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chefette

What's on your menu for dessert?

46 posts in this topic

I think the tradition should be to try something new for the New Year, to move forward into new pastry areas, skills, flavors, and presentations--it should be strictly wrong just to reach back and do safe old things.

This is probably really basic for experienced chefs and bakers - but I made lemon curd for the first time. I had leftover yolks in the fridge and a good supply of lemons on hand. With many recipes as references, I'm forgetting which one I actually used! (4 yolks, sugar, lemon juice, butter, salt, lemon zest - no flour or cornstarch.) I wasn't sure what I was looking for when taking it off the heat - and underestimated it. Cooled it and put it in the fridge. Next day, the mixture had separated, with butter at top and liquid sunshine below. Not good. Decided to go ahead and reheat it over a medium low heat, stirring all the while. Sat and read "More Home Cooking" and stirred for 20 minutes easily. And then, almost custard! A thick mass of beautiful, sweet-tart lemon curd! I think it will be incorporated into a fruit tart this weekend. (Didn't end up needing it for the holiday afterall.)

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T--so much depends on the recipe and having the right balance of lemon juice to yolks--but one little trick you might try next time: don't put the butter in until you've removed the curd from the heat and let it cool down a bit. Then add the butter and whiz with an immersion blender. Very unctuous.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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OK, OK, I feel awful because I have yet to actually make that Michel Bras recipe. I am ready, have everything I need (except time), and will do it really soon. Meanwhile has anyone else made anything new? hmmmmm?

Today in Washington, DC it is cold and grey and snowing so I reverted to serious comfort food and made a bread pudding - truly scrumptious. I used the recipe I wrote down when I was 10. My Mom always made it after Christmas to use up the stale cinnamon rolls (swedish tea ring) Since I have already admitted to not making those myself for home consumption I resort to the Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl bread with raisins.

Here is the recipe in case anyone else wants to join me in a bowl of hot bread pudding drizzled with heavy cream:

1 16 oz loaf of P Farm Cinnamon Swirl Bread cut into cubes

3 cups whole milk - scalded

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs slightly beaten

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

- Place the bread cubes in a caserole dish or pan (I used a half half hotel pan which is roughly 9x11 but I think 8x8 would do fine)

- pour the scalded milk over the bread and let it sit a couple of minutes

- whisk the eggs, add the sugar salt and cinnamon and combine then whisk in the raisins

- add this into the bread mixture ad stir it around with the whisk to combine it

- set baking dish into a pan with 1" hot water and bake 1 hour in a 350 degree oven

This always makes me think (secretly) of a book I loved as a kid - "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" by Joan Aiken - the two little heroines who are plagued by an evil scheming governess while their parents are on an ocean voyage are constantly being served cozy meals of hot bread and milk with buttery cream in the nursery. This is how I imagine my bread pudding.

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What a co-inky-dink - I've been sick with a cold since New Year's day and wanted something warm and comforting, so I tried out a recipe I got from my Mom at Christmas for apple dumplings she used to make when I was little. It's a very unusual recipe in that she used diced rather than whole apples, the crust has quite a bit of baking powder and milk so it's halfway between a biscuit and a pie dough, and the whole thing is baked in a spiced syrup making it almost like a cobbler or pudding. Mom made a few changes to the original recipe and I made some as well (and will probably make more changes next time I make it), but here is what I did last night:

Syrup:

1-1/2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

3 Tbs butter

combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temp

Apples:

4 granny smiths, cored, peeled and chopped into 3/4" dice

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I would use less sugar next time)

Pastry:

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup shortening (I used butter, Mom used Crisco)

1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. cut in butter using pastry blender or food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and stir quickly with a fork just until all the flour is moistened. don't over mix - treat it like a biscuit dough. Push the dough together and roll out a little larger than a 18x12 rectangle (do not chill first). Cut into squares a little larger than 6x6. Toss apple chunks in sugar/spice mixture and mound in center of pastry squares. moisten edges of pastry, bring corners together over apples and seal seams. don't worry about being neat and tidy or making sure the apples are completely sealed in - this is a very rustic, homey dessert. put the dumplings in a 9x13 baking dish and pour the cooled syrup over them making sure to moisten all of the top surfaces. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar and bake at 375 F for 35 minutes until the apples are tender. server warm (these also reheat in the microwave quite well).

I think this recipe might be even better with rhubarb and the the spicing could be played with. Also it's quite sweet, so some tinkering with the amount of sugar might be in order.

Chefette - the bread pudding sounds great. Could I ask what size you cut the bread cubes?

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Night, those dumplings do sound good too. Something to try this winter.

For the Bread pudding I don't think it matters too much about the size. I guess I end up making about a 1/2" square though (roughly) Since I am starting with sliced bread which is approx 1/2" thick, and I probably managed to slice the loaf into 4 or five slices throught the top and same down the side (too lazy to cut 3 or 4 piles of slices).

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I just wanted to resurect this thread to mention I tried the Jean-Georges warm, liquid center chocolate cake recipe tonight. I know it's a dessert cliche, but damn if it wasn't really, really good, as well as very fast and easy to make (if you have all the ingredients you can be eating it within about a half hour of opening the cookbook, but you can also make the batter several hours ahead of time, pour into molds, and just bake off when you want to serve the cakes). I got the recipe from the "Jean-Georges: Cooking at home with a Four-Star Chef" book, but it's also available on-line here: http://www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/warmsoftchocola.shtml

Other recipes I've seen involve inserting a cold chocolate truffle into the batter before baking, but this one just uses a very simple, rich batter baked briefly at a high temperature to acheive the soft center. Has anybody else made a version of this cake that they recommend?

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Thanks Night. I actually owe this thread some info myself. I did make the Banana Nougatine napoleon (well, some version of it anyway) finally.

As I mentioned earlier, looking over the recipe carefully I thought that it was way too complicated.

I made banana Brazilnut nougatine sheets.

Toast 4 oz brazilnuts in the oven and allow to cool

Grind with 1 container Just Bananas (2oz?) try to maintain a non-paste consistency

Caramelize 500g sugar in a heavy pan and add 2 oz butter

pour out the caramel onto a large silpat to cool

break up the caramel and grind it toi a powder

sprinkle a layer of caramel powder onto a silpat and then sprinkle with the banana nut mixture, and top with a dusting of the caramel powder

score with the bak of a knife into rectangles

place in a 325 degree oven until the caramel melts (just a minute or two)

allow to cool slightly and peel off the silpat

I also made the sugar macaroons using Sucanat (a natural cane sugar)

I stuck pretty much to the recipe from the Bras book on that. You then are supposed to gring these macaroons up and use them as the base of the yogurt cream filling. I was not that keen on the filling or the macaroons.

I really liked the nougatine though.

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I also made the sugar macaroons using Sucanat (a natural cane sugar).

I remember using this stuff in my 'vegan' days. chefette, have you used it often in pastry work? Do you have any thoughts on how it behaves and where it might be useful?


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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That nougatine sounds really good - I may have to give it a try. Based on the recipe on page 186, yes?

Edit: I just took another look at the Bras recipe, and not only is it complicated, it doesn't actually make sense. :hmmm: He says to spread the caramel and banana pate sablee mixture out on a silpat, but then he moves on to spreading the nougatine between parchment sheets and heating it in the oven - never again mentioning the banana mixture. Are they supposed to be combined in some way? Something is either missing or wasn't translated properly here.


Edited by nightscotsman (log)

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Michael, this was my first use of sucanat. I had it around for a while waiting for something to try it with.

It isn't moist or fine grained like brown sugars. It is dry and fairly coarse. It might actually work out if you ground it up more finely in a food processor. The flavor was very assertive. I am not sure what I would use it for. Not sure it was ideal for this use.

Night... In the Bras recipe he dries bananas then mashes them up with water to make banana butter, The banana butter is used to make a banana sable. The banana sable is ground up into the nougatine. My reaction to all of this was that it was a ridiculous waste of time. This leads me to believe that he was rummaging around in the pastry kitchen one evening just robbing the poor pastry chef of all sorts of things to toss into his misguided dessert.

Looking over all this I thought - so, you wanted a banana nougatine - let's just make that then and skip all this other crapola.

And yes, the whole, make the hot caramel and spred it out and roll it between two silpats thing has never ever worked that well for me. I have to say that I would really be interested in seeing someone actually do that and actually produce nice paper thin pieces of nougatine as pictured on page 186. I did try it the rolling out way and had some moderate success, but really thought it was way more work that it was worth.

Seems like a good job to save to punish someone with.

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I just wanted to resurect this thread to mention I tried the Jean-Georges warm, liquid center chocolate cake recipe tonight. I know it's a dessert cliche, but damn if it wasn't really, really good, as well as very fast and easy to make

NSM-

Yeah, it is a cliche, but in these parts, it's a cliche that works very well. It's so damn easy and it's a good dish to get guests involved in the preparation, if you're so inclined. I serve it with different flavors of whipped cream (I like making a mint whipped cream), or a simple creme anglaise. Plus, you can make the batter in advance. You can also make this a bit more complex by putting homemade truffles in the center, so you have two very different flavors in the same dish.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I was just gifted with Nick Malgieri's Perfect Cakes and currently have his Chocolate Pound Cake in the oven. I knew just from looking at the recipe that it would not be the deep, dark chocolatey cake I am looking for (remembering one from La Farine in Oakland) as there are only 4 oz. semi-sweet to 3c. flour/2c. sugar/8oz. butter. Very milk-chocolatey looking. I baked a tad of the batter in a brioche mold so that I could taste it sooner (!) and it is very good but not what I dream of. Will try adding some cocoa powder next time. Any other recommendations will be appreciated. :biggrin:

And regarding Nick's book, has anyone made the Capriccio Alle Nocciole (hazelnut cake from Ticino) on page 166? There is a bit of a discrepancy: in list of ingredients it calls for 1 cup sugar however he adds 6 Tbsp. of sugar to the butter and the "remaining" 6 Tbsp. to the egg whites. Can't find the other 4 Tbsp. Does he really mean only 12 Tbsp. of sugar or do you think it should be 8 Tbsp. each to the butter and egg white mixtures. I know it is not a large amount but I of course want it to be perfect, not too sweet or not sweet enough!

Thanks! Sweets to the Sweet and the Not-So-Sweet!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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I made Stephanie Zonis' Double chocolate pumpkin cake for my parents to take to a Super Bowl party. It's baked in a tube pan, but is very rich and moist, more like a layer cake in texture. It calls for 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 cup cocoa, and a cup of pumpkin puree which you can't taste at all. PM me for the recipe.

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In the Bras recipe...

I too wanted to give this a go, in fact, because of the complex method for the nougatine. I only have the French edition; the nougatine process seemed straightforward enough, but what stumped me was the 'bananes déshydatées'. No idea what kind of product Bras was using, I went ahead and ordered five pounds of those thick dried banana slices. By the first step, the 'pâte de banane', it didn't feel right, and I got busy with other things, so the project has been shelved since the Fall. I still have four and a half pounds of dried bananas... I'd still like to give it a go according to the Bras method, as well as adapt the Adria 'caramelo' technique, incorporating the banana into the sugar, or even swapping the ingredients- a yogurt powder 'nougatine/caramelo' with a banana-based cream...

But my question, for chefette... I'm not familiar with Just Banana. What is it?


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Michael,if this is useful to you-take a medium ripe banana or two,put em in a robot coupe.Strain,and spread the puree very thinly and evenly on silpat.Dry out in a low oven-you will have beautiful,shape-able pieces of crispy banana.

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Hi Michael, I actually used a product called "Just Bananas" which seem to be some sort of flash freeze dried banana slices. They do not seem dessicated or tough in any way. They make a really great powder but are sort of expensive - a pint size container (2.5 oz) cost about $4 but they really pack alot of flavor so a little goes a long way.

If you go through his whole process let me know how it works.

It just seemed to me that unless you were using making and using most of the items (dried bananas, banana butter, banana sable, sugar macaroons) he tosses into this recipe in other desserts so had a stock of them on hand it makes this a pretty expensive offering.

The nougatine I produced was really tasty, has a nice banana taste, and is pleasantly easy to snap. It is really tasty with chocolate fudge cake and caramel mousse.

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Michael,if this is useful to you-take a medium ripe banana or two,put em in a robot coupe.Strain,and spread the puree very thinly and evenly on silpat.Dry out in a low oven-you will have beautiful,shape-able pieces of crispy banana.

We've done a bit of this before. I like to add a little egg white as well, to aid in the drying process. I've had success with mango, melon, plum, and apricot, to name a few. I'm big on fruit chips!

chefette, while I like some of the dessert ideas/components in the Bras book, I don't think they are as strong as the savory ones. Have you played with anything else from there?


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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I love desserts! as my increasingly voluptuous figure illustrates.

This evening for dessert we had a nectarine and raspberry tart - delicious.

Tomorrow I have a chocolate chestnut cake planned :smile:

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Michael-I recently tried 2 recipes from Michel Bras: the gaufrette and the bread nougatine ( the one with rhubarb). The gaufrettes are incredible. they are very thin and they crack with just a touch from the fork. I used them for a chocolate mille-feuilles ( 6 gaufrettes with chocolate cream in between in layers.

The bread nougatine didn't convince me as much. I will have to give it another try... :hmmm:


Patrice Demers

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Patrice ,

can you give the recipe for the gaufretts>

How is the restaurant coming along?

Brian


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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I don't have the recipe with me right now but I will post it later...

The restaurant is going very well. The designer has completed the drawings and we are starting the ''real'' work next week!!!


Patrice Demers

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      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By Tennessee Cowboy
      I'd like help from anyone on making the best Pistachio Ice cream.  This forum is a continuation of a conversation I started in my "introduction" post, which you can see at 
      I recently made Pistachio ice cream using the Jeni's Ice Cream Cookbook.  I love Pistachio ice cream, so I've launched an experiment to find the best recipe.  I am going to try two basic approaches:  The Modernist Cookbook gelato, which uses no cream at all, and ice cream; I'm also experimenting with two brands of pistachio paste and starting with pistachios and no paste.  Lisa Shock and other People who commented on the earlier thread said that the key is to start with the best Pistachio Paste.    
      Any advice is appreciated.  Here is where I am now:  I purchased a brand of pistachio paste through nuts.com named "Love 'n Bake."  When it arrived, it was 1/2 pistachios and 1/2 sugar and olive oil.   I purchased a second batch through Amazon from FiddleyFarms; it is 100% pistachios.  I bought raw pistachios through nuts.com.  The only raw ones were from California.  If anyone has advice on using the MC recipe or on best approaches to ice cream with this ingredient I'd appreciate them.  I will report progress on my experiment in this forum.
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