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Your Daily Sweets (2005-2012)


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Joe, first off your desserts and savories in your blog are gorgeous and absolutely mouth watering..but I have to know..what kind of camera do you use, and is it natural light with a background, or some kind of photography artificial lighting/makeshift mini photo studio?  Your photos are magazine worthy!

Lisa -

We really don't have much of a fancy set up at all. Our camera is an older Kodak P850. Most of our photo's are taken right before we eat, so they are usually at night and done inside. Some of the desserts are taken during the day though and then we can utilize the extra light. We don't have a mini studio set up, but we do use a couple flexible white boards are a couple small desk lights.

Edited by DesertCulinary (log)
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Did you make all these cakes?

yes. but i didn't grow the berries.

What? You had to make sixteen cakes for one event and you couldn't be bothered to grow the berries yourself? :raz::biggrin:

Those are really nice and I've never grown a berry in my entire life.

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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Fantastic thread! I love to see what other folks are doing. Seems like a fantastic place to get some ideas and inspiration! I can see I'm going to have to bust out my camera...

I just made a peach crisp the other day. My mother brought over some beautiful, juicy freestone peaches. I cut them up and threw them together with some minced crystallized ginger a wee splash of Bourbon and OJ, some Tupelo honey, a pinch o' salt and some cornstarch. I topped all that with streusel made with oats, flour, dark brown sugar, butter and salt.

Baked it off at 375--it was lovely.

Jenni

Pastry Methods and Techniques

Pastry Chef Online

"We're all home cooks when we're cooking at home."

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I am a lurker 99% of the time, but was inspired by the green market a few weeks ago. I baked a mixed berry tart (currants, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, tri-star strawberries) with a vanilla pastry cream and a sweet crust (murbe teich).

I could not find red currant jam to glaze it with and so had to settle for black currant. Not as pretty.

It was delicious.

gallery_34505_3632_73262.jpggallery_34505_3632_172242.jpg

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This weekend I made a birthday cake for a 95th birthday. Its the first paid cake I've every done (I have actually accepted money once before, but I don't feel my decorating skills are good enough for me to call myself a professional cake decorator and so I just give them away). Since it was a 95th I didn't want to leave it to Wal-Mart to make a nasty cake for her.

gallery_41282_4652_49188.jpg

You can see that my piping skills need work, but they're actually much improved. I was going for art deco (to match her age), and my scrollwork ended up morphing into a bird on a branch in that style. A couple of interesting things (at least to me) about this cake. This is a half sheet using Julia Child's perfect genois recipe. I avoid cakes of this size because they always crash on me at my elevations (6K ft) but this one turned out perfectly. I filled it with sour cherry jam. Also, I was playing with white mirror glazes and ended up doing this marbled effect using white chocolate ganache, a bit of corn syrup and a few sheets of silver gelatin. Worked very well. Alberta was very happy :)

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Very nice Rob. I still maintain my refusal to do cakes that require piped icing decoration. I'm not good at it, I don't enjoy it, I'd rather not get people in the habit of asking for it. So I don't do it. I wish I shared your dedication to learn to do it well... but I don't. Would you mind elaborating a bit on how you did the marbeling? I like it.

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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I am a lurker 99% of the time, but was inspired by the green market a few weeks ago. I baked a mixed berry tart (currants, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, tri-star strawberries) with a vanilla pastry cream and a sweet crust (murbe teich).

I could not find red currant jam to glaze it with and so had to settle for black currant. Not as pretty.

It was delicious.

gallery_34505_3632_73262.jpggallery_34505_3632_172242.jpg

Hope it was as delicious as it looked....

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The marbling idea started with the mirror glaze topic. I did a 2:1 white chocolate ganache using a Callebaut white. Once I made the ganache, I added a generous T. of corn syrup. Then I added 2 sheets of silver leaf gelatin. That was my base and it started to thicken quickly so I poured 2/3 of the glaze on the cake - you'll see that I dammed it with buttercream. Then I added just a few drops of red coloring to the remaining glaze, gave it a few swirls with my offset to create swirl not blend, and poured erratically over the original glaze. The fluidity of the glaze did the rest of the work.

I really wanted to do a Tiffany Blue, but in my gut, I felt it should be red - maybe the birthday girl knows why.

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Mary Elizabeth - your milk jam and fudge sauce are just swoony. I'm thinking big spoon, no ice cream even necessary! And your pains au chocolat - am I seeing correctly? Is the dough actually chocolate as well as bits of chocolate in there? Goodness :wub: !

DesertCulinary - the pound cake is just up our alley! What perfection! I look at your list of recipes on your site and dream of the time, ability and blood sugar to allow me to make every single recipe!

dystopiandreamgirl - allow me to join in the general hosannas for those beautiful, amazing, lucious looking cakes. I am just in awe!

pups224 - beautiful tart!

Rob - the cake is lovely and I think that your piping looks really good. I wish mine was somewhere in the vicinity of that! I took a Wilton class, but I don't practice like I should.

I'd love some help with this strudel that I made on Sunday. The filling was fabulous - tasty and rich and perfect. My phyllo, however, sucked. The recipe is here. Let me preface this by saying that I haven't worked with phyllo in a very long time. But I don't remember having much trouble with it, even as a novice cook. What I got was a flat, damp layer that barely enclosed the filling - no shatteringly thin layers. Also there was more than twice as much filling as was needed to fill one strudel. I also used much more butter than called for because when I brushed it on (using a silicone brush) it just didn't spread enough to get butter everywhere.

Here are the strudels:

gallery_34972_3570_118294.jpg

and a slice:

gallery_34972_3570_24088.jpg

One thing that occured to me, besides maybe too much butter, was that the phyllo seemed to be smaller than I remember. Each sheet was maybe 8 1/2 X 14 inches. The original recipe doesn't give measurements, so I figured they were standard, but maybe not?? Anyway, if anyone has any ideas what I did wrong here, I'd welcome the help!

Thank you in advance!

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I'd love some help with this strudel that I made on Sunday.  The filling was fabulous - tasty and rich and perfect.  My phyllo, however, sucked.  . . What I got was a flat, damp layer that barely enclosed the filling - no shatteringly thin layers.  Also there was more than twice as much filling as was needed to fill one strudel.  I also used much more butter than called for because when I brushed it on (using a silicone brush) it just didn't spread enough to get butter everywhere. 

I'm guessing either the filling was too wet, and it sounds like the phyllo might have been a bit moist-er than usual. Wet phyllo always makes for glumpy products (but I still like them!).

From your picture it looks like you put the filling on the short side of the phyllo rather than the long side, but it's hard to tell. I always end up with too much filling for everything I make that involves filling, though, so it may not have been the phyllo, but the recipe.

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When I make large apple apple strudel with phyllo (instead of stretch dough) I overlap the sheets to make it almost double the size. Sometimes I make it even longer and make the strudel into a circle. Just alternate adding the sheets to the left side, then the right side, left, right, overlapping by an inch or 2.

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Here's a flourless chocolate cake I made today with a chocolate mirror glaze and it felt grand enough to deserve a big sheet of gold!

gallery_41282_4652_1855.jpg

Wow, that looks great. Really grand.

Could you share the recipe? (My husband cant eat any carbohydrates- he lacks loads of enzymes which break them down - so Im always on the look out for flourless recipes)

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One thing that occured to me, besides maybe too much butter, was that the phyllo seemed to be smaller than I remember.  Each sheet was maybe 8 1/2 X 14 inches.  The original recipe doesn't give measurements, so I figured they were standard, but maybe not??  Anyway, if anyone has any ideas what I did wrong here, I'd welcome the help!

Thank you in advance!

That fillo does sound small. Seems like it's usually more like 11 x 14, but brands do vary. I generally expect it to be close to half sheet pan size.

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Its edible gold leaf so I could call the dessert "Good as Gold"  (aka, a name good enough to drive sales  :wink: )

Nice but dude! Food cost! Isn't that stuff expensive? I predict a more minimalist 1/2" shard of gold leaf in the near future. Understated elegance, less is more...but still charge extra :smile:

My speculaas tarts (recipe from epicurious) turned out kind of ugly (need to transfer some tartlet tins from another lodge, muffin pans don't cut it) but delicious, especially with burnt honey ice cream and pomegranate reduction. Honey-cashew semifreddo with chocolate truffles and caramel sauce was one of those desserts born out of semi-desperation and no fruit (as too much of my work here in Bhutan seems to be), but f'in good. Chocolate, caramel, creaminess - you can try to argue, but who would listen?

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