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Everything posted by dystopiandreamgirl

  1. I'm not crazy about the taste of starfruit but did enjoy it in a pavlova:
  2. Whatever you end up doing, post some pics please!
  3. Fran Bigelow has a recipe for gold bar brownies in her book Pure Chocolate that she describes as "an over-the-top chocolate brownie shot through with gooey caramel and almonds". I've not made them, nor seen them at her shop, but don't we all genuflect in her general direction where it regards chocolate?
  4. damn, that sounds good. I assume you unmold it while it is still warm? and the topping still somewhat soft? slice through the praline at that point (but not the cake)...somewhat in the style of a dobos torte...
  5. Definitely use superfine - regular granulated will result in too thick a layer and hide too much of the color. And don't make your own by whizzing sugar in a blender - it will produce too much dull dust - you want very fine uniform grains of sparkly sugar. If you're using real violets (isn't their season over?) - use a little violet paste in the sugar to keep the color intense, like this: If you are using pansies - and if they are multicolor - you'll have to forgo any artificial coloring, and you'll need to be careful to brush the white on very lightly, to prevent too thick a coating of sugar which masks the color: Don't shake the flower, instead hold it tight and give your hand a good whack on the side of your bowl; this works better (for me anyway) to get rid of the excess sugar. Don't lay them on bare parchment - the petals are now heavy and will fall from the center - instead pour out a little layer of sugar, and scoop out a little bed to hold the flower in its' original shape to dry. I store them in tins on a sprinkling of sugar 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). I've candied a few lavender tips which were very pretty but not at all palatable - so intense I spit them out. Boiling them in syrup would dilute the oils and I suppose result in a true 'candied' flower, whereas what I am doing is merely crystallizing them...
  6. where are you finding bitter almonds?
  7. This is more of a morning or afternoon coffeecake but since there's no thread entitled "what's for brunch" I'm posting it here. It's Emily Luchetti's upside down rhubarb cake from 4-Star Desserts, increased to one and a half of the recipe and made square instead of round. It was fun to lay out the rhubarb; even more fun to unmold it; needless to say eating it was a pleasure (Emily has never let me down); and most fun of all was posting it on Flickr and starting an upside down cake group (upside-down cake pool). Just did that this morning and haven't had the time to invite other photos yet but hope to do so tonight. First 2 pages of search alone reveal pineapple, banana, cranberry, pear, apple, blueberry, cape gooseberries, apricots...so check back in a week for more upside-down deliciousness!
  8. it sounds like you have a particular look in mind, and there has been helpful advice, but just in case you are open to other ideas, here's something I like to do do fancy up brownies: The first is marzipan, the second chocolate plastique, both molded in springerle cookie molds. The marzipan is especially good with a layer of apricot or mirabelle preserves underneath, and helps it stick to the brownie. There are hundreds of springerle designs, if the wedding has any theme to it you can probably find a corresponding mold.
  9. I wish people would post pictures of their bundts, the old pans are charming and the new pans are very clever. I'll start. A bride wanted fleur de lis featured in her wedding so we made a chocolate groom's cake in the fleur de lis pan, glazed it with ganache, and molded bittersweet and milk chocolate fleur de lis to pile around it.
  10. Gorgeous. Are those your own candied violets? Demo? Please? ← thank-you! yes they are mine. I may have time to do a demo in the next few weeks but it's just the standard method of frothy egg white and superfine sugar given everywhere. I am careful to brush a very thin layer of egg white on, but to cover it completely, so they hold their original shape. Also, my aesthetic rarely includes food coloring but after doing a great number of these a few years back and then watching them fade in no time, I now mix in a bit of violet paste with the sugar. I am hoping to scrounge enough pink violets to do this year. I have a couple plants but they do not flower prolifically, and the snails like them too. I love violets - does anyone know if there is violet liqueur to be had in the US? when I've googled, the sites listing it are British. more:
  11. here's a better oak, made for a new year's eve party. If you look closely at the acorns, you'll note that the mold designer included the subtle striations that exist on real acorns. It's a minor detail but makes them look that much sweeter when you turn them out:
  12. Next time make some mice to guard the stash: Please note the ears on the critters - they are candy-coated pine nuts from Spain - like jordan almonds but with pignolas. I didn't know they existed before finding them at The Spanish Table. They are delicious.
  13. thanks; with a plastic candy mold - this looks like the one though the image is so small it's hard to tell
  14. and something more stylized, for a white chocolate lover: lingonberry and candied tangerine peel filling, white chocolate tangerine mousseline buttercream, belgian white chocolate and lingonberry poinsettia, and candied tangerine peel tree rings: The rings were cut from whole candied tangerine halves. They are kind of sloppy as my kitchen scissors were bulky. It was late at night when I thought of the idea or I would have run out and bought some manicure scissors just for the kitchen.
  15. an oak with bittersweet and gianduja acorns, and too many oak leaves (this was everyone's favorite but my least)
  16. wow that actually worked. I think figuring that out took more work that making the buche. here's another, a pine with green tea marzipan pine needles; pine-cones of marzipan and almond halves in chocolate; and dripping sap from caramelized sugar:
  17. these are my absolute favorite things to make. I made 4 this year, and have another one to make for New Year's Eve. I will now attempt to post a picture of the aspen...
  18. here's what I do - go to the local co-op/natural food store/whatever produce manager; ask who is ordering cases of organic citrus fruits to juice; contact them and ask if you can pick up their peels every 5 days or so - you'll get a decent quantity this way, and for free. Also if there's a juice bar in town they are likely to be throwing out organic peels and would be glad to give them to you. here's a candied orange peel dragon
  19. hmm, they load for me...here are the urls:http://www.mirabellecatering.com/pastry11.htmhttp://www.mirabellecatering.com/spring02.htmdon't know if they'll link, you might have to cut/paste, sorry.
  20. the recipe which was linked to above is from the middle eastern volume of the time-life series and can probably be found in most libraries. It includes pictures to aid in assembling. I used to make them for easter as they did resemble nests, (though I never use sugar syrup for phyllo pastries, but straight mild honey flavored with rose or orange blossom water - usually rose for walnuts, orange blossom for pistachios). When I discovered shredded phyllo I thought it made a more attractive nest - here's 2 links to pics: kadaifi nests & easter nests (you'll have to scroll down on the second) The pistachios were added after baking to retain the bright green.
  21. re: the seville orange peels - I candied a batch one year and it turned out inedibly bitter - I had to toss the whole batch. This puzzled me, as I knew sevilles were the variety used in orange marmalade, which includes the shredded peel. Minimal research revealed that they are blanched repeatedly or soaked overnight to leech out the bitterness - I had given them one quick blanching which was apparently insufficient. So you might do a small test batch first. re: angelica - it is biennial but will reseed and continue to sprout for years if it likes the ground you put it in. And it must not be too picky; my first planting thrived for ten years. So amongst your acquaintances who garden you are likely to find someone with an interest in herbs who has some.
  22. I candy wheels and kumquat halves by cutting them first...they keep their shape nicely (and probably candy quicker).
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