Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by dystopiandreamgirl

  1. i've said it before and i'll say it again: the pacific northwest is berry heaven... mini pizzelles with whipped cream & red huckleberries gooseberries strawberries blackberries red currants blueberries raspberries physalis they were shaped, and are sitting in, a porcelain egg crate.
  2. more leaves, two views; bittersweet-fading-to-gianduja poplar, atop a coffee/almond marjolaine:
  3. it's red currant season, and being very tart they offset sweet things quite nicely... vanilla butter cake with red currants and elderflower creme anglaise (i found a bottle of elderflower concentrate at Ikea and it makes things delicious) individual pavlovas w vanilla whipped cream and white chocolate currant leaves all butter pastry crust, pastry cream flavored with physalis eau de vie
  4. If you dunk a whole viola, the shape will collapse from the weight of the white; also the coating will be too thick. You want to brush the white on very lightly, to prevent too much sugar soaking in which masks the color of your flower. Use superfine sugar - regular granulated will result in too thick a layer. And don't try to make your own superfine by whizzing sugar in a blender - it will produce too much dull dust - you want very fine uniform grains of sparkly sugar. Strain it with a fine sieve onto a large tray. I usually sprinkle the sugar on to the flower with a spoon, then briefly bury the flower in the sugar. By the time I have finished the next flower, I unbury the first, and holding it tightly, give my hand a good whack on the side of the tray; this works better than shaking to get rid of the excess sugar. I don't use tweezers, you can just hold the edge with your fingers. Don't lay violas on bare parchment - the petals are now heavy and will fall from the center so you will lose the shape - instead pour out a little layer of sugar, and scoop out a little bed to hold the flower in its' original shape to dry. you don't have to turn them around; petals are very thin and will dry quickly. I store them in tins on a sprinkling of sugar over paper towels to absorb any lingering moisture. Keep them out of the light! They will fade to a dirty white in no time (ask me how I know this). here's a recent cake, with spanish lavender petals, purple & double white lilacs , and native wild roses, whose petals are natural hearts: flat single petals like roses and mint leaves will beare a lot easier than three-D blossoms, and though pansies and violas are flat they are made more difficult by the fact that they consist of overlapping petals. here are two macros of pansies. the first was done fairly well; the sugar layer is thin and relatively even, so the color shows through: the second is not done as well; there is a small spot on the left which was missed altogether, and the center contains an area where the sugar is too thick, obscuring the color altogether; this was due to the egg white being applied too thickly: here are both of the pansies on the finished cake: it's a fairly tedious process, you might want to have the tv on or do it with a friend so you're not bored to tears.
  5. you can make a green tea opera cake; a green tea tiramisu; a *gorgeous* marbled bundt cake (scroll to see all the lovely macros) or just knead it into some marzipan:
  6. no, i do temper the chocolate, seed method the majority of the time. i never heard the warnings regarding the freezer till years after i was already using it. i find it sets them up quickly, makes it easier to peel the leaves off and results in more shine. as i understand, the risk of using the freezer is the onset of sugar bloom. the only time i experienced that fallout was when i made chocolate marijuana leaves...and the resultant sugar bloom resembled the resin that is considered desirable in a real cannabis leaf, so i actually worked to my advantage. here are more leaves i set while draped over objects to bend...not droopy but undulating...
  7. not a million, but well over a hundred. i put a couple of square cake pans in the freezer, took them out one at a time, alternating to keep them cold; laid each leaf as i finished it (either inside the pan, [which i propped at an angle], folding in on itself, or outside bent back on itself) at the table where i was brushing them, and after doing three or so transferred them to the freezer to finish setting; did another batch and upon transferring took the last batch out and unpeeled, set them on the cake, rinse and repeat... i had originally envisioned the idea as the cake being on a pedestal, and continuing with some leaves dripping down off the pedestal, even onto the table. but at 3 am, with a day job to get to at 8, i said 'to hell with it' and left it as is. the creative process can be entertaining - i think what makes this attractive is the border that the pointed ends make around the base - but that was not included in my (admittedly inchoate) vision of it. i love it when creations go their own way, sometimes better than i originally anticipated. even if it's due to hitting the limits of my technical expertise, or a time constraint i think it could be an awesome wedding cake design, with the leaves sliding all the way down three or four tiers...
  8. thanks everyone... inside is: two 12" layers of cocoa genoise alternating between three layers of coffee meringue sandwiched with espresso buttercream and mirabelle preserves covered with rum ganache
  9. it's such a treat to browse these pages...everything looks so wonderful - the perfectly positioned strawberries on the frasier, the in-your-face pics of cookies and pie, appearing as if they were any closer they might juuuust reach my mouth, the gorgeous mousse (i would be thrilled to attend a wedding and be served my own little jewel instead of a slice of cake), the german chocolate frosting appearing alarmingly close to sliding off the cupcake, and the *perfect* green chocolate marbles... here's a couple things i was happy with recently. i love when ideas incubate for a while, then come to fruition... i long ago lost the ability to look at any foliage without wondering what it would look like in chocolate. andy goldsworthy's work fascinates me (if you're not familiar, go rent rivers and tides), and i was inspired to make this based on his 'black hole' creations: the cake underneath all those leaves (about 200) is composed of three 12" almond dacquoise layers sandwiched with coffee buttercream & caramelized plum preserves, covered with ganache. for my mother's 80th birthday charlotte, i made white chocolate tulips, atop chocolate ladyfingers brushed with cointreau, filled with strawberry-kirsch mousse and a thin layer of ganache. the tulips are made the same way that chocolate leaves are, by brushing, setting, and peeling the petals. because they are three-dimensional (as opposed to the way leaves just lay flat), i had to alternate the side that i used for the petals, and then position them so their good sides showed... (tulips are edible, by the way. i used to set the whole flower [with stamens removed] upright on a plate and fill with curried chicken salad. they taste...vegetal, i guess, appropriate with chicken) i have not made chocolate ladyfingers before and hardly found any recipes. i ended up adding a little cocoa to the yolks in my regular recipe (from The Cake Bible) and eliminating a little flour; they did not end up as dark as i would have liked, and i wasn't sure what would result in the best look - cocoa mixed with, or substituted for, the powdered sugar sprinkled on top, more cocoa in the batter itself, or what...since ladyfinger batter cannot sit, i did not have time to experiment with one or two fingers before deciding. if anyone has some advice, i'd love to hear it. i also noticed that the cocoa toughened the ladyfingers a bit, so wondered if i should have just sifted the cocoa with the flour rather than beating it with the yolks (one of the few recipes i found included it with the yolks). fortunately it was only noticeable when sampled alone...when combined with the strawberry mousse, ganache, and white chocolate petals, in-between sips of espresso, in a sunny garden of narcissi and fritallaria, the texture seemed just fine. happy spring everybody!
  10. As someone who tries to keep use of food coloring to a minimum, but sometimes desires red, I have also been frustrated with attempts to candy cherries. I thought blood orange rinds would provide the bright red I was after but it washed away with the initial blanchings I put it through and i ended up with orange. So much for being clever. The only thing I've had luck with is cranberries. Even then my first attempts were less than successful - they retained their bright color but not their shape, as they exploded even when barely simmered in syrup. However I improvised a technique I am happy with - Inadvertently finding myself with a quart of asian pear syrup (I made a batch of jelly but it didn't jell) i thought cranberries might be good candied in it. Wary of exploding them, I put both in a shallow baking pan, threw in a couple of cinnamon sticks as well, and put it in my gas oven, which has a rather hot pilot light. The berries were in a single layer, but not submerged, so every couple hours I shook the pan to roll them around. After a half-day and overnight, they were plumped with syrup, but still intact, and tasted wonderful. I drained the syrup off, let them get tacky, and rolled them in superfine sugar. Here's how i used them last Christmas, on a Pandoro (amongst candied meyer lemon stars, green tea marzipan holly leaves, and whipped mascarpone): to clarify: the oven was off, but my pilot light is hotter than usual. A plain sugar syrup will work, of course, in the event you don't have a failed batch of jelly around, and I usually add a drizzle of corn syrup in the last few hours to deter crystallization.
  11. here is a chocolate bundt with cocolat's chocolate glaze: i make twice as much glaze as is needed to assure complete coverage on one pour. (the leftover can be remelted, or used like ganache after it's firm) and a simple drizzle glaze of powdered sugar thinned with lemon juice and a few drops of boyajian lemon oil:
  12. Thanks. I am not very familiar with most US grocery stores. We will look along the way for a Safeway or TJs. In Moab there is only a Kroger and and a Village Market and they don't carry these items. Heck, they don't even carry parsnips at Kroger's. Anyone else suggest any other stores to look in? ← I would check grocery stores in the asian districts of town; the buddha's hands are part of Tết celebrations. if all else fails you can order some from Melissa's Produce, but they are not cheap. I've seen it referenced as having sweet mild peel, but ten years ago when I discovered them I candied a batch and it turned out so bitter I had to throw it out. So now I blanch it 7 times. (I only blanch lemon and orange peels twice).
  13. They suggest using a "reverse" mixing method. Whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter in 1/2" chunks, one at a time, beating with an electric mixer on medium-low. When all the butter is added continue beating for a minute or two until it looks crumbly and slightly wet. Add flavour and any liquids or cream cheese. Continue to beat for about 1/2 a minute, just till it begins to form large chunks. Remove from bowl and knead till it forms a cohesive mass. Wrap and chill. Another method they use and I also have a recipe by Flo Braker is with a food processor. Pulse dry ingredients to combine. Add butter and pulse till like cornmeal. Add any liquid while processor is running. This could be as small as 1 egg yolk and vanilla. Process till it starts to form large chunks and again knead a couple turns till it forms a cohesive mass. With this method you can roll it out between parchment right away and then chill. Might be worth a try with a recipe you love. ←
  14. four pinecone cakes: marzipan: (chocolate almond cake with apricot filling; coated with rum ganache; chocolate marzipan scales; coffee meringue pine needles) modeling chocolate: (coffee meringue with espresso buttercream filling; coated with kahlua ganache; modeling chocolate scales; chocolate marzipan twigs with green tea marzipan pine needles ) orange peel: (chocolate genoise with cointreau buttercream coated with cointreau ganache; candied orange peel scales; bittersweet chocolate pine needles) almond: (chocolate almond cakes with raspberry filling; coated with ganache; sliced almond scales; green tea marzipan pine needles ) wishing everyone a lovely holiday!
  15. one of my favorite christmas cookies: when i make cookie cutter cookies, they often blister in the oven. anyone know the reason for that? it doesn't seem to matter what kind of dough...
  16. Here's Rose Levy Berenbaum's 6,000 word dissertation on sugar -
  17. ginger cookies: chocolate caramel tart: mincemeat tart: happy thanksgiving everyone!
  18. royal icing would work; it's awfully sweet, but that's not likely to bother any pint-sized trick or treaters. "the republicans have never forgiven us for carrot cake" - al franken i usually find it unforgivable as well, but was happy with the way this turned out, with candied carrot ribbons and crystallized pansies:
  19. the purest fruit flavors are locked up in eau de vies - this page mentions (about halfway down) an asian pear eau de vie distilled at Stillwater Spirits in Petaluma. Stillwater's site has no info but you could pursue it with a phone call... I haven't made many frozen treats so i don't know how the high alcohol content would affect your product. You might end up with a slushee, in which case I would just say "I meant to do that".
  20. some great macros on this page. 16 groom's cakes, one for each table: the pacific northwest is berry heaven.
  21. hey I recognize that smudge! that's the least attractive part of my cake: i learned that technique (the marbling, not the smudging) from Cocolat; it is tempered white and/or milk chocolates piped onto still-molten glaze in loops, then a very thin paintbrush drawn through in a specific pattern, from the outside. by the time i got to the middle of the heart it was all setting up and i ended up with the smudge. i find this pretty amusing as i was fuming about it and a friend said "no one will ever notice", then that very detail ends up being enlarged and isolated on the internet for everyone to see. anyway. it is a little tricky getting and keeping two different chocolates in temper (i don't have a machine) to have ready immediately after pouring your glaze, which also has to be a specific temperature, onto your cake which she advises for chilling an exact 10 minutes. i would recommend reading Alice's instructions, she has some diagrams which are helpful. here is a better example, with both milk and white: and i think it is probably more technically correct to call it feathering, but Alice calls it marbling, and I have a vague memory of her mentioning she took an italian marbling class to perfect her technique.
  22. there's no ferry to camano, only a bridge; and the drive takes less than 2 hours from seattle even with heavy traffic. perhaps you meant another island...?
  23. i love hanging clusters of red currants. the charlotte is filled with alice medrich's wonderful recipe for white chocolate mousse with kirsch.
  • Create New...