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  1. just to make it quick, since i've got to get back to work i've been having many mixed results with pie crust i made small 3" pies, dutch apple pie (not much liquid in the crust) and it baked fine on the first time same size, double crust cherry pies--bottom crust kept coming out raw as the top crust overbaked 9" pecan & pumpkin pies single crust, the crust consistently comes out raw (except for the exposed rim of crust i'm baking in aluminum tins, 350-375F i don't have enough freezer space to fill the pies and then freeze prior to baking, as i've heard that works well should i just blind bake the crusts until the bottom of the crust isn't translucent anymore? my oven has 4 levels inside and heating elements beneath and above each level so bottom heat shouldn't be an issue should i fill the frozen crust and then refrigerate so that the crust thaws? thaw the crust, fill it and go straight in the oven? i kind of told my family that i'd bake a bunch of pies for our big thanksgiving and as i try my recipes, i'm starting to get worried that i can't get it to work haha. i've never really been big on pies so its not something that i've had much practice with. thanks for any help
  2. I've been having trouble with whole key lime pies lately. i can make a couple hundred pounds of the baked custard with no problem for desserts in cups/verrines, but when i bake a whole pie and slice it, it just doesn't set up. i baked 2 pies a couple of days ago, sliced them, and put them in clamshells and they all caved in at the most narrow part (what would be the center of the pie. the recipe i use i think is a standard one: 1 cup key lime juice (i use nellie & joes) 8 egg yolks (i use 4.8oz of pasteurized yolks) 2 cans condensed milk i pour the filling into a prebaked graham crust, and bake for 17-20 minutes. i think that i got this recipe from the joy of cooking and adapted it to use liquid egg yolks. i'm not sure what the cause of this is. i think maybe it could be the egg yolks? i use pasteurized egg yolks for my creme brulee, and it sets up perfectly. in the past, i used fresh egg yolks and was able to slice the pie and it didn't cave in. has anyone had something like this happen to them? i'm going to try later today using fresh yolks and seeing what happened....maybe its an issue with the heat of the pasteurization
  3. definitely something that will come in handy. thanks! many thanks for that link...and one from a great chef at that! I actually haven't been on here in a while, but I'm definitely going to check it out. all this is definitely going to help me in building up the basics which i definitely need to do. thanks!
  4. Well, I actually do have On Baking & Professional Baking--the CIA book is still on my wishlist. I do this professionally, actually starting with cakes & cupcakes and then quickly expanding the menu to desserts and other items. For example, I know that there are a lot of creams that I don't know how to make. Same goes for sponges. So in that aspect, I guess I should start off with those eh? The only things that immediately come to mind are the variety of sponges (dobos, etc) and the variety of creams (diplomat, chiboust, mousseline, bavarois, etc). My kitchen isn't air conditioned, so in the summer months it can get quite hot so working with laminated doughs and anything with a lot of butter can be a pain in the butt, so I haven't even attemped those types of things. I've got to bring out those books next week once work calms down a bit, hehe. I'm just trying to get a grasp of the basics that they would normally teach in the very beginning--for example, I still struggle with making choux. I'm not sure if I end up adding too much egg, whether I'm not drying it enough on the stove or if I'm not baking them long enough. Same goes for macarons. I can never get them to look consistent and pretty (though I bet those are just a lot of practice). I feel extremely comfortable with cheesecakes, creme brulee, cremeuxs, mousses, curds, gelees, panna cotta, pudding, a few confections (brittle, marshmallow), sauces, a few modern techniques (using agar, xanthan, methocel, alginates, maltodextrin, locust bean gum, and iota/kappa), some cakes and some other things. What I know I need to work on are definitely working with doughs (sucree, brisee), yeast laminated doughs (croissants, pain au chocolat), but those are the only basics I can think of and definitely the creams
  5. I'll admit, not going to a pastry school may not have exactly hampered my learning, but I would say that I definitely learned how to make things in an unconventional manner. I basically started learning methods, techniques and recipes as I needed to make them. I think the first thing I made was a souffle, then went on to creme brulee, then mousses and so forth. In any case, I know that I'm definitely missing a good amount of the basics that you learn in pastry school. I was wondering, if any professionals could chime in with what they think are the essentials that every pastry chef must know how to make. Thank you
  6. hmm, well then i think i should start looking into the possibilities of buying one of these bad boys.....it'll free up a lot of space on the stove top not to mention in the ovens while im baking all of the fillings & whatnot
  7. hmm, well as of now i probably wouldn't need 40 gallons at once but hopefully one day soon i will! the last time i had to make a large batch of pudding, i used between 4-6 gallons of milk, along with all the other ingredients...i think it gave me 20-30quarts of pudding. but along with this i make large amounts of key lime pie filling, cheesecake filling, heating liquids for other uses. so 40 gallons for me will be way too big but i assume they make smaller ones? i often use a spare mixer bowl that is 50-60 quarts and often times i end up filling that up with product which is waiting to go in the oven, so i know that i could fill up at least that much at once but i'm just trying to justify the cost mainly by how much i could do at once (which due to lack of oven space & cooking vessels, could take 2-3 days sometimes to get it all done) wait....60 quarts = 15 gallons = a little under half of the 40 gallon............well maybe its not so far fetched anymore eh?
  8. its worth a shot! yeah 7cups if id be able to use it for more than just pudding, i'm sure i could just end up buying one--i make a lot of key lime pie filling (key lime juice, yolks, condensed milk and bake it in large pans in order to use as filling), as well as cheesecake (cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream) which i also bake in large pans and use for filling but both are cooked in the oven and to make large batches it takes a while. i've thought about the kettle but didn't know what kinds of things i could cook in there for solely desserts (i'm thinking since its not direct heat i could do custard fillings and puddings? and i could technically even just use it to heat up large amounts of cream for lets say creme brulee/panna cotta, etc...) is that like what you put the sternos under to heat up the food?
  9. this is my recipe that i use for chocolate pudding--when made in very small batches, it always comes out nice and creamy and i can freeze it too! but when i try making it in larger numbers, obviously i need a larger pot and inevitably it ends up getting grainy the majority of the time and it always gets burnt bits in the bottom of the pot since theres so much surface area 1g milk 8# sugar 7c corn starch 52oz egg yolks 44c semisweet chocolate 12oz vanilla 24oz butter i know i've got the weights i use for corn starch and chocolate laying around in one of my notebooks, but thats the jist of it i dissolve the corn starch in some milk, heat up the milk, sugar, and egg yolks. once thats nice & hot, i add the corn starch slurry and bring that to a boil. normally in smaller quantities i would add the chocolate directly to this mixture to melt it, but in the larger quantities i'll melt the chocolate separately and once the corn starch mixture has come to a boil, i'll add the melted chocolate and bring it all together. finally once its cooled down a bit i'll add the butter to finish it. my question is, in order to keep this recipe, is there any...."shortcut" (and i say that in quotations because i don't mean shortcut for time, more like a tip that would help me cook such a large quantity with a greatly reduced chance to make it go grainy) i tried adding the pudding over the chocolate and let the residual heat melt it, but that just ended up leaving me huge chunks of chocolate---which i brought the cooked pudding back up on the heat and melted the chocolate pieces, and strangely enough, it came out creamy i just love how tricky it can be multiplying a small recipe x 100 haha well, any assistance with this topic i would really appreciate it thanks!
  10. yeah since its such a large volume, i use a whisk first to kind of bring it together then fold it all in, but even then its just so much after adding the gelatin, i'd let the whole mixture come to room temperature, then add about 20-25% of the whipped cream to lighten the mixture, then fold in the rest...dump it in a plastic container and wait until the following day to see if it turned out ok but i'm going to try whipping the cream softer when i make some today...thing is since its always a big hot in my kitchen, i whip it a little firmer so it holds up longer..or at least that was the idea
  11. i've seen a few different opinions on this topic...many people agree that these freeze well: cheesecake creme brulee (or any baked custards) mousses curds cakes (undecorated, just the layers) key lime pie bread puddings (i'm guessing that one) fruit pies (just add extra starch/thickener to absorb the liquid from freezing) and that the following don't stirred custards custards without starch/flour split: pumpkin pie cream pies what else can be added to those lists of freeze/don't freeze? i like to try and get into the science of the desserts and why/why not in regards to freezing/thawing, and then every now and then i like to bake/freeze some stuff and send them to family/friends out of town
  12. whoooops yeah thats part of the cream to bloom the gelatin in, don't know how that escaped me
  13. yeah, at first i could just mix the chocolate, milk & butter and melt them all together and it was ok. but once the #s went up, i started burning it..so i heated the milk & butter together, then poured it over the chocolate and combined it. if it didn't melt completely i'd just put it over a dbl boiler and finish melting it. i think i'm going to try melting the chocolate first, melting the butter with the milk, and then combine the 2 liquids and see how that goes =/ it always ends up coming out as a nice dense mousse, not the typical light and airy fluffy mousse you see everywhere else so i'm really hoping to be able to keep it like this hehe
  14. ok sooooo my chocolate mousse used to be ok when i'd make small batches....but i've had to increase my production and its just not the same product anymore its like a 50/50 chance it'll either come out smooth or grainy this is my recipe 4# 8oz milk chocolate 16oz whole milk 3 sticks butter 24oz heavy cream 2tbsp gelatin 9c heavy cream melt milk & butter, pour over chocolate, stir to combine bloom gelatin in 16oz cream, melt & combine with chocolate mixture whip 9c cream to soft/medium peaks then combine it all together (after its all properly cooled) could i be overmixing it? i'm honestly not sure what to do here, i've used this recipe for the better part of a year now and its always worked well but now with the larger quantities its getting frustrating =/ does anyone have some knowledge as to why this could be happening? i'll even switch to a different recipe thats easier to work with in larger amounts if need be thanks in advance
  15. i'm actually going with 2 ounce aluminum ramekins, no waaaaay i'm going around collecting the dirty ones lol...not to mention any accidents! i looove the truffle skewer idea, quite clever! mini cheesecakes = <3 Yes. You are... ...but that doesn't mean it won't be fun. Little layered things with different flavors/textures in small glasses are quick to assemble, don't take up too much space, don't require last minute work unless there's a garnish you want to add to the top, have always been well received when I've done them and are easy to transport. You can even get plastic glasses so retrieving them at the end becomes unnecessary. I do versions of them fairly often for catering but looking through my galleries, it looks like I only have one picture available as an example of what I'm talking about. This is from a few years ago if I remember correctly but you get the idea... jackfruit gelee, honeydew in vanilla syrup, caramelized rice crispy disc, jackfruit-cardamom mousse Edited because apparently I can't spell things right the first time. how did you do the rice krispy disc? i've got flexipans but only 1/4 sheet size and for larger items 3-4" pieces, nothing for mini =/ heres the crazier part....i'm cooking all the desserts. on site itll be me + 2 i'm hoping to take all the items pre-plated already sans the bruschetta (i.e. anything needing to set overnight, garnishing on site)
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