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Jim D.

society donor
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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. I have not used applesauce for this purpose. I believe the idea is that it does not change the flavor, but I myself would go with Pomona's and not be concerned with other pectin sources.
  2. Yes, the required calcium comes in the Pomona's box. I don't have any experience using natural pectin (except when it happens by accident with the fruit I am using at the time). I see that Teo (in a following post) has provided lots of details on that subject. If you want to use apples (which is what the Boiron recipes and others call for) but don't feel like making your own applesauce, you can buy it under brands such as Superpomme (mentioned by Peter Greweling in Chocolates & Confections). One of the positive features of Pomona's is that it is quite forgiving. If jam/jelly/marmalade is completely done and cooled but isn't as thick as you like, you can heat it again and boil it a bit longer (though there is a limit on how long).
  3. Here's a recipe for ginger marmalade containing lemon. The recipe uses Pomona's pectin, which if you are not familiar with it, is somewhat different from other pectins (it's easier to use IMHO and requires brief cooking, thus maintaining the flavor of the ingredients). If you do an internet search for "ginger marmalade," you will find lots more recipes, including this one for lemon-ginger marmalade.
  4. You might want to check this thread (which was started by you) for some information on ways to freeze chocolates (there are other threads as well). I don't think anyone can really answer your question as to how long they will last. It depends on the quality of the freezer and how it operates (long or short defrost cycles), how cold it gets, how well you pack the chocolates, what the filling is, etc. You just have to experiment. You can begin that experimentation now: Freeze some chocolates now and test them in October or November. That may provide enough time to make them again if necessary. I froze mine in October last year (sealed in bags but not vacuum-sealed), and they were as good as new--at least as far as I could tell--at Christmas.
  5. I just checked out the program. At 799 euros, it should be very balanced indeed! (I realize it's only 50 euros after the first year.)
  6. I for one look forward to seeing your evaluation.
  7. That is a good example of why I have never been able to use the spreadsheet. There are so many variables and the makeup of the various ingredients is often impossible to find or calculate. Rob was going to talk about balancing ganaches at this year's workshop, but I understand he did not have time to do that.
  8. Regardless of what happened, I cannot take the risk of using that plastic again. I wanted a wider triangle, and VinylEase comes in sheets, so you can make the design whatever you want. But I had to put those four molds aside to be washed (someday), got out four clean ones (I knew that large purchase of custom molds would come in handy), found some 1.5" wide PVC (electrician's) tape, and it worked well. It kept the cocoa butter out almost as well as VinylEase, and left no detectable residue. So what's a day lost here and there, as long as there's a lesson learned?
  9. I have to ask: The only scale I have seen for Aw readings is between 0 (for something completely solid) to 1 (for complete water). Is there a different scale that results in a reading of 7?
  10. Just want to report definitively that VinylEase tape leaves a residue in molds--a substantial residue. I don't know why this didn't happen the first time I used it, but it certainly did today. It took sitting overnight for the problem to be revealed. So much time wasted cutting it and sticking it on with multiple molds. It's not the tape's fault, of course, since it was not intended for this purpose.
  11. Don't know how I missed that. It looks like what Teo described. Thanks very much. Needless to say, care would need to be taken (as with all vacuum solutions to storing chocolates) not to end up with the insides of the bonbons on the outside).
  12. If it's not too much trouble, could you point us to an example of these boxes? I have spent some time searching without success--Google came up with huge vacuum storage containers, but no storage boxes to which a pump could be attached.
  13. Miriam, Sounds like your assistant is a very assertive person! I've never heard that before about added risk from keeping fillings, but I am not a scientist. I have to say that I don't think the Aw reading is all there is to it. A ganache could have a very low reading but still contain spoiled ingredients. That said, there really isn't a lot in a typical filling to spoil, especially if one is using ultra-pasteurized cream. Have you noticed the expiration date on your typical grocery store heavy cream? As to your method, it's what I used to do all the time--making fillings ahead of time, refrigerating (or freezing if time required it), then reheating and piping into the shells. But I found that reheating is a very tricky process (and takes about as much time as making the filling from scratch). Anything with white chocolate will tend toward separating and be very difficult to re-emulsify. I gave up on that procedure. Now I make all the shells, keep them in a cool place, then make the fillings. There is no danger (of which I am aware) of keeping a chocolate shell for a long, long time. In this method, the fillings are made and used immediately. If I have a substantial amount of a leftover filling, I vacuum-seal it and freeze it. Then when I want to use that filling again, I cut the leftover amount into small pieces, heat it very gently to around 80F, stirring frequently, and use an emulsion blender to combine it with the new amount that I have made. Jim
  14. Does this mean you have mastered the eye technique? I suppose next you'll be charging us $700 to teach us how to do it! 🤩
  15. If you haven't already done so, you might want to read through the threads on preserving chocolates. There are lots of them, though they aren't grouped into a single topic. If you do a search for "vacuum" in this forum (not all of eGullet), you will find many different ways it can be done. Or look for "impulse sealer," and you will find my compromise method. Other ideas are under "shelf life."
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