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Abra

Making Lovely Desserts Onsite, a la minute

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As a personal chef without a commercial kitchen, I do all of my prep and cooking in clients' homes. Desserts are always a challenge, especially when I do a party for 30-50 people, since I normally only have 1 oven available, sometimes two, and those have to share with the other cooking for the meal. I only have the client's home fridge available, and you know how little space those have. No big Hobart, and only a limited amount of space on the counter for decorating and plating. You get the picture - it's like you were giving a party of that size in your home and couldn't make anything before the day of the event, and had to fit the whole dinner and dessert into one day's space and schedule.

That said, I still want to give my clients something special in the way of dessert. So far the only thing I've resorted to buying is tiny tartlet shells from my local bakery, which come frozen, and really are just fine, even though I cringe at using something I didn't make from scratch. Well, if I used puff pastry or phyllo I'd buy that too, but both are relatively hard to work with under the circumstances I've described.

I'm hoping, and even begging, for advice from the pros about tricks, tips, and even recipes that I might be able to use in these conditions to create beautiful, delicious desserts with a lot of wow factor. I can't wait to hear what you all might have to say.

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I'm sure there are a number of possibilities for you, it would just help a little if we all knew more specifically what you would like to make. Is petits four more your style? Bite sized nibbles? Or would you prefer making larger sized desserts (cobblers, pies, bar cookies, etc) that you cut up to make numerous servingsout of? I'm sure we could all help you out a bit if we knew more of what you and your clients are looking to do.


Edited by Elizabeth_11 (log)

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.

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it's like you were giving a party of that size in your home and couldn't make anything before the day of the event, and had to fit the whole dinner and dessert into one day's space and schedule.

I definitely understand the job of a personal chef is to go to clients homes and prepare their meals in their kitchen.......but.....what is it that prohibits you from doing anything except the day of the event? I mean, if I were hosting a party in my home, I certainly wouldn't leave all the prep and cooking til the last minute.....why should you? Especially when it comes to dessert.....the wonderful thing about desserts is that a lot (or maybe even most) can be made the day before. Or prepped the day before......you aren't able to do this?

You couldn't bake up a cheesecake and slice it and have it all ready for your clients?

It certainly would be easier for you....that's for sure.

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Zabaione...either plain or laced with chocolate, served with fresh berries (raspberries, yum) and some quickly made sablees.

There are some items that can be bought (of course it would be more fun to make them but I understand you can not cook off-site) like chocolate leaves or marzipan decorations that could add to the 'look' of the dessert.

For a super duper 'what is that' touch you can obtain edible gold leaf from Indian markets....

Crepes are nice...you can fill them with almost anything and can flavor them with almost anything. Chocolate crepes rolled with apricot preserves, topped with whipped cream and slivered almonds...with a side of fresh cherries is both fancy and fairly quick....

Any sort of upside-down cake is another idea....basic, yes, but can be made to look 'fancier' with different plating ideas...

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What about chocolate mousse? As long as you have a burner for tempering the eggs and a mixer to whip them you're set.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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since you said you already purchased the tart shells, I'd make do with those and consider that fresh berries won't be around for much longer. Depending on where you live, you don't have any at all, this time of year.

I'm in San Franisco, and I would use gooseberries, raspberries, etc.

Get some fresh flower petals to garnish with as a nice end-of-summer gesture.

Make either a nice pastry cream ahead which won't take up much refrigerator space while cooling, or a zabaglione mixed with whipped cream to help stabilise it.

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This is a great topic and believe me I often have the same issues because I recieve notice mid-day that I've got an event in a couple hours. I have a mental list of desserts I can make quickly that I've made before and know will be good. I also always have some garnishes on hand that I can grab and use.........just like having your tart shells on hand.

I have to run to work right now, but I'll be back to elaborate.

Quickly off the top of my head, items I make in a hurry:

Souffles

Shortcakes (and numerous versions of them)

puff pastry based tarts and napoleons

brulee's and custard based desserts

Garnishes I always have on hand:

Decorated sheets of chocolate (I don't have transfer sheets but I make my own)

marzipan (I make bee's out of it)

Chocolate butterflies

gum paste butterflies

gum paste flowers (easy ones using a cookie cutter and a silcone emboser)

chocolate cigarettes

chocolate coffee beans

tuile batter

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When I first read your post, I didn't have time to reply, but now want to at least add a few extras that haven't been mentioned, and some things in particular that i like to do.

First of all, my reaction was the same as Annie's, if I were having 50 people for a party, I sure as hell wouldn't do it all at the last minute... no one would. So in that case, you must take advantage of what most desserts actually require: advance preparation. Do the rest of the meal a la minute if you want, but get dessert done ahead, or at least some components, and bring with you. Even something frozen can thaw while you are working.

Part of what makes this hard to answer is not knowing exactly what your parameters are. Are you in your client's kitchen all day, half day, show up at 4pm, or what? Do you do a different person each day, or do you cook one day a week for them, or do you have 3 clients you go to 2 nites a week, etc?

Also, the answers to your question are different, depending on if it's just 4 for dinner, or 50. You definitely DON'T want to do a la minute for 50! Serving is the bear in that case.

With my job at a restuarant, I have the reverse problem, I must prepare everything in advance, as someone else is plating for dinner. So I am limited to NOT doing a la minute desserts. (Occasionally we will have specials or parties I am there for.) BUT, I still am an expert... because instead i must pull a rabbit out of a hat everynite for dinner for my own family and guests that love to drop by. The following are the things I do at home for them, many of them my kids learned to do by age 11/12 and so now, they do them to give me a break, believe it or not. (Their friends, as well as our dinner guests, are always amazed how well my kids do in the kitchen!)

thinking out loud, things we've eaten at home this summer...

- one or two cheeses, with perfectly ripe fresh fruit (I grew up w/ that, as my mother lived in Europe for a while)

- crepes, mousse, sabayon with fruit, pots de creme, custards, etc

- fruit cobblers and crisps (they need to be made last min, warm out of the oven), w/ i.c.

- rustic tarts, make the dough right there, chill a bit, roll out roughly, throw on sheet pan, doesn't matter what the shape, pile fruit, sugar, spice in middle, curl up edges around, sprinkle with sugar and bake. serve warm w/ i.c.

- budini, an Italian sort of choc pudding cake, made in individual bowls, served warm with coffee ic on top in the same bowl and toasted almonds, YUM

-the always popular choc molten cake/lava cake, whatever you want to call... needs only 9 min in oven

- mascarpone, spread on the plate, roasted (or grilled) fruit on top, drizzle w/ honey (this is great in summer for outdoor entertaining). serve with spoon, can do indiv plates, or one communal plate, often fun if people have been drinking wine! :wink: )

- poached or lightly stewed stone fruits, strawbs macerated in balsamic, etc

- I do a yummy thing en bric...slice of mango, quarter banana (lengthwise half of a half) thrown in saute pan immed with finished dry caramel, roll up in half circle of bric, brush on melted butter, very hot oven or broiler for 3 min, serve with coconut or other tropical sorbet. I originally saw something like this somewhere...can't remember, but it's a big hit, and very elegant

- any ol' cake cut into pieces, booze, choc sauce, whip cream... lots of variations

- toasted pound cake served with i.c. or lemon sherbert

- parfaits of all kinds (very loose interpretation) using ice cream, and or cake, layered in tall glass or wine balloon glass. If you can make ahead, use cookies, soak with booze, layers w/wh cream, needs to sit a bit to soak up tho!

- ice cream ball, dipped in choc, rolled in coconut, serve w/ tuile or cookie

- make fancy ice cream sandwiches with homemade large cookies. The possibilities for flavor combos is endless (think mint, fruit, snickerdoodles, nuts etc)

- trifle, the way I learned as a child from my grandmother's cook, in a deep clear bowl, using lady fingers (grocery store bought work fine) spread with good rasp jam, doused with booze, layer of vanilla pudding (instant is fine, I hate to say), do second layer of the same, spread whip cream on top.... delicious, people think you slaved all day

- cold soup... very fast! puree cold fruit in blender, stir in other cold juices with vanilla and verbena, very pretty if you swirl in touch of cream and pull with toothpick, add small scoop of sorbet in middle of bowl (obviously great on hot night or outside entertaining), & stick a pirouette in scoop

- nutella with anything (my preference is just with a spoon! :biggrin: ) Mix it with cornflakes for a crunchy base or use for layer in some of the above ideas) tastes like royaltine, or those Ferraro-Rocher candies

- beignets are also fun and special, particularly for a group. They'll be standing by you at the stove ready with the 10x to sprinkle on them as you pull them out of the fryer!

Of course if you can do anything ahead... the sky opens up... but still simple things like summer puddings, charlottes, meringue shells, cheesecake(you could make ahead, freeze, and bring whole or slices to thaw on site). And as said above, bringing components with you, like sauces, cookies etc. will be so helpful.

My kids can make a simple layer cake in no time, granted they use a box mix most times, but they can start it at 4 or 5pm, it cools while I do dinner, and they make quick frosting and frost it either before we sit down, or just after we're thru, while i'm putting dishes in dishwasher. Box mixes can be very good, if served very fresh like that. The whole cake will disappear magically by the time i come down in the morning!

This was a stream-of thinking answer, but hope it helps!


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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As I remember, Abra is limited to cooking in her client's kitchen with no prep at home. Local laws prohibits preparation at home unless her kitchen were to adhere to an exhausting list of requirements, and I applaud her for operating within the law.

Wonderful topic. I think most of us would benefit from a list of desserts that could be pulled out of a hat at a moment's notice if needed. The suggestions so far have been very helpful.


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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As I remember, Abra is limited to cooking in her client's kitchen with no prep at home. Local laws prohibits preparation at home unless her kitchen were to adhere to an exhausting list of requirements, and I applaud her for operating within the law.

Laws are funny, aren't they? She can prepare food in her clients kitchen (a home kitchen), and if she does any pre-prep it must be done in a certified commercial kitchen. But she can't use HER home kitchen. Bizarre I say.....and man, what a hassle. When you really think about it, it makes no sense.....her kitchen, their kitchen......not much of a difference there....especially since neither one has been approved the the health bureaucrats. But it's ok to use theirs....but not hers. Like I say.....bizarre!

:wacko::wacko::wacko:

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That said, I still want to give my clients something special in the way of dessert.  So far the only thing I've resorted to buying is tiny tartlet shells from my local bakery, which come frozen, and really are just fine, even though I cringe at using something I didn't make from scratch.

Considering you are probably pc'ing for different sized households and your time spent in each is already severely budgeted, how 'bout some simple-but-elegant fruit tarts... http://www.cuisine-french.com/cgi/mdc/l/en..._framb_ill.html

From personal experience, I know that all your clients will truly appreciate anything extra/special that you'll do.

Good luck!

Di

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If you want specific recipes so you don't need to do further homework I'd suggest you mention what pastry books you own? Many of us can tell which which recipes from them work well in a tight time frame.

Are you mainly making upscale dinners and desserts for the client or doing entertaining/catering work? (probably both, right?) What kind of things are you making for their entrees?

I used to cater and it is a challenge to work completely in their kitchen. Not prepping doesn't mean not prepared, not knowing whether it's a party or a family dinner. Do you bring in your own ingredients? Do you bring in any of your own equipment, coolers, speciality items that most home owners don't own, extra baking sheets? Or are we talking really basic?

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Tejon is quite right, I'm not allowed to do any prep or make-ahead stuff except in the client's kitchen. On occasion I've gone to the client's house the day before to do some prep, but they hardly ever have enough fridge space to make that feasible, not to mention that it adds considerably to their cost if I have to go twice. Chefpeon - the rationale behind the prohibition on home prep is that if there's cat hair in the food, at least it's from the client's cat, not mine!

Making desserts for regular clients, crisps, cobblers, simple cakes and pies, I do that all the time and it's no problem. Homey tarts, and anything Grandma might have made, my regular clients love that stuff. It's when I do parties for any group over 8 (and I normally don't touch a group over 50) that I always have trouble with the dessert. For 8 or under, I can make a cake or pie and cut it nicely. When it's a big group, I just don't have enough pans or space in general to pull that off. Clients want something splashy and delicious, and it really does all have to be made and plated then and there, and they want it to look professional, as opposed to rustic. It's quite scary, because if anything goes wrong, there's no backup, which is one reason I avoid anything with precision cutting, or finicky last minute details, because there's no leeway for me to botch it.

I'm normally there all day before the party, unless I am forced to show up just a few hours before the party, in which case I have to have a couple of helpers and we just crank it out as fast as possible.

When I make party desserts at home I do take advantage of make ahead stuff, whenever I can figure out how to do that. And I like to make things that take time and care and look beautiful. Onsite, while getting the appetizers out, finishing the dinner, plating, making sure it's getting cleared, and all that stuff, it's hard to make the world stop spinning long enough to pay dessert its proper due.

That said, you all have given me some really good ideas. Crepes have a lot of potential, although I need to get faster at making them. I love to do mousse-type desserts, but there's often not enough fridge space to get them portioned and chilled. Is there such a thing as a mousse that doesn't need to be chilled? I did a shortcake bar for a buffet once that was a huge hit, with chocolate shortcakes, berries, creme chantilly, and warm chocolate sauce, and for a party like the upcoming one I might be able to do something like that, only plated.

I do bring all the ingredients, and whatever equipment I need, so I'm limited only by their oven and fridge space - oh yeah, counter space can be a big problem too, especially when setting out 40 parfait cups to assemble, like I did the other night, with guacamole and salsa prep going on on either side of me.

Simdelish, could I please just come over for dessert at your house myself and forget all about this client?

Wendy - please don't laugh at me! The baking books (probably none could be called a pastry book) that I have are: Gand's Butter Sugar Flour Eggs, Luccheti's Passion for Desserts, Ortiz' Village Baker's Wife, the King Arthur Flour Baking Book, Malgieri's How to Bake, and Kimball's Dessert Bible. Should I be getting other books for the kind of baking I need to do?

I'm sure that by now I've convinced you all that anyone has to be crazy to do personal cheffing, but it's really quite a fun gig. I totally appreciate all of your help and advice, and welcome any additional thoughts you might have.

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First, let me agree that it's a challenge to work in the client's kitchen.

To cook a dinner for 25-30 people is more than the duties of a personal chef, it's actual catering, which they're getting out of you rather than paying a caterer.

Now, I'm not saying that personal chefs shouldn't do any catering for the client.

But if you do have to, I'm assuming you're being paid an amount on top of your weekly fee, which is in turn assuming you are working the agreed upon number of hours per week, and aren't making up hours already paid for by doing the party.

The "not being able to prepare the day before" is ridiculous. You should be able to prepare the dish the previous day, with additional hours if necessary.

Anyway, the list so far sounds good. I'll just add panna cotta.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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When you do items like mousse or creme' brulee (make a stove top version) chill them in one container, then portion last minute so you don't need much refridgeration room.

Also buy your supplies wisely. If you use hotel pans and or tupperware thats flat and shallow that will do two things for you. 1. Allow you to stack on top of them in the cooler. 2. Chill the item quicker.

Having done catering...your probably already doing this but just in case......bring card board cake circles so you can stack up items in the cooler and condense them-leaving yourself more useable room. Also having your own cooler with ice can be a real space and time saver. I find it easiest to use my own space in a cooler or coolers then the little shelfs some refridgerators have.

As far as cookbooks, well the more you know the easier it is. But you can get alot of free recipes online. I use several from Martha Stewart and they are all online, free. Theres several other sites of note worth printing out their recipes. You have foodtv, pbs, (so many I can't begin to list them), but if you want web sites ask and we can help list some for you. I also follow and trust my friend here online (as your doing) for good recipes.

O.k. so we have this narrowed down to searching for quick elegant desserts for groups of 8 up to 50, correct?

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Thanks for the tips, Wendy. I actually haven't been doing those things, except for using my own cooler, which is too narrow for a sheet but would hold hotel pans, and will start to stock up on that stuff asap. Yep, quick, elegant, 8-50, and easy to plate sums it up perfectly.

Herbacidal, I think you're confusing me with a private chef, who would get a weekly fee and work in the same home all the time. I have many different clients, and often the party day is the first time I've ever been in that kitchen or worked for that client. That's why day-ahead prep is out, and yep, you can be sure they're paying me by the hour, and I make just about what a caterer would make.

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I think a good selection of liqueurs and/or top quality bartender syrups are essential for preparing a wide range of sophisticated desserts - and I would think "Italian" for great ease.

Panna Cotta is wonderful made with coconut milk - add fresh sliced mangoes.

Eaton Mess is a great and versatile dessert, try it with different coulis and liqueurs.

Tiramisu can be made with the trad choc/coffee/vin santo, but also with almond paste, tropical fruit and Midori. Or, try it with a combo of crushed "ice" mints and black Sambuca.

Dulce de Leche (homemade) is also very versatile: a dollop of it, drowned in a parfait glass with Kalhua, and candied orange peel.

It's also good for stuffing Choux, fast and easy.

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Eaton Mess is a great and versatile dessert, ........................

Dulce de Leche (homemade) is also very versatile

I am not familiar with "Eaton Mess"- what is it?

(I hate to say it, but sounds like a bad play on words... :shock: )

Maremosso, would you care to share your recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche? I am familiar only with the method of cooking sweet/cond milk in the can for hours, altho I have never actually tried it. thanks!


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Herbacidal, I think you're confusing me with a private chef, who would get a weekly fee and work in the same home all the time.  I have many different clients, and often the party day is the first time I've ever been in that kitchen or worked for that client.  That's why day-ahead prep is out, and yep, you can be sure they're paying me by the hour, and I make just about what a caterer would make.

Well yes, that is the kind of private chef I was thinking of based on your initial post below.

As a personal chef without a commercial kitchen, I do all of my prep and cooking in clients' homes. Desserts are always a challenge, especially when I do a party for 30-50 people, since I normally only have 1 oven available, sometimes two, and those have to share with the other cooking for the meal. I only have the client's home fridge available, and you know how little space those have.

What you describe now sounds like a caterer, albeit one without a firm or other support staff attached, not a personal chef, which to me is the same as a private chef.

In that case, as a caterer, you should never agree to cater a party without having seen the kitchen before. If you don't have a chance to do a walk-through, you should at least get the basic layout/description beforehand so you have an idea of what you're up against, including gas or electric appliances, number of sinks, refrigerators, etc.

I do think for parties of that size, unless you can negotiate additional help in the form of a helper, you need to be able to go there earlier, whether it's earlier that day, the previous day, or whatever. Obviously, many people may be thrifty and/or not understand the necessity of such a detail.

My guess is that you've already tried to negotiate that and been unable to, and want to come up with a thrilling dessert despite the restrictions.

Good luck, the options thus far sound promising, but in general, I think you should attempt to lower your expectations slightly given the situation.

You may well be able to pull it off this time anyway, and more power to you.

But more often than not, I think you won't.

You're making it too hard on yourself, methinks.

End rant.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Ditto.

When you are "doing" a party for more than say, 8, you are catering, and no longer in the realm of personal chef. The rules (as far as your client is concerned) must change.

I have several friends, with both "personal" and "private chefs" (and yes, there is a difference!). From what I understand from them, the deal changes when they are having a party.


I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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I agree that what Abra is doing something where perhaps they are working harder last minute then anyone else would want to. BUT having been there (struggling for business) I know that I'll do whatever to make things work. Thats really a second topic and I'm certain by now Abra has been charging as much as possible for this type of service.

It's all about working as smart as you can, then flying by the seat of your pants. The more you wing it the more skilled you become at doing so. If you have a enough cooking knowledge and can take the pressure of unknowns, you'll be fine.

Back to ideas:

First I have to back track a little. Doing panna cotta, although making panna cotta is unbelievable simple it does require more refridgeration space then normal. I recently worked around that issue myself. I molded my panna cotta in very small plastic cups and chilled. Then I served it in a martini glass centered on top of strawberry sauce with sliced berries. You could do similar with any other fruit and panna cotta selection. I used bubble sugar with gold dust on it as my garnish.

Which is another idea, bubble sugar is about the easiest quickest garnish you can do. Are you familar with it and how to make it? I add dried food colors, edible metalic dusts, and dragee's into mine when I melt the isomalt. I've also done some simple shaping/bending of the warm sugar after it's baked to give it further interest.

Phyllo is another quick to use purchased item that can simplify your schedule. You can make rather nice looking baskets quickly and fill them with a wide assortment of quick and good options.

Example: layering your phyllo, sprinkle some sugar in between layers as you brush on the butter. If you add an accent like cinnamon,ginger, cookie crumbs, etc...as a flavor enhancer, it also will carmelize your baked phyllo too.

Cut your multi layered phyllo into squares, place them inside a standard muffin pan. Bake until golden, their shape will be a pretty as you formed them before you baked.

Ideas to fill these cups are endless. On the simple side sauteed fruit, pastry cream and or whipped cream is nice. You can make a mock baklava or fruit tarts using the phyllo cups as your container.........I'm doing an apple strudel version this Monday for 200, using cinnamon gelato as my accompaniment. Stick a dried apple slice on top........and that looks nice.

Oh, on that line, easy to do.........cookie cups. I use a batter similar to a florentine cookie, bake it flat on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, drape it over a soup bowl or coffee cup to shape. They chill and hold shape in minutes. Fill with ice creams or sorbet. You can also use this cookie as a garnish into something else.

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If no refrigerator space, how about the freezer? A couple of frozen desserts I have done successfully:

Store bought angel food cake, torn into pieces and folded into lemon pudding and whipped cream. Freeze in spring form pan (12-16 servings). You may frost with more whipped cream and decorate with cherries and almonds. Best thawed, but it will thaw enough by the time it gets to the dining room if you serve on individual plates.

At a large seated dinner fundraiser, a server presented to each individual table a silver tray containing a small souffle dish of frozen rum mousse, small dishes of raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

There are lots of frozen souffles and mousses which don't have to be frozen individually. And ice box cakes which don't take up a lot of room in the refrigerator.

I also have a recipe for a no-crust fudge pie, sort of a brownie, which is mixed up in about 5-10 minutes and started in a cold oven. You could make this in foil pans and cook four or five at once when you arrive at the cooking session. Sort of while you're heating the oven.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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dessert crepes... (don't take long to make or fill, can make ahead of time, stove top...) maybe not for 50 but for 20 or less... :smile: guess that depends though on if you can get there earlier in the day. Chez Panisse Desserts has lots of nice ideas for dessert crepes.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I am not familiar with "Eaton Mess"- what is it?

(I hate to say it, but sounds like a bad play on words...  :shock: )

Maremosso, would you care to share your recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche?  I am familiar only with the method of cooking sweet/cond milk in the can for hours, altho I have never actually tried it.  thanks!

Here in Buenos Aires the supermarkets devote whole aisles to Dulce de Leche, and it caters to all tastes. The best are Havanna and Parmalat.

Making it at home from scratch is therefore undesirable, as it is extremely time -consuming.

The best method is to boil tins of condensed milk - from 2 and a half hours to 4 hours. the longer it cooks the darker and fudgier the Dulce de Leche. The tins can then be stored for very long periods.

Here it's used to make icecreams, fill layer cakes, put between cookies (alfajores),

and as an ubiquitous dessert ingredient.

Eaton Mess is a very traditional English parfait, probably invented by the chefs of Eaton school. It consists of layered strawberries, meringues (or almond rochers), whipped cream and drizzled with Creme de Cassis. Dead easy, and easily varied with other ingredients.

Panna Cotta is also extremely easy, and extremely versatile as far as ingredients are concerned. In Italy it's often served sliced, like cassata, and drizzled with an incredible variety of coulis/sauces.

I would think chilling it in a loaf pan wouldn't require that much space in the fridge..

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      2/3 cup sugar
      2 T cornstarch
      1 cup pomegranate juice
      1/4 cup lemon juice
      5 egg yolks, whisked together
      1/3 cup butter, cut into chunks

      Stirred the sugar, cornstarch and juices together until there were no lumps, then brought it to about 160 degrees. Gradually added it to the whisked eggs, returned to heat, brought to near boil so the cornstarch thickened, then strained it into a bowl, whisked in the butter, and poured into serving dishes to chill.
    • By Galchic
      Hello, folks, thanks for reading.
       
      My husband thinks, I should start selling my popcorn seasonings (which I make for my family), it’s a good product. But I'm not sure if it’s interesting to other people... So, what do you think, guys?
       
      Our story: 
      We’ve bought an air popper machine, but popcorn came out pretty tasteless. Then, we’ve bought different “popcorn seasoning” mixes... But it always ends with all the seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Then, we've added butter, oil and so on before seasoning...  we got soggy, chewy popcorn. Lot’s of disappointments…
       
      When we almost gave up… the magic happened! I figured out the way to make seasonings that:
      Stick to popcorn, but not sticky to fingers (or T-shirt  , Easy to apply, May be pre cooked in bulk and stored… And popcorn appears crunchy, tasty, thoroughly covered with seasoning.  
      Sounds good, yep? Now, when I want to treat myself  - I only need 2 mins to turn tasteless popped popcorn to a real treat.  
      The only moment - it request 1 extra effort: after you toss it over popcorn, you need to microwave it for 1 min, and stir after.
       
      So, I was wondering, if you like popcorn like myself - would this seasoning be interesting for you to purchase? Are you ready for a little extra work (microwave & stir) in the goal to flavor popcorn, or it feels too much effort?
       
      As I have no experience in manufacturing and retail, your answers would help me to make a very important decision - to dive in or not... 
       
      Thanks in advance for your answers, it means the world to me.
       
    • By pastrygirl
      My supplier decided that cocoa butter is now special order so I had to buy a case. And now I have an excessive amount of cocoa butter, anyone need any?  
       
      Cacao Barry cocoa butter pistoles with a best by date of April 2021   $66 for the 3 kg tub or $22 per kg plus shipping. 
       
       
    • By curls
      So, what is everyone doing for the pastry & baking side of Easter?
       
      I'm working on the following chocolates: fruit & nut eggs, hollow bunnies, Jelly Belly filled bunnies, coconut bunnies, dragons (filled with rice krispies & chocolate), peanut butter hedgehogs, and malted milk hens. Hoping to finish my dark chocolate production today and get started on all my milk chocolate items.
       
      My father-in-law will be baking the traditional family Easter bread a day or two before Easter. Its an enriched bread and he makes two versions -- one with raisins and one without (I prefer the one with raisins).
       

       
      And I was lucky enough to spot this couple in the sale moulds stock at last year's eGullet chocolate & confections workshop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. These love bunnies help so very much with Easter chocolate production!  ;-)

    • By Needshave
      I’m trying to find a recipe to make caramel suitable for varegating or swirling into Ice cream when the ice cream is loaded out of the ice cream maker to the ice cream storage container. When swirled at this stage it crams a nice caramel swirl when dipping.
      I have made several attempts, first attempt tasted great but got stringy and difficult to cut with a spoon. If you wanted to you could pull it out like a Spiders web. A typical caramel sauce will just disappear into the ice cream and seems to break down into the ice cream. Another attempt it got very sandy when cold and had to be hot to be dispensed into the ice cream, causing the base to melt away. 
      Most useable commercial products seem to be heavy with corn syrup. I have tried that without success. Somehow I think that might be the key since the ingredient list for commercial caramel Variegate has it as the first ingredient and sweetened condensed milk the second item.
       
      Appreciate any recipes or formulas for a Variegating caramel creme ripple you might be able to offer or your suggestions.
       
      Thanks in advance!
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