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  1. Aunt Susan and Aunt Betty used to bake over 50 pounds of fruitcake (my mother was a co-conspirator and I an active helper) for Christmas to be distributed amongst family and friends. Beautifully wrapped parcels would be sent with the driver to homes of relatives and friends as a Christmas and New Year gift. Mind you, Aunt Susan (Christian from Kerala) is married to Uncle Raj a Hindu. Aunt Betty is really Dr. Prabha Manchanda (Sikh by birth, secular by practice). This is a tradition we all follow not for religious reasons, but to continue what was brought to India with the foreign rulers. It makes for great festive mood. And all us kids loved this cake. The fruits were soaked in Gigantic Jars for 21 days in rum. Rum was more affordable than Cognac for certain and also easily available. I use Susan Auntie’s recipe each year. It is a big hit at the annual Holiday Bash that I have become famous for amongst friends and theirs. The cake is 9x12 and is made using 2 bottles of Cognac. I make at least 6 batches for the season. One with Armagnac and this is the one I serve for New Year. The reason I wanted to start this thread is that as I was putting stuff into the refrigerator, I realized that I had a 9/12 inch Fruit Cake from last year. I save each year at least one cake for the next year. This is a custom in the family and I am told it is also practiced in the UK. Is that true? We save the cake in a tin but the cake is wrapped in several layers of fine muslin that has been soaked in rum (Armagnac in my case) and every month you add more rum (Armagnac) into the cake. I drizzle lots of it all over the cake and then wrap the cake again and drizzle more over the already soaking muslin cloth. I then sprinkle confectioners sugar and wrap the muslin in Saran wrap and then place in the box, use another layer of Saran wrap and seal the box securely. The cake is always moist and by the next year, it is sublime. I had a nice piece of it just a few minutes ago. I have a buzz. There is LOTS of alcohol in this. Do others have their own Fruit Cake stories? What recipes do you use? Where do you get them? Do you even like Fruit Cake? Who eats them anymore? What makes a good fruit cake? What fruit do you use?
  2. cakes, cookies, pies, that makes you smile!!!!
  3. Cool to see him using the same melanger that many of us have gotten from Premier. Interesting flavors and some information on recipe development. @Kerry Beal while their chocolate looks well tempered, they could probably use an EZ Temper to help with their workflow. 🙂 https://youtu.be/E2g-QZG4Vbg?si=pyK4eF2uxU1LTluj
  4. [Host's note: to avoid an excessive load on our servers this topic has been split. The discussion continues from here.] Many batches of Apple Pie Ice Cream later and I'm still in love...think it's the crust factor although I am embarrassed to say so. I've never had cookie dough ice cream, but I imagine it's pretty much in the same category. I'm thinking about making Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream...or pretty much any pie ice cream...well, not Lemon Meringue...fruit pies, nut pies,...???? Thanksgiving (in October here in the Far Frozen North) might be a good time to try the Pumpkin idea.
  5. I just bought a copy of The Cake Bible! Would anyone care to list some of their favorite recipes from this book? There are so many wonderful recipes, I don't know which one to try first. Thanks
  6. Hi all! I just got a copy of The Cake Bible, and I'm very excited. I have a question, though. For reverse creaming, I've always added softened butter to the dry ingredients and mixed until sandy, then added the eggs and other liquids. In TCB, Rose (who I think invented reverse creaming?) adds the butter and not a small amount of liquid to the dry ingredients and says to mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Obviously, she knows what she's doing, lol. I guess I just worry that the butter won't be evenly dispersed and in small enough pieces by the time the dry ingredients are "moistened." Anyone else overthink crap like this? Michael
  7. Hi all! My daughter and I are headed to Belgium this summer, just for a few days, and would love to sample and visit some great spots. Right now we just have Chocolate World in Antwerp on our agenda. I'd love any suggestions on unique (or not unique!) chocolate or pastry experiences. Or places to avoid! Thank you! Jen
  8. Once again, I tried to recreate my mother's shortbread cookies, using her recipe, and they didn't turn out. They were so crumbly they fell apart when you picked them up. I'm very attached to this particular recipe -- she told me that she got it from the first boy who ever kissed her, whose Scottish mother was renowned for them. That's one way to get a recipe!) She made them at all holidays. Here the recipe: 1 cup of butter 1/2 cup of sugar 2 cups of flour pinch salt I've been creaming the butter and suger and adding the flour, chilling it and rolling it out and baking them at about 300 degrees. They spread more than hers did and they're just way crumbly. The taste is good, though. I wish I could as her for advice, but she's no longer with us -- can anyone help me?
  9. My father's 70th birthday is this Friday. We are celebrating on Saturday. I've been asked to bring and angel food cake. I've never made one before, and I've heard rumors that it is difficult, you have to have everything "just so" or it will have the wrong texture. I would be most grateful for recipes that have worked for you, and for tips that might help me not screw up my first angel food cake. I would like for it to be slightly more exotic than plain angel food cake, but I'm not sure how. Could a lemon-ginger angel food cake be made? In any case, I've got three angel food cake pans, two round and one square. I *think* I have all of the equipment necessary. I will possible have to travel with the cake a few hours, I'm not sure if that will affect anything. If worse comes to worse I'll just get up at the break of dawn, drive and (shudder) use my mother's kitchen. Any advice and help will be much appreciated!
  10. Finally picked up a 500 ml ISI, and am looking for things to do with it as a home cook (not that the discussion should be limited to home cooking applications). Beyond the five mixtures suggested in the booklet that came with it, what have you tried that works out well? Any other general advice, applications or ideas will be appreciated.
  11. I'm probably the worst person to kick off a Chinese Dessert thread. I have the least sweet tooth on the planet, but I know there is interest in the topic. I often read that the Chinese don't do dessert. Not quite true. They don't necessarily serve sweet dishes at the end of a meal, but they may turn up midway through. Chinese food is not normally served in a strict order, serial way. That said, it is not uncommon to finish a no dessert meal then head for one of the many places selling only desserts. Sweet yoghurt, cakes, candied fruits etc are everywhere.
  12. I don't know if this is the right place to ask this question, but here goes. I have dried cranberries and also dried blueberries in my pantry. I would like to use them (not together) in making some baked goods e.g. scones or muffins. Do I need to re-hydrate them first and if so, in what and for how long or can I use them in a recipe as they are? If the latter, do I need to increase the liquid called for in the recipe?
  13. This cake, from the bakery inside Gelson's is my all-time favorite cake. They call it a Parisienne. I call it Chocolate Whipped Cream cake. I grew up eating it only on special occasions but as of late-since I don't live there- I get one every visit. And actually, sadly, over the years the quality and deliciousness has declined. Basically, it's a yellow layer cake, or maybe a spongy cake. (Either way, very light cake.) With sweetened chocolate whipped cream "frosting" decorated with chocolate shavings.... I am no where near Los Angeles, 8 months pregnant, and nothing satisfies my craving for this cake. So I decided to try to make it myself. Can't be so difficult, right? Simple Yellow cake? Whipped cream with chocolate in it? Chocolate shavings? My question is this: Do I need to add gelatin to the whipped cream to stiffen it? So that it "frosts?" If so, how much? Their cake needs to be refridgerated, but it holds it's shape for quite some time outside the fridge... Any input will be greatly appreciated by me and my unborn son....
  14. This started out as a take on a standard lemon curd. This version will give a softer set that's good for tart filling - if you want something with more structural integrity, use all dark chocolate or increase the dark chocolate content by 50%. The quantities here will give enough for a 16cm tart. 2 large oranges (for a stronger orange flavour and more acidity, use 3) 80g sugar 2 large eggs 80g milk chocolate 80g dark chocolate - Wash then zest the oranges directly into the sugar, stirring between oranges. Set aside, preferably overnight. - Juice the oranges and weigh or measure the volume of juice - there will probably be around 250ml (three will give you around 375ml). Put it into a pan or microwave-proof bowl and reduce until you end up with around 120ml of juice (this increases the flavour and acidity). - Break the eggs into the sugar/zest mixture and beat well. - Break up the chocolate into a large bowl, then place a sieve or strainer over it. - Pour the hot juice over the egg mixture, mix well, then pour into a pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a bit thicker than a crème anglaise consistency. This should be around 85°C, or until it coats the back of a spoon. - Take off the heat and pour through the sieve/strainer over the chocolate. - Let it sit for a minute or so, then stir or blitz with a hand blender until it forms a smooth, ganache-like consistency. - Pour directly into a tart shell and refrigerate. It will set quite softly, but will still slice. For a firmer curd, see the comment at the top. ETA: I forgot to adjust the sugar content for the milk chocolate - with all dark, use 100-120g, depending on the cocoa %. I've tweaked the chocolate levels as well.
  15. Opened the Washington Post and learned that Chef Roland Mesnier has died. I never met him but have enjoyed baking from and reading two of his cookbooks. RIP. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/roland-mesnier-in-memoriam-1944-2022 https://www.chefrolandmesnier.com/about/history-timeline/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/obituaries/2022/08/27/roland-mesnier-pastry-chef-white-house-dead/
  16. Guests arrive this week on Thursday afternoon and the Double Chocolate Mousse Bombe birthday cake is to be served at Saturday lunch for two of the gentlemen. That's two days later. And it was specifically requested and agreed to. This chocolate cake is refrigerated and contains both a milk chocolate and a dark chocolate mousse, and is covered by a chocolate glaze which the instructions suggest you apply only 30 minutes before serving (and which I cannot realistically do.) In fact, the entire cake is now practically speaking beyond my energy level these days...but there you are...don't bother going there, please. I've now already listened to a lecture by my dear Ed ( who never listens to sense himself.) The cookbook says you can refrigerate the cake with the two mousses up to 48 hours before serving. That would mean making the second mousse Thursday morning for lunch on Saturday morning. Could I realistically make the cake on Wednesday? Or is that pushing it just too far? The recipe comes from One Cake, One Hundred Desserts, by Greg Case and Keri Fisher, 2006. Plus I have salads to make and they can't be made far ahead either: potato salad, cucumber salad, pepper salad, tabbouleh, and bean salad. I'm planning on laying them out in a sort of mise en place style ahead of time. Might just skip the potato salad. Yes, I used to be able to do all this...but that was then and this is now. I would say that this is definitely the last time I do this at all. The last three years have not been good ones health wise. Sorry to whine while asking Pastry & Baking questions.
  17. Ever since Todd talked making cupcakes I have been cupcake crazy. Although, I am not a cake maker but more of a pie person. My first dessert that I love that I make is my Coconut Cream Pie w/heavy whipped cream. I don't use low fat anything and probably angioplasties is necessary after this baby. My second is Peach Cobbler w/rich vanilla ice cream. I never met a cobbler that I didn't like, but peach is my favorite. I don't make these often because I wouldn't be able to get through the front door if I did. How about yours? .....Janet
  18. Last night I made a cranberry upside down cake from a Williams-Sonoma book called The Complete Seasons, the cake tastes incredible (I am eating the leftovers right now for breakfast) but I had a couple problems. First the caramel like topping, it said to melt butter and brown sugar in the cake pan over a medium heat, until the sugar melted. I think I messed this part up because was still a little lumpy (but evenly lumpy) and there was butter separated at the edge of the pan, even mixing didn't seem to pull it together. I was worried it would become to brown so I pulled it off. My second problem with the topping is that the cake pan I used has a ridged bottom, it looks like a waffle grid but on a very small scale. The finished cake did not release well, I lost parts, and the caramel was lumpy and hard in places and non-existent in others and the caramel had grid marks on it. My next big problem was with the cranberries, it said to place them in the pan with the caramel topping and then to place the cake batter on top, this I did. However, while cooking I noticed the cranberries were popping up at the top of the cake, I assumed they would sink back down to the bottom but they never did. So my cake looked a little like an upside-upside down cake, when inverted onto the caramel was on the top and there was a layer of cranberries on the bottom! The picture in the cookbook has a lovely layer of caramel and cranberries on the top with a wonderful creamy looking cake below. This was by far the best upside down cake I have ever had, but I think it could have been better or at least looked better. Suggestions? This is what the cake should have looked like instead it looked like this
  19. Greetings I'm looking for a pancake recipe that inspires fluffiness, that is nice thick pancakes, but not heavy. Thin will simply not do. Flavor is not of quite as much importance. This recipe is for a contest that is graded on flavor, presentation, and fluffiness. Also, does anyone know of any exciting ways to present pancakes? Thanks a heap!
  20. Has anyone found the perfect recipe for either of these? I use them only for wedding cake orders, which is my main concern for posting this. They fall into one of those 'have to make' items that I secretly cringe inside over because I still don't have a recipe to brag about. I do have a decent scratch white cake but in taste tests everyone still picks the mix over the scratch cake. And YELLOW cake has lately been my cake from hell flavor. I like a butter cake, but lets face it it's not the texture people rave about in a wedding cake. They want moist and fluffy. I've don't mind yellow chiffon cakes but they don't hold up well in shape for wedding cakes. I've made countless versions of both cakes and don't lack for more recipes to try. Instead I'm looking for recipe help from someone who's mastered these, anyone?
  21. I watched a program on TV called, How It's Made, on how cheesecakes are made. What I wanted to know, is that on the program they mentioned they added sour cream to the cheesecake batter that was specially cultured, does anyone know what they might have meant by specially cultured?
  22. Mid-Autumn festival is still a month away but mooncakes are starting to rear their ugly heads in SF Chinatown. I know people who actually like them, but I suspect most people view them as China's version of the fruitcake. They're for giving, not for eating, and you sort of know that whomever you give them to will give them to someone else. (At least that's my view.) Do you like mooncakes? If so, what style do you prefer, the Cantonese varieties that have everything but the kitchen sink in them, or the more spartan northern style? Meat-filled Jiangsu-style? Ice Cream mooncakes (I kid you not)? Any mooncake memories?
  23. I'm preparing for my annual holiday pie baking (I only make pies twice per year). I'm generally okay with the crust method I've been using - "Pie Crust Sticks" and I add a spoonful of orange juice in place of part of the water. Works really well and I plan to continue unless you folks can convince me that I'll get a truly superior crust if I make it from scratch (I'm open to discussion but please note that I have no mixer or food processor if that makes a difference). Here's the focus of my problem: in an effort to make a pecan pie that stands out from the ordinary and has a truly rich flavor to the filling, I've been experimenting with ingredient variations. For starters, I use 1/2 dark karo syrup and 1/2 light rather than all light syrup. I've also been replacing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the total amount of Karo syrup with real maple syrup for richer flavor. I have also been replacing the refined white sugar with dark brown sugar. People absolutely love the pies - the flavor is richer and more intense than a traditional pecan pie but I have a problem with consistency - the filling tends to stay a bit towards the liquid side. I recognize that the maple syrup won't "set" or thicken in the same way as the Karo syrup. Should I reduce the proportion of maple syrup or can someone suggest a way overcome this obstacle. Also.... is the use of dark brown sugar impacting on this in any way? Would using turbinado raw sugar perhaps be a better way to get a richer sugar taste but possibly with better results? Any and all suggestions appreciated. TIA!
  24. I'm trying to narrow down (to one, maybe two) places from which to order fruitcake. Jokes aside, my mother loves fruitcake, and I've been procrastinating so she's not getting any homemade ones from me this year. Going through eGullet, I've found the following: Andro's Sweets and Treats--but it seems I can't go through an online ordering system, and I would have to call them to order (I'm in Japan, it's a PITA) Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs--I know my mother loves Black Cake, and her one source back home no longer sells it. Abbey of Gethsemani--I like the way these look, and I'm sure my mother will appreciate my supporting the church in some way, since I no longer go to church. Holy Cross Abbey--same as above Collins Street Bakery--these were the first "gourmet" fruitcakes I remember seeing in ads. I always thought they looked good. When I found the above during an eGullet search, some of the posts in which they were mentioned were quite old. Does anyone have any recent experience with any of the above to recommend them? Right now I'm thinking of going with Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs and either Gethsemani or Holy Cross. But I'm open to other suggestions, as well!
  25. Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather. Ingredients (8 cookies) 1 pack of chilled French pastry 1 big pear 1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger 2 tablespoons of brown sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar 2 tablespoons of milk Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper. Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes. Enjoy your meal!
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