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Jim D.

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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. That's what I meant when I said, "Covering such items with cocoa butter/chocolate is essential."
  2. In reference to Ewald Notter mentioned above: He calls for mixing melted cocoa butter and melted chocolate with crushed feuilletine, then rolling this very thin between plastic sheets. When it is firm, you cut it into pieces that will fit into the mold you are using. It is very tricky (1) to get it thin enough, (2) to cut it the right size without breaking it into shards, and (3) to get the ganache level just right so that the "cracker" will fit on top without extending too far up (this was discussed earlier in this thread). Covering such items with cocoa butter/chocolate is essential or they become soft and gummy. Others in the forum have mentioned incorporating shortbread and other cookies.
  3. But do we want to know what additive allowed it to live forever?
  4. It's the piping that is the crucial part. I am not ready to report yet, but I tried another batch, taking it to one of the Callebaut temps mentioned earlier (235F, which is a bit lower than many recipes specify), and it worked perfectly, piping without any mess at all. But I need to make sure this will set up and also be able to replicate this with a larger batch of marshmallow--the small amount allowed the mixture to cool down to 90F rather quickly, and this won't happen with more marshmallow. So no declaration of "mission accomplished" yet. More to come.... I am interested in adding a cookie as you described, but I'm not sure what cookies do to shelf life (possible molding?). Ewald Notter makes what he calls a cracker that consists of feuilletine and chocolate, and feuilletine contains wheat, so I suppose there is no problem. I would love to hear from someone about that issue (or non-issue).
  5. Thanks, @Kerry Beal for digging out the Callebaut details. Once I converted the temps to Fahrenheit, I was quite surprised at the final temp for the marshmallow (40C/104F). Since that's about 10 degrees (F) above the temp at which dark chocolate will melt, I'm wondering how they avoided ruining the shells.
  6. I am reporting on yesterday's experiment with making the marshmallow, leaving it to firm up in a slab, then cutting into rounds to be placed in a mold: By this morning the marshmallow was nicely set. I finally got the slab separated from the oiled foil specified in the RecipeGullet recipe for strawberry marshmallows (note: oiling the foil lightly is not sufficient), dusted it with confectioner's sugar and cornstarch (could not find potato starch at the store), then used the Ateco round cutter (dusted each time with the sugar-starch mixture). The cutting went surprisingly well, producing nice cylinders of marshmallow, which also tasted good (except for the unpleasantness of the cornstarch). I had a "geodesic dome" mold into which they fit perfectly. That mold has close to perpendicular sides, so no gap--this would not work with a demisphere or wide dome as the marshmallow is too firm and springy to fill in any gaps. The cylinders were, however, too tall--I had overestimated how much I could compress the marshmallow, which springs back a lot. So I cut the cylinders in half (a "demi-cylinder"?), and they fit with room for another filling of some sort that complements the strawberry (my feeling is that marshmallow needs to be accompanied by something else to be interesting). Initial conclusion: This process works, but the marshmallows have to be made the right height to start (cutting them in half is a terrible job). The process is very labor-intensive and would therefore be feasible only for very small batches (or only for someone who is happy with extremely detailed work). Basically, not something I will likely try again. My experience is similar to what @Bentley concluded with his Swedish recipe--the marshmallow needs to be piped directly into the shell. Now I guess I need a class at the Callebaut Academy where Kerry saw this being done successfully!
  7. Did you see the making of the marshmallow? I'm wondering to what state it was cooked--less than usual or until it was stiff?
  8. @Bentley Quite a coincidence that you posted about marshmallow. Not long ago I did a lot of posting about trying to get pipeable marshmallow, and just today I did more experimenting. In my attempts I used various Greweling recipes and those from others as well. I tried Greweling's pipeable recipe but quickly learned that he intends it to be piped onto parchment when it still flows easily (thus still hot). I experimented with his recipe with (dried) egg whites and another with no eggs. The one time I got it to work was when I used his regular marshmallow recipe but cooked it a little less and let it cool, beating it from time to time to keep it from setting. I was able to pipe it and it was tantalizingly good (tantalizing because it kept me trying). That was an experiment. The next time I did it (for actual production chocolates to be sold) it was a mess--sticky goo all over the kitchen, marshmallow trails all over the mold when I piped. I vowed not to try that again--you have to have a dependable, repeatable process if you don't want to drive yourself crazy. But my vows are (it seems) flexible because today I tried again. This time I used the strawberry marshmallow recipe from Recipe Gullet, and cooked it the full time, poured it out into a slab, and am waiting for it to firm up enough to cut. This time I plan to use a cookie cutter (I found an Ateco set that has rounds small enough to fit into a cavity) and see if the firmed-up marshmallow will work as the bottom layer of a bonbon. I just saw that Kerry posted with recent success stories. She says they used the method I mentioned of keeping the mixture pipeable while it cools. Obviously they had more success with piping than I did. @Kerry Beal, did you see the piping process? If so, how did it go? That is the real issue, in my opinion. Bentley, it's interesting in the image you posted above that the end product is gelatin-free. Even if egg whites were used, I have not seen a recipe that doesn't use gelatin. Maybe a gelatin substitute.
  9. Now that we know it's Bachour, I found this video showing him at work (alas, not the bonbon recently discussed). Apparently his most recent book, which includes a section on bonbons, doesn't delve very deeply into techniques. Edit: I misread the Flickr link. The mold used is by Bachour, the decoration is by Andrey Dubovik.
  10. I'm not sure what "resist" is, but it cannot be just gold powder and alcohol used to produce the effect. I just finished using that technique on a piece, and the gold dust mostly dissolves in the alcohol and leaves a streaky effect when it dries, not so much like a web or lace as in the example. As you can tell, I was not pleased with the result in my own attempt--and cleaning those molds (pyramids with sharp corners) was a nightmare. It's much better looking when the luster dust is brushed on afterward, but then it comes off in the hand. In the pyramids I took to the Vegas workshop this year, it was brushed on, and I was embarrassed when I saw gold dust on people's fingers. Someone else there had entire pieces covered in silver or bronze--they were beautiful--but that also came off on the fingers. Of course, we don't know what the pieces in the photo are like when touched. Too bad @LePetitPrince doesn't remember where he saw the photo.
  11. I trust you were kidding when you said the center gold stripe is straightforward! I certainly don't know how that was done--especially considering the angularity/height of the cavity. All in all, this is an amazing and beautiful decoration.
  12. Has L'Epicérie Closed?

    @andiesenji, thank you so much for posting that. Seeing is indeed believing. And I am also glad to know about those fruits--I will give them a try. I believe it is now safe to say that L'Epicérie is back.
  13. Has L'Epicérie Closed?

    @andiesenji, I would be very interested in hearing how the order turns out. Do you mind telling what the "elsewhere" is where you have found Agrimontana products? Pacific Gourmet in Brisbane, CA has the pistachio paste, but I get the impression from their website that they sell only in large quantities (3kg in a case). The only other place I found is SOS Chefs in Manhattan, where the price is the aforementioned $175 per kilo.
  14. Has L'Epicérie Closed?

    Since I am just about out of pistachio paste, I think I will order a container of the one they list (not the one also labeled pistachio paste by Agrimontana, but which contains almonds--if I want pistachios, I want pistachios) and see what happens. I'll post the results here. As I thought about the ingredient more, I realized that with the pistachio gianduja that I make most often, total smoothness does not matter.
  15. Has L'Epicérie Closed?

    Yes, that is the pistachio paste I have been using. L'Epicérie sold it for $116; the only non-wholesale place I have found that carries it has it for $175! I suspect L'Epicérie just didn't have enough customers for the product. I think the other Agrimontana paste is less smooth than the one labeled "Silk," but I wanted to find out before I bought it (there is another product that is a mix of pistachio and almond and green coloring--which did not appeal to me). The Agrimontana website is of no help at all.