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"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 2)


Patrick S
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After my concern about the caramels being too hard, they were way too soft.  And also sort of oily to the touch as if all of the fat hadn't been incorporated.  Is that common when they are undercooked?  Should I cut back on butter in my next attempt?

The caramels are supposed to be very soft. Mine were just firm enough to hold their shape at room temperature. Actually, even at room temperature, they would spread out a little bit. If you look at the pics I posted in post #77 on page 3 of this thread, particularly the upper left hand pic, you can see what happened when I stacked 3 caramel pieces. They slowly, over the course of a few minutes, slumped over. That's how I like them, super-soft, almost gooey. I've even made some caramels that were so soft you had to keep them in the fridge, because at room temp they were like a really thick caramel sauce. If you want a firmer caramel, I would try cooking to a higher temp and/or adding less butter.

I just read that again, and wanted to clarify that the caramels that were so soft they had to be kept cool were not made from Herme's recipe. I only made Herme's caramels once, and while they were really soft, they mostly kept their shape at room temperature.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Sparklers and Hazelnut Dacquoise today--great reviews from the recipients, but I'm not quite happy with the results.  (A complicating factor is that I don't eat sweets, so all of the feedback I get is second-hand.)

So, Sparklers.  I have never had a hole in the middle of formed cookies before, but being warned about it seems to have jinxed me.  Not a big deal, but not the perfect cookies in the book or Patrick's photos.  Brushing with yolk and then rolling in crystal sugar was not as successful as I'd hoped--that only a small amount of yolk would dissolve the crystal sugar was a surprise, but less wasn't doing the job of cementing the sugar to the cookie.  I froze about half the batch, so I'll try again later--any suggestions will be welcomed!

I say, start by rolling the yolk-brushed cookie baton in the sugar, then wait a few minutes, and then kinda pat some more sugar on it. If you wait a few minutes after rolling it the first time, some moisture will make it to the surface and be available for the sugar to adhere too. I'd also recommend shortening the baking time from 15-18 minutes to like 12-14 minutes. I like the cookies better when they retain a little more moisture.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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After my concern about the caramels being too hard, they were way too soft.  And also sort of oily to the touch as if all of the fat hadn't been incorporated.  Is that common when they are undercooked?  Should I cut back on butter in my next attempt?  They tasted wonderfully (but no discernable lemon) and I'll use them as a middle layer for some brownies where shape won't matter.

Its funny, I made the caramels again last night, and they turned out too soft. I used a candy thermometer (for the first time), since my digital bit the dust, and I think that may have been a factor. I may have been reading the temp of the bottom of the pan rather than the caramel. Oh well, they're still delicious. I chilled them, then cut and wrapped the pieces in wax paperFor the lemon, I added 1/4t of lemon extract right at the end, instead of the zest at the beginning. This time there is a noticable lemon note, though it is still quite subtle.

gallery_23736_355_11587.jpg

gallery_23736_355_9664.jpg

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Last weekend I was going to make a Mother's Day cake for my mother (in Sweden, Mother's Day is the last Sunday of May, so I wasn't completely off on the weekend :wink: ).

After the success of my Plaisir Sucrés, I was inspired, and wanted to try something similar, but as a cake. Furthermore, I wanted something fairly simple to make. So, what I made was something like a big (cake sized), slightly less complicated version of the Plaisir Sucré. It has the daquiose and the praline, but then I skipped the two layers of ganache and the bottom two chocolate sheets, and went directly for the chocolate whipped cream and then finishing off with a chocolate sheet.

A few pictures below:

gallery_29451_1049_11280.jpg

The text ("MOR") is Swedish for "mother". Unfortunately, my lack of skills in doing nice writing with melted chocolate is painfully obvious here...

gallery_29451_1049_10969.jpg

Cutting the cake:

gallery_29451_1049_26009.jpg

A final picture:

gallery_29451_1049_16133.jpg

It doesn't have all the elements of the real thing, but it was a lot less time consuming than making lots of "real" Plaisir Sucrés, and it still tasted really great.

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Hello, this is my first post on egullet. I attempted the macaroons from the book and mine turned out on the flat side. It looks kind of like the picture EPICURIOUS shows for their macaroons which are nothing like real french macaroons. I have several hyposthesis for why it didn't turn out well. Can anyone tell me why I got flatter macaroons with cracked instead of smooth tops. I came up with the following reasons and I will attempt to make them again.

1. The almond poweder I used was two course

2. I overbeat the eggwhites (how much should I have beaten them?)

3. I added two much dry ingredients at the same time

4. I piped circles which were two flat

5. The 15 minutes drying time as Herme suggests isn't enough

This was my first time attempting macaroons and also my first baking failure. I am 17 and have previously made the Concorde, the mozart cake and bunch of other recipes with success (not as perfect as Herme's) but these ones turned out bad (although people still ate them, but how bad can chocolate ganache sandwich cookies taste?)

When i got to piping them my batter was two stiff and not like cake batter. It was more like a cookie batter so maybe I needed to use more eggwhites?

thanks in advance

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Hello, this is my first post on egullet. I attempted the macaroons from the book and mine turned out on the flat side. It looks kind of like the picture EPICURIOUS shows for their macaroons which are nothing like real french macaroons. I have several hyposthesis for why it didn't turn out well. Can anyone tell me why I got flatter macaroons with cracked instead of smooth tops. I came up with the following reasons and I will attempt to make them again.

1. The almond poweder I used was two course

2. I overbeat the eggwhites (how much should I have beaten them?)

3. I added two much dry ingredients at the same time

4. I piped circles which were two flat

5. The 15 minutes drying time as Herme suggests isn't enough

This was my first time attempting macaroons and also my first baking failure. I am 17 and have previously made the Concorde, the mozart cake and bunch of other recipes with success (not as perfect as Herme's) but these ones turned out bad (although people still ate them, but how bad can chocolate ganache sandwich cookies taste?)

When i got to piping them my batter was two stiff and not like cake batter. It was more like a cookie batter so maybe I needed to use more eggwhites?

thanks in advance

I can't answer any of your questions myself, but there's a whole

thread on macaroons that goes into a pretty detailed examination of all the elements involved in making them. One thing a lot of people mention as helping is to leave the egg whites out at room temperature for a few days.

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Hello, this is my first post on egullet. I attempted the macaroons from the book and mine turned out on the flat side. It looks kind of like the picture EPICURIOUS shows for their macaroons which are nothing like real french macaroons. I have several hyposthesis for why it didn't turn out well. Can anyone tell me why I got flatter macaroons with cracked instead of smooth tops. I came up with the following reasons and I will attempt to make them again.

1. The almond poweder I used was two course

2. I overbeat the eggwhites (how much should I have beaten them?)

3. I added two much dry ingredients at the same time

4. I piped circles which were two flat

5. The 15 minutes drying time as Herme suggests isn't enough

This was my first time attempting macaroons and also my first baking failure. I am 17 and have previously made the Concorde, the mozart cake and bunch of other recipes with success (not as perfect as Herme's) but these ones turned out bad (although people still ate them, but how bad can chocolate ganache sandwich cookies taste?)

When i got to piping them my batter was two stiff and not like cake batter. It was more like a cookie batter so maybe I needed to use more eggwhites?

thanks in advance

I can't answer any of your questions myself, but there's a whole

thread on macaroons that goes into a pretty detailed examination of all the elements involved in making them. One thing a lot of people mention as helping is to leave the egg whites out at room temperature for a few days.

I actually did read the thread before making the macarons. I left the eggwhites out for 24 hours to dry them. However I think the failure was most likely due to overbeating the whites hence I would appreciate it if someone could describe the stiffness of the eggwhites.

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I always beat the whites+sugar into the stiffest meringue possible, and I always use some cream of tartar so I don't overbeat. The whites are usually warmed a bit above room temp, to about 75F. I process the almond meal with the other dry ingredients for several minutes in the food processor to mix them and hopefull break up some of the bigger chunks of almond. (Honestly though, I don't know if this really reduces the size of the almong particles.) I always fold the dry ingredients in all at once, "carefully but thoroughly" as the book describes. I let the piped cookies sit out for at least 30 minutes before baking. Doing all that, I still get a macaroon that is fairly flattish.

gallery_23736_355_1100060485.jpg

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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First, welcome to The eGullet Society For Arts & Letters Arghavan. I'd like to mention that perfect macaroons even alude professional bakers. The most minute details effect macaroons.

I personally can't address the specific recipe in this book because I'm not familar with it. BUT we can certainly talk more about the art of making macaroons on this thread if you wish.

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I've been baking out of both CDPH and Desserts by PH and noticed that he doesn't use cream of tartar when whipping egg whites. I've used it for extra stability and wondered why he doesn't call for it - does it change the flavor or texture?

I'm about to make the chocolate and raspberry tart out of the Patisserie book. One of the components is cocoa nougatine and it calls for glucose and pectine NH. I've been to several stores and can't find either one. Can I sub corn syrup for the glucose and powdered pectin for the pectine NH?

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Thanks so much for your quick response! I have to say, I really enjoy cooking out of every book I have that you've written. Your directions are so clear, make sense so easily to me and most of all - WORK and turn out great. You have spoiled me and I think that's why I sometimes get frustrated with other books!

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I've been baking out of both CDPH and Desserts by PH and noticed that he doesn't use cream of tartar when whipping egg whites. I've used it for extra stability and wondered why he doesn't call for it - does it change the flavor or texture?

I'm about to make the chocolate and raspberry tart out of the Patisserie book. One of the components is cocoa nougatine and it calls for glucose and pectine NH. I've been to several stores and can't find either one.  Can I sub corn syrup for the glucose and powdered pectin for the pectine NH?

Pectin NH is different (You're using the pro book, right?)

If the recipe is calling for a glaze or nappage made with Pectin NH or a neutral glaze( they're always made with PNH too)

Here is a link to a place where you can buy pectin NH...

http://www.chefswarehouse.com/Catalog/Disp...=BAKE&PCatId=B1

2317/5000

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Hey, where did we all go???

I finally made the Black Forest cake for Father's Day. I made the adjustment to the sugar as noted and also tripled the kirsch in the cream, as suggested. Everyone loved it.

Sadly, no pics. I was in a rush and the kitchen was so hot that I didn't want to risk the cake melting. It was already starting to droop a bit as I put the cream on the sides.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This isn't really a baking question, but as it relates to Pierre Hermé, I hope it's OK here anyway.

I have gotten the opportunity to go to Paris for some meetings the first week of August, and apart from attending the things I'm there for, I have two main goals with my stay in Paris - to see the Eifel Tower and to visit Pierre Hermé's Patisserie. I've baked a bunch of stuff from his books, but never tasted the "real thing", so I'm looking forward to it. Anyway, I have a few questions to those of you that have been there before.

First of all, any recommendations to what I should try? I think a selection of macaroons is an obvious choice as they are small enough to be able to try some different kinds without the stomach starting to protest, and I've also heard so many good things about Pierre's macaroons. I'm also a bit interested in trying the Plaisir Sucré as I've made it myself and really liked it and would like to see how far off from the original I was.

Any other suggestions?

What kind of price ranges should I expect? I am guessing that it's not a cheap place, but it would be nice to know how much I should prepare to spend to avoid getting too big a shock if prices are high...

Finally, my French is virtually non-existent. Will I be able to get what I want by pointing and waving my arms and using a few words of French (which might not always be the correct French words...)?

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Lucky you, Thornado, you're in for a treat. Actually, many treats and, here's good news: You can get all those treats in English. The staff at PH speaks bunches of languages and I think most of the staff speaks English. If you happen to get a person who doesn't, the point and smile method always works.

Here's more good news: Almost everything in PH comes in single-servings, so you can taste several things without overdoing it and spoiling the prospect of dinner.

My suggestion would be to try the things you've baked -- it will be a kick -- but after that go with anything (and everything?) that looks good to you. The spring/summer collection will be in the boutique and there are some wonderful goodies in it, including little cakes on a stick called Mister H -- you can walk and eat at the same time and instead of looking gauche you'll look like the luckiest person in Paris.

If it's hot, try one of PH's Miss Gla-Gla, elegant ice cream sandwiches -- the "sandwichers" are macaroons!

As for the prices -- I think single servings will cost between 4 and 6 Euros/per. Some will be less, but I don't think any will be more. (Actually, I'm not sure any will be 6E -- wish I could remember, sorry.)

Bon appetit!

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Forgot something -- I think you should try the Ispahan. You can try it as a macaroon, but I'd advise you get a little Ispahan complete with raspberries, litchis and a fresh rose petal. The Ispahan is PH's bestselling pastry and it's what started rose fever in Paris. It's a delicious pastry and after he created it he went on to create several variations on the theme, making it a cornerstone of his current work.

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I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip to PH also.

Have fun!

Forgot something -- I think you should try the Ispahan.  You can try it as a macaroon, but I'd advise you get a little Ispahan complete with raspberries, litchis and a fresh rose petal.  The Ispahan is PH's bestselling pastry and it's what started rose fever in Paris.  It's a delicious pastry and after he created it he went on to create several variations on the theme, making it a cornerstone of his current work.

2317/5000

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Hi chocolate experts!

3 question about melting chocolate using bowl over saucepan water bath.

1) Am I supposed to put the chocolate bowl inside the simmering water bath, or should the bowl not even touch the water at all?

2)Am I suppose to turn off the heat completely when I get the water to simmering?

3) And can I allow the bowl to be resting on the rim of the saucepan or should I just be holding the bowl over the saucepan?

Thanks in advance.

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Hi chocolate experts!

3 question about melting chocolate using bowl over saucepan water bath.

1) Am I supposed to put the chocolate bowl inside the simmering water bath, or should the bowl not even touch the water at all?

2)Am I suppose to turn off the heat completely when I get the water to simmering?

3) And can I allow the bowl to be resting on the rim of the saucepan or should I just be holding the bowl over the saucepan?

Thanks in advance.

I'm definitely not a chocolate expert but I think I can answer your questions.

1. The bowl should not touch the water.

2. Don't turn the heat off, have it high enough to keep the water just simmering.

3. Yes, the bowl should rest on the rim of the saucepan. You'll burn yourself holding it over.

If I'm wrong on any of these points I know someone will help you out better than I can.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I might be mistaken........but I thought there already was discussion on the concorde further back in this thread? Have you read thru the whole thread Laniloa?

I have and am planning on a second batch of meringue. I've never made an assemble, freeze, wrap dessert before and while it sounds straightforward, it has me a little nervous. I've looked in other threads and gleaned some words of wisdom from you and others. It just seems counterintuitive for a mousse covered item.

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3 question about melting chocolate using bowl over saucepan water bath.

1) Am I supposed to put the chocolate bowl inside the simmering water bath, or should the bowl not even touch the water at all?

2)Am I suppose to turn off the heat completely when I get the water to simmering?

3) And can I allow the bowl to be resting on the rim of the saucepan or should I just be holding the bowl over the saucepan?

Actually, I follow Alice Medrich's technique when melting chocolate these days. Nothing wrong with Canadian Bakin's method at all, but this is how I do it: skillet of simmering water (bubbles on the bottom of the pan, not breaking the surface), bowl (preferably stainless) with chocolate set in it. Her theory is that steam rises and is highly unlikely to settle back down on your melting chocolate. This method will accommodate most bowls, without having to worry about the fit over a pot of water, and you can easily see what temp the water's at. Haven't had a problem with it yet.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I'm definitely not a chocolate expert but I think I can answer your questions.

1. The bowl should not touch the water.

2. Don't turn the heat off, have it high enough to keep the water just simmering.

3. Yes, the bowl should rest on the rim of the saucepan. You'll burn yourself holding it over.

If I'm wrong on any of these points I know someone will help you out better than I can.

thanks!

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