Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Hennes

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine at Home" (Part 1)

Recommended Posts

We've been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Modernist Cuisine at Home since it was announced... copies started arriving today, so it's time to start cooking.

My mom's in town for the weekend and wants to try the Apple Cream Pie: it's pretty straightforward, but I do have a question about the Granny Smith apple juice. Lacking a juicer, I have to make the juice the hard way; should I be doing this cold, or can I use one of the juicing techniques that heats the apples?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flavour will change a bit if it's heated, although that may be worth it if it makes the process easier (since it's going to be heated anyway), but couldn't you just grate the fresh apples (in a food processor, possibly), then press the hell out of them in a chinois or something? It should be pretty quick, unless masses of apples are involved

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's my plan: in this case it doesn't ever get heated (I don't think). I bought a lot more apples than I think I should need, so I should be good to go.

Another question: I made the browned butter as detailed in the KM p. 37, with 30g of milk solids and 100g of clarified butter...

DSC_0131.jpg

DSC_0133.jpg

DSC_0137.jpg

DSC_0139.jpg

Those milk solids look a bit dark to me. Do you think I should have another go at it and pressure-cook for less time? My cooker is huge (it's a pressure canner) so it takes a long time to get up to temp and to cool down, so I was thinking maybe it overcooked the solids during that extra time. Then again, maybe it's just fine...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Moving on to the "Sous vide vanilla-cinnamon pastry cream" (KM p. 180): step one has you preheat a water bath, but steps 2-4 have you heat the ingredients on the stove and then refrigerate for two hours. Is this preheating step just to get ready for the egg yolks that are cooked in step 6?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very much looking forward to this thread. thanks also for starting 'early' with such detail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have the book yet. Will probably buy a little later when the price drops. Latest Food and Wine issue wrote about quick aging steak per MCaH instructions. Three days marinating with fish sauce followed by three days hanging in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth. Steak tasted OK. There was some fishy smell initially that gradually dissipated as we were eating (or may be we got used to it) but not the best steak that I cooked or tasted. May be I should have rinsed fish sauce after marinating. People with the book: what does the recipe say about rinsing?

120920 004 Cauliflower Steak.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flaky pie crust (continued)...

So the pie crust for this apple cream tart is made with half regular butter and half the super-intense browned butter I described above. I tasted the browned butter and it was fine (well, great, actually) so I guess it wasn't overcooked as I had worried. I went ahead and cooked the egg yolks sous vide to prevent shrinkage (an optional step in the recipe):

DSC_0145.jpg

Then the flour, almond meal, powdered sugar, salt, baking soda, and butters are combined with the yolks to make a dough:

DSC_0146.jpg

This is pressed out and refrigerated:

DSC_0153.jpg

It tastes fantastic, incidentally. The browned butter flavor is incredibly intense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is very interesting. I was not able to make many things from the Larger Tomes ( equip., odd stuff., etc)

this so far looks very very do-able.

thanks again for wetting our appetites!

PS is the 'browned butter' you are using just the supernate or a combination of solids and supernate?


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have the book yet. Will probably buy a little later when the price drops. Latest Food and Wine issue wrote about quick aging steak per MCaH instructions. Three days marinating with fish sauce followed by three days hanging in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth. Steak tasted OK. There was some fishy smell initially that gradually dissipated as we were eating (or may be we got used to it) but not the best steak that I cooked or tasted. May be I should have rinsed fish sauce after marinating. People with the book: what does the recipe say about rinsing?

The steak aging discussion is just a couple sentences as part of a larger discussion of beef: there isn't any further detailed information in MCaH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS is the 'browned butter' you are using just the supernate or a combination of solids and supernate?

The solids are strained out.

I'm pretty sure that I can make almost 100% of the recipes in the book with the equipment I already own (e.g. no rotovap, centrifuge, spray-drier, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pie crust has never been my forte: this recipe was no exception. Precooking the egg yolks to prevent it from shrinking was handy, but could not resist my powers of pie crust destruction. I think it's mostly salvageable, but I'm glad I don't have to serve it at a dinner party just yet. On the plus side, the sous vide custard worked flawlessly and tastes great.

DSC_0174.jpg

DSC_0180.jpg

DSC_0184.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the details, very interesting to hear.

I also have the power to destroy any pie crust that comes within 10 meters of my presence, so you're not alone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pie crust has never been my forte: this recipe was no exception. Precooking the egg yolks to prevent it from shrinking was handy, but could not resist my powers of pie crust destruction. I think it's mostly salvageable, but I'm glad I don't have to serve it at a dinner party just yet. On the plus side, the sous vide custard worked flawlessly and tastes great.

DSC_0174.jpg

DSC_0180.jpg

DSC_0184.jpg

Tangentially, pie crust is not my forte, either, but I've had excellent results with the CI recipe for pie crust that replaces a part of the water with vodka; at the risk of being tedious (not many things are more tedious than yet another suggestion for something that consistently crashes and burns on you, but...) have you had any luck with that one?

The custard does look good.

I'm a curious: how much does a sous vide rig figure into the MCaH recipes? I have $250 in amazon gift certificates and have been wavering on what to get, and this is looking increasingly attractive... but I don't have a sous vide rig. Yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tangentially, pie crust is not my forte, either, but I've had excellent results with the CI recipe for pie crust that replaces a part of the water with vodka; at the risk of being tedious (not many things are more tedious than yet another suggestion for something that consistently crashes and burns on you, but...) have you had any luck with that one?

Yes, but it's a completely different style of crust from this one. And this one tastes better :smile:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still jealous about that SideKIC Chris. Amazon won't ship it to Canada. I contacted ICAkitchen directly, they can't sell it in Canada yet due to needed regulatory approvals. He said it almost definitely won't happen before the end of the year. Disappointing but that's the way it is. The pie sounds really tasty. I've done brown butter crusts but I'm sure they weren't the same critter as what the MC guys came up with. They didn't involve sous vide equipment. I'm going to get those books one of these years...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tri2Cook, I'd say the two major "Modernist" contributions to the pie crust are the use of the intensified brown butter (via the inclusion of extra milk solids in the browning process) and the use of pre-cooked egg yolks to prevent contraction of the crust. Otherwise it's a pretty normal short dough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those milk solids look a bit dark to me. Do you think I should have another go at it and pressure-cook for less time? My cooker is huge (it's a pressure canner) so it takes a long time to get up to temp and to cool down, so I was thinking maybe it overcooked the solids during that extra time. Then again, maybe it's just fine...

I think they should be fine. Thats about the level we take it to at work, and like you the first few times I saw it done I thought they had burned it :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a curious: how much does a sous vide rig figure into the MCaH recipes? I have $250 in amazon gift certificates and have been wavering on what to get, and this is looking increasingly attractive... but I don't have a sous vide rig. Yet.

I think a sous vide setup and a pressure cooker are going to be mandatory if you really want to get the most out of this book. Almost all of the recipes Ive looked at thus far use one or the other.
Edited by Twyst (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apple Cream Pie (continued)

This morning I assembled (and ate) the Apple Cream pie. Last night we made the apple foam, which then sat in the fridge overnight.

Will it blend?

DSC_0186.jpg

Strained:

DSC_0188.jpg

After overnight refrigeration, dispensed onto the pie (whose crust did not appreciate being extracted from the tart pan):

DSC_0191.jpg

DSC_0199.jpg

I was a little surprised at the stability of the foam after slicing. I figured it would run some, but it actually stayed quite neat:

DSC_0203.jpg

DSC_0205.jpg

Overall, the taste was good, in particular the combination of the apple foam, vanilla custard, and brown-butter crust. The general consensus was that next time I should double or even triple the amount of apple foam, which gives a great apple punch as you first take a bite, but is too quickly lost to the custard. I also thought that I should have used fresher cinnamon (and probably actually canela as I'm sure the recipe intended... all I had on hand was some Rancho Gordo Mexican true cinnamon, which is not as intense). Still, everything worked well, and with some tweaking this is a winner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is really interesting, Chris. I have the book on my Christmas wish list and so am enjoying this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone who's already gotten the book looked at the chicken wings chapter? I was hoping my copy came in before next weeks game (Broncos vs Pats) but it looks like I might miss that by a few days. I'm curious what their general process for perfect buffalo wings is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They don't show a single "perfect" process: there are several different techniques they use to achieve different sorts of results. One is boneless, one is skinless, one is more like the traditional. The specially engineer the "traditional" sauce to be low water content so it doesn't make the wings soggy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By boilsover
      Yes, the vacuum blender, Luddites.  http://www.gadgetreview.com/what-is-a-vacuum-blender
       
      I am waiting for the WiFi version, so I can turn my smoothie into soup from Mars.
    • By boilsover
      Solid intermediate cook, here.  Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps.  But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
       
      I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful.  What do you all like, and why?
       
      Thanks!
    • By Chris Hennes
      On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
       
      One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
       
      The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×