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Your Daily Sweets: What Are You Making and Baking? (2016 – 2017)


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8 hours ago, RichardJones said:

A chocolate, praliné, raspberry and hazelnut entremets. Took a shot of the slice this time as it was requested before. Frustratingly my cocoa butter spray died on me so I had to resort to a dusting of cocoa powder. By the time it came to taking photos there had been quite a lot of moisture migration—too bad!

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This looks amazing. Those raspberries are beautiful!

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Stu Jordan - Chocolatier

The Chocolatier Life

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Needed something quick and easy when friends stopped by, so I made these simple chocolate cookies, adapted from recipe by Francois Payard. 

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"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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I had really hoped that I would be able to make a positive contribution to this thread after the end of year holidays. I had planned to make the usual fast turnaround chocolate praline clusters, a tiramisu inspired gateau we developed a few years ago and save for this time of year because it is too rich for everyday occasions, some moulded chocolates and an attempt at an 'opera' disguised as a popular chocolate coated bar (eg Mars or similar), a recipe featured on a recent French Bake Off episode.  This series has the candidates 'revisit' a classic French patisserie for the first round.  Unlike the UK version the expert Chef shows how to make his own 'reinvention' and recipes are published on the web.

 

Baking before our short pre-Christmas trip to Paris seemed fine.  I made a couple of batches of passion fruit/milk choc macarons that were well received by my clients, including one lady who declined hers on grounds macarons are too sweet before munching her way through her neighbours portion during our meeting.  Needless to say the neighbour, a junior in the company, got her own box to take home.

 

On arriving home after Paris I was able to make the chocolate pralines and these were good.  They are simply a roasted hazelnut (almond this year, didn't have hazelnuts and when we got back it was too late to buy more ingredients, anyway the almonds made a great substitute). These se are pressed into a line of praline paste mixed with melted milk chocolate and crunched up crepes dentelles.  I pipe this mix onto strips of foil, push the almonds in, roll the foil to form a cylinder and freeze while tempering dark chocolate for the coating.  Almond nibs are stirred into the tempered chocolate.  I used to dip, then roll in almonds and then dip again.  I prefer the one step finish, it results in smaller chocs, more filling to coating and much less mess or waste.  Next I retrieve the rolls of praline from the freezer one by one, slice the filling into around 1cm pieces and then dip in the dark choc and nib mix.  These are perhaps the easiest chocolates to make and seem to be liked by everyone who tries them.  It seemed I was off on a good start.

 

Unfortunately there was no time to make moulded chocolates.  The calendar this year meant our annual Paris visit took place 19-23 Dec so there was only 24th to bake etc.

 

The tiramisu based gateaux were ok but the texture of the cream didn't hold as in the past.  At least they tasted good but I don't know where I went wrong since this is my recipe and I have followed it with success for years until now.  I had another go a couple of days ago, determined that the year should begin with something good even though the end of 2016 was something of a culinary disaster.  Same result.  I use xanthan to give lasting body to a cream/marscapone/ coffee mix and am wondering if this deteriorates with age.  It is stored in its original plastic tub in a cool dark cupboard.  No sign of any change but this isn't a product I use very often.

 

I was really looking forward to the Opera bars.  I should have known better than to try on finding the scant instructions on the programmes website.  They had entirely missed any ingredients or instructions for the cake layers.  I have made Mercotte's opera with success many times so decided to use that recipe for my Joconde.  I did my best to complete the bars in accordance with the recipe from the programme.

 

Lesson for me:. Never, ever, attempt a recipe from a TV show unless you can find evidence of others who have tried and succeeded!  

 

A few weeks earlier I had been inspired by Apple shaped desserts made from apple in various textures.  Mine were edible, in fact nice.  The problem was the appearance.  The young student chef had made beautiful desserts that looked like shiny green apples.  Two half domes of Apple puree with an insert of finely chopped uncooked apple frozen in apple  juice.  Two half spheres are fixed together and if you have any sense you will have made sure the tops would be flat so that the globe would look as it should.  I didn't employ sense, the tops of my half spheres were not flat.  I attempted to improve them on a heated mettle tray.  The half spheres are held together and then dipped in tempered white chocolate, either coloured green or later sprayed green to give the appearance of an apple.

 

As the pictures show I have much to learn!  I also have mountains of apples so might try again if I can get beyond the depression that my end of year failures have caused.image.jpeg

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Fortunately the apples were good to eat.

 

I didn't have enough tempered chocolate to encase all of my Opera bars.  I made them far too big and I made a pig's ear of the chocolate coating.  My husband is the kindest person possible when I have culinary disasters.  He loves Opera cakes, hence my early attempts to master the proper recipe with Mercotte's advice a good while ago.  The truth this time is in the fridge.  Tomorrow it will most likely be in the bin.

 

I have enjoyed seeing and reading about all of your more successful cooking and baking.  I really hope that next time there is a major holiday with good food attached I might be able to share some more successful stuff than those described above.  I really need to find my 'baking mojo'!  

 

At least bread has performed as expected but I'm aware that has its own topic.  Happy 2017 to all eGullet readers.

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One upside (for my colleagues) of my everlasting inability to sleep through the night without becoming overwhelmed thinking about the miseries of the world is 2am baking – these are vanilla and lime zest cupcakes, with the innards cut out and filled with a VERY limey and buttery lime curd, and then piped with Swiss meringue and blowtorched. 

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Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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I have little doubt of your popularity among your co-workers. :)

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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18 hours ago, rarerollingobject said:

One upside (for my colleagues) of my everlasting inability to sleep through the night without becoming overwhelmed thinking about the miseries of the world is 2am baking – these are vanilla and lime zest cupcakes, with the innards cut out and filled with a VERY limey and buttery lime curd, and then piped with Swiss meringue and blowtorched.

 

 

So incredibly productive!  The miseries of the world usually just inspire fantasies of moving to Australia or New Zealand.  Y'all need any chocolatiers down there?

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2 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

So incredibly productive!  The miseries of the world usually just inspire fantasies of moving to Australia or New Zealand.  Y'all need any chocolatiers down there?

Gotta figure a good chocolatier is welcome just about anywhere. :)

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I had more apples to use up, so I tried another variation on tart tatin, this time using Christophe Michalak's recipe. Sablé base. Added a little clear glaze for some sparkle. 

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"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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On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 4:37 PM, Patrick S said:

Needed something quick and easy when friends stopped by, so I made these simple chocolate cookies, adapted from recipe by Francois Payard. 

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Are these the flourless chocolate walnut cookies? They look beautiful!

 

 

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When I lived in Seattle, I was two blocks away from Le Panier in the market, and I love their hazelnut sable.  I was just there on New Year's and bought a couple, but unfortunately had help eating them ¬¬. So I made some myself.  These are really good, not as hard and crunchy as their's, but more of a sandy texture.   

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@RWood those sables looks beautiful! And perfectly round! Did you roll them into a log and slice? I've been making sables from Dorie Greenspan's new cookie book and the method in her book is great - you refrigerate/freeze the dough, cut out in rounds and drop into muffin tins and bake - no more lopsided cookies for me - they come out perfectly round (although you can't get sugar on the edge, she shows most of hers with decos on top). 

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9 minutes ago, rajoress said:

@RWood those sables looks beautiful! And perfectly round! Did you roll them into a log and slice? I've been making sables from Dorie Greenspan's new cookie book and the method in her book is great - you refrigerate/freeze the dough, cut out in rounds and drop into muffin tins and bake - no more lopsided cookies for me - they come out perfectly round (although you can't get sugar on the edge, she shows most of hers with decos on top). 

Thanks. Yeah, these are log and slice. This recipe was actually the lemon sable from Dorie's Paris Sweets. I just rolled these in parchment and sliced them chilled. Held the round shape very nicely. I used egg yolk wash on the log then rolled in sugar. 

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7 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:

Are these the flourless chocolate walnut cookies? They look beautiful!

 

 

 

Yes! Except I substituted more chocolate in place of the walnuts. I posted this same photo on my Instagram, and a couple of days later Payard's NYC Bakery reposted the photo (with attribution). I was honored!  

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"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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On 1/8/2017 at 9:40 AM, quiet1 said:

 

What recipe would you use for something like the raspberry layer?

 

I'm afraid I don't have a recipe with quantities, but I can tell you what I did. Half (or so) of my raspberries I cooked down in a saucepan with ~25% their weight in sugar. I waited until they disintegrated completely then boiled for a minute or so. Then I melted in some hydrated gelatin (enough to produce a soft-set jelly). Then I added in the rest of the raspberries halved/quartered. In other words, fresh chunks of raspberry set into a quick raspberry jam. The idea was to get those two different textures. I also ground in a good amount of black pepper. Hope this helps.

 

Thank you all for your kind feedback.

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I kept a blog during my pâtisserie training in France: Candid Cake

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2 hours ago, RichardJones said:

 

I'm afraid I don't have a recipe with quantities, but I can tell you what I did. Half (or so) of my raspberries I cooked down in a saucepan with ~25% their weight in sugar. I waited until they disintegrated completely then boiled for a minute or so. Then I melted in some hydrated gelatin (enough to produce a soft-set jelly). Then I added in the rest of the raspberries halved/quartered. In other words, fresh chunks of raspberry set into a quick raspberry jam. The idea was to get those two different textures. I also ground in a good amount of black pepper. Hope this helps.

 

Thank you all for your kind feedback.

 

'It looks delicious - if I'm feeling up to it I may try this for my housemate's birthday cake. He likes drier cakes not soaked in Stuff and I suspect the raspberrry and maybe a nice ganache would make for a good combination of flavors while maintaining somewhat separate layering.

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I was gifted this lovely King's Cake by @Alleguede a couple of days ago. We have been slowly making our way though it - and I was watching for the fève - expecting a little baby Jesus. Instead I got Kevin! I like Kevin - he's one of my favourites.

 

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For some reason, even though I never make them, I tend to automatically think of the brightly colored Louisiana style when I hear Kings Cake. Took a second for that Galette des Rois to register. Kevin is a nice bonus.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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No photo, but I made Flo Braker's buttermilk cake the other day for the first time in quite a while. It has always been my favorite cake, and it's still got what it takes. It is hands down the most moist and flavorful cake ever. It needs no adornment. I have served it with whipped cream and lemon curd and berries and what have you. Those are all very nice, of course, but the cake itself is what really shines. 

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I made a few babakas to give as gifts. I also have some dough left to make some for us :)

 

Fillings are:
dark chocolate with a little nutella
cinnamon, butter and dark brown sugar

Date paste, tahini and a hint of cacao

 

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In Israel the term babka is not often used, instead those cakes are usually called "yeast cakes" (עוגות שמרים), and when shaped in this for, it is sometimes called "krantz cake"

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~ Shai N.

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