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  1. Here's a few pics of the cake I made for a Chinese New Year's party. It's the first time I've done modelling; as it's year of the dog I made a few doggies. Dogs, kennels, lanterns and firecrackers made from modelling paste, 'grass' of royal icing mounted on a plaque. The cake itself turned out gargantuan. The bottom layer is chocolate (as per 'Finding the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe' thread, Epicurious tweaked version), middle layer is Amanda Hesser's mother-in-law's Almond Cake which I read about on Amateur Gourmet and top tier was a hazelnut cake. The chocolate cake was excellent, quite rich, the almond cake very nice too and a keeper. I made some whipped white chocolate/creme fraiche ganache which went between one layer, however second batch curdled on me, as did the white chocolate ganache which I had been planning on covering the outside. Originally, I was planning on hanging down the side some red fondant banners to look like traditional chinese new year banners (like the ones in this pic but when things started going pear shaped, I scraped that idea. So going to Plan B, I made some chocolate plastic which I'd never done before. What a waste of 300g of Lindt couverture! Oily melted chocolate everywhere, with the plastic of a peculiarly teeth-cementing texture. Never making that again. Frustrated, sweaty and tired with less than one hour till party time, I swore never to work with chocolate again, rushed to the shops and got some double cream, whipped it into espresso cream, which worked beautifully and tasted great. Perhaps someone could advise, given that whipped double cream tastes great, is easier to make than buttercream and stands up to being left at room temp for almost as long, I'd say, as buttercream, what are the advantages of using buttercream over whipped double cream? Despite my oath above on never to work with chocolate again, any tips on how to make (whipped) ganache without it curdling would be appreciated. When I made it the night before, left in fridge and whipped morning after, it worked. However, subsequent attempts without leaving overnight curdled. Or could it be that I was using creme fraiche, which seemed more watery than heavy cream? Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous Year of the Dog.
  2. Forgive me if we discussed this and its buried somewhere in the topics... I can't find anything on it. This is one of my favorite desserts so I was really surprised to find that I don't have a recipe for it. I love cohee zeri, especially the one with a bit of cream on top. Does anyone have a recipe they could share with me?
  3. Can anyone tell me about the Thai desserts, that is, the shaved ice with various beans and squiggly things with coconut milk on top, found at street stalls all over Thailand? What is it called? What is the history of it? How are the squiggly things made?
  4. I just found out this morning that there is to be an employee appreciation party on Tuesday, Jan 17. Just like usual, there is no communication where I work. I have had a cold for the last week and can't think straight. This is the party we have instead of something at Christmas. It is semi-formal and the food will be a buffet for 100. I'd love some suggestions of what to make/serve. I will have today, Saturday and Tuesday to produce it all and have ready by Tuesday afternoon. Thanks for any suggestions.
  5. I would love a really good tried and true recipe for a from scratch italian cream cake. Does anyone have one to share? Jane
  6. What is the best restaurant dessert you have ever tasted? The one that, when you think about it, delivers you to dessert heaven. I'm talking flavor here. And texture. Was it the complexity or the simplicity of it that turned you on? Or was it the perfect balance of the flavors and texture that sent you to the moon when you ate it? Mine is the "Coffe and Donuts" at the Cosmopolitan restaurant in Telluride, CO. Four perfectly fried French beignets (not the yeasty things served at Cafe du Monde, although they are pleasant) soft, tender, and very moist inside, with just a hint of lemon, perfect in its seduction, served hot, drenched in confectioners' sugar, tucked into a carefully folded cloth napkin, with a latte on the side. Sensuous, with impeccably balanced flavors, and a texture that sings. What is yours? Eileen
  7. What can I say, I have a big sweet tooth. Recommendations for delicious dessert sit-down places or good bakeries would be much appreciated.
  8. I enjoyed the prologue to your section on the homey skillet desserts of southwest France in the cookbook. They remind me of the sweet omelets, crepes and pancakes of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia which constitute part of the category called “Mehlspeisen”,literally “dishes made with flour”, but which are also sweet and usually contain eggs and butter and are cooked on the stovetop. Mehlspeisen are sometimes eaten as a lighter meatless dinner or lunch. I’ve read that the penchant for sweet omelet type dishes in Austria and surrounding areas was actually strengthened by exchanges between French and Austrian cuisine in the early 18th century and later. Do you know if there are traditions in SW France of using these dishes for meatless meals during lean times or during Lenten fasting? Two dishes that you describe in that section also caught my eye. One is the ‘Pescajoun aux fruits’ which you describe as “crepe batter made with buckwheat and wheat flour and lightened with beaten egg whites, served with fresh diced fruits soaked in liqueur”. I’d like to try and recreate this and would be grateful to hear any other details you might recall regarding the types of fruit and liqueur typically used. I looked on the net a bit for pescajoun recipes but the ones I found do not use buckwheat flour although perhaps substituting half of the regular flour with buckwheat would work Also, are the fruits cooked into the batter or is the finished ‘crepe” rolled around the fruit? . The clafoutis variation with sugared pumpkin also sounds wonderful. As a starting point, would you recommend trying the recipe you give for Limousin cherry clafoutis and substituting in sugared cubes of pumpkin? Thank you very much for your comments. I realize that you might not have this information at your fingertips but thought I would ask in case you did. I really enjoy dishes like this for light dinners, perhaps just preceded by a soup and salad.
  9. I looked in the recipes and way back on this forum and didn't find anything, so sorry if this has been brought up before. I need to make a pumpkin cake, which of course I've never made before, and I'm looking for a good one if anybody's got one. I've found several online from other sites and based on experience I know that just because 800 people gave it 5 stars doesn't mean it's any good. hehhehe So it looks like I'll be doing a bit of experimenting here, unless anybody's got a fabulous recipe already. I was thinking of adding either a layer of marzipan inside, or possibly just covering the outside with marzipan. (This is to be decorated like an actual pumpkin.) Thanksgiving's only a week and a half away so I don't have tooooo much time for experimenting, and making it look like a pumpkin will probably take me a whole lot longer than making it taste like a pumpkin. But I don't mind getting creative with the ingredients though. If I didn't go the marzipan route I was thinking of maybe replacing some of the flour with walnut flour. Then again, maybe just keep it simple and use both almond flour and marzipan? I don't want toooo many flavours going on here. I've also never had pumpkin cake, which I guess is the biggest hurdle in figuring out whether I've actually made a good one.. I've had storebought pumpkin pie, and I've tasted both plain pureed pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie filling. That's about it for my experience with pumpkin. Never even eaten the stuff steamed or baked or anything. But I'm thinking canned stuff always tastes canned and maybe I should shred real pumpkin for this cake, same as I do for carrot or apple, or would it make much of a difference using canned pumpkin in a cake? What do you think? And what, if anyone can describe it, should it really taste like? I also need suggestions for my IMBC for this cake (White Russian? Saffron Orange?) and something for a filling also. I like the idea of something with mascarpone but I'm worried that might be overkill. Any & all thoughts appreciated.
  10. Fried Fish Cake with Puff Tofu (煎酿豆腐浦) Fish cakes (fish paste) are made by grinding fish meat. They are sold in most Asian grocery markets. Puff tofus are deep-fried tofu with many air bubble trapped inside. They are very light and puffy. Here are the main ingredients. To enhance the taste of fish cakes (top center, about 1 lb), I used some dried shrimp (middle right) - presoaked in water for about 30 minutes, dried black mushroom (middle left) - presoaked in water for a couple of hours, and some cilantro (not shown). At the bottom center are some puff tofus. Use 1 to 1 1/2 bag (each bag contains about 12 puff tofus). Dice the black mushrooms into small pieces. Drain the dried shrimps after soaking. Finely chop some cilantro. Use a mixing bowl. Add the fish paste. Add the dice black mushrooms, dried shrimp and chopped cilantro. To enhance the flavor, I added about 2 tsp of sesame oil, and 1 tsp of ground white pepper. Mix all the ingredients and seasoning. Cut each puff tofu into two halves. Use your thumb to depress a cavity in the center of the puff tofu. Use a spoon to stuff the fish paste mixture onto the puff tofu. Continue to stuff the puff tofu until fish paste is all used. Heat up a pan/wok over medium fire. Add some cooking oil. Fry the stuffed puff tofo (with the stuffing side down) until the fish paste has turned brown. Check by flipping over each puff tofu. Remove when done. Lay the cooked stuffed puff tofu on the serving plate, with stuffing side up. The sauce is very simple. Here are the ingredients: garlic (mince it), salt (not shown), white vinegar, oyester sauce, chicken broth, dark soy sauce, sugar (not shown) and corn starch (not shown). Use the same pan/wok, add 1 tblsp of cooking oil. Add minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 20 seconds. Dash in 1 tsp of white vinegar. Add 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth. Add 2 tblsp of oyster sauce. Add 1 tblsp of dark soy sauce. Add 2 tsp of sugar. Bring to a boil. Use 3 tsp of corn starch, dissolve in water, gradually add to the pan. Keep stirring. Add enough corn starch slurry until the sauce has thicken to the right consistency. Pour the sauce on top of the stuffed tofu. Finished. 1 lb of fish paste yields about 30 to 40 stuffed puff tofu. Variations You may use the same basic technique to stuff other ingredients. Examples are: red/green bell peppers, anaheim peppers, egg plants, firm tofu, geet gwa, etc..
  11. I don't have the time or ability to make the beautiful desserts I see on egullet everyday:D Are there any desserts you can make for under 20 minutes (and yes, pretty much from scratch or just a bit of cheating). It looks like I have to make dessert every single day for 3 people next year (long story), and I really don't want to make elaborate concotions all the time! No marshmallow+rice krispies stuff please:D
  12. Ciambellone (Ring Cake) is an Italian favourite of mine and I would like to recreate it at home. Can anyone help? Thanks
  13. Room 4 Dessert is Will Goldfarb's new dessert place. The joint promises lots of re-interpretation of lots of childhood desserts. I personally can't wait for the Cotton Candy. Going to friends and family tomorrow night. The place officially opens for wednesday. Will report back. Room 4 Dessert 17 Cleveland Place Between Spring and Kenmare (212)941-5405
  14. I had another wonderful meal last night at The Inn at Erlowest, one of my favorite restaurants. When the new dessert was described, I had to try it. It was called "The Bacon Experience." It consisted of a plate that on one side had three crisp circular bacon strips standing upright. On the bottom of each circle of bacon was a small quenelle of ice cream. The first was a bacon ice cream, the second spinach and the third orange. Interspersed around the plate were leaves of bacon-dusted "candied" spinach and there was a triangle of orange gelee over a shallot custard and finely chopped pecans. On top of that was backfat crisps. This topic presents an interesting, but limited discussion on using bacon in the context of desserts, but this was the first dessert I have experienced or seen in which bacon was the centerpiece component and the overriding theme of the dessert. The bacon ice cream was astounding and worked beautifully with the crispy bacon circle. It was a stunning introduction to the dessert. It was a fine lead-in to the spinach ice cream and then the orange ice cream eaten last. The other components of the plate also 'worked". The candied spinach would probably open up many new avenues for spinach consumption for spinach-phobic children. This dish brought my culinary day full circle as my day started with bacon and eggs for breakfast. It proved an extremely fun and enjoyable dessert. Though it won't displace chocolate from the pinnacle of my dessert/pastry experience, nor would I want to have it regularly(I would certainly have it again), it was a welcome surprise that added considerably to my overall experience of the meal (which was already quite wonderful). To me this is what creative cookery is all about. It doesn't have to be something I would necessarily want to eat all the time. It should be something that fits into a particular context and fulfills its intended purpose, i.e. tastes great, looks great and is fun. This is not mutually exclusive to more traditional fare. I believe each has its place.
  15. We are going to see a play in Dover (Morris County), NJ on a Saturday evening at 8pm. We wanted to go out with several other play attendees for dessert and coffee after the play in the area. Any recommendations?
  16. I made this tonight along with the frosting. It was easy to make on top of the stove and it smelled great as it was baking. I also made the frosting to go with it. Your basic cream cheese with some heavy cream to lighten it up. Now, for the taste. I cant describe it other than weird. It wasnt particulary chocolaty. Im not a beer drinker so maybe thats why I didnt really care for it. MY SO didnt really like it either. Ive heard rave reviews though, so Im wondering what you all think.
  17. A couple of months ago, I became the unofficial Pastry Chef for my church. We have a 1,500 sq. foot kitchen with two convection ovens, two large two door refrigerators, one large two door freezer, a walk in fridge and a walk in freezer. Our church has around 7,000 members and there are numerous events held throughout the week where desserts are requested. Last week alone we produced around 1,500 pieces of dessert for a special event taking place over the course of 4 nights. We also have a cafe where lunch and dinner are served and desserts can be purchased. The primary obstacle I'm facing is that we have an extremely tight budget so I'm looking for some suggestions on low cost recipes that still provide a high perceived value. Right now, we make lots of cookies and bars. The use of chocolate is almost impossible to swing so we use cocoa powder for our brownie recipe and chocolate toppings are often made using chocolate chips. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Edit: By the way, I don't have any formal training (hoping to go to FPS in January), just doing this because I enjoy it!
  18. I've made the chocolate pound cake from Alice Medrich's book.The recipe can be found Here The cake bakes up fine and a toothpick comes out clean but totally collapses on cooling. What should I change?
  19. If I wasn't a chef I'd definitely be into cooking. Well I used to be into cooking......and I'm actually not a bad cook but it just doesn't fit into my life style anymore. I suppose that sounds weird so I better explain myself. I spend all day everyday preparing food for other people that when it comes to thinking about what I'm going to eat and preparing my meals, I'm totally spent. So I've fallen into the habit of eating whatever requires the least effort to aquire. So I'm guessing most of you would think, "o.k. so she eats alot of easy meals, like sliced fruits and vegetables, quality cheeses and breads, simple pasta dishes etc...." but you would be wrong! That type of eating requires effort, typically more effort then I attempt on working days. I'm a Pastry Chef and well what's effortless around me to eat, is: pastries. I feel like I need to post this. Warning: I apologize to all of you in advance, because this blog will probably scare you. The following eating has been done by a professional and shouldn't be attempted by non-professionals. I'm not writing that as a cute ploy (cause it's not cute, it seems pretty stupid right now) but it's true. I have a feeling I might been seen as the poster person for horrible eating habits. My eating habits are extreme and so I'm highly embarrassed to expose this to you all. But my love for all things pastry and desire to share override my embarrassment. My days off of work are Sunday and Monday. That's when I do eat more normal/healthy meals. Although, I've been panicking and thinking I better actually prepare "meals" during this week......so I won't be embarrassed.........well, we'll see.... that depends upon what's happening at work and how much time I have after work. I do sort of start my day off like everyone else, so I'll start my blog off like others too. Bear witness to this, my daily breakfast: Technically the container it comes from says it's "Gourmet Cappuccino, French Vanilla".........but I don't know of any real cappuccino drinkers that would let this mixture pass thru their lips. O.k. soooooo it's sort of like a hot chocolate/coffee mix and nothing like a real cappuccino. I used to drink real coffee, but my system can't take it anymore and it definitely can not be consumed by me when my stomach is empty. I tried to very hard to switch to becoming a tea drinker, but it just didn't take. I never prepare breakfast at home. If I'm starving I might grab a couple cookies or whatever is fully prepared laying around and instantly ready to eat. When my husband is home we do always eat breakfast, he can't live with-out it (that means he gets really cranky with-out it). But then it's rarely prepared in our kitchen but sometimes he likes to cook. We normally go out for breakfast every weekend. This weekend we were busy gardening so we ate what was available 'instantly' at home.......because I actually had something at home to eat. Here's what our breakfast this past Sunday consisted of: (I hope it's o.k. to talk about past meals too?) I took the photo of the rolls that were left and then I proceeded to finish them off while typing. I had made too many of these at work for a brunch party we had. They didn't all fit on the serving platter so I snook the extras home for my hubby. He really likes these! As we ate, he talked about how we should open a store selling only pecan sticky buns, blah, blah, blah. Of course he's thought up the easy to imagine name of the company and what our sales literature would look like. "Let's call it, Sticky Bunns and have a photo of two buns looking like a "back" shot." That's cleaver..........I teased him. Knowing full well we'd never actually start another business.....but we had a little chuckle over the whole concept. I have to leave for work and I'm not certain when I will return online. So I'm going to pack in as much info. as possible so you can barely get thru these opening posts before I return. This is me, exactly like how I work, when I'm at work (I'm preparing these posts in advance, on Monday and I've got my photos all loaded and ready to go in advance). I hate getting caught short so I ALWAYS work as much in advance as humanly possible..........and I always seem to go over board!! I'm shaking my legs as I type unconsciously (until now)......that's me too, always got to be in motion, ready, ready, ready. Wait, I suppose I should get this out of the way. I wouldn't want to break tradition and not post a animal member of my family right off the bat (I think thats the 'hook' to these blogs. We're are more then mear foodies, we are also a bunch of animal lovers.). It's very rare that I sit at the computer by myself. Just like everyone else I too have a cat that is certain he must accompany me at all times when I'm on the computer. That's his job and he does it to excess just like me...well he is just like me, too much. He's certain I'm his sole mate (cause he treats me like another cat not a human) and he's always at my side when I'm home. When I sleep he checks me all night to make sure I'm still alive (he drives me crazy! and sometimes he bites me). This is Hawkeye: He isn't a cute cat, his legs are far too short for his long body with his front two legs being shorter then his back two. Nor is he sweet, we often refer to him as "the devil cat" and our other cats definitely agree. He was the last kitten of his litter sold at the animal shelter....well the last kitten from all of their adoptive cat litters. We're certain there was a reason for that (but, I love him dearly anyway). I believe what our whole family eats is fair game for blogs so I thought I'd mention Hawkie only eats to survive. Sometimes when he's laying in front of me at my computer I hear his stomach growling. He forgets there is always food out to eat or he just hasn't linked the feeling of an empty stomach can be solved by eating. I have two other cats who live to eat and if I can't think of anything else to write about I'll drag them into this blog too. Hum.........what else. Oh I remember, I was going to show you where I work, the kitchen, my ingredients etc... in my intro. to welcome you into my work life. I took photos already (just to be prepared) so I'll post a whole bunch of them so you can get the lay out. If things go slow at work I'd be happy to make anything pastry wise anyone wants to watch me eat. Most of my eating takes place at work, heck I eat all day long at work so I believe that makes most of my work fair topic to post about according to the blogging rules. I was sort of hoping to focus on my work as a pastry chef throughout this blog. I'm open for requests. Any requests, like: do you want to see my actual work/pastries (which I do eat, all day everyday) and what items: petite fours, breakfast pastries, cookies, cakes, wedding cakes, novelty cakes sweet tables, candys, anything about the savory side at my work (I eat their food too), photos of what I've made previously (I certainly tasted all of that), photos of what my day consists of as a pc (I eat constantly thru that), requests for recipes or techniques I can show (before I eat it)????? ...............Oh, maybe I should mention that I live about 1 1/2 hours drive from Chicago in the Northwest suburbs. I could take you on a tour eating my way across Chicago-land bakeries on my day off, if that interests anyone (besides me)? Wait, while I was typing the other two cats desided they needed to be included. I promise no more photos of pets........maybe a cutie kid photo thrown in later....... if you all begin to fall asleep.
  20. Last night I had dinner at a fantastic Turkish diner. They offer about 10 dessert options, and we chose revani (a cornbready cake made from semolina and almonds, soaked with sweet syrup) and something else, for which I cannot find the right name. This dessert is a creamy, vanilla-tasitng pudding. It is quite stiff and came sandwiched between two thin layers of filo. I asked the waitress for the name, and after some thought, she said it was laztaldaza (spelling mine) and that you can just call it "laz" (she pointed out that this was spelled L-A-Z). I haven't had any luck googling for this stuff... anyone?
  21. Would love to see your Mother's Day cake, whether it's for your mom, yourself, storebought, buttercream, fondant or dessert cake. Did this little 2 1/4-inch cake for my mother. She doesn't like cakes, but I'm sure she won't mind something pretty. The colors are a bit weird (and what's the huge flower doing there?) but I wanted to reflect a bygone era. Rich fruit cake inside. Will be doing a few more in this teapot series next week....
  22. I just came across something fascinating – almost like an accident waiting to happen. I can’t say it’s a bad idea – but I just wonder how this really works out for people. Anyone familiar with this site? http://www.gailwatsoncake.com/cake.html First of all you have to bake a cake on your own or buy one and figure out how to put it all together. She sells you the flowers, fondant (at a tidy profit), sugarpaste etc AND a PHOTO!!!! Wow plus instructions of course. I am just imagining all the frustrated angry brides or their close friends struggling to roll out fondant and cover their cakes, make swags, pipe swishes according to specs etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. UNBELIEVABLE. And its not like this is a bargain either. I suppose Gail deserves credit for coming up with a creative way to do what she wants and make money at it without having to take any heat from unhappy brides, cause the joke is kinda on the buyer in this case. I just cannot imagine that there are really too many happy customers at the end of the day. So, do you guys out there think this is sheer genius or some dastardly gimmick – who would do this? Any thoughts?
  23. This is a repeat post that I left in the Hawaii forum - but it seems a little quite their, so I thought I'd ask some of the serious bakers. I lived near San Jose CA for a few years and had - what I was told - a facisimile of the famous Hawaiian Dee Lite Guava Cake from a baker called Aki's. Now - I loved this cake - light and fruity, subtle and not too sweet - precisely the kind of cake that appeals to those living in warmer climes (and Asians for the most part). It was a chiffon cake iced with whipped cream and topped with a Guava fruit topping. Now - I have be scouring the net for a recipe - and well, you'd think it was the cure for cancer. Is there anyone who has a reasonable recipe that could capture some that cake's delicousness? Most most reasonable recipe that I have seen looks like a basic chiffon cake that replaces the water with Guava Concentrate - I will try baking it today - but I wanted to see what else was out there...
  24. i made a homemade cherry pie last week but it turned out awful. the filling was gummy and unappetizing. i used tapioca in it. anyways, i would like to try to make it again, does anyone have a foolproof recipe? thanks!
  25. Hello! Sorry to bother all of you with what I'm guessing is a dumb question, but do you know why a cake would fall/sink signifcantly after it cools? Would it be that I didn't bake it long enough, or would it be the temperature being too cool? I'm pretty sure my oven temp. is fine (I have a thermometer), but I may have pulled the cake out too soon. I tested it with a toothpick, and it came out clean, but I had a feeling it wasn't actually done. BTW, the cake was a regular old "from scratch" butter cake, baked in 2 8-inch cake pans. Both cakes were baked at the same time, in the middle of the oven, at 350 and for about 40-45 minutes. I've never had this problem before, and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again! Thank you for your help!
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