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Everything posted by FWED

  1. I have been reading this topic and have been influenced to go out and buy and use this book. I have used RLB’s cake books for years and have learned much and liked them. Over the years I have also used the book on tarts (Great Pies and Tarts) by Carol Walter. Is there any one here that has used both of the tart books and has liked one over the other and for what reason?
  2. I am thinking that peppermint in the shell and orange in the chocolate ganach in the center might be a bit much and yes I infuse the cream for the ganache with orange zest and then add just a little orange oil if needed. Or you could do as Pierre Herme does with some of his Macarons and embed a small portion of orange jelly in the center of the chocolate ganache. In case you haven't seen it yet take a look at Pierre's book on Macarons. It really is eye candy!!!
  3. Over the years I have done Christmas themed molded chocolates. Many of the ganach fillings I have used could be adapted for macarons. How about doing a white chocolate ganach and flavoring it with egg-nog flavoring or the ganach and, rum, a few drops of butter oil flavoring, and nut meg (as in Hot Buttered rum). Another combination that I have used is the white chocolate ganach flavored with butter oil and peppermint oil. This filling tastes like those soft pillow shaped butter mints of yester year. On the chocolate side don’t forget the combination of orange and dark chocolate that seems so prevalent at this time of year. I could see chocolate macarons filled with a chocolate/bitter orange ganach. Oh yes and don’t forget the flavors of Almond Roca; almonds, milk chocolate, and toffee. For those of you that don’t know of Almond Roca it is small logs of semi brittle toffee covered with milk chocolate and rolled in toasted almonds. I am not sure how much of a national treat this is though; it may be just a West coast item. Cheers Fred
  4. Hi Curls. I haven't been reading the forum for some time but I thought that I would chime in on the Pate De Fruits. I have been making them for several years now and especially enjoy making them at Christmas time. I use Demarle flexipan molds, or any other molds that catch my fancy and are a small enough portion to be useful and flexible enough. I use molds 1562, 1071, 2265, and 1984. The squares were cut by hand. These are full sheet pan size but can be ordered in the half sheet pan size I think (its been so long since I bought any or looked at their catalog). I have included a photo of some of the ones that I have made. Cheers Fred
  5. I have been making IMBC off and on for about ten years and have never experienced a sloppy mess. My kitchen temp is about 68 to 72 degrees and room temp meringue and butter would be about the same. If you room temp is 85 degrees that is very close to the melting temp of butter (90 to 95 degrees F) You might experiment with getting the temps of both the meringue and the butter down around 70 degrees. I do love the trick of using the frozen towel to lower the meringue temp. I will have to try that. Hope this helps with your IMBC.
  6. Thanks for all your recommendations. I'll report back when I get back. Cheers
  7. Hi I am going to be in Boston attending my niece's wedding next weekend and will have a little spare time. I would appreciate any recommendations for wonderful European style pastries and artisan chocolates. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  8. There are three things that I take into account when I chose a brand of white chocolate, or any chocolate for that matter. The first is taste or flavor. I usually do a blind taste test of possible brands. Then I take into account how I want to use the chocolate. What will be the flavor of the ganach, or is it just for the shell. I started out using Guittard's "High Sierra" but found that to milky for my taste. Next I tried "Edelweiss" by Felchlin and found it less milky, not to sweet, and better for my purposes. I have used some El Ray and like the flavor but found it to be a bit to assertive for what I wanted and double the cost of other brands. Next there is the issue of viscosity. I have with luck found that the Edelweiss to be just viscous enough for me to use in casting the molds that I like. However, I have had to decrease the cream slightly in the ganache's that I make with it so that they won't be to soft in the shells. If you find a white chocolate that you like the flavor of but not the viscosity you could always try adding a small amt of cocoa butter or lecithin to improve the handling. I suspect it's easier to change the viscosity than it is to change the taste or flavor. As to the cost, that is always a factor. Fortunately the cost from my supplier of Edelweiss and High Sierra are about he same. I hope this may be of some help in your quest for the best white chocolate for your particular purposes.
  9. I have also been using the Badger 250 air brush and canned air for about 4 years now and have had no real problems. You can look at my egullit images and see some of the work I have done in the past. I must admit that I don't do more than 3 or 4 trays and one or two colors at a time so cant speak to the can getting overly cold. However I have found a couple of things that might help. I find that the coco butter must be quite liquid not just melted. In fact I find that the little jars that come with the badger are very warm to the touch when I melt the colored coco butter in them. I use a microwave to melt. I am not sure what this does to the temper of the coco butter but I have never had any problems getting the sprayed shells out of the molds. Another thing that is a must is adjusting the screw tip on top of the siphon tube (not the actual air tip, I hope this is clear as I can't diagram it) to get the right spray. This is especially important if you have not taken the unit apart to clean. A little adjustment either way makes a big difference in how the spray comes out. I always clean the unit up after spraying and have found that a pipe cleaner(available at smoke shops and some grocery stores) and hot water works well to clean the siphon tube and the bottom of the tip. A large diameter pin cleans the tip orifice. The pipe cleaners can also be used to dry the siphon tube. Hope this helps I know that sometimes its the little things that confound us.
  10. I had a question about your cooking process. When you cooked the pdf to 107 degrees C did you also cook it to 75 brix? I must admit that I haven't used the new apple juice recipe only the original one from 3 or 4 years ago. When I started using a refractometer and cooking to 75 brix, regardless of temperature, my results were more like what I had expected and I could reproduce them consistently. Just a thought. Here is a photo of the pdf that I made for Christmas. The flavors are lemon, pineapple, cherry, strawberry, and passion fruit.
  11. I have for the past several years made small dark chocolate shells filled with a Fleur de Sel caramel cream. These have proved to be very popular. In fact so popular that I have started doing them at other times during the year. The caramel cream almost melts in your mouth and is very sensual. The shells are the same ones that were used in the picture to the left under my name.
  12. I just received a magazine called Pastry & Baking North America Volume 2 Issue 5. I was very favorable impressed. The photos and the presentation are slick and elegant with many step by step photos included in the articles. I did notice that some of the recipes are scaled down to a quantity that could be used by a small restaurant or a home kitchen. I haven't tasted any of the recipes so can't comment on that aspect. Has any one else seen this mag and what are your impressions? I also went to there web site and was also impressed with it.
  13. I have a recipe for a Mexican Chocolate cake that is white on the outside (its a Coconut cream layer) topped with toasted coconut but when cut it reveals layers of dark Mexican chocolate cake inside separated by layers of the coconut cream spiked with coconut flavored rum.
  14. Each year I do a Christmas box for family members and close friends. It keeps me out of the mall and in my own kitchen with the good flavors, good smells, and my kind of music turned up loud. I get white gift boxes (about 8 by 8 by 8 ) at one of the local packing stores and then use fancy design printed waxed tissue paper to line them. The boxes are available by internet and catalog at Packaging specialties Co (www.pkgspec.com) and the waxed paper is available by internet and catalog at Williams Sonoma. I fill the boxes with a variety of home made cookies, savory seasoned nuts, a toffee or nut brittle, some fruit jellies, biscotti, occasionally small cakes or bread, and molded chocolate truffles and bon bons. Each year the items in the box are different with only a few repeats. The nuts and the toffee or nut brittle are also packaged in colorful cellophane bags and the jellies and chocolates are packaged in small clear plastic boxes. I also include a short holiday greeting letter on holiday stationary explaining all the items in the box. The outside finishing touch is a simple colorful ribbon and a gold embossed sticker with my initials on it (also available from Williams Sonoma catalog). The home made goodies are a big hit and folks tell me that they eagerly look forward to it each year. And no one has had to take it back to the mall because the color or size was wrong. I must admit my gift boxes have gotten bigger and more elaborate as the years have passed but the idea is to find out what you like to bake or make and then package it in festive way and give it with love.
  15. This weekend I made the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring. It eventually turned out wonderful and taste was everything that I had expected. It did not happen effortlessly though and there in lies the question. The Cream would not whip. I followed the directions exactly and after steeping the cream and mint chilled the cream and the kitchen aid bowl and whip. When I tried to whip the mint cream, peppermint extract, and sugar on medium speed it just stayed a heavy cream and never even got to soft peaks. It eventually got slightly grainy and funky looking. So I threw it out and started again with another batch of cream that had not been infused but did contain the extract and the sugar. Everything worked as it should and I proceeded with the fabrication of the dessert. Has anyone had this problem with this cream or any other cream not whipping?
  16. I have a couple of questions for Andrew Shotts. I am trying some of the ganaches from you book and today I did the Lemon grass - coconut ganach. It called for 1 tablespoon of Mojito flavored liqueur. I live in Washington state and the liquor board here controls the types of liquor that we can purchase and I could not find a mojito flavored liqueur. Is there a brand name or trade name for this or could you recommend a substitute? I can get coconut flavored rum and used that but it may not be the same. Any help with this would be appreciated. Fred
  17. Here is an update on the Reno dining scene. There are many corporate and casino/hotel restaurants and I am sure that they could be very good and very enjoyable but as other diners have posted here my partner and I chose to dine at small locally owned independent restaurants. One that has been mentioned in this forum before is Lulou's. We almost didn't get to dine there. It's a small place and we dropped in on a Wednesday night at 6:30 only to find it full and a one hour wait. Coleen, who runs the front of house, was very apologetic that she couldn't seat us in a more timely fashion but recommended another restaurant. She even went so far as to call the other restaurant (its owned by friends of she and her husband) to see if they could take us. The answer was yes and we were set. We did make reservations for Thursday night at Lulou's. So it was off to the other restaurant called 4th Street Bistro. It is a charming smallish cottage set on a hill above Reno. It is decidedly French bistro in setting and in cuisine. Very cozy and warm and inviting. Carol Wilson the manager/owner greeted us and made us feel welcome. The service was excellent and so was the food. Fresh and simply prepared in the French manner. We would definitely go back there in a heart beat. The next night it was back to Lulous. In decor this restaurant is a polar opposite to the 4th St Bistro. Lulou's is slightly larger and very hard edge trendy/sophisticated (not my first choice of decor as you can probably tell). The food and the service, however, were excellent, although I did think that the wine list was a bit high priced for some less than excellent wines. Would we go back there again. As I said before in a heart beat. The next day we had lunch in down town Reno at a place called the Wild River grill. It's located along the Truckee River just a few blocks for the major hotel/casinos. Our lunch and the service were very good. All of the restaurants have web sites with their menus on them.
  18. I don't know if this applies here but I have found that with some confections that I have made, especially Pates de Fruit, its not only how high the temperature that you are trying to reach but the how long it takes to reach that point. I know that I did a patch of Pates de Fruits one time and it reached the required temp quite fast (this was before I started using a refractometer) and yet the finished product was soft and runny. Once I remelted it and took it to the temp again it set up as expected. Don't know if this helps but I thought I would mention it.
  19. FWED

    Baking 101

    I don't do double crusts all that often but I do remember thinking about this problem of "Airspace" I went back to my Cooks Illustrated library and sure enough there was a section entitled "Apple Pie Airspace" in the December 1998 Magazine. According to CI airspace can be reduced by using a pie crust that is higher in butter fat. The presence of the high fat in the dough makes it more pliable and prolongs the point at which the top crust will set into shape as it bakes. If the crust does not set until late, it will stick close to the filling. Butter fat also interferes with gluten formation in the pasty and weakens the overall structure causing the crust to collapse onto the fruit. It was also pointed out that butter has a lower melting point than shortening, so using more butter will cause the crust to collapse sooner than shortening will. I must admit to preferring an all butter crust and so maybe haven't had as much problem with airspace as I would have using shortening. I have also occasionally substituted about a third of the AP flour with pastry flour and I always try to limit the kneading and working of the dough to prevent gluten formation. Now that I think about it I wonder if the initial high oven temp would set the pastry prematurely and account for some of the airspace problems also. Hope this helps.
  20. Hi Merstar. I have only done the Scott Wooley chocolate cake and use natural cocoa powder but I do add instant espresso powder to the hot water. I haven't done the bundt cake because I usually do layered cakes meaning 4 to 6 layers. LoL Talk about a tall cake.
  21. Lets get back to the paraffin. Does anyone know what it contributed to the finished product? Perhaps if we knew that we could think of something more eatable to substitute.
  22. That is the one. I remember taking part in the testing. The original cake that Wendy posted is a Scott Wooley (spelling?) creation and one that I still use. It has a very deep and intensely chocolate flavor. Especially with a chocolate frosting. Just last week I made the cake again and frosted it with a caramel praline butter cream on the outside and white chocolate whipped moose in between layers.
  23. FWED

    Dinner! 2007

    I decided to combine the pastry and the savory in me and do something for a special dinner that had to be cooked ahead of time. So here goes. Just this last week I received a cookbook entitled Cucina and Famiglia by Joan Tropiano Tucci and Gianni Scappin. In this book is the original recipe for Timpano Alla Big Night that was featured in the Stanley Tucci movie "Big Night". By the way I highly recommend the movie to all foodies. Any way here is the result. And yes it was worth all the effort and I would do it again although I must say that there are some short cuts if it must be made on short notice. The Dish was served on white plates with a green salad and a red wine. How Italian is that. The finished dish. The sliced dish.
  24. I do a lot of ice cream at home and this last summer I took the World Pastry forum hands on class on ice cream and sorbets. According to the chefs from the French Pastry School, who taught the course, the most likely culprit of the "hard as a rock" syndrome is water in the case of sorbets and water and fat in the case of ice creams. I use the term most likely because there are other minor things that can occasionally cause this such as extremely low temps, . The fat becomes very hard and the water becomes ice crystals thus making the product very hard. If you have ever tried to cut butter that is frozen you will know what I mean. Most commercial ice creams have stabilizers in them and they bind up the water and fat so that it is not free to freeze solid. Alcohol will lower the freezing point and help a little and the very sweet ice creams are helped by having the sugar tie up (I think that is the correct term) some of the water in the ice cream. I know I have started using stabilizers in my ice creams and sorbets and have improved the keep ability of them. LOL not that they last long in our house anyway. You will find stabilizers here http://www.chefrubber.com/Shopping/shopdis...ucts.asp?page=3 Hope this helps it certainly has helped my ice cream.
  25. Thanks for all you input.
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