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I have been experiementing with macarons these last few months, and I have yet to make perfect macarons. Most of the macarons I have made are hollow on the inside. They're so hollow, if I nudge them a bit, the top crust just comes right off. They still taste decent but not what a successful macaron should be like. I don't think I am overbeating my meringue at all. They are always firm and stiff. I have tried whipping a little less than I usually do but still get hollows. I did some research and saw a few people recommend adding a bit of cornstarch to the dry mix. Yep. Cornstarch. This really perplexed me because I always see people saying not to use powdered sugar that contains cornstarch, so how could adding cornstarch prevent hollow macs? I also saw one person use tapioca starch to prevent hollows as well. This time around, I whipped the meringue at a much longer time, but no higher than speed 7 (kitchenaid), which gave me a super stable meringue. I also added cornstarch. I piped the batter out, and they looked super perfect the first few minutes in the oven. Sadly, they came out very wrinkled. The first batch was super wrinkled, but the second batch was less wrinkled, or bumpy even. Not sure if this is because of the silpat for the first batch and the parchment pper for the second hmm. Does anyone know what I did wrong to get these wrinkled macs and how to troubleshoot? Also some help on hollow macs would be appreciated! Thanks
My neighbor's sister made a huge cassoulet for my neighbor's birthday dinner last night, and invited me to watch her assemble it on Friday. Sister is married to a Frenchman and spends about half the year in France--this is the technique she learned most recently. It was amazingly non-fussy, quick to assemble, and heart-breakingly delicious served with a light fresh salad and lots of home-made bread & whipped butter.
For eight folks, four duck thighs, 4 duck legs [in retrospect she said she should've used more duck], 4 Italian sausages, 2 kielbasa, 2 bratwurst, the sausages cut into 2 inch pieces. First she browned 4 slices of salt pork, cut in half, in about 2 T of olive oil on top of the stove in a large roasting pan, then added the rest of the meats to brown. After 10 mins she removed the meat and added 1 minced oinion, a few cloves of garlic [careful, she said, if you have garlic-y sausages], and a couple shallots, all finely minced, and softened in the fat. Then one large carrot cut in chunks, and a couple celery stalks, de-threaded, cut in chunks. Then the meat went back in, along with 2# of small white beans, soaked for about 4 hours--Great Northern beans, because she wasn't able to get the French beans she prefers. Then, she added enough water to cover the beans, and a few sprigs of rosemary and parsley from the yard [she said sage is good, too], and about 1/2 cup strong tomato sauce--she said the best thing to use is the very concentrated tomato paste from a tube--and, she said, ONLY a small amount--this is more for color than anything else. Don't salt it, because the salt pork should be sufficient.
The roasting pan went covered into a medium low oven for, well, hours, and she checked it periodically to see that the beans were cooking and the water not getting too low--if so, she added more. When she was satisfied it was done, she skimmed off some of the excess liquid--and they like to eat that as a light soup for lunch. Her husband says it's best to reheat the cassoulet a couple times over the next couple days, before serving--to bring the flavors together.
The result was meats that melted on the tongue like communion wafers, in a flavorful stew of perfectly cooked beans.
I'm a little pastry chief in France, still learning and really passionate. It's been five months that I did'nt studiy or practise and I miss that so much. I never stop talking about this. I decided to travel in south america to learn everything I can. I'm actually in Central Colombia, and I will travel to Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, Bolivia and maybe a little bit more if I want to. I have time until march, more or less.
My project is to go in the farms and meet the people who grow up the raw material I use for make my pastries, Talk to them and see the plantation would be really helpfull for me to understand how does it works. If people need, I'm volunteer for work in exchange with accomodation and food for a few days. My spanish is not good yet, but I'm learning and sometimes it's more funny to not speak the same language. I'm interested about everything, exotic fruits, citrus, coffee, cacao, sesame, pepper, spices...
If some of you is, knows or works with farmers or pastry chiefs in those countries, I would be glad to meet you/them and learn everthing about the work. We can exchange good recipe too.
Thank you very much,
Everytime I make Coq au Vin or similar chicken dishes the recipe calls for browning the chicken (creating a nice crispy skin) and then removing it only to return it to the dish to finish by braising in liquid. Unfortunately, when cooked in liquid, my chicken ends up losing its crispiness and turning grey and soggy.
What am I doing wrong, or what can I do to retain then crispy factor?
So I've been looking at this dish for a while, and while I've seen threads talking about where to eat it, I haven't found anyone who's actually made it. I thought it might be fun to try.
This is the recipe I've found (in French, my apologies), and there's an informative YouTube video of same. Again in French, and as a bonus in a heavy southern accent.
I'm going to pick up my hare, sausage-meat, foie gras and bard on Wednesday, and get to de-boning. I'll see if I can get my better half to take a couple of photos or videos
If anyone has done this before, or anything like it, I'd love to hear any advice you might have. As for now, I have a couple of questions for more experienced eGulleteers before I start:
1- I can't seem to get hold of the requisite pork back fat, but my butcher can provide veal kidney fat. Is this a decent alternative?
2- I've been re-watching the video and re-reading the recipe, and neither say when to remove the string used to truss the hare. Would it be better to do it after taking it out of the cooking liquor? Once it's rolled and chilled? Removing each small piece from each slice - but before or after it's reheated? I have horrific images of doing everything perfectly, then have it fall apart right at the last moment.
So any input would be gratefully received. In any case, I'll try and document the process as much as possible for future information/hilarity.
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