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"Chocolate Desserts" by Pierre Herme (Part 1)


SethG
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I haven't been able to find potato starch for the cocoa cake recipe. Can I substitute cornstarch or something else? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Potato starch should be pretty easy to find. Try looking for potato flour isntead of starch in your local Supermarket. Whole Foods has it for sure also.

Worst case if you really cannot find it, just use an equal amount of AP flour.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I haven't been able to find potato starch for the cocoa cake recipe. Can I substitute cornstarch or something else? Thanks in advance for any advice.

out of curiosity, what benefits does adding potato starch give to the cake? I've never heard of using it in a cake before

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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I haven't been able to find potato starch for the cocoa cake recipe. Can I substitute cornstarch or something else? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Passover is coming. Any reputable grocery store will have potato starch in Passover section, small as it might be.

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Tonight, I made the chocolate-lemon madeleines. They're easy to make, and pretty tasty too. This time I actually used Valrhona cocoa, and I think it is quite good. The recipe advises to to let the batter sit overnight in the fridge in order to form a good "hump," or at least 1 hour if you are impatient. I let my batter sit in the fridge about 2 hours before baking, and still got good humpage.  :biggrin: 

I'm planning to try the madeleines this weekend, since my husband is enamored with the chocolate-lemon combination. I've even arranged to borrow a friend's madeleine pans, since I don't own any.

My question: these pans are silicone. Do I need to butter them, or are they non-stick enough that I don't need to worry about it? Did they stick in a normal pan at all?

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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These are the madeleines baked in silicone. I did not use any butter. I think you'll find them easy and delicious.

I got around to doing the chocolate madeleines. Here they are with the batter in the silicon forms.

gallery_7582_414_69129.jpg

Cooling on the rack.

gallery_7582_414_832064.jpg.

And the finished madeleines.

gallery_7582_414_289264.jpg

They turned out with holes on the ribbed side. What do you think this was due to? The mini-madeleines got humps, but the larger ones did not. I think I should have baked them a couple of minutes longer. The dough rested and chiled in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours.

I will simply echo what Dorrie says in the book and what others have said here: it's amazing how chocolaty these are using only a small amount of cocoa.

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Thanks to McDuff and Foodman for the responses. I was going to reply that we apparently did not have a reputable supermarket in the vicinity, but I went back and scoured the (yes, small) Passover section and found it.

Lexy, I think the potato starch is supposed to keep the cake moist and tender. That's why I thought cornstarch might work as a replacement. I'll let you know.

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Thanks Seth and Marlene. I can not emphasize how easy Suze's cake is to make. I would guess 1 1/4 hours from start to coming out of the oven. It does look fudgy and it has some of that quality, but is lighter and cakey all at the same time. I don't think I yet have the vocabulary to describe this well. But not fudgy-gummy at any rate.

Great choices, Thornado. I've got to try the Melody and the Dome sometime. And everyone's macaroons are inspiring me to attempt them, too.

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There are so many really amazing recipes that require very little work, it makes it hard for someone as lazy as myself to work up to complicated stuff like puff pastry. Loved the mousse, loved the brownies, loved Suzy's cake, and here was another winner:

gallery_17531_173_28319.jpg

The cocoa and coffee nougatines. (Sorry, I found it a bit hard to photograph well -- very sparkly.) It is basically a caramel with bits of toasted almond and crushed espresso beans in it. Crispy edges, slightly chewy middle. Yum.

If you try this it will be very obvious that, contrary to what the recipe says, it is impossible to scoop out the dough when it is right out of the fridge. I had to put it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Came out very nice. These were great with an espresso, would be amazing crumbled over ice cream.

Oh, also I only had droste cocoa, but they still came out very chocolately, especially considering how little cocoa one uses.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Your nougatines look great! Over the holidays I made the grand chocolate tart which includes using the nougatines to decorate the top; a very abstract and exciting look and they taste great (sorry I don' t have photo capabilities here). I also could not scoop them right from the frig, but was in a hurry with no microwave and so called in the big arms (my husband) to scoop.

Chocolate Dome Question: I am wanting to make the chocolate dome but rather than use a large bowl I want to use my shiny new stainless steel 3" spheres to make individual domes. I have never used this type of mold before. Does anyone have suggestions, cautions, etc. before I dive in? Should I expect the process to be the same as with the larger bowl?

thanks. Patricia

Edited by Patricia Austin (log)
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Chocolate Dome Question:  I am wanting to make the chocolate dome but rather than use a large bowl I want to use my shiny new stainless steel 3" spheres to make individual domes.  I have never used this type of mold before.  Does anyone have  suggestions, cautions, etc. before I dive in?  Should I expect the process to be the same as with the larger bowl?

Patricia,

I think that the dome should work fine in smaller molds as well (I actually thought of the same thing as I was browsing through a kitchen supply store that had a sale this weekend... didn't buy any small molds though). You probably want to make sure that the layer of cake in the middle is really thin as you don't have that much space. I guess one option would be to omit that layer completely and only have the bottom layer - gives you more of the mousse in each dome.

(Of course, since I don't have any real experience in doing this, I'm only thinking out loud here... If anyone has actually done this before, their opinions are worth more...)

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I love making mini domes. They're just perfect to serve whole and they still have the same wow factor. Maybe even more because the person gets to eat the whole thing.

When I do minis, I will cut a thinner sponge, but I definitely include the middle piece of sponge as well as the bottom piece.

And they're way easier to handle than the big dome. Go for it!

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Thanks for the responses and very good point about downsizing the sponge. I'm considering garnishing each with a small almond tuile or miniature chocolate fan. I am going to go for it this Thursday for a special order. I can picture them in my mind, we'll see how they actually turn out!

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So, I tried the rice pudding this weekend. Dorie said to use 1/4 cup rice instead of 1/2. However since Docsconz had a problem with that I used 1/4 cup plus 1 large Tbsp Arborio rice. I think we need more rice. While the end result was not exactly "soupy", it was not as set as a proper rice pudding should be. It certainly did not look like the picture. I had some rice and raisins settling in the bottom but again not as bad as Doc's case, so I did not need to blen them.

The taste was excellent, no complaints there. But more starch is needed. Has nyone even tried the full 1/2 cup? Maybe we should try using 1/3 cup and see if that helps?

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Elie -- thanks so much for experimenting. I don't have anything with me now -- still traveling (and just getting an internet connection) -- but what if you went back to the original recipe and tried less rice? Can't remember the recipe, but four times the amount of liquid to rice are the usual proportions for pudding. I did make the recipe as written -- after it was published and we discovered the problem -- and it was really firm. When Pierre made the recipe in Paris, it was very soupy and then it set-up nicely. Really creamy, but not, in the end, soupy.

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Elie -- thanks so much for experimenting.  I don't have anything with me now -- still traveling (and just getting an internet connection) -- but what if you went back to the original recipe and tried less rice?  Can't remember the recipe, but four times the amount of liquid to rice are the usual proportions for pudding.  I did make the recipe as written -- after it was published and we discovered the problem -- and it was really firm.  When Pierre made the recipe in Paris, it was very soupy and then it set-up nicely.  Really creamy, but not, in the end, soupy.

Well, if 4:1 is the ratio then 1/2 a cup rice seems very reasonable since the recipe asks for 3.75 Cups of milk. This means that we should use at least 0.75 cups of rice. no?

Of course we still have the chocolate to consider, but I'm not sure how.

BTW- the only variation on the recipe that I did is not using Valrohna (sp?) chocolate. I don't think this should affect texture very much though.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The experimenting on the rice pudding is intruiguing me. I may have to try this.

Use 1/4 cup or 50 grams of rice.

In the French recipe, the milk is reduced to 700 ml and the chocolate is reduced to 180 grams.  These changes are not so important, it's the rice that really makes the difference.

Not sure, Dorie, but there may be some confusion here. You mentioned to Elie a 4:1 ratio, the ratio above appears to be almost 6:1 (700 ml: 70 g) for milk to rice, not counting the chocolate as a liquid. Or do you mean 700 ml:140 g, which would be about 3:1 not counting the chocolate? If the latter, counting the chocolate would bring it to just about that 4:1 ratio.

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I did make the recipe as written -- after it was published and we discovered the problem -- and it was really firm.  When Pierre made the recipe in Paris, it was very soupy and then it set-up nicely.  Really creamy, but not, in the end, soupy.

How long did it take to set up? Ours hadn't set after being refrigerated overnight.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I have discovered at the back of a cupbaord a can of old unsweetened, dutched Coco powder? I am guessing that this has a limited shelf life, but thought I would ask before tossing it.

Old. Really old.

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How old is really old? Unless its older than a couple of years, I would make a hot cocoa with it and see how it tastes. Schokinag says that there powder has a minimum shelf life of 2 years.

"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 have discovered  at the back of a cupbaord a can of old unsweetened, dutched Coco powder? I am guessing that this has a limited shelf life, but thought I would ask before tossing it.

Old. Really old.

I have a big barrel of cocoa powder I got from a Mormon co-op in 1984, and I still use it whenever I have a recipe that needs cocoa powder. I have not noticed any deterioration in any of my baked goods. So perhaps I am loosing my sense of taste but I am still going to use it until someone in the family says something. I just don't know how long it will last but its works for me. Is there someway of tell when it is no longer good?

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I can't comment on the rice pudding, because all these proportions are making me dizzy. When I get back to my kitchen, which won't be until next week, I'll try to work this out -- although I think by that time someone else will have nailed it.

As for the shelf-life of cocoa powder. I was just at a pastry chef retreat at the CIA/Greystone where someone used 20-year old cocoa powder and it was fine. I think that if the powder has been kept in a cool, dark, dry place, it should last and last and last.

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I can't comment on the rice pudding, because all these proportions are making me dizzy.  When I get back to my kitchen, which won't be until next week, I'll try to work this out -- although I think by that time someone else will have nailed it.

As for the shelf-life of cocoa powder.  I was just at a pastry chef retreat at the CIA/Greystone where someone used 20-year old cocoa powder and it was fine.  I think that if the powder has been kept in a cool, dark, dry place, it should last and last and last.

That's encouraging, as I have about 10 lbs of Schokinag cocoa powder left in an 11 lb tub. I had a bunch, about 30 lb of Callebaut sitting in the pantry, most in it's original wrapping, and discovered little white worms coming out of it. At that point it was pushing 4 years old. Had to trash it all.

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I have in some notes that when Dorie Greenspan first posted the warning about the recipe and the correction in the French edition, she also said that the milk quantity was cut to 700 ml, and the chocolate to 180 gr. I'm sorry; I'm too tired to do the math right now, but maybe those proportions will work.

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