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Home Made Ice Cream (2015– )


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Which reminds me, earlier in this thread I did a cooked milk tasting experiment at paulraphael's suggestion.  The idea of "cooked milk taste" at much less than boiling temperature is nonsense and a non-issue.

 

The corollary to this is that boiling milk for ice cream is a bad idea.

 

Again, this has nothing to say about resulting texture.

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I was surprised to discover this, not just because of all the lore, but because Jeni Britton Bauer (of Jeni's Splendid) cooks her base at 75C for something like 90 minutes, saying she likes the flavor of cooked milk ... which she describes as sweeter. Possibly this is a marketing statement. Her other reason for the long cook is turning milk proteins into stabilizers and emulsifiers. 

 

I'm playing around with this idea also. So far I haven't noticed a textural differences with different amounts of cooking. But Jeni must be on to something, since she uses neither eggs nor hydrocolloids in her mix. 

 

[edited to add: cooked egg flavor is likely a different story. My tests weren't designed to learn anything about this, since I use so little egg. But for anyone making a more traditional french style ice cream (4 or more yolks per 1000g) it may be worth testing. However ... with this much egg, you're already getting a lot of stabilization and emulsification from the custard and lecithin.]

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi fellow scoopers - Long time reader / first time poster!

 

I was wondering how you guys used the ice cream calculator for recipes that involve adding a large qty of non dairy into the mixture (canned pumpkin, fruit purees, etc) ?

 

For Thanksgiving, I attempted to prepare a Pumpkin ice cream w/ a Honey Molasses Swirl but the ice cream came out too firm w/ it being difficult to scoop and chunky - (I think it needed more sugar / possibly more stabilizer?) 

 

Recipe adopted from a Williams Sonoma one found here:

                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/pumpkin-ice-cream.html

and idea for honey molasses swirl found here:

                http://www.adventures-in-cooking.com/2013/12/pumpkin-ice-cream-with-gingersnap-honey.html

 

Instead of using the heavy cream / sugar / yolks recommended on the site, I utilized the numbers that JoNorvelleWalker had been using to arrive at a recipe of

 

1 cup (244g pumpkin puree + tblspn vanilla paste - reserve

-----

1000g heavy whipping cream

112 brown sugar (subtracted 8 due to 8g sugar content in puree is this an equal substitute to white?)

6 yolks

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

5g Cremodan to help offset puree

 

Swirl

--------

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup dark karo

 

I have adopted the RuebenPorto method with my Thermomix just like JoNorvelleWalker has done w/ her KitchenAid Heating Mixer.

 

To prepare:

I mixed the base contents in a Thermomix @ 80C setting for an hour (instant thermometer reads 69-73 so it's pretty on point) and had a reduction in base of about 80-90g.  I then used an immersion blender to homogenize for 5 minutes before chilling in an ice bath.  I aged for about a day before adding the reserved puree mixture and churning in my Musso Pola for about 9-10m.

 

For the swirl, I used some honey and some dark karo corn syrup (as I could not source the gingersnap liqueur in time).  That turned out okay but froze a bit into a hardened block - will try w/ the liqueur next time for a similar swirl to see what happens.

 

 

About me:

Total cookbook junkie - have made or attempted ice cream recipes from Fat Duck, Frozen Desserts, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, Jeni's Splendid, Lebowitz's Perfect Scoop.  Incidentally have also made recipes from Rueben's IceCreamScience blog and PaulRaphael's Vanilla base (didn't realize till I saw the underbelly link), and currently working with JoNorvelle's recipe!

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Would 1 Tblspoon of alcohol have had that much effect on the base to counteract freezing?  Moreso than the stabilizer that I added? 

 

I still have some remaining so I'm going to try to melt the entire batch down (honey/molasses syrup) included to see if I can reduce remaining water content / melt in sugar content and see if that rescues it.  I'll know in the future to heat up the puree to remove water content and possibly recompensate w/ more sugar.  I had really great luck w/ the base recipe to make a Cranberries and Cream batch for another Thanksgiving party that turned out to be a hit!

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Compared to glycerides, ethanol is a small molecule.  It tastes better too.

 

I may be wrong, never having tried it, but I don't think Cremodan does much for freezing point depression.  Seriously, I'd increase the sugar till you get the sweetness that you like, then add bourbon or your ethanol of choice.  I doubt it would take more than three tablespoons at most.

 

Also I'd add the alcohol just before spinning, not while the mix is cooking.  I used to rely on alcohol for freezing point depression before I discovered Ruben's method.  Now alcohol makes my ice cream too soft.  But you have all that water in the puree to counteract.

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Alcohol does soften ice cream at a given temperature, but it doesn't help texture in any other way, and can actually promote iciness. I think it's better to use sugars and other dissolved solids to control freezing point. If the sweetness level is where you want it, just substitute dextrose for a portion of the sugar. Between table sugar, dextrose (less sweet, greater freezing suppression) and trimoline (sweeter, greater freezing suppression) you can finagle any combination of sweetness and hardness. (As Jo said, stabilizers do not affect freezing point).

 

Milk solids are generally important ... they suppress freezing point, add body, and encourage a smoother texture by a number of mechanisms. Solids content is traditionally increased by adding nonfat dry milk, although people here have been experimenting with reducing the milk themselves. 

 

If you have a lot of solids from another source, like a puree or nut paste you can compensate by reducing the milk solids. Of course things like pumpkin puree add water, also. It's important to take into account the added water as well as the added solids so you don't completely mess up the texture.

 

I've been playing with nut butter ice creams. These add a lot of solids and a lot of fats, so I'm compensating by eliminating cream, and by eliminating dry milk (not sure how the final recipes will be, but probably in that direction).

 

I'd suggest with the pumpkin puree that if you're making it yourself, you cook it by roasting, so it will have as low a water content as possible.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 3 weeks later...

There have been a few mentions of salted and/or burnt caramel ice cream in this thread, but no actual details on how to make it.  I want to use Ruben Porto's basic recipe and method.  I assume the amount of sugar would have to be adjusted downward, as would the amount of liquid, but I don't know how to go about this.  David Lebovitz has a recipe that he says is great, but fitting his method and ingredients into Ruben's is the issue.  I think I would start by substituting the (liquid) caramel for some of the sugar in the recipe (though "burnt" caramel would not be as sweet as ordinary sugar).  And because there is still some water left in caramel, substitute the caramel for some of the nonfat milk (which is mostly water)?  You can see the dilemma.  Any help would be appreciated.

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Hi there Jim!

 

There is indeed a recipe for salted caramel ice cream on the blog http://icecreamscience.com/homemade-salted-caramel-ice-cream-recipe/

I haven't had time to install a 'next page' button on my recipes page so you can't see all of the recipes yet. I'll be updating the blog over the next couple of months.

 

I'd recommend using the recipe and quantities from my vanilla bean ice cream recipe but follow the instructions on the salted caramel recipe for the caramel part.

 

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

All the best,

 

Ruben 

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Ruben,

I just finished churning the salted caramel ice cream.  It has a wonderful flavor.  I did have to make a last-minute adjustment:  I was so conscious of getting the caramel dark enough that I went just a second or two beyond the correct point.  After I had heated the mix and then chilled it, I did a taste test, and the flavor was definitely too far on the burnt side (though not by a huge amount).  So I heated a small amount of cream and dissolved some brown sugar in it, cooled that, then added it to the caramel mix.  I know that I was throwing off the fat content and the proportions of the recipe a bit, but I thought it was better to take that chance rather than have ice cream that people would not like.  After churning, it appears that the added sweetness of the brown sugar and the slight diluting of the caramel taste with the added cream worked.  I'll be more restrained in caramelizing the sugar next time.

 

I should add that there is a wonderful ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Toscanini's), that sells "burnt caramel" ice cream (delicious with an apple dessert), and their flavor is so far on the burnt side that they would probably have found my final product quite bland, but I know my audience for the ice cream I made.

 

The heating/evaporation process took a long time.  I must find a 9" pot in which to do the heating (mine is 8").

 

Jim

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5 hours ago, Jim D. said:

The heating/evaporation process took a long time.  I must find a 9" pot in which to do the heating (mine is 8").

 

There is a solution.

 

Note that howsoever you speed up the evaporation process you still need to cook long enough for pasteurization*.  This time seems to vary from country to country.  For the US see time/temperature table in Modernist Cuisine vol 1.

 

*Does not apply if you're not producing ice cream commercially and don't care for your family much.

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About the KitchenAid attachment:  I read the linked thread but ended up somewhat confused.  First, what KitchenAid mixer models are actually compatible?  I have a tilt-head mixer.  Williams-Sonoma specifies "Compatible with KitchenAid Artisan, Metallic Series and Design Series tilt-head mixers," but the KitchenAid site states "Fits all Tilt-Head Stand Mixers models, or as a standalone unit."  I suppose I could order directly from KA and (perhaps) settle the question.  Second concern:  In that other thread, the overall assessment of the attachment (I'm speaking of using it for making Ruben Porto's ice cream) was not all that positive.  JoNorvelleWalker said the temp was quite a few degrees off from where it was set and that it dropped a lot when the lid was removed.  I'm assuming the lid can stay on while doing the evaporation procedure, but does the evaporation happen with the lid off?  It would seem necessary to remove the lid from time to time to check the mixture.  And how does one know when enough evaporation has taken place without removing the whole attachment and weighing it (as the Ruben process describes when using a pot on the stove)?  I'm sure the temp drop quite a lot if this happened very often.  Forgive me if I am missing something obvious.  Any help would be appreciated.

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There are two models of the Precise Heat Mixing Bowl -- one for bowl lift mixers and one for tilt head mixers.  I have the bowl lift model.  William Sonoma is where I bought mine.  WS has a good return policy as I recall.

 

Measuring the percent reduction by weight is something I cannot do with my current setup.  Not that I wouldn't like to.  However once you get the variables figured out, cooking in the PHMB is reproducible.  The variables are temperature, time, and mixing speed.  (Neglecting ambient temperature, relative humidity, and I suppose atmospheric pressure.)

 

Ruben's method fixes the temperature, so the variables are then time and mixing speed.  Once the proper reduction is achieved the recipe result can be repeated over and over without thinking about it.

 

Here is what I'm doing:  I heat the ingredients quickly on the stove (in a pot, not the PHMB) to 160 deg F (this takes about 10 minutes).  I pour the mixture into the preheated PHMB set to 198 deg F, and mount the PHMB on the mixer, set at speed 4 with the wire whisk, and cook for one hour -- completely hands free and unattended.  The mix stays at 160 deg F.  This is all with the lid off, of course, if that was not clear.

 

After the cooking is completed I homogenize and chill the mix in an ice bath as normal.

 

 

Edit:  it may be possible to skip the stovetop step and do all the cooking in the PHMB but I haven't tried this yet.  I'm sure it will take longer to come to 160 deg F.

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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Thanks for the helpful reply.  Are you using Ruben's original recipe that called for heating for one hour rather than the newer version?  The amount of the ingredients varies in the two versions, and he is now replacing the older recipes on his website.  So you assume the evaporation is what it should be after an hour in the PHMB?  Is there any practical way of weighing the PHMB + mix to be certain?  For instance, how heavy and how easily removable is the PHMB?  Would the temp plummet during the weighing so as to make this impractical?

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I'm using a lot higher butterfat than what Ruben's recipes call for, but, yes, I started off with his original one hour method with no added milk solids.

 

The PHMB is quite light, lighter by far than the Le Creuset I was using previously.  It is as easy to remove as a normal KitchenAid bowl.  I wouldn't say the temperature would plummet but it might go down a little.  Unfortunately my scale goes only up to 300 grams.  (Hangs head in shame.)

 

In my case the mixing time is based on the quality of the resulting ice cream.  Longer times made the ice cream slightly softer than I would like.  I might even go shorter, keeping in mind again pasteurization.

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Hi Jim!

 

Good to hear the salted caramel turned out well after some slight tinkering. I've heard of Toscanini's burnt caramel flavour but just can't imagine it being all that nice. I'll have to give it a go the next time I'm over the other side of the pond.

 

Have you tried the new 25 minute heating recipes on the blog Jim? Jo and Jim, have you looked into using a magnetic stirring hot plate to heat and stir your mixes? I think we already spoke about this Jo if my memory serves me well. There are some used hot plates on e-bay by IKA that are good. 

 

Merry Christmas to all.

 

Ruben

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Have you tried the new 25 minute heating recipes on the blog Jim? 

==========

Yes, that is the recipe I use.  Remember, you suggested I use the caramel ingredients but the 25-minute vanilla technique?  The problem is that it took over an hour to reach the target weight for the caramel.  All of the other recipes have taken about 45 minutes, except when I used a (non-stick) wok for heating--it was much wider and cut the time dramatically.  But with the wok I could not use my probe thermometer from Thermapen that I bought specially for this purpose--the sloping sides of the pot didn't allow the probe to be beneath the surface of the mix.  I am now looking for a 9-inch pot (stupidly I used my 9-inch enamel pot for making no-knead bread, and the high heat has ruined it for anything else).

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6 minutes ago, Ruben Porto said:

Hi Jim!

 

Good to hear the salted caramel turned out well after some slight tinkering. I've heard of Toscanini's burnt caramel flavour but just can't imagine it being all that nice. I'll have to give it a go the next time I'm over the other side of the pond.

 

Have you tried the new 25 minute heating recipes on the blog Jim? Jo and Jim, have you looked into using a magnetic stirring hot plate to heat and stir your mixes? I think we already spoke about this Jo if my memory serves me well. There are some used hot plates on e-bay by IKA that are good. 

 

Merry Christmas to all.

 

Ruben

 

I was the one who suggested using a magnetic stirring hot plate, Ruben, but I went with the PHMB.  As it turns out the price would have been about the same...after factoring in the cost of the new commercial KitchenAid.  Though the orange power cord is so pretty, I must say.

 

Do you find that your new recipes with the shorter cooking times give better quality than the original recipes, or is it a matter of convenience?

 

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29 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Yes, that is the recipe I use.  Remember, you suggested I use the caramel ingredients but the 25-minute vanilla technique?

 

Ah, I see. I wasn't sure whether you ended up going with the 25 minute method for the salted caramel. Interesting that the recipe took an hour to make. How long does the reduction process take in your 9" wok? I would recommend that you keep your mix at around 72°C for at least 25 minutes, even if you reach the desired reduction weight before then. The aim of the heating process is two-fold: 1. is to concentrate the mix, thereby increasing the non-fat-milk-solids, primarily the protein, which significantly contributes to smooth texture, and 2. to promote reversible protein unfolding, which, again, significantly contributes to smooth texture. If you don't heat for at least 25 minutes, you are unlikely to get the same rate of reversible protein unfolding and I'm certain that the texture won't be as smooth and creamy.

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40 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I was the one who suggested using a magnetic stirring hot plate, Ruben

 

Oops. I knew I had you to thank for the stirring hot plate introduction Jo. :)

 

The new 25 minute heating method does produce excellent texture but it is not quite as smooth as that produced by the longer heating time. I've introduced it purely to make my recipes more accessible to the home cook. I've also had to increase the fat content in the new method, which gives a slightly heavier ice cream and masks the flavour just a tad. Interesting to see that you use a higher fat content than I do. Let me know if you would like me to send through a copy of the spreadsheet I use to calculate my mixes.

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4 hours ago, Ruben Porto said:

 

How long does the reduction process take in your 9" wok?

I didn't keep close track of the time, but it was in the 25-30 minute range.  I had to hold a Thermapen in the mix the whole time, and that was not an acceptable arrangement (at least for me).  The wok is about 10" in diameter.  I think that a 9" pot will be a solution for me.  As attractive as the idea of the KitchenAid unattended attachment sounds (and I haven't totally abandoned the idea), I don't think I would feel comfortable without weighing the mix from time to time.

 

Happy Boxing Day, Ruben

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      This is the view out the back door of the kitchen. We look over the Kai-Tai Lagoon and the Olympic Mountains. Unfortunately you can't see the Olympics in this picture because it's cloudy. But man, on a clear day......it's outstanding. Off to the right, beyond the trellis thing, is a large garden full of culinary things....a la Chez Panisse. We've got rosemary, bay, basil, fennel, oregano, chervil,onions, squashes (in the fall), thyme, decorative flowers, arugula, and more. Whenever we need herbs....just go out back. We get most of our produce from local farmers who come to our back door. One of the things I LOVE about Tinytown. It really beats the in-city large mass produce vendors. As I look out the back door, I sip on a latte that I made myself from our aging and undependable espresso machine. Luckily, today, I managed to pull a pretty good shot. Ok, break time over! Back to work! My next step is to turn my pots over. I will turn the larger pot over first. I slip my offset spatula underneath the saran wrap and lift the cake off, and set it aside on the table. An important thing to note: If I'd used a mousse, curd, or jam filling, I wouldn't have been able to do this so easily. With a refrigerated buttercream filling, the cake doesn't flex at all as I lift it. I managed to nick a little of my polyfoil covering with my spat when I went to lift the cake. Nuts. Oh well, I'll cover that with a flower later. I melt some white chocolate and smear some in the center of my board. I need to anchor the bottom pot so it doesn't slip around.

      I flip the bottom pot over, place it on top of my melted white chocolate, make sure it's centered, and peel the saran wrap off.

      My next step is to mark where I'm going to place my top pot, then insert straws within that area to support the weight of it. I decided to place the top pot slightly off center, and traced a circle with my paring knife to mark it. For most cake supports I use straws. They're easy to cut to fit, cheap, and they work. The only time I use wooden dowels is when there is an UNGODLY amount of weight or a weird center of gravity involved. I used to use regular heavy duty bar straws, until I discovered.......bubble tea straws! They are super heavy duty and very large.....they have to be for people to suck up that lovely bubble tea. I don't really think that fad is going to catch on here much in the states, but as long as I can get the straws I'm happy. I get them from an asian novelty wholesaler in Seattle. I think it's Viet-Wah, but can't remember for sure.

      Anyway, I insert the straw, mark it with my thumb where it's flush with the top of the cake, then pull the straw out and cut it. I use that straw as a measure to cut the rest of my straws. In this case I will use 5. One in the center and four around.

      Now I'm all ready to place the top pot on......oh, wait, except for a swirl of buttercream on top of the straws to anchor it a bit. Next, I use my melted white chocolate to adhere an appropriately sized round cardboard on the bottom of my top pot.

      Once that's set, I flip over the top pot, and place it on my bottom pot.

      Voila! Now, I really have to make sure that the top pot won't slide around, so I stick a few bamboo skewers down through the middle and through the cardboard til it hits the bottom board. I use the side of my needlenose pliers to pound the skewer down through. Now starts my very favorite part of this whole thing.....details! I figured that using my silicone lace impression molds will make great detailing on the pots. Here's the one I'm going to use to detail the bottom pot:

      I dust the inside of the mold with cornstarch........then roll out a quick piece of fondant, and roughly press it in:

      Then I place the top piece of the silicone impression on top, and roll it like crazy with a rolling pin. With the top part of the impression still in place, I pull off as much of the excess as I can.

      Then I remove the top piece, and pull all the ragged edges back in......

      Then I brush a little water on the back of the piece, and adhere it to the pot. I keep making them until the pattern has gone all the way 'round.

      I use a different lace mold to make a pattern on the top pot. Now it's time to do the rims. When I did the lace impressions around the pots, I used fondant, because I needed the stretchability of it to conform easily to the shape of the pot. A little stretchiness in this case is good. But when it's time to do the rims, I don't want ANY stretching going on whatsoever.....I want uniformly thick and perfectly straight strips, so for this I'm going to use modeling chocolate, which of course has been colored the same color as the fondant. See the neato embossing on my strip? I found that little embossing wheel at Seattle Pottery Supply, believe it or not, and it was cheap too. The embossers are interchangeable and it came with about 10 different patterns! I rolled out my strip, then embossed the pattern twice (one next to the other) then used my pizza wheel to cut nice straight even edges. I made two top strips and two bottom strips....the bottom strips are just plain.

      And here are the pots with all their details.....

      These guys are going into the walk-in for a while while I work on the other details. Gotta make the baby! First I start with a styrofoam core. The reason for this is for stability and less weight. There was a time in my career when I thought I shouldn't use ANYTHING that wasn't edible, but talk about making life hard. I've made things out of solid modeling chocolate, but they were very heavy and hard to support. Then over the years, I realized that people really don't eat the decorations anyway (except for a few overzealous kids), so I decided to reduce my chocolate expenses and weight by using styrofoam to bulk things out more and more. I pat out a disk of flesh colored modeling chocolate, and place my styrofoam ball in the middle.

      Then I bring the edges up around the ball and squeeze the chocolate together so that no seams show. I stick a couple of skewers in it so that I can hold it in one hand and model it with the other. Then I manipulate it in my surgeon-scrubbed hands to model the face, add a little nose, eyes, mouth, ears, hair and of course, a dimple. The baby head needs to go somewhere while I work on other stuff.....oh, here's a good place.....right in the edge of my equipment box.

      I've been so good about taking pictures at nearly every step! But here's where I fail you.......when I get "in the zone"......meaning that I'm so intent on my little details....I sort of forget about the camera! Here's what I did in between this picture and the next two:
      *made the baby's shoulders and neck and arms out of modeling chocolate
      *sprinkled my cookie dirt inside the pots
      *dusted the centers of my flowers with luster and color, made the calyx's (sp?) and mounted *them on my green skewers
      *rolled modeling chocolate onto a skewer to form the umbrella stem
      *made the bottom banner and wrote on it
      *made the baby's flower bonnet
      I modeled the baby's neck and shoulders, then stuck that right on the top pot. Then I cut the skewers that are coming out of his head to the right length and pushed it down through the neck and shoulders.

      I placed the arms and formed the hands. I stuck my umbrella stem through the arm and down into the cake so there would be adequate support......but darn, I wasn't watching carefully, and the skewer came out of the side of the pot because my angle was a bit off. Oh well, I'll cover that up with a leaf. At least you can see where the umbrella stem is on the skewer. On top of the umbrella stem is a little half dome of modeling chocolate, to support the gumpaste umbrella. I dab a bit of melted white chocolate on that, and stick the umbrella on top. Now all I have to do is place my flowers, mount the banner, and put his little bonnet on.

      And here we have the finished product. It's sort of hard to read the banner....it says, "May Showers Bring Adorable Flowers". One thing I always seem to to do.....I'll shoot the picture of my finished cake and I'm always tired.....so I'm too lazy to find a good backdrop. Then I curse myself later when there's that yukky kitcheny background. God, in one picture I took, my cake had a dirty mop bucket behind it! All I can say is, thank god for Photoshop......I can always "fix" it later.
      It took me 8 hours to put this together and that's not counting all the prep I did the whole week prior. I don't think a whole lot of people realize the time that goes into this stuff.....and it's also why you don't see it very often.
      Anyway, the girl that's getting the baby shower has NO IDEA this is coming. Surprising her is going to be the best part!
      Fast forward to the next day. My boss's wife and I are bringing the box inside the house, then removing the cake from the box. Kids are dancing around us....."is that a CAKE? Is that a CAKE?" People gather round, and the girl who's getting the shower sees it and starts crying. She gives me a big hug and says "I don't know how to thank you!" I told her she just did.
      The shower went on, presents were opened, food was eaten, champagne was sipped.......and then.....it was time......the part that the kids almost couldn't wait for.....time to eat cake! Which of course, means, time to cut cake. And guess who gets to do it. Yep. Me. I don't have to cut my own cakes very often, and that's a good thing. Usually I'm nowhere in the vicinity when my cakes are cut and consumed.....I have only the memory of a photograph and my labor. This time I also do the deconstructing.....and I gotta say it was bittersweet. Especially since knowing it took me 8 hours to build it and only 15 minutes to take it apart. May I say.......wah? Yes. Wah. Luckily I'd had a couple glasses of Mumm's so my "pain" was numbed a bit.......
      Hope you all have enjoyed this bit of cake sculpting. Now back to our regular programming.......
    • By Nn, M.D.
      I'm very excited to share with you all a recipe that I developed for a double crust apple pie.  I had been inspired a few weeks ago to come up with a series of 3-ingredient recipes that would focus on technique and flavor but still be simple enough for the unseasoned chef.  I decided to make an apple pie as a challenge to myself--never having made one before--and as a way to show those who might find pastry intimidating how easy and adaptable it can be.
       
      Basic Shortcrust Pastry
      Ingredients:
      - 300g flour
      - 227g salted butter, cold
      - 2 lemons, zested with juice reserved
       
      1. Cut butter into small chunks.  Beat butter, zest of the 2 lemons, and flour together with an electric mixer OR combine with pastry blender OR rub together with fingers OR blitz in a food processor until it resembles sand.
      2. Add just enough water to bring the mix together into a dough (about 20g for me).  You'll know your pastry is ready when you can press it together and it stays in one piece.
      3. Divide dough in two and wrap tightly with plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
      4. When ready to use, roll out each portion to 13 inches in diameter. (I do this between two sheets of parchment paper.  Don't worry too much if the parchment sticks to the pastry. I periodically placed mine in the freezer to help keep everything cold, and the butter will separate from the parchment when frozen.)
      5. Take 1 portion of rolled dough and place it in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom.  Gently press into the sides to ensure even coverage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Freeze the other portion of dough in-between the parchment pieces.
       
      Apple Filling (and Assembly)
      - 1 kg apples (I used about 7 apples for this recipe.)
      - 220g dark brown sugar, divided
      - 1 egg, separated
       
      Making the apple butter: 
      1. Cut and core 500g of your apples, but do not peel.  Add cut apples, juice of the one lemon, about 100g or so of water, and 170g of sugar to a large saucepan.
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let the apples cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
      3. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
      4. Return puree to saucepan and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour.  Color should deepen and the mixture should thicken slightly, but do not allow it to scorch.
      5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
       
      Apple filling:
      1. Peel, quarter, and core the remaining 500g of apples. Slice on a mandolin to about 1/8th inch thickness. Place sliced apples in a large bowl of cold water while slicing remaining apples.
      2. Once apples are sliced, drain water and add the juice from the remaining lemon, as well as the remaining 50g of sugar, over the apples. Stir to coat.
       
         
       
      Assembly:
      1. Remove pie base from the freezer.  Dock with a fork and brush on egg white.  Place back in the freezer and allow to set for for about 5-10 minutes.
      2. Pour the entire recipe of apple butter into the pie base and even out with an offset spatula.
      3. Arrange apple slices over the apple butter.
      4. Remove remaining pie dough from the freezer and cut designs in while still cold. Transfer to the surface of the pie and seal overhanging edges.  Trim excess dough.
      5. Brush top pastry with egg yolk (beaten with any remaining egg white) and bake in a 365˚F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Crust should be shiny and golden brown.
      6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.
       
      Some notes:
      The reason for using salted butter is I think the flavor incorporates a little better into the mix than if I were to use unsalted butter and added salt.  That being said, you could do that instead, though your recipe would then have 7 ingredients The addition of apple butter here takes the place of the normal apple pie filling, which is usually thickened with cornstarch and is typically quite sweet.  By using the apple butter, I push the flavor of apple forward beyond what you would find in a typically apple pie.  Also, the apple butter acts as a glue of sorts so that my slices are always clean, so no need to resort to adding thickeners or extra sweeteners. I'm always looking for a way around blind baking, and using an egg white seal has worked out very well for me. The egg white creates a water-tight layer between the crust and the filling, so no matter how wet my filling is, the crust will always bake crispy and won't get soggy for as long as the pie is around. Feel free to change this up as you see fit.  Obviously you can spices to this (I recommend cinnamon, clove, and cardamom) but the beauty of this pie is that it's really not necessary.  Although at first blush it may seem one-noted, the harmony between the flaky, almost savory crust and the bright and refreshing filling is one that doesn't need any help, in my honest opinion.  

       
      So there you have it! My 6-ingredient apple pie, sure to become a go-to for me, and hopefully for you as well!
       
    • By ResearchBunny
      Posted 6 hours ago Dear EGulleters,
      ResearchBunny here. I've just found you today. I've been lolling in bed with a bad cold, lost voice, wads of tissues, pillows, bedding around me. I spent all of yesterday binge-watching Season 2 of Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix from beginning to grand finale. I have been a hardcore devotee of Rose Levy Beranbaum since the beginning of my baking passion -- after learning that she wrote her master's thesis comparing the textural differences in cake crumb when using bleached versus unbleached flour. I sit up and pay attention to that level of serious and precision! While Beranbaum did study for a short while at a French pastry school, she hasn't taken on the challenge of writing recipes for entremets style cakes. That is, multi-layer desserts with cake, mousse, gelatin, nougatine or dacquoise layers all embedded in one form embellished with ice cream, granita, chocolate, coulis. After watching hours of the Zumbo contest, I became curious about the experience of designing these cakes. Some of the offered desserts struck me as far too busy, others were delightful combinations. I was surprised that a few contestants were eliminated when their offerings were considered too simple or, too sophisticated. So I'd like to hear from you about your suggestions for learning more about how to make entremets. And also, what you think about the show. And/or Zumbo.
      Many thanks.
      RB
      ps. The show sparked a fantasy entremet for my cold. Consider a fluffy matzo ball exterior, with interior layers of carrot, celery, a chicken mince, and a gelatin of dilled chicken broth at its heart!
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
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