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Everything posted by kthull

  1. Man, that was quite the baking blitz. Thanks for sharing and have a great New Year!
  2. Nice job on the macarons Elie. I've been wanting to make those as well, but haven't gotten around to it. Yours look great!
  3. That looks awesome! Nice job.
  4. I also got a really nice digital thermometer, but that was all that was baking related. Although I did get speakers to put in the kitchen for my iPod. I kept having the headphones ripped out of my ears as it got caught on a drawer knob or a chair while moving throughout the kitchen. I guess that counts too! Gotta have music in the kitchen. And I'll second that congrats on La Patisserie.
  5. The actual pine cone cake is made up of layers of soft almond cake and chocolate mousse. Oh man.
  6. Swisskaese, the pine cone leaves are just tempered chocolate spread with an offset spatula onto wax paper or acetate (in my case, I had neither, so I used foil). Ok...almost tempered chocolate (I swear I'm soooo close). Lemon curd, I love cutting into stuff like this. For me there's a bigger payoff in people's reaction to the flavors than to the look of the piece. My goal is to get those two elements to be equal. And I want to make so many more desserts from La Patisserie. Quite a few have ingredients that will be a challenge to find since I don't have a commercial supplier available to me. But the desserts in that book just blow away the two 'mainstream' books. Yes, the scales were done with a spatula. They definitely took some practice, but they worked out great. And I used the overlapping parts to cover the fact that about half of mine were seriously misshapen compared to the picture in the book. I'm so glad that I have cotton gloves for working with chocolates. A real necessity with this dessert. What would I do differently? Well for sure I still want to try to spray the chocolate on at the end. The book doesn't give a size for the cake layers, and mine was too big (and I trimmed the second cake layer too much so that is too small). I couldn't cut a cardboard piece to sit under it, so I had to work on my serving platter ruling out pouring the ganache. I worried on that one for a while, but by the time I was ready to ganache it, it was a spreadable thickness which actually helped. I ended up using it as glue and gap filler for some of the top/back scales. And I have a better handle on how to place the scales. That took a couple re-dos to get close to the picture in the book. Surprisingly, it's a forgiving cake to make. The decoration is more organic than most of the photos in the book. I'm still trying to fine tune my precision.
  7. Well, I think I actually did it. I'm still in a mixed state of disbelief that it came together and awe at the man who conceived this creation. Herme is pure genius in my book. In case anyone missed my post earlier in this thread, the dessert is called Pine Cone and it's from the pro book, not the Chocolate Desserts to which this thread is devoted. I almost didn't make this. I'm sooooo glad I did. And having made the autumn meringue and carioca desserts from Herme's first book was a huge help as some of the components were very similar among the desserts. The finish is supposed to be sprayed on chocolate. I had everything but the cocoa butter to make the chocolate spray mixture. So I just did a light dusting of cocoa powder instead. At 2:30 a.m., I'm sort of glad I didn't have the ability to spray on chocolate. Plus the kitchen's already a wreck. (So close to getting that tempering thing down.) Needless to say, I think the family will be impressed though I have no idea how to cut this thing. And I made a bunch of mental notes on what to do differently, since I have a second one to make for Christmas Day.
  8. lemon curd, that cake looks outstanding! Way to go!
  9. I swear there was a recipe in the a recent Gourmet magazine that used it...sorry I can't be more specific...I've already pulled the recipes of interest out and pitched the magazines.
  10. You're fine. I've only used Valrhona once before and I've many of his chocolate desserts from the first book and the few on this thread from the chocolate book. Even Dorie mentioned that while Pierre prefers the specified chocolates, that doesn't mean you will too. Glad to have you on board!
  11. This peach cheesecake is delicious!
  12. Seth, it does take practice to get your caramel groove. This recipe is one of the few caramels I've done that has worked very well for me. Others clump or crystallize badly on me and it can get really frustrating. Just the other day, I went through three batches of caramel on a cookie recipe before finally deciding to strain it and move on. I'm glad you liked it. I share your opinion on the over-the-top-ness and have eaten loads of that topping plain. When I pre-slice the tart and then top it, I only go through about 3/4 of the caramel pecans. And I don't think there's a dessert out there that's too rich for me.
  13. Cool, I'm glad you tried them. That one's been in my wife's family for years (still have the tattered, yellowed, hand-written recipe card from her grandmother) and one I don't have a source for. I do know that everyone who tries them loves them. And you have to work quickly with the dough while it's warm, or it gets too crumbly even with the right amount of butter. Oh yes, it's also a yearly required cookie. In case others are looking for recipes, they're here.
  14. Seth, since that photo was from the book (not mine) I wasn't supposed to post it...sorry for the confusion everyone. Of course my vote is for the Grenobloise!
  15. How cool! Thanks for the background Dorie! And thank you for bringing Pierre's work to the masses. I owe so much of what I've learned to the Desserts book and am only just starting to have fun with the Chocolate book. (And I hope Santa brings me Paris Sweets!) Enjoy your travels. Lemon curd, I've been dying to make the Black Forest Cake. I'm at this very moment kicking myself because I was at Trader Joe's today (a long enough trip making it a too infrequent journey for me) and was eyeing the morello cherries and going back and forth on whether to grab some. Alas, I didn't. Oh well, next time. My Mom's birthday is mid-January. Perhaps that'll be the occasion for it. I spent a good amount of time tonight looking for the decorations to try to mimic those used in the picture for the pine cone cake in "Patisserie". The whole cake is sprayed with chocolate...I've been looking for a reason to use the little Badger 250 I bought almost 3 years ago based on Wendy's recommendation.
  16. We must all be really busy...this thread has grown quiet. I still plan on making the caramels (especially after drooling over all the great looking caramels on this thread), but haven't had the time. May not even get there until after the holidays...we'll see. But for any of you who managed to get Herme's pro book, I'm going to attempt the pine cone cake for my Christmas Eve/Christmas day dinners. I'll try to post a pic from the book later on. I don't remember any more who gave the link for L'Epicerie but THANKS! I just ordered 3kg of Vahlrona Guanaja feves. I'll post pics of the final cakes for sure. I'll also try to take some in-progress pics too.
  17. My intentions are always to share with the neighbors. However...
  18. Hi Viva. Those turned out great. Those and the chocolate-pistachio wreaths were both new recipes for me, so I was glad they turned out. The wreaths were tough to pull off, but after having done it once already, I think the next round would be smoother. Both recipes are in the Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies. I received that as a Christmas gift last year and this is the first time I made my way into it. There are a lot of good looking cookies in that book!
  19. Thanks! Those were from Gourmet magazine last year. You can find the recipe on epicurious.com. Enjoy.
  20. I just finished a cookie exchange. We were supposed to send a dozen cookies to five different people. I couldn't decide, so I chose six different types to make up the dozen (a seventh was Herme's Hazelnut Chocolate Sables from this thread...didn't send those out since I didn't think it would appeal to everyone's palates). I think all of these will also make it to my own holiday table. Not too sure on the wreaths...they were a bit of a pain (tasty though). Clockwise from bottom left: - Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies - Pine Nut Tassies - Chocolate-Pistachio Wreaths - Caramel Pecan Cookies - Caramel Nut Acorns - Cherry Swirls
  21. Way to go Patrick. I think you've convince me to make them. What size pan did you use? I noticed the comment in the book about 8" square vs. 9" square. I'm pretty sure I have an 8" but haven't broken out the ruler yet. Yours look goodly sized. Edit: keep it clean folks...I just got back from another forum where seriously off-topic comments would start from my post above.
  22. Hey, another note on the Nutella Tart recipe. There's a typo in the butter quantity if you're going by the gram weights (as I was at the time). It calls for 7 tablespoons of butter (3-1/2 oz, 200 g). It should be 100 grams. I was still half asleep as I went through nearly two sticks of butter to get the 200 g and was thinking as I melted it that it was an awful lot of butter. Can't recall why I double checked it, but I cut off a 7 tablespoon chunk of butter and weighed it and thanked the kitchen gods that I wasn't too late.
  23. Patrick, great point about making mini versions of the desserts. Since they're all component based, that approach works really well and others might not have considered it. I went through a stint where I made mini chocolate domes from the desserts book for people on their birthdays. Way cool.
  24. I had planned on making some caramels for the holiday, so I'll semi-commit. Funny you mention the pic Seth...I think that's one of the coolest too. That and the caramelized chocolate napoleon! On a separate note: OMG!!! If any of you still have some nutella tart lying around, you have to, have to, have to eat it with some vanilla ice cream. It'll BLOW YOUR MIND! Ok, can you see I'm on a sugar high right now?
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