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  1. I’ve tried all the Inspiration chocolates. We have a great rep. The only one I don’t like is the passionfruit. To me it has an unpleasant after taste. It’s easy enough to get passion fruit purée and it’s so strong a flavor it’s easy to use un a ganache without breaking it. I love the Yuzu and for me, it fills a niche. I’ve had trouble finding Yuzu products in the US. Sosa does a paste but I can’t get it here so the Yuzu Inspiration is a great way to add flavor to a mousse if your base is Yuzu juice, cream , Italian Meringue and white chocolate. It also adds flavor to a mirror glaze. Just sub the Yuzu Inspiration for the white chocolate. The strawberry is great as well. I find it difficult to get a really intense raspberry flavor in a ganache. The Inspiration Strawberry and the raspberry allow you to bump up the flavor without adding to much purée.
  2. Has anyone used Valrhona Absolut Crystal neutral glaze particularly to thicken a coulis or to glaze a tart? If so, how did you like it and is there another glaze you think worked as well but is less expensive or can be purchased in smaller quantities?
  3. I have only ever found Blenheims dried at Trader Joe’s. You can rehydrate them and make a lovely preserve. I did it once successfully and put the recipe on my Blackberry which subsequently locked itself. Last time I checked it would cost $1,200. to unlock it. A bit pricey. My recollection is that after hydration, I treated them like fresh apricots, adding about 75% sugar, 4% lemon juice and a pectin bag with the juices lemon remains and some extra seeds (which I collect throughout the year and freeze). So for a kilo of rehydrates apricots id use between 750 -800 grams of superfine sugar and 40 grams of fresh lemon juice. The preserves I can make with Midwest apricots will never compare with fresh Blenheims or those one finds in Provence but still, a very good jam. California apricots that are shipped to the Midwest are generally not good. Still, one year I found an awesome batch and made some lovely preserves. Go figure. As I recall the were packaged like eggs so they could be shipped ripe. Sigh, I guess that’s to expensive to sustain.
  4. I’m looking for a way to thicken fruit purées, specifically strawberry, without cooking. I don’t like cooking strawberries. I think it kills the flavor so I need something that will thicken without needing to be heated and which will contain the water in fruit so it won’t seep into the tart shell or eclair. Any ideas about thickeners and proportions?
  5. Thank you for the warm welcome! I taught my self to make preserves with “ Mes Confitures”. I am also fortunate to be living near one of the best preservers in the states: Elizabeth Madden of Rare Bird Preserves. I’ve taken many of her classes. She has a talent for combining herbs, alcohol and other things with fruit: Rosemary/ Meyer Lemon; Fig/Earl Gray; Peach Lavender; Gin/Blueberry and Grapefruit/Honey are among my favorites. She also does some lovely curds like passion fruit, lemon and blackberry. Now that I’m back at work I have a bit less time to make preserves but apricots are just coming into season right now so I’m off to the farmers market this Saturday to buy a few kilos. I’ll be doing Apricot/Vanilla; Apricot/Orange/Honey and Apricot/Ginger if I can score some good fruit. Midwest farmers lost a lot of fruit and trees to the thaw/freeze cycles we had.
  6. I’m a pastry chef working in a local bakery near my home. We produce a line of viennoiserie, scones, muffins, cookies as well as American style butter cakes, eclairs, cream puffs, macaron and tarts. I have a great boss as she lets me design pastry as well as produce her menu. At the moment I’m exploring tarts, eclairs, macarons and verrines to express my love of all things sweet, salty, sour, creamy and crunchy. At home, I post recipes to a blog that I share with my son, when I have the time. I’ve been making preserves and marmalades for about 10 years or so. It’s a great passion of mine and it keeps me busy during the summer and winter. I’m always looking for ways to improve my knowledge and my skills. I’m so happy to be part of this group, which is a treasure trove of information. I originally discovered this group when I returned from Biarritz where I tasted and became completely smitten with canelle. When I googled “ canelle” I came across the endless thread on this forum about canelle and those pesky white butts that plague so many devotees. I knew I had found my peeps.
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