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Your Daily Sweets (2005-2012)


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After looking in vain for ostie, I went ahead and made panforte (really more of a pampepato) anyway:

PanforteB 2012-03-18 at 11.13.59.png

This is clearly more rustic-looking than pretty, but it tasted amazingly good, although sweeter than the ones I've bought.

I surveyed about a dozen recipes, and decided to use David Lebovitz's recipe as a point of departure, but used rice flour instead of wheat flour.

The fruit included some quince that I'd candied, and candied citron, ginger, and orange peal; with the exception of the last, I cut everything in fairly large chunks. The spices included cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and a pinch of salt.

I heavily dusted the buttered parchment (and afterwards, when it was cooled, the top) with cacao powder, which offset the sweetness nicely.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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  • 2 weeks later...

Darienne – what all is in that chocolate extravaganza? It looks so wonderful!

Lannie – that cheesecake is just beautiful and the combinations sound divine!

Made some Orange-Cranberry scones today. It was a mix that was in a gift basket that someone gave me for Christmas. The mix is from Bette’s Ocean View Diner in Berkeley, CA.

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They were actually pretty good. Not as fluffy as the ones in England (partially my fault, I’m sure – I tend to have too-heavy a hand with pastries) and no clotted cream, of course. But not overly sweet and cakey like so many scone recipes – the texture was more like biscuits:

med_gallery_3331_119_110913.jpg

Could have used more cranberries, though. I don’t think I’d bother seeking this mix out, but it made a good snack.

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Darienne – what all is in that chocolate extravaganza? It looks so wonderful!

One Cake: One Hundred Desserts is the source of the recipe for the bombe. I do change it slightly each time of course (what else is new?) but it's our go-to special occasion dessert.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hot Cross Buns, for Good Friday. I completely spaced that these are a very Canadian/British thing, and gave them out to my neighbours, who are used to Pannetone as Easter bread. They were, to a person, thrilled; now I have to make several zillion more for Sunday dinners around the neighbourhood.... :laugh: On these ones, the crosses are in chocolate manjar de leche (what I had on hand, not wanting to make royal icing if I didn't absolutely have to - what, me lazy?!?); Sunday's will be crossed with sweetened cream cheese.

HotCrossBuns.jpg

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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As always, dystopiandreamgirl, your desserts are exquisite. :wub:

So true. Reminds me of an Easter dinner I had years and years ago with my Russian ballet teacher who had been a member of the Kirov, fled to Paris and danced with Diaghalev's Ballet Russe. First time I had ever had these two.

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eucalipto_caffe_sherry_tabacco.jpg

This is my last experiment: sponge cake + coffee bavaroise + sherry cremeux + eucalyptus mousse + tobacco glaze. The decorations are macaron shells, white chocolate ganache and coffee beans (the first things I had at hand, cough cough). I did not focus that much on the look, I was interested to try the flavour matching and the balance, as this was a first try. I'm really satisfied flavourside, now I need to work on the apppearance.

Teo

Teo

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This is my last experiment: sponge cake + coffee bavaroise + sherry cremeux + eucalyptus mousse + tobacco glaze. The decorations are macaron shells, white chocolate ganache and coffee beans (the first things I had at hand, cough cough). I did not focus that much on the look, I was interested to try the flavour matching and the balance, as this was a first try. I'm really satisfied flavourside, now I need to work on the apppearance.

Teo

Would you mind elaborating a little on the eucalyptus mousse? The rest of the flavours I can definitely see together, and sound delicious, but I'm curious about the flavour dynamic between the eucalyptus and the coffee+sherry+tobacco grouping.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Would you mind elaborating a little on the eucalyptus mousse? The rest of the flavours I can definitely see together, and sound delicious, but I'm curious about the flavour dynamic between the eucalyptus and the coffee+sherry+tobacco grouping.

The whole idea started because I wanted to try a cake with eucalyptus. My only experience with eucalyptus in pastry was when I tried to make a praline years ago (it was promising, but I used too much eucalyptus in the cream infusion), so I had to start from scratch. The first pairing that came to mind was tobacco, can't explain the mental reasoning behind it, it was an immediate association. Eucalyptus and tobacco have various things in common: strong aroma, a bit pungent and bitter. So I decided to try to structure this cake by similarities and not by contrasts, and thought about what could go well with tobacco and could also go well with eucalyptus. Something alcoholic was the first idea, I was undecided between rum, peaty whisky and sherry/port. The problem with using rum and whisky was that they have strong aromas too, so this would have made the final result a bit too strong for my tastes and I would have been forced to use another strong aroma as 4th (otherwise it would get submerged). I chose to go with 2 main aromas and 2 secondary aromas in the background to create armony, so I picked the sherry (a Pedro Ximénez). Then remained to find the 4th component, I thought that tobacco and alcohol were related to vices, so coffee came to mind and it sounded good (I made the bavaroise substituting all the milk with coffee made with moka, not espresso or lyophilized coffee).

About how using the eucalyptus, I thought that it would have been better to use it in something really airy to avoid the overpowering effect. I had to decide which kind of airy recipe use, trying to keep in basic stuff since it had no sense to experiment both on flavours and textures. I thought that yolks would not be a good match, so remained whipped cream and meringue. I thought some sugar was needed to balance the "balsamic" side of eucalyptus, so meringue was a given. Then I had to choose how to make the eucalyptus infusion, in water or in cream. I opted for the water, it gave me much more odds to balance the flavour at the first try.

So I tried this recipe:

--------------------

80 g egg whites

40 g water

160 g sugar

-

150 g water

10 g eucalyptus (dried leaves)

-

6 g gelatine sheets

-

250 g cream (35% fat)

Make an Italian meringue with egg whites, water and sugar. Store in the refrigerator.

Make the eucalyptus infusion: bring water to boil, add the eucalyptus leaves, simmer for about 5 minutes, then filter and weigh 100 g.

Add the gelatine to the infusion and let cool down. When it reaches about 40°C pour the infusion on the meringue and amalgamate using a whisk or a spatula.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and add to the eucalyptus meringue using a spatula.

(I'm not good in writing recipes in English, sorry)

--------------------

I'm satisfied with the result, the eucalyptus really cut out the sweetness, I've been really lucky to find a good balance at first try. The texture is a bit firm, if you want it to be really soft and airy then I suggest to use 5g or 4g of gelatine. But it depends on where you want to use this mousse, in a cake like this it's better to keep it a bit firm otherwise it will be difficult to cut and serve it without making a mess.

Teo

Teo

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Over school break, the munchkin and I baked

thumbprint cookies, and did some using up of leftovers at the same time.

Ginger marmelade topped with semi-sweet chocolate

The chocolate saved these from 'huh, odd', to 'Very good!'.

I made several dozen for work and they disappeared quickly

Caramel- sprinkled w flake salt before serving

Oh baby. I like.

Chocolate strawberry jam (from a local vendor)

Husband's favorite

Kiwi jam - the last remnant from a trip two years ago

The munchkin's favorite.

Cookies 2012-03-25 320.jpg

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Bro-in-Law's Paul's 60th birthday cake ... Five kinds of chocolate.

Right o, that solves the problem of the Father's Day dessert! Thank you kindly.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Would you mind elaborating a little on the eucalyptus mousse? The rest of the flavours I can definitely see together, and sound delicious, but I'm curious about the flavour dynamic between the eucalyptus and the coffee+sherry+tobacco grouping.

The whole idea started because I wanted to try a cake with eucalyptus. The first pairing that came to mind was tobacco, can't explain the mental reasoning behind it, it was an immediate association.

Teo

Kool cigarettes, or maybe Salems? I see you're from Italy, so feel I must elaborate. I don't know anything about cigarette brands, other than those found in the US or Canada; but the two afore mentioned brands are mentholated, quite possibly with a eucalyptus oil in the flavor profile.

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Heres a panna cotta I did. It was sort of inspired from the tread about dessert, while I never attempted it before, I knew it wasnt too complicated. Its the vanilla panna cotta from The Professional Pastry Chef, with a little bit if Grande Marnier added, and with a simple sauce I made from some frozen strawberries and blueberries.

Panna Cotta.jpg

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Bitter chocolate, guajillo and pasilla icecream

Spiced icecream--cardamom is, at the moment, the dominant flavour, altho' I'm keen to see if that'll change as it 'matures'

Raspberry lambic sorbet

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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teonzo, thanks! My initial reaction to the eucalyptus+others combination was that it might play out a bit like licorice+chocolate (i.e. interesting, yes, but not altogether satisfactory), but it sounds like the flavours actually harmonized well.

You're welcome!

Uhm, no, the effect is quite different from licorice+chocolate. If you have some eucalyptus and some tobacco at hand, then you can try to smell them together and get your idea.

Kool cigarettes, or maybe Salems? I see you're from Italy, so feel I must elaborate. I don't know anything about cigarette brands, other than those found in the US or Canada; but the two afore mentioned brands are mentholated, quite possibly with a eucalyptus oil in the flavor profile.

I'm sorry, but I'm totally ignorant about cigarettes. I'm asthmatic so I've never smoked anything in my life, I can't stand any kind of smoke in any form since I immediately have troubles about breathing. I don't know what smokers taste in their mouth while smoking, I'd like to know but the thought of how I could feel really scares me (I must admit i'm a bit envious, since I can't try something a lot of people love). I tried to eat something tobacco flavored years ago, since all my friends were praising how good some tuilles tasted. I liked it a lot, to my surprise, but I still can't stand smoke and am ignorant about tobacco types.

To decide what tobacco to use I went to a store specialized in pipe tobacco and asked for help. They suggested me some samples to smell, after trying some I decided to buy a can of Rattray's Highland Targe. This is what I used for this cake and this is all my non-knowledge about tobacco types, sorry to disappoint.

If there exist some cigarettes flavoured with eucalyptus then I need to ask for more infos to my smoking friends, guess I can find some inspirations.

Teo

Teo

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Last weekend I made a giant batch of Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday. As an above poster commented, I think these aren't so popular in the U.S? They should be, I absolutely love them... nothing better with a cup of tea. Well, maybe a few things, but they're pretty darn good.

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I also tried a variation which was dried figs (soaked to soften slightly) with orange zest and some cardamom and fennel spices instead of the usual spice mix. To me, I'd probably rather a plain hot cross bun but they were still tasty - any other time of the year I'd happily eat one if offered.

gallery_58218_6922_74035.jpg

This is the dough monster - can't remember how much it weighed but it was about 42 buns worth...

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Pot Luck dinner tonight. Made this Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Pie and a second demi-pie with the leftovers.

Didn't have the correct ingredients...what else is new? :raz: so made some changes. Subbed a graham cracker crust for the chocolate biscuit one, condensed milk for the whipped cream and sugar, and added a bit of homemade raspberry liqueur. Topped it with 54% dark chocolate ganache, but if I make it again, I'll use 70% dark. Too sweet for me, but Ed and the furnace guys loved it.

Reese\

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Stuart, what do you cross your buns with? They look fantastic!

Aw thanks :)

I just use a flour paste - flour and water with a bit of oil so they don't get so hard, and usually a small amount of a sweetener (sugar, honey etc) and maybe a bit of mixed spice, so they don't taste quite so pastey :P

Sometimes they turn out better than others - getting the perfect consistency so they pipe easily but hold their shape is a bit of guesswork but i'm getting better. These ones were also glazed afterwards which always makes them look glossy and beautiful.

In fact, what am I saying?! Here's the recipe I used, which I pretty much followed exactly. Much easier to explain.

Although now that I look at it my crosses are much less defined than his, I guess I didn't follow that closely :)

Another nice option is to make a slash or even snip with scissors in a cross shape, so they open up slightly but have no paste. Looks kinda rustic/artisan.

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      I use a different lace mold to make a pattern on the top pot. Now it's time to do the rims. When I did the lace impressions around the pots, I used fondant, because I needed the stretchability of it to conform easily to the shape of the pot. A little stretchiness in this case is good. But when it's time to do the rims, I don't want ANY stretching going on whatsoever.....I want uniformly thick and perfectly straight strips, so for this I'm going to use modeling chocolate, which of course has been colored the same color as the fondant. See the neato embossing on my strip? I found that little embossing wheel at Seattle Pottery Supply, believe it or not, and it was cheap too. The embossers are interchangeable and it came with about 10 different patterns! I rolled out my strip, then embossed the pattern twice (one next to the other) then used my pizza wheel to cut nice straight even edges. I made two top strips and two bottom strips....the bottom strips are just plain.

      And here are the pots with all their details.....

      These guys are going into the walk-in for a while while I work on the other details. Gotta make the baby! First I start with a styrofoam core. The reason for this is for stability and less weight. There was a time in my career when I thought I shouldn't use ANYTHING that wasn't edible, but talk about making life hard. I've made things out of solid modeling chocolate, but they were very heavy and hard to support. Then over the years, I realized that people really don't eat the decorations anyway (except for a few overzealous kids), so I decided to reduce my chocolate expenses and weight by using styrofoam to bulk things out more and more. I pat out a disk of flesh colored modeling chocolate, and place my styrofoam ball in the middle.

      Then I bring the edges up around the ball and squeeze the chocolate together so that no seams show. I stick a couple of skewers in it so that I can hold it in one hand and model it with the other. Then I manipulate it in my surgeon-scrubbed hands to model the face, add a little nose, eyes, mouth, ears, hair and of course, a dimple. The baby head needs to go somewhere while I work on other stuff.....oh, here's a good place.....right in the edge of my equipment box.

      I've been so good about taking pictures at nearly every step! But here's where I fail you.......when I get "in the zone"......meaning that I'm so intent on my little details....I sort of forget about the camera! Here's what I did in between this picture and the next two:
      *made the baby's shoulders and neck and arms out of modeling chocolate
      *sprinkled my cookie dirt inside the pots
      *dusted the centers of my flowers with luster and color, made the calyx's (sp?) and mounted *them on my green skewers
      *rolled modeling chocolate onto a skewer to form the umbrella stem
      *made the bottom banner and wrote on it
      *made the baby's flower bonnet
      I modeled the baby's neck and shoulders, then stuck that right on the top pot. Then I cut the skewers that are coming out of his head to the right length and pushed it down through the neck and shoulders.

      I placed the arms and formed the hands. I stuck my umbrella stem through the arm and down into the cake so there would be adequate support......but darn, I wasn't watching carefully, and the skewer came out of the side of the pot because my angle was a bit off. Oh well, I'll cover that up with a leaf. At least you can see where the umbrella stem is on the skewer. On top of the umbrella stem is a little half dome of modeling chocolate, to support the gumpaste umbrella. I dab a bit of melted white chocolate on that, and stick the umbrella on top. Now all I have to do is place my flowers, mount the banner, and put his little bonnet on.

      And here we have the finished product. It's sort of hard to read the banner....it says, "May Showers Bring Adorable Flowers". One thing I always seem to to do.....I'll shoot the picture of my finished cake and I'm always tired.....so I'm too lazy to find a good backdrop. Then I curse myself later when there's that yukky kitcheny background. God, in one picture I took, my cake had a dirty mop bucket behind it! All I can say is, thank god for Photoshop......I can always "fix" it later.
      It took me 8 hours to put this together and that's not counting all the prep I did the whole week prior. I don't think a whole lot of people realize the time that goes into this stuff.....and it's also why you don't see it very often.
      Anyway, the girl that's getting the baby shower has NO IDEA this is coming. Surprising her is going to be the best part!
      Fast forward to the next day. My boss's wife and I are bringing the box inside the house, then removing the cake from the box. Kids are dancing around us....."is that a CAKE? Is that a CAKE?" People gather round, and the girl who's getting the shower sees it and starts crying. She gives me a big hug and says "I don't know how to thank you!" I told her she just did.
      The shower went on, presents were opened, food was eaten, champagne was sipped.......and then.....it was time......the part that the kids almost couldn't wait for.....time to eat cake! Which of course, means, time to cut cake. And guess who gets to do it. Yep. Me. I don't have to cut my own cakes very often, and that's a good thing. Usually I'm nowhere in the vicinity when my cakes are cut and consumed.....I have only the memory of a photograph and my labor. This time I also do the deconstructing.....and I gotta say it was bittersweet. Especially since knowing it took me 8 hours to build it and only 15 minutes to take it apart. May I say.......wah? Yes. Wah. Luckily I'd had a couple glasses of Mumm's so my "pain" was numbed a bit.......
      Hope you all have enjoyed this bit of cake sculpting. Now back to our regular programming.......
    • By Nn, M.D.
      I'm very excited to share with you all a recipe that I developed for a double crust apple pie.  I had been inspired a few weeks ago to come up with a series of 3-ingredient recipes that would focus on technique and flavor but still be simple enough for the unseasoned chef.  I decided to make an apple pie as a challenge to myself--never having made one before--and as a way to show those who might find pastry intimidating how easy and adaptable it can be.
       
      Basic Shortcrust Pastry
      Ingredients:
      - 300g flour
      - 227g salted butter, cold
      - 2 lemons, zested with juice reserved
       
      1. Cut butter into small chunks.  Beat butter, zest of the 2 lemons, and flour together with an electric mixer OR combine with pastry blender OR rub together with fingers OR blitz in a food processor until it resembles sand.
      2. Add just enough water to bring the mix together into a dough (about 20g for me).  You'll know your pastry is ready when you can press it together and it stays in one piece.
      3. Divide dough in two and wrap tightly with plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
      4. When ready to use, roll out each portion to 13 inches in diameter. (I do this between two sheets of parchment paper.  Don't worry too much if the parchment sticks to the pastry. I periodically placed mine in the freezer to help keep everything cold, and the butter will separate from the parchment when frozen.)
      5. Take 1 portion of rolled dough and place it in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom.  Gently press into the sides to ensure even coverage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Freeze the other portion of dough in-between the parchment pieces.
       
      Apple Filling (and Assembly)
      - 1 kg apples (I used about 7 apples for this recipe.)
      - 220g dark brown sugar, divided
      - 1 egg, separated
       
      Making the apple butter: 
      1. Cut and core 500g of your apples, but do not peel.  Add cut apples, juice of the one lemon, about 100g or so of water, and 170g of sugar to a large saucepan.
      2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let the apples cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
      3. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
      4. Return puree to saucepan and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour.  Color should deepen and the mixture should thicken slightly, but do not allow it to scorch.
      5. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
       
      Apple filling:
      1. Peel, quarter, and core the remaining 500g of apples. Slice on a mandolin to about 1/8th inch thickness. Place sliced apples in a large bowl of cold water while slicing remaining apples.
      2. Once apples are sliced, drain water and add the juice from the remaining lemon, as well as the remaining 50g of sugar, over the apples. Stir to coat.
       
         
       
      Assembly:
      1. Remove pie base from the freezer.  Dock with a fork and brush on egg white.  Place back in the freezer and allow to set for for about 5-10 minutes.
      2. Pour the entire recipe of apple butter into the pie base and even out with an offset spatula.
      3. Arrange apple slices over the apple butter.
      4. Remove remaining pie dough from the freezer and cut designs in while still cold. Transfer to the surface of the pie and seal overhanging edges.  Trim excess dough.
      5. Brush top pastry with egg yolk (beaten with any remaining egg white) and bake in a 365˚F oven for 60-70 minutes.  Crust should be shiny and golden brown.
      6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.
       
      Some notes:
      The reason for using salted butter is I think the flavor incorporates a little better into the mix than if I were to use unsalted butter and added salt.  That being said, you could do that instead, though your recipe would then have 7 ingredients The addition of apple butter here takes the place of the normal apple pie filling, which is usually thickened with cornstarch and is typically quite sweet.  By using the apple butter, I push the flavor of apple forward beyond what you would find in a typically apple pie.  Also, the apple butter acts as a glue of sorts so that my slices are always clean, so no need to resort to adding thickeners or extra sweeteners. I'm always looking for a way around blind baking, and using an egg white seal has worked out very well for me. The egg white creates a water-tight layer between the crust and the filling, so no matter how wet my filling is, the crust will always bake crispy and won't get soggy for as long as the pie is around. Feel free to change this up as you see fit.  Obviously you can spices to this (I recommend cinnamon, clove, and cardamom) but the beauty of this pie is that it's really not necessary.  Although at first blush it may seem one-noted, the harmony between the flaky, almost savory crust and the bright and refreshing filling is one that doesn't need any help, in my honest opinion.  

       
      So there you have it! My 6-ingredient apple pie, sure to become a go-to for me, and hopefully for you as well!
       
    • By ResearchBunny
      Posted 6 hours ago Dear EGulleters,
      ResearchBunny here. I've just found you today. I've been lolling in bed with a bad cold, lost voice, wads of tissues, pillows, bedding around me. I spent all of yesterday binge-watching Season 2 of Zumbo's Just Desserts on Netflix from beginning to grand finale. I have been a hardcore devotee of Rose Levy Beranbaum since the beginning of my baking passion -- after learning that she wrote her master's thesis comparing the textural differences in cake crumb when using bleached versus unbleached flour. I sit up and pay attention to that level of serious and precision! While Beranbaum did study for a short while at a French pastry school, she hasn't taken on the challenge of writing recipes for entremets style cakes. That is, multi-layer desserts with cake, mousse, gelatin, nougatine or dacquoise layers all embedded in one form embellished with ice cream, granita, chocolate, coulis. After watching hours of the Zumbo contest, I became curious about the experience of designing these cakes. Some of the offered desserts struck me as far too busy, others were delightful combinations. I was surprised that a few contestants were eliminated when their offerings were considered too simple or, too sophisticated. So I'd like to hear from you about your suggestions for learning more about how to make entremets. And also, what you think about the show. And/or Zumbo.
      Many thanks.
      RB
      ps. The show sparked a fantasy entremet for my cold. Consider a fluffy matzo ball exterior, with interior layers of carrot, celery, a chicken mince, and a gelatin of dilled chicken broth at its heart!
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
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