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Everything posted by jmacnaughtan

  1. Not entirely sure if this is the right place to post it, but my candied bergamot is finally ready. While I bow to @andiesenji's wealth of expertise in the matter and various priceless tutorials and tips, I wanted a less "cooked" product so took the peels at no more than 65°C (a circulator was handy for the blanching step). They're much stronger in flavour than traditional candied peel (although not bitter) and they stayed firmer than I expected, so probably better as an ingredient than for straight eating or dipping. I'm tempted to move on to whole clementines or mandarins next.
  2. jmacnaughtan

    Dinner 2021

    For the first time in a year, I relented and made plov. Non-traditional, with pork shoulder, but still very much plov. I love it, probably my favourite rice dish of all time (who doesn't like a greasy rice dish?), but it is not possible to make it in small quantities... This was dinner for two, but will last for days. It's excellent in a tortilla wrap, too.
  3. A little late to the party, my apologies Does anyone do rabbit low-temp? The problem I've had with it is incurable dryness, so I've all but given up. Hare, on the other hand, is magical. And pungent. When I worked at Pignol, they'd hang and cook a dozen hares around October or November - in a 300m² site with partitions and industrial air conditioning, you could still smell hare everywhere. A couple of times, as a project, I've made Lièvre à la royale. It's a beast of a dish, and wonderful to eat when done well. It does take a good four days to fully prep though, and requires some slightly specialised ingredients and equipment. Has anyone else tried it? Here's my first (worse) effort: I'd love to make it again, but it'll be challenging to get a dozen people around the table for some time.
  4. If you don't have any holes, you're likely to get a more unsightly eruption somewhere else. I'd recommend docking it all over with a fork. I'll give you a perfectly even bake, and it'll stop it from puffing up too much too.
  5. Potentially - you'd have to play around with it. In a bonbon, I'm not sure how much texture (apart from generic crunch) would actually come through...
  6. @Jim D. Would it be worth blitzing them and reconstituting them (melted butter or cocoa butter, baked or unbaked) then rolling that out? I get the feeling you'd have more control, and it may have more structural integrity inside the bonbon.
  7. Would it make much of a difference to the final texture if you brought it to a boil before pouring it into the pastry? I suppose you'd be going more towards a tart than a pie, though...
  8. Probably a good idea. Maybe freezing it before baking would let it hold a delicate pattern better, too. It's a bit of a shame when the raw preparation looks perfect and you have so little control over the final product.
  9. It's very impressive. Is there no way of protecting it from the juices during baking? I'd have loved to see the pattern in full after baking.
  10. If you've got a Russian or Eastern European shop around, that's the best bet. They seem to pop up everywhere, in Europe at least.
  11. @Kerry Beal Have you ever had a go with Russian style Halva? I'm pretty sure it's made from sunflower seeds, and is a lot drier and crumblier than Middle Eastern. It's also excellent covered in chocolate.
  12. Does anyone warm their CC cookies up before eating them? I have fond memories of Smarties cookies from a café at university, where they'd either be warm out the oven or reheated so the chocolate oozed.
  13. My apologies for veering wildly off-topic, I was just reminded of this.
  14. I've always thought that the only difference between a sweet Pithiviers and a Galette des Rois was the fève... Interestingly, I was in the village of Pithiviers this summer. Turns out they are immensely proud of both the classic Pithiviers and this, the Pithiviers fondant: Disappointingly, it's just an almond cake. Tasty, but nothing particularly special.
  15. Great choice, I love Pépin's technique. For me, at the moment it's poulet au vin jaune: a quartered chicken, browned off with mushrooms (morels if you're lucky) and simmered for 45 minutes in 50/50 vin jaune (or dry sherry) and cream. This gets reduced down after the chicken is done. It's really good, and I don't even miss crispy skin.
  16. Last night I pan-roasted halved sprouts in butter, then added amontillado sherry to reduce and glaze. It worked very well. They were then tossed with mushrooms, chestnuts, garlic and thyme.
  17. The ones with the rolled edges tend to be stronger and less likely to deform if you drop them or step on them. ETA: Great tarts, by the way. I love a classic Bourdaloue.
  18. I hadn't looked properly - I thought there was a base. The most successful use I've seen with this cheese is the Café Pouchkine tvorog éclair. I think it's the only time I've had it crumbly and enjoyable.
  19. This was from last week, but I've been lazy: Chocolate, rum and raisin tart Sablé breton base Chocolate, rum and raisin crémeux Rum raisin purée Rum raisins It may have been a little too boozy, but I liked it
  20. Looks great! I've had mixed results with tvorog in desserts - does it stay crumbly in your zapekanka, or does it mix into the filling?
  21. As I said, it's easy for one person to crank out a couple of hundred loaves or pastries, so the labour cost per item is low. Similarly, they're all proved and baked en masse, so the overheads are greatly reduced. Unlike with more elaborate cakes, it takes relatively little time to make a large number of baguettes and pastries, prove them and crank them out throughout the day - it also helps that these are by far the most popular items. This is generally why, here at least, it's easy to get funding to open a boulangerie but much harder for a pâtisserie that doesn't do these high-margin, high-volume products.
  22. I think we've got our wires crossed. When I hear "bakery", I think of a place that only sells to take away. Generally in these places, there's a baker, an apprentice and someone working on the till - no service, coffee or dishwashing. Sure, in cafés these pastries are more expensive.
  23. They won't, but far from being a loss leader, the baguettes are what makes money. The ingredient costs are probably around 5 cents a loaf, and one baker can crank out hundreds. It's similar for croissants, etc. Most of the bakeries going under are generally not the "Mom and Pop" ones, which generally turn a healthy profit, but the crappy "pain chaud" that buy in the frozen dough. These products pay the bills, while the margins on more elaborate cakes are much slimmer.
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