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DianaB

Pectin and other setting ingredients

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I've searched the forum and while pectin has been discussed in various topics I didn't find any that considered the variants available in detail.

 

To set the scene, as regular visitors will know, with the assistance of other members, @gfron1 especially, I recently made a first and successful batch of PDF.  I was given very clear advice that to succeed I must use 'Yellow Pectin'.  

 

Last week I wanted to make a layered desert following a recipe by Christophe Felder via the C'est ma Fournée blog (http://www.cestmafournee.com/2016/05/le-framboisier.html#more). I should have known better, while the blog is great and I've made loads of her recipes successfully in the past, my 'relationship' with M. Felder is less happy.  I have his bright pink tome 'Patisserie' from which most things I have tried have disappointed.  Stupidly, being impressed by the Framboisier and another Felder recipe on the aforementioned blog I ordered the book containing these and other recipes last Thursday from Amazon.  Even this purchase has not gone well: promised next day delivery by Messrs Amazon here I am 5 days on and the text has yet to be despatched.  I'm sure it is the Felder curse that strikes again.  M. Felder, if by chance you are reading this (I know you have shops in the US so assume you speak some English), what did I do to cause you to bring me such bad luck?

 

Sorry, I digress.  Anyway, before buying the Yellow Pectin I had wanted to get hold of some Pectin NH to make a recipe I'd seen elsewhere.  I couldn't find this at a price I was willing to pay but in the past I had bought xanthan and other powders from a UK company called SpecialIngredients.  I wrote to them, having received helpful advice in the past, they responded by saying to ignore the direction for Pectin NH, their Premium Quality pectin would do a better job.  

 

So, as I began to prepare my Felder creation I wondered which of my 2 pectin variants to use.  The Yellow is more expensive and I plan on making more PDF so I thought I would use the 'Premium'.  Looking at the lists of ingredients, Yellow Pectin contains:

Pectin E440i, sodium & potassium tartrate E337, dextrose, sodium polyphosphate.

Premium pectin contains:

Pectin powder E440

I admit that until just now when I used reading glasses to check the ingredients I hadn't noticed the little 'i' next to 440 in the Yellow Pectin.

 

Thinking that both products were based on E440 I decided to save the Yellow for PDF and try the other.

 

If you glance at the recipe cited above you will see that it uses pectin to set a fruit coulis that becomes an insert for the final product.  Once cooked, the insert is to be frozen until needed or for at least 2 hours.  I left mine in the freezer until the next day so of course it was a solid block when I constructed the creation.  Felder had specified Pectin NH.

 

I went on to create the other components in the recipe, none particularly time consuming or difficult.  I decided to make the thing upside down so that the bottom would become the top and would give a smooth surface for the mirror glaze.  In addition to the set coulis there is a biscuit de gênes, a bavarois set with gelatin and of course the glaze which includes more gelatin and white chocolate.

 

The biscuit layer and the glaze are supposed to be bright red.  I had no red colouring so ordered via Amazon next day delivery both a single pot and a set of 3 including red (after reading comments that the colours in the set of 3 were not necessarily those shown in the picture I ordered the single pot as insurance).  The set did arrive next day but no red.  I decided that as the biscuit would be hidden until the product was cut it would be baked without colour.  Amazon's understanding of next day differs from mine but I had only to wait another day for a second package from Amazon. Great! Or at least you would hope.  Unfortunately on opening the package I found a pot of brown colourant. So, no red and no time to mail order anything more.  The only thing I could do was drive into town and hope to find red colouring there.  The only choice was a liquid colourant but with time running out I thought this would have to do.

 

I didn't want to add a lot of liquid to the glaze for fear of preventing it setting.  The red was extremely disappointing but it seemed at least I could complete the recipe in the time remaining.

 

By now all components except the glaze were present and in the freezer.  I had lined the round tin with rhodoid to prevent any imperfections that might spoil the mirror effect.  I used a spring form tin and once the glaze had cooled sufficiently I took the item from the freezer.  The side was indeed perfect.  If only (Felder effect?  No, just my stupidity) I had thought to line the bottom of the tin with acetate or indeed anything! The bavarois was welded solidly to the base.  I didn't have a gas torch to hand and time was short.  In the end I managed to separate cake from metal with a large hot knife.  The surface was far from the smooth perfection I had hoped for.  

 

Please dont laugh too much...  Here is my newly glazed item:

 

 

 

image.jpeg

 

Despite the appearance I knew that the components tasted good and so decided it would have to do.  I had also made a stack of macarons so the intended recipients would at least get something that looked good.  While the above creation was far from what I had wanted to make it would have to do.  I put it in the fridge ready to transport the next day.

 

Next morning the product seemed fine, my husband said it looked great even if it didn't match the original.

 

I work from home and was due to visit one of my client firms that afternoon, it was the last day for one of the staff members who was moving on.  I had arranged with her colleagues to arrive mid-afternoon so that we could all wish her well with a drink and cakes.  Each time I opened the fridge that morning the product appeared fine and I had come to terms with the less than beautiful finish.

 

Until around midday.

 

When I next opened the fridge it seemed there must have been an earthquake.  The product had developed huge cracks and the once set (or perhaps not) coulis was seeping into all corners of the fridge.  We store all our cocktail glasses and such in the fridge so the washing up machine worked hard that evening.

 

Here is (some of) the remains:

 

image.jpeg

 

At first I thought the problem must have been insufficient gelatin in the bavarois but my husband was certain from the start that it was the coulis insert that had destroyed the creation.  I think he is right, you can see in the bottom picture that the coulis is much more liquid than it should have been.

 

When first glazed the product was frozen.  It must have taken hours to defrost in the fridge, hence appearing unchanged all the next morning.  The insert was protected by the bavarois and the biscuit and so would have taken longest to defrost.  My husband said that once the coulis had defrosted and lost its viscosity it would have caused the rest of the product to crack. It sounded more logical when he explained it.

 

Outcome?

Macarons are always welcomed

Colleagues enjoyed laughing at my account of the above and the photos.

It will be a long time before I make another of Christophe Felder's recipes.

I really need to understand more about pectin, gelatin and other setting ingredients (agents?).

 

Would anyone have time to explain the differences between the two types of pectin described above?

 

Is xanthan a good substitute for gelatin?  I've used it in the past but without properly understanding how it should be used.  It has 'saved' more than one cream based dessert when gelatin has been insufficient.

 

Apologies for the length of this post, I thought it necessary to demonstrate the extent of my ineptitude to show that I really need to start from the beginning in attempt to build sufficient knowledge to perhaps predict similar catastrophes.  With hindsight I can see that this mess could have been predicted at stage 1 when the coulis was more liquid than my earlier PDF once cooked. At the time I thought it would be OK because it wasn't intended as a stand alone item. I should have known that when defrosted this 'insert' would never stand at all.  Hindsight would be a remarkable gift.....  

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I don't claim to know much about anything but you might start by consulting

 

Khymos

 

it only distinguishes the two main types of pectin available but there is a lot of useful information about modernist ingredients and their effects.  It might give you something to think about until the experts chime in here.   The blog itself has very interesting information.

 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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12 hours ago, DianaB said:

Please dont laugh too much... 

 

No-one will laugh, everyone has kitchen disasters! Anyone who says they don't is either lying or doesn't cook :P Can you post the recipe just for the insert? Perhaps it actually does have an error in it.

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I have very little experience with pectin, but after glancing at some of gel cheat-sheets it looks like your problem might be syneresis, which is science talk for weeping. Pectin weeps (and then you, too, weep). Some gelling agents are more susceptible than others. It just means they eventually let some water break out of the hydrocolloid matrix. Pectin supposedly has less syneresis with the addition of calcium; someone here can probably tell you what form to use and how to use it.

 

Additionally, there are other gelling agents that are much more stable. I'm not sure which ones best mimic pectin (or if you'd be interested in other textural properties). It may be possible to stabilize agar with locust bean gum (agar by itself has serious syneresis issues). Possibly also a gel with locust bean gum and iota carrageenan.


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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No experience with pectin for baking, but some for jam.  Looks to me like the recipe requires a low sugar pectin and you used regular.

 

For others, based on the Google translation, the insert calls for:

240g raspberry puree (or frozen or fresh raspberries mixed and chinoisées)

pectin 5g NH 

caster sugar 50g

250g fresh raspberries

Mix 5 g pectin NH with 50g sugar powder. Add sugar mixture / pectin raspberry puree 240g , all in a small saucepan.  Mix well with a magical spoon or a small whip, and bring everything to a boil for one minute (at this point, if you want to have an idea of the final consistency, just pour a drop on something cold well) .  Pour the insert in a circle set to 16cm (Seal the circle with aluminum foil!) Add 250g fresh raspberries and reserve in the freezer for at least two hours (you can keep a few raspberries for decoration).

 

BTW, Paul, those CP Kelco booklets are awesome.  Have saved copies.


Edited by pbear better formatting (log)
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17 minutes ago, pbear said:

... based on the Google translation, the insert calls for:

....  Mix well with a magical spoon ......

 

Hmmmm.  Perhaps it was a problem with the magical spoon xD (cuillère magique)

Love Google translations!

 

Apologies.  That adds nothing to the discussion but it did give me a good chuckle.

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Thanks to everyone for comments, It is 6.30am here so brain not yet fully engaged (needs coffee).  The translation @pbear gave is good, the 'magic spoon' is indeed known by that name, a very useful little device: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Generique-01135-Magic-Spoon-Stainless/dp/B00DQC048C/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1465363950&sr=1-1&keywords=magic+spoon

 

I think I paid £1 for mine.

 

I've download the .pdf @Anna N recommended, it does look very useful.  I shall study the rest of your advices once back from the 7.30am meeting that seemed a good idea when we arranged it!

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I do have a couple of these and handy they are but if they had magical powers, I'm afraid they are long gone :D

 

@paulraphael, I forgot to thank you for the links to the Kelco materials. Very informative!

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