've really missed eGullet; I didn't realize just how much. I'm posting now from a backlog. I haven't actually done all that much, but I have gotten a lot better - tempering by hand is no big deal any more, and most of my cooked sweets turn out first time. Here's a few things I did for a charity auction: Violet Truffle: Violet Jelly ganache, white chocolate shell, sugared violets on top. My wife grew the violets, made the jelly, and placed the leaves. Rivera Mya: The latest iteration of my take on the Xtabentun liquer truffle (developed at conference 2010 with RobertM) The Capricious Bee: Honey and chevre in a smooth cream center, wrapped around a single salted pistachio and covered in dark chocolate. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: I'm proud of my bottoming on these, since the mould makes the bottom the top. Alton Brown's Dark Salted Carmels. hand-dipped and sprinkled with Hawaiian Red Sea Salt Not pictured: Coconut butter fondant wrapped around dried sour cherry in a dark chocolate shell More soon - Pat
  14. Just caught back up, and unless it's too late or massive finacnce collapse hits - I'm in. Coming to the workshop, and very much looking forward. Put me down for Saturday dinner as well. I know, based on my posting rate the past year I was dead as far as you could tell. I'm going to post some photos and descriptions of the few things I've done in the next few days. Thanks for organizing! Pat
  15. Ditto for me. And me. :-/ Same here. Even the JVK, not strictly part of the conference, has me in full-on machine lust. I feel like I did the first time I saw an enrober in person. Next year is looking very good!
  16. Thanks for your response, Tiki I'd LOVE to attend some time...but , every year I look at the pictures and it seems SO over my head. I'm afraid I'd be the class dunce lol. Edited to add : Plus, I don't have one of those cool cooking coats like Chris H. has, either lol I'll second tikidoc. If you are interested at all, there is plenty to learn and no shame in not knowing. I had a bit of experience when I went and easily doubled my potential* skill in one conference; there were some novices who came with interest only and left with enviable skill. Learning tempering alone in person is worth the investment. Hell, the Friday night party and meals alone are worth the investment! So far as I can tell, the eGullet confectionery conference is unique. You won't be a pastry chef because you went, but you can learn things there that are only taught there and in pastry chef programs. Next year, I'll practice what I preach. Pat Santucci * "potential" skill because I didn't practice what I learned until I lost a lot.
  17. Long expected, but now final and official - there's no way I can get clear of the increasingly misnamed day job for the conference... and it looks like the weekend following, too. I'm a little envious, but mostly happy for those who get to do it. Have fun for me! If things work as I hope, I'll be able to send a piece or two to represent me. Best wishes- Pat Santucci
  18. Pshh, you'll make me blush. I promise, I moped all weekend. I'm working on this year pretty hard.
  19. Yes, the weekends of the 24th and 31st are both still free. The 17th would be very difficult. If that's the date that works best, though, don't hesitate! That said, I really do hope to make it if I can make the dates work. I've been working a little on the Xtabentun recipe, too, and think an exchange is long overdue. There's a liquor store about 1 hour from my house that stocks D'Aristi all the time. If I can make it to the conference, I'd be happy to mule some for any interested parties...
  20. I've learned from last year not to be too enthusiastic this far out - I missed the people and events in 2011 a whole big bunch, so I very much want to come to 2012. I just don't know if I'll be able to manage. Please put me down as a maybe. I still have the last 2 weekends in March wide open. Here's to hoping! Pat
  21. Thank you both. I can't believe I left "not seeing friends I made last year" off the regrets list! I feel it nonetheless. Pat
  22. Well the regrets just keep piling up! Lior writes "next year in the conference" from the holy land, there's going to be a panning demo, Ruth Kendrick (a personal hero) is going to be there, and the dinner and lunch look superb. Kerry, I'm glad you're bringing a Thermomix. My silver lining is that I won't be tempted to take it home due to not being there. Sincere best wishes - tinged with envy - to you all. I'll either make some candy in salute this weekend or mope in a corner! Pat
  23. I regret to say that I must be moved into the 'maybe' category, if only because there is no 'not at all likely'. I've had some disappointing financial news, and while it isn't bad enough to threaten my stability, it is enough to make a fun trip just for me a bad idea. I've decided to devote a portion of the money I would have spent and some time to actually using what I learned last time, and if there's a 2012 event come back with more to contribute. I don't want to be the kid who insists on having guitar lessons but won't practice B-}=. I wish you all the best and you may be confident of my jealousy on the weekend itself. Pat
  24. Hilton Garden Inn looks good to me, as does a trip to Tomric if they'll do a demo. If not, I'd just as soon resist the temptation as my toy budget has shrunk this year. Must remember to check passport status. I've had too many events (and not nearly enough candymaking) recently. If nothing else, the conference will force me to do something I like doing!
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