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Everything posted by jmacnaughtan

  1. Call me old fashioned, but you'd probably get a lot more variety and invention (not to mention taste) from something apparently simple, like chocolate or vanilla. Vanilla especially- it goes with everything.
  2. If you heat it you'll risk losing all of the air. Can you not just use it as is, or is it too firm? I've used a crème anglaise based mousse like this, so a sabayon-base might work as well.
  3. So this is the second time I've tried these elusive classics, using this recipe http://www.playingwithfireandwater.com/files/marrons-glaces.pdf I couldn't face fresh chestnuts so used canned. The results? Not bad, but nowhere near the quality you find in the chocolateries around here- it's mostly a texture problem. They're a little hard on the surface, and just not as velvety. Any help here from the pros? On the plus side, I now have half a litre of delicious chestnut-vanilla syrup and just need a nice way to use it.
  4. I'm using only 3/4C, so I didn't think it important. Should I be using closer to 1/3? It depends on the size of your pan. I stay on the conservative side, putting in enough to just cover the base with a very thin layer of sugar and stirring to break up the hot spots. The biggest problem is adding too much after, and it starts seizing up and burning...
  5. What's your technique for dry caramelizing? If you're just dumping all your sugar in at once, you'll have a problem even with decent equipment. My pans and electric hob are the cheap second hand variety, but if you add a little sugar at a time and stir well over a medium heat, you should get a better result. James
  6. It depends on the ramen. For a clear broth it should work (if you add aromatics after), but for tonkotsu it needs to boil.
  7. It's traditional to use puff pastry, and inverted puff gives great results. Apparently Pierre Hermé uses it for all his puff applications, including his galettes des rois.
  8. No problem. Honestly, the easiest ones to make in advance are mousse based- most pâtisseries around here start making them in September/October. You just need to wrap it well. You get a more modern look, but they're less rich and heavy. If you're doing a lot of rolled buttercream bûches though and you have the workspace, make them as one long line, finish the buttercream coating and then cut each to whichever size you want. It's pretty spectacular- last Christmas the team put 5 tables together and did a couple of 25-footers.
  9. French buttercream is completely different from pastry cream- it's exactly like your italian meringue buttercream, but using whole eggs or yolks. Pastry cream is a custard cooked out with starch, and it doesn't hold or freeze well at all (though mousseline is more stable, I think the butter stabilizes it). Both are pretty rich and heavy, but for me it's a lot more enjoyable to eat a mouthful of pastry cream than buttercream. Over here, most bûches aren't rolled at all though, so any cake base and mousse filling goes. James
  10. jmacnaughtan


    The easiest way to incorporate flour into a mix like that is to sift it onto baking paper, then ideally have someone to add it continuously (but not too fast) while you fold it. Failing that, don't add it all at once and fold as slowly as possible. What's your genoise recipe? I've never seen one that uses cream.
  11. Thanks! It's a really simple cookie, but the shape makes it. Different and adorable!! Plus vanilla and black pepper sounds really intriguing. It works pretty well. I found some Penja black pepper and wanted to use it for something sweet. It's aromatic and has enough bite to go with the vanilla. The classic would be a riff on brandy butter or brandy alexander... Some kind of adapted rum raisin might work. Besides, kudos for getting the puddings done in early October- it makes a big difference. I've got a couple from last year that were left over, so they should be better than ever.
  12. Found a cutter in Vienna, so I had to make hedgehogs. Spiked with vanilla and black pepper, of course.
  13. It depends where you look- the organic butchers tend to age beef more often, the supermarkets not at all. I think it's economics more than anything else- with all the moisture loss and matter trimmed off, you're looking at a 40-50% weight loss. Not to mention having your product locked up and taking up storage space for a month and a half...
  14. It might be easier to make it like a crème anglaise buttercream, just get your dulce de leche to an anglaise consistency, whip it and add the butter gradually, then incorporate the meringue. There should be enough natural emulsifiers in the ddl for it to work. I use this technique to make fruit buttercreams, and it works fine.
  15. OMG I did exactly the same thing with the season 1 Croquembouche, my wife turned around and said "Well, you can make it for my birthday" so I did, and it wasn't I've been eyeing that for a while, it's a nice showpiece. Did you pull off all the spun sugar? I'd like to see the photos...
  16. Thanks. I'm pretty much against most cake decorations too- either they're pointless and add nothing, or they're good and only one person can eat it. I like this because it adds no new component to the cake, doesn't dominate it and it tastes good.
  17. No, I just stuck it in the fridge for 10 seconds at a time. An ice bath would probably have been a better idea- I didn't quite get the "snap" I was hoping for. It held its shape though... It's the first time I've tempered white chocolate- does it get the same snap as dark?
  18. Internal, mostly. I'd watched the masterchef challenge, seen the recipe and said to my girlfriend that it didn't seem too hard. 20 minutes later it was announced to all our friends, who immediately wanted to come and try it. Well, you can't lose face after that... Btw, I don't recommend tempering white chocolate when it's a steady 30°C at home. So many headaches.
  19. Finally bowed to the pressure and tried making Adriano Zumbo's V8 cake (http://www.masterche...mbo-v8-cake.htm) It turned out well, but tempering white chocolate in a hot apartment is not fun. First post on egullet as well
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