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Inspiration for minis (sp?)


CanadianBakin'
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I have made a few of the recipes, or at least used the ideas, in Gale Gand's Just a Bite. I really enjoy making minis and am wondering if there are other books that focus on them? Do you have any recommendations or are there other places you draw inspiration from. I'm not artistic by nature but enjoy creating and adapting... don't know if that makes sense :huh:, but I need a place to start.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker is the must have book on the subject. When she gives classes she often hands out her card and invites questions by email.

Judy Amster

Cookbook Specialist and Consultant

amsterjudy@gmail.com

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I have made a few of the recipes, or at least used the ideas, in Gale Gand's Just a Bite. I really enjoy making minis and am wondering if there are other books that focus on them? Do you have any recommendations or are there other places you draw inspiration from. I'm not artistic by nature but enjoy creating and adapting... don't know if that makes sense :huh:, but I need a place to start.

I have both Gale's book and Flo's book and they are stylistically quite different -- I find Flo's minis to be more traditional than Gale's. Both are excellent, tho. One caution -- if you buy Flo's book, try to get it in hard cover (if it exists, and if you can) -- my soft cover was not well-bound and pages started falling out almost immediately. Your mileage may vary.

Edited by RuthWells (log)
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Flo Braker is a pastry Goddess. Her book is way, way more reliable than Gail's.

I can enthusiastically second the Art of Petits Fours recommendation. Very professional and worth the price.

A little older book that is also good and professional, though smaller and less expensive is Pascal Brunstein's Plaisir de Petits Fours. In English and French. JB Prince has it here.

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Thanks for your suggestions! I have Flo Braker's Sweet Miniatures on order and hope to have it next week. I'll work through that first before moving up to the more expensive books. I've bookmarked this thread so I don't forget the titles.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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This may dound a little odd.... but can anybody tell me if the cookbooks they are suggesting use a lot of gelatin?

I'm also in the 'testing and creating' period at work and minies are one of our biggest sellers - it's just time to update them. Problem is I don't work with gelatin (the only kosher gelatin I have easy access to isn't great) and I've yet to work with agar agar. I'm very interested in getting a couple of these books- but I hate to buy books that are full of recipes I can't use.

Any suggestions?

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I own many books on making mini pastries (which I can review them if you like?).

I've always had to make tons of mini's in every job I've had. (This may not sound helpful at first) But I HONESTLY, honestly I find the best mini's to make are based on regular desserts/tortes/cakes that I make. You can come up with countless mini pastry ideas yourself. I used to think I needed a book to come up with ideas and recipes........until I reached the point where I wasn't finding new recipes that were simple/quick to make. I was buying mini pastry books that were all saying the same thing, same items/ slightly different recipes.....regardless of how much I spent on those books.

If you think about it, you can come up with tons of mini pastry ideas yourself. You can take any recipe you like and adjust it down in size to make it a mini pastry. After all a mini pastry is only different from a large pastry in size, not taste or ingredients.

For instance, take a almond cake bake it in a mini-muffin pan, then add: pineapple section in the center for 1 mini idea. Add raspberry preserves to the center, thats another idea. Add kircsh soaked cherries, that's idea #3. Top with sliced almonds. Top with a crumble. Top with chocolate chunks, etc.........

For tartlets, start with a tart you like...........say a pecan tart. Change the nuts, you can make almond tartlets, pistachio tartlets, macadamia tartlets, hazelnut, walnut, etc... To that nut tart you could put fruit on the bottom of the tartlet, preserves on the bottom of the nut tart, etc......... Once baked you can add a piped on dollop of ganche or whipped cream, mousse, etc.......

So chances are you already own a great list of mini pastries to make..........just taking recipes you know and like and making them smaller. If this interests you at all, I'd be happy to help you develop a list of pastries based on what components you currently have recipes for.

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This may dound a little odd.... but can anybody tell me if the cookbooks they are suggesting use a lot of gelatin?   

I'm also in the 'testing and creating' period at work and minies are one of our biggest sellers - it's just time to update them.  Problem is I don't work with gelatin (the only kosher gelatin I have easy access to isn't great) and I've yet to work with agar agar.  I'm very interested in getting a couple of these books- but I hate to buy books that are full of recipes I can't use.

Any suggestions?

Pam, theres tons of mini pastries you can make that don't involve gelatin. If you can give us a hint at what mini's your currently doing.......perhaps we can help you come up with some new ones and or some spin-offs from recipes your currently using.

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heyjude  Aug 2 2005, 10:25 PM Post #2

Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker is the must have book on the subject. When she gives classes she often hands out her card and invites questions by email.

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

Judy Amster

Cookbook Specialist and Consultant

jramster@drizzle.com

I ordered the book Tuesday, it arrived Thursday and I'm about half way through reading it. It looks like a GREAT resource! I'm looking forward to baking my way through it.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Pam, theres tons of mini pastries you can make that don't involve gelatin. If you can give us a hint at what mini's your currently doing.......perhaps we can help you come up with some new ones and or some spin-offs from recipes your currently using.

Thanks Wendy. I already do a lot of mini-tarts (pecan, lemon, fruit, different curds, etc.), mini choux things, meringues, lots of squares and different brownies - that sort of thing.

I think the thing with these books is that I don't like them just for the recipes, but they often show you new ways of presenting things. If it makes sense, I want things to look 'higher end'. I have no schooling, it's all about trying different things and seeing what works - so recipes books help me learn as well. While I'm happy with many of the things I already make, I want to learn new things and try different things - that's why I'm a member of eGullet - I learn so much from people like you.

I experiment a lot on my own as well - but sometimes you need that extra inspiration you can get from pictures or other books.

The last note I can think of right now, is that the one problem I have with doing minatures of things I already do is that often, when I'm doing a pastry table, the minis are in addition to the cakes and tortes - so I'd like them to be something different.

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Heres a list of the books I own on the topic of mini's.

Short & Sweet by Gale Gand and Julie Moskin. My review: I've yet to make anything from this book. The problem with it is this is not a book about mini pastries. It's about pastries with short ingredient lists. Theres only one or two items in the whole book you could make as is and place on a mini pastry tray.

Sweet Miniatures The Art Of Making Bite-Size Desserts, by Flo Braker. My review: I like this book alot. Theres a couple great recipes in there. I particularlly love her Viennese Triangle recipe! This is a great book to own to get started thinking about mini's. For other professionals, in time as I became more advanced the draw backs for me became the fact that I have better recipes for some of her components, some recipes really weren't more then cake and frosting, or cookies.

Petits Gateaux Petit pastries For Tea Time, by Ecole Lenotre. My review: I've yet to make anything out of this book either. It all looks great though! Theres photos of every recipe. Whats stopped me from making anything from it yet: the pastries involve multiple components (which take time, multiple molds I don't own) it's more like making individual desserts not one or two bite items. Items look fabulous, theres some really nice looking items in here! I just don't have time in my days to make these. Instead it's easier for me to use left over components I have from other things I've made. In the back section of this book they have tea cakes. Items like: orange flavored gateau battu, morello cherry cake, saint genix brioche, savoy cake, basque cake, pear cake, apple cake, little sponges with grand marnier, pistachio domes, etc.... Then they have cookies, brownies, waffles, pretzel, etc... done with an Eurpopean approach, these aren't American brownies and sugar cookies. I don't think that the average baker will find this a book they use often. I think it's definately geared to professionals. It's pretty contemporary......not an old world type book.

Plaisir de Petits Fours, by Pascal Brunstein. My review: sheesh another one I haven't worked out of. I find this book uncomfortable. Each recipe is written in both French and English with the English version in italics (which is hard to read). They have photos of every recipe. The sections are: base recipes like ganche, Tuiles, Macarons, sables (cookies), petite souffles (which are mini cakes baked like cupcakes lemon, almond, orange), tartlets (only about 4 recipes), Florenins (which are more cookies), pate d almandes (which are baked almond paste pastries like marzipan), specialites internationales (more cookies). Sooooooooo for my use this is mainly a book on petite cookies......of which my American customers don't consider 'petite fours". It's items are traditional European looking pastries, nothing real creative or cutting edge looking.

Apprenez l' Art Des Petits Fours Sucre's et Sale's, by J.M. Perruchon and G.J. Bellouet. My review: I have baked out of this book. It's the largest of the books with the most recipes I've reviewed in this post. It's summary list is: dry petite fours (cookies), spongy petits fours (canneles, brownies, almond cakes), fresh petit fours (fruit tarts, eclairs, choux puffs), prestige petits fours (opera torte, chocolate baby savarins, tartes tatin), macaroons, sweet recipes annexe, canapes (savory), cooked appetizers, puff pastry appetizers, garnished vegetables, savory recipes annexe. It has a photograph of every recipe. Most recipes look contemporary but theres nothing wild or cutting edge.......definately classic. So far every recipe I'd made from this book as turned out well. This is an expensive book, but well worth it. Perhaps more geared for professionals but almost all the recipes are simple enough for non-professionals and also do involve too hard to find of ingredients. Half the book is on savory appetizers (classic European ones).............so that might not interest you.

Then of course theres tons of books that have sections on mini pastries in them......

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That comes from Simply Sensational Desserts, by Francois Payard. My review: this is a brilliant book I've baked alot from this, I think it's a must own book! Every single recipe in this book is fabulous, this is one of my favorite books that I'd be crushed to loose. This is NOT a book on petite fours although there are a couple recipes that are petite fours and many that can be adapted into petite four size. I was recently at his website and noticed you can still buy his book. Theres a photograph for every recipe.

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