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Everything posted by kthull

  1. Man, I've been too swamped to work on anything sweet these days, but great stuff everyone!
  2. Since I don't use them that often, when I get the chance I buy skinned hazelnuts from King Arthur Flour.
  3. Hi Abra. I just about always use Whey Low for my desserts these days.
  4. Ok, my current thought is heart-shaped petit fours decorated like the little message candies. I'm figuring either a strawberry or raspberry buttercream as the filling. Not entirely sold on the idea, but I saw some nice looking ones in some home-y magazine that my wife reads. Their recipe and method sucked, but the finished product looked cool. These are for second and fourth graders. Anyone have a recipe or experience using white chocolate poured fondant? I've seen reference to it by googling, but no actual recipes. Another option: How firm does white chocolate ganache set up? I need something that's finger-food friendly for the kids and I've worked plenty with dark chocolate ganache, never white. Thanks!
  5. Oli, I make the topping as directed in the recipe, but then apply gingerly while still warm onto the individual tarte slivers. It's a bit ambiguous, but you want to be able to handle it with your fingers for the time it takes to top all the slices, but not so warm that it melts the ganache, especially at those tips. Another cool thing that happens is that the caramel gradually smooths itself out...one of those happy accidents.
  6. Josette, those are beautiful! Thanks for posting those.
  7. How cool that it's three different chocolates. I would have never predicted that! Thanks for sharing.
  8. A nice cheesecake is the double decker raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake on epicurious.com. That makes a nice presentation when cut, so it should also work well in individual rings. I've only baked either as full cheesecakes or in sheet pans, then cut into cubes, but it looks great topped with raspberry coulis and shaved white chocolate. Keep in mind, though, I'm a home baker, so can't even begin to imagine how it fits into a production environment. But for dealing with service, I think ring molds are your best route. No cutting...clean edges...sounds like a winner.
  9. I don't know yet either. I'm only baking for the kids' school parties, but I haven't had time to think about it yet. In years past, I've done cookies on a stick (pastel frosting with messages), heart shaped strawberry marshmallows (Neil's recipe) and heart-shaped 'ding-dongs'.
  10. A lot of those glazes use a neutral glaze as a base. You can make it if you can get a hold of pectin. I can't remember exactly which type it is any more, but it's NOT apple pectin and it's not the fruit pectins you find in stores for making jellies. Otherwise you can probably buy tubs of neutral glaze online, though I imagine you'd end up buying a lot of it. I think that's probably why in Desserts, Pierre does a lot of the glazing with warmed apricot jelly...a neutral glaze seems out of reach for the general populous. I could be wrong though. (edited for clarity)
  11. For the life of me, I can't find any of my notes with the recipe. I want to say that I started out using a 9x12 with parchment set up in such a way as to allow me to lift the whole cake out of the pan at once to a cutting board. It yielded a fair amount of waste since the sides of the pans were not perfectly straight. But I have 80 squares written down on the recipe, so the pan size makes sense given the (tasty) waste factor I was doing these (and others...the double decker raspberry white chocolate cheesecake looks really cool done this way) enough at the time so I ordered 10x10 square pans with removable bottoms. The guts of the pan is actually 9x9 so I get a solid 81 squares out of that pan (and a little taller than the previous method). The key is that you want to use pans that will spread out your batter (plus crust) to a final height of 1" so it takes some playing around. And you want to devise a way to free the cake from the pan all together to facilitate cutting. The rest of the prep is basically the same, but bake times are lower. Sometimes really low if you have layers going on. Again, it's a trial and error thing so keep a close eye on it. I also purchased a 12" granton knife (like those giant roast beef slicers you see at a carving station) for cutting the squares. The knife is really thin, but very sharp. I'll run it under hot water, dry it and in one cut I've lopped off my 1" strip of cheesecake. That was a wise investment because when I started playing around I was just using a chef's knife and that added to my waste (never could get the wife to go for purchasing a guitar slicer, this being a hobby and all). And yes, the ganache is just the one from the recipe. Making a little more makes life easier, but I've done it with the amounts listed.
  12. Oh man...I'm sorry but I don't think I could rewrite it to make it non-copyright infringement. It's an extremely long recipe!
  13. For a while it was the Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake from epicurious.com, but prepped as 1" squares, then ganached and topped with a coffee bean, like so: But latley it's been Herme's Tarte Grenobloise from the Chocolate Desserts book, but I first slice it into 24 teeny wedges, then top each one individually with the caramel pecan topping: Both are relatively rich, so making the smaller portions not only looks way cool on a platter, but it also stretches it much farther than the normal amount of servings either recipe would suggest. And, too much of a good thing is usually not appreciated by most people. Me, I can eat it all and ask for more, but I must be crazy.
  14. I'm in the same boat. Stuff all over the kitchen, now creeping into the bedroom. The garage is too spidery for me to use and we only have a half basement that we recently finished for the kids to use as a rec room (though my cake boards are in one of the trundle bed drawers). We've decided to retire our cute little bakers rack and have a nice 5-shelf steel rack on the way. Won't look as nice, but it'll hold a heck of a lot more. Oh yeah, cookbooks and mags in the office, kitchen and basement. And with me venturing into the personal chef world, I've been adding (and will continue to add) even more.
  15. You're not kidding on playing catch-up. Way to go! And I agree with you on hazelnuts. I have yet to try blanching them to get the skins off, but if I know enough in advance I order the skinned ones from King Arthur Flour. So now that you've made all that you did, what is your take on all of it?
  16. Friberg also gives specs for making that type of mold using plywood and dowels in the Advanced Pastry Chef book (pretty sure it's the first one). Neat concept.
  17. I bought the Roses book because I'll be doing my mother-in-law's wedding cake this summer (if, in fact, they ever set a date and go through with it...). I was hoping to get in some practice, but never got past admiring the pictures. Looks like I'll have to check out the wedding sprays book too.
  18. Patrick, those look beautiful! I bought a madeleine plaque two years ago and haven't used it yet. I've been eyeing the recipe in this book (along with others) and almost made them for Christmas. Good to know you can get good humps sooner than an overnight sitting.
  19. Patrick, I did the lemon tart for my Mom on Mother's Day last year because lemon is her favorite. It's a great way to enjoy that lemon cream. Simple, so the flavor and texture really shines. And whenever you have extra, lemon crepes with a little whipped cream are killer.
  20. Miaomee, I need to clarify a little bit on my previous post. I haven't had any classes yet...just that I know that I will take them in the not-too-distant future if I want to continue to grow and continue to feed my passion in a positive light. And the extent of my sugar work is what you saw. I did those very basic roses just one time, but it was a good experience, especially to be able to compare it with my previous dabbling with chocolate plastic roses. I think if I hadn't had that footing (small as it was) with forming the chocolate roses, the gumpaste roses would have been a disaster if I had followed the technique in the book that I had at the time. I can count the number of cakes I've decorated on one hand. Sorry if I gave the impression that I'm further along than I really am!
  21. I am fully self-taught through books and the internet and I am very proud of my accomplishments. That said, I agree whole-heartedly with Steve. I can't tell you how many times I've tried something new (which is often as I am continually trying to expand my horizons) and researched and prepped and still wondered whether or not I was doing it correctly with absolutely no way to ever know. And if (should say when) it didn't work out, it was very difficult to nail the reason. Of course forums such as this have become an invaluable resource, giving me access to such sharing professionals, but it still lacks the sensory feedback so critical to pastry. But I hung my hat on the notion that this was hobby and for pleasure, not profitable gain. I just couldn't justify the cost of professional training. Well that's bunk. Time is money. Wasted ingredients cost. It took me a few years to admit it to myself, but I had come to realize that it will be worth my while to get formal instruction, if only to allow me to continue to enjoy what I do, but also to continue to grow. Isn't that what it's all about?
  22. Nope, but with all the snow in Chicago, the kids and I went sledding yesterday. So naturally I had to make Pierre's Classic Hot Chocolate. I won't be buying that powdered junk from the store anymore! I can't wait to try some of the other hot chocolates. (stupid diet)
  23. That looks great Elie. Shame my wife had us start a new diet this week Looks like I'll be on hiatus for a while.
  24. Man, that looks sinful. I gotta try that one next.
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